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being present, the Journal of yesterday's proceedings was read.
Mr. Wood gave notice, that he will on some future day, introduce a bill, entitled “ an act to amend the several acts of the Lake Wimico and St. Joseph's Canal Company.". Also a bill, entitled “ an act to incorporate the town of St. Joseph's.”
Mr. Wood presented the petition of a number of the citizens of Franklin county, for the removal of the County Site, which was, on his motion, laid on the table for the preseni.
Mr. Blount, chairman of the select committee, to whom was referred the petition and accompanying documents of John L. McKinnon, contesting the seat of H. G. Ram. say, made the following
REPORT: The Select Committee, to whom was referred the petition of John L. McKinnon, contesting right of H. G. Ramsay to retain bis seat in the Legislative Council, together with the accompanying documents, beg leave to Report
That they have investigated the matter with all the dili- * gence and attention which the importance of the subject demands. It appears, that at the election held in the county of Walton, on the second Monday of October last past, for a Member to the Legislative Council-128 votes 'were taken, of which, Henry G. Ramsay received 65, and John L. McKinnon 62 votes.
Mr. McKinnon in his petition, assumes two positions, why the election of Mr. Ramsay should be declared void.
ist. That he (Ramsay) has received and had counted for bim, illegal votes, by reason of which, illegal votes, he has been declared elected.
2d. That the requisitions of the law regulating elections, have not been complied with, in as much as the Poll book of the Pea river precinct, in said County, was not -filed in the office of the Clerk of the county of Walton.
As to the first point, it is alledged by Mr. McKinnon, that William Charles and Dempsey Fennel, were illegal voters, because the said Charles voted under an - assumed name, and acknowledged that he was a seaman in the service of the Navy of the Unitee States, and that said Fennel was a minor. From the depositions and proofs adduced before them, the committee are of opinion, that the yotes of said Charles and Fennel were given for Mr. Ramsay—that they were illegal, for the causes alledged, and that he ought not to be entitled to any benefit from said votes, and that they should be considered as null.
It is further urged by Mr. McKinnon, that the votes of
A. P. Vaughan, John Porter, and John Anderson, should also be considered illegal, on the ground, that they are not residents of the Territory. The committee are of an opinion, that the proofs adduced before them, is not of that character which can justify them in declaring the said votes to be illegal. The committee must shrink with diffidence from a decision, or even a declaration of an opinion, on a question, involving as it does, the boundary line between Alabama and this Territory; a line extremely uncertain in its location, and must necessarily continue so, at least until it is left to some other arbitrament, than the mere opinion of individuals, which if clothed with an official garb or authority, might have the requisite weight with this committee.
It has, however, been made to appear satisfactorily to the committee, that the last named individuals, serve as jurors, pay taxes, and are subject equally with other citizens of this Territory, to all the burthen of its government, and it would seem peculiarly hard, that while they subscribe their quota of expense for its support, they should be deprived of participation in its benefits. It moreover appears, that at the last March term of the County Court of Walton, the Jury lists were examined in pursuance to the laws in such cases provided, and that at that Term of the Court, Mr. McKinnon was one of the Justices of the Peace present, and that these individuals were at that time on the list of persons snbject to jury duty within the county of Walton, and that they were considered citizens of the Territory.
As to the second position assumed by Mr. McKinnon, the committee are of opinion, that although the law in relation to Election returns has not been strictly complied with, yet the neglect or omission of the inspectors to perform all the requisites of the law, cannot, upon any principle of sound policy, affect the rights of Mr. Ramsay. If the principle be established, that unless the inspectors of an Election precinct pertorm all the prerequisites of law, regulating Election returns, the Election at such precinct should be null and void, the door would be at once opened to fraud and corruption of the most revolting character It would at once place the whole elective franchise in the hands of three individuals. The Committee believe that there is scarcely an Election held in the Territory, where all the prerequisites of the law regulating Elections, are complied with. The laws regulating Elections, are directory in their nature, and if a strict compliance with all their provisions was exacted, many Elections, from a variety of causes, would be nugatory. The inspectors have not at all times the laws before them, or within their reach, and
owing to the sparse population in certain sections of our Territory, selections of inspectors cannot always be made with that nice and requisite care, as to intelligence, quali. fications, and competence, to discharge their duties; and it would seem contrary to all notions of equity or right, to debar a representative of the people his seat for any cause in which he had no agency, or for a want of a literal com pliance with the laws regulating the mode of making Election returns.
The laws regulating Elections, have always been construed in every portion of our widely extended country, with extreme liberality and legal technicalities have always been disregarded. An enlightened and liberal policy requires that it should be so, and so long as the sense of the people is clearly known, and its voice heard, the object and end of the elective franchise is answered.
The Committee had also referred to them, sundry documeats and depositions in behalf of Mr. Ramsay ; among them, is the deposition of Mr. Thomas Albin, who declares that he is a foreigner, and has resided two years only in the country, and that at the last Election, he voted for Mr. McKinnon; therefore, by deducting the votes of William Charles and Dempsey Fennel from the poll of Mr. Ramsay, and the vote of Thomas Albin from ihat of Mr. McKinnon, Mr. Ramsay still has one vote majority. The Committee have unanimously come to the conclu. sion, after the most mature reflection, that Mr. H. G. Ramsay is the legally elected Representative from the county of Walton for the present Session of the Legislative Council, and request that they may be discharged from the further consideration of the subject. All of which is respectfully submitted.
Tho. M. BLOUNT,
E. J. Wood.
The following communication was received from His Excellency the Governor :
EXECUTIVE OFFICE, I
January 7th, 1836. To the Legislative Council of the Territory of Florida:
I nominate Richard H. Long to be Judge of the County Court, for the county of Jackson, in the place of Peter W. Gautier, resigned..
JNO. H. EATON. Which, on motion of Mr. Hawkins, was laid on the table. On motion of Mr. Duval, the House then adjourned until to-morrow at 12 o'clock.
Friday, January 8. The House met pursuant to adjournment, a quorum being present, the Journal of yesterday's proceedings was read.
Mr. President appointed the following Standing Com. mittees : JUDICIARY.
1 STATE OF THE TERRITORY. Messrs. Blount,
Brown, or Jackson.
Brown, of C.
SCHOOLS AND COLLEGES.
And on motion of Mr. Blount, 50 printed copies were ordered.
On motion of Mr. Wood, a select committee of three members were appointed to contract for the Printing of the present Session of the Legislative Council - Messrs. Wood, Hawkins, & Duval were appointed the committee.
Mr. Berthelot gave notice, that he will on some future day, introduce a bill, to be entitled " An act to establish a tribunal for the trial of Slaves, Free Negroes and Mulattoes within this Territory."
Also, a bill entitled " An act for the relief of Paul McCormick, of Leon County;" and
A bill to be entitled, “ An act to alter and amend the 4th section of an act passed 10th February, 1832, entitled " An act to prevent the future migration of Free Negroes or Mulattoes to this Territory, and for other pur
Mr. Wood gave notice, that he will on some future day, introduce a bill, to be entitled “ An act to amend the several acts of the Commercial Bank of Apalachicola,” passed February, 1834. .
Mr. McNeill gave notice, that he will on some future day, introduce a bill, entitled “An act to alter the time of holding the County Court of Madison county.
Mr. Holloman gives notice, that he will on some future day, introduce a bill, entitled “ An act to regulate the Patrols of this Territory.”
Mr. Wood, pursuant to previous notice, asked and obtained leave to introduce a bill, entitled “ An act to amend an act, entitled an act to incorporate a Company to be. called the Lake Wimico and St. Joseph Canal and RailRoad Company," passed Feb. 11th, 1935—Which, on motion of Mr. Blount, was read by its title-placed among the orders of the day for Monday next, and 20 printed copies ordered.
Mr. Wood asked and obtained leave (without previous notice) to introduce a bill, entitled “ An act authorising the Governor to organize a Military force for the defence of this Territory”-Which was read, and on motion of Mr. Blount, placed among the orders of the day for tomorrow, and 50 printed copies are-ordered.
On motion of Mr. Wood, the petition of the citizens of Franklin county, requesting a removal of the County Site, was taken from the table, and referred to the committee on the State of the Territory.
On motion of Mr. Blount, the Reports of the Union, Pensacola, and Central Banks, sent to the House by his Excellency the Governor on a former day, were taken from the table, and referred to the committee on Banks.