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The select committee that was appointed to inquire into, and report the number of members, under the laws regulating this Terrritory, necessary to form a quorum for the transaction of business, made the following
REPORT: That they have examined the laws throughout from 1825 to 1834. By the act of Congress of the 3d of March, 1825, it is provided that the Legislative Council of Florida, shall consist of thirteen Members, to be appointed by the President and Senate, of wbich nine shall be necessary to constitute a quorum for doing business.
Afterwards, in 1826, the subject was again taken up, and then the change took place, which gave the right of selecting the Members to the People, and took it from the President and Senate. The only law to found, which speaks of a necessary quorum to do business, is the act of 1825 above referred to, and that fixes the requisite number at nine—the whole number of Members being at that time thirteen. Since that time, special acts of Congress have, from-session to session, been passed, increasing and enlarging the number of Members of the Council, without ever indicating, that any number greater than that which is fixed hy the act of 1825, should be necessary to make a quorum. No doubt is entertained, but that at this period, Congress meant, with a view to safe legislation, that two-thirds should be necessary to give force and validity to the Legislative acts of this Territory. And it may be fair and reasonable to suppose, that a failure to enlarge the number with the increased number of Representatives, was an unintended omission. But of this, and the intend. ments of Congress, your committee are not called upon to judge-- They can only speak of the law as it is, and that law requires positively no greater number than nine to coustitute a quorum, yet your committee is decidedly and unanimously of the opinion, that by implication, Congress intended that two-thirds at least of the whole number of the members of the Council, should constitute a quorum for the transaction of business, and that it would be inexpedient to organise with a less pumber. All of which is respectfully submitted.
SAM’L. H. DUVAL,
Chairman of the Committee. Which was read, and concurred in by the House:
On motion of Mr. Blount, the Report of Select com. mittee, and documents of John L. McKinnon, contesting H. G. Ramsay's seat in the Legislative Council, were ta. ken from the table, and placed among the orders of the day for to-morrow.
Mr. Holloman offered the following Preamble and Re. solutions, to wit:
WHEREAS, It has pleased the Almighty Disposer of Events, to terminate the mortal career of the Hon. EveRETT White, a member elect from Jefferson county : AND WHEREAS, It is both proper and becoming, that while we bow to the decrees of Providence, to express publicly our respect for departed worth.
Be it therefore Resolved, That the Members of this Legislative Council, do wear crape on the lett arm for twenty days, in token of respect for the memory of said deceased.
Resolved further, That a copy of the above Preamble and Resolutions be published in the Floridian.
Which were read, and unanimously concurred in by the
Saturday, January 9.
Mr. Stephen V. Walker, the member elect from Alachua county, appeared, and on motion of Mr. Blount, was duly qualified, and admitted to take his seat in the House.
A bill, entitled “An act authorising the Governor to organise a Military force for the defence of this Territory," was read a second time by the title, when on motion of Mr. Wood, it was referred to a committee of the whole The House went into committee thereon; and after some time spent therein, the committee arose, and Mr. Kenan therefrom, reported said bill to the House with all but the title and enacting clause stricken out-which report was concurred in by the House.
The report of the select committee on the petition of John L. McKinnon, contesting the seat of H. G. Ramsay in this House, was taken up from the orders of the day, and again read-On motion of Mr. Morton, the House concurred in the report of the committee.
On motion of Mr. Blount, a bill entitled "An act authori-' sing the Governor to organise a Military force for the defence of this Territory," was indefinitely postponed.
Mr. Hawkins asked and obtained leave (the rule being waived for that purpose) to introduce the following ResoLution, to wit:
Resolved, That the committee on the Militia be instructed to inquire into the expediency of more efiectually organising the Militia, and report a bill at an early day.
Mr. Blount moved that the rule be waived, and that
said Resolution be put upon its passage-wbich motion prevailed, and the Resolution passed.
On motion of Mr. Hawkius, the House went into secret Session on a nomination for office made by the Governor : On motion of Mr. Blount, the nomination was laid on the table, when the door was again opened. The House then adjourned until Monday at 12 o'clock.
Monday, January 11, The House met pursuant to adjournment, a quorum being present, the Journal of yesterday's proceedings was read.
His Excellency the Governor transmitted to the House, the following Message :
11th January, 1836. To the Legislative Council :
The Message which was submitted, at an early day of the Session, brought to your view, the necessity of making material amendments to your present Militia Code. Since then, the Volunteers have returned, leaving the foe, exasperated, not vanquished. An inefficient force is now in the field, and hence, the necessity of prompt action on your part, that the border war, which prevails, may have a speedy termination. I take occasion, therefore, to urge that some prompt and active measures may be adopted. Your Militia laws are wholly inadequate to the attaining any useful and salutary results; and if some effectual means be not resorted to, of drawing to the field, an active and sufficient force, fears are entertained, that the Legislative Council of Florida may afford room, for the malicious to heap opprobriuin and censure,. and call in question its patriotism.
Wherefore, should there be delay, in relation to a mat. ter so important, as preparing the forces of the Territory for active operations ? Already are the savages embodied in considerable force, and manifest a determination to resist to the last, the just demands of the Government. The recent battle which has been fought, and the blood of your citizens shed on that occasion, testify' to a settled and determined course of hostility. While you are " deliberating in cold debate,” desolation and war gather along your frontiers, and women and children are driven into insecure, temporary forts, to save themselves from butchery. Encouraged by our supineness, the Indians will soon become bold and confident; and from their contiguity, may presently march upon the Council Chamber, which you are occupying. Shall each one, single handed,
and at his own fire-side, wait the assault, nor venture forth to meet it? There is delusion and danger in the thought! An olden fable shows, that while the sticks retained in bundle, could not be bent, when taken separately, they were easily broken. If you would vanquish those savages, and quickly, you must carry the war to their homes-compel them to the defensive, cor wait their approach.
Promptitude in Indian warfare, is ever important; and without activity and decision on your part, this cannot be effected. Your laws may do for a state of peace; but they are not suited to the
fearful of confiding to the Executive, a right to compel the reluctant and unwilling to discharge a common duty to their country ;-an authority which some are pleased to consider, improper and dangerous ? Place then the power any where that
you choose. Let it, if you please, abide with a committee of your own body. The Governor, unambitious. of possessing any misplaced and hazardous power, will cheerfully admit the trust into the hands of any safe depository, which may be designated. His only object is to awaken a feeling of patriotism, and to inspire, if he can, zeal for a bold and fearless discharge of those duties, which may give security to the frontiers.
But what signifies those school-boy notions, about dangers to liberty, from the granting in this Territory, necessary authority for the maintenance of peace, and good order. Are our institutions of that fragile form, that every fancied blast can move them? or is it unknown to those who are charged with the administration of affairs here, that they are mere trustees for the General Government, and that any act of theirs, if improper and wrong, can be forth with rescinded? Henee, is there abundant security against the violation of the brief authority, which any incumbent, il disposed, can practice, either for his own advancement, or with design to prejudice the rights of the people.
Another objection understood to be entertained, against adopting any salutary and prompt measures, is that the U. States, and not the Territory of Florida, are bound to énforce the execution of those compacts and agreements, which have roused the Indians to revolt. Wonderful suggestion! And who is the community, which makes the United States ? Is it not the people within our jurisdictional limits-the inhabitants of this Territory, which constitute a portion of the great confederacy- participating in its favors-sharing in its protection: and hence, liable for its defence. As well might a passenger on board some foundering ship, refuse to toil for her relief, and for his own safety, on the ground that he was à passenger, and not responsible for any consequences that might ensue.
I appeal to you as those who represent the important interests of this Territory ; and whose vigilance and activity should be unceasingly applied, to carry out faithfully the trusts confided to you, to adopt some mode-some arrangement, by which security may be given to your bleeding and desolated frontier. The blow which falls on them, may next be yours; when the solace to be derived, from error of construction, and supinesss of action, may be converted into deep and lasting repentance for those consequences which may result. The people already are ahead of their advisers ! Brave and patriotic, they are prepared to act, and ready to go where danger and necessity call.-It is only needful for the mode and manner of getting them into service to be definitely pointed out, aud correctly understood, and doubt and apprehension of them, and of their alacrity, will be at an end. To you is the matter submitted ; and on you must rest all responsibility for consequences that may ensue. Should good or evil follow, the honor achieved, or the reflections which may arise, must alone be yours. Being already advised, that no competent authority, to meet the exigencies of the present times, abides with the Executive, it will not require any deep research on the part of the people, to determine upon whom shall lie any mischief that may arise. I speak to you frankly, because the occasion demands it. If with a knowledge of the dangers which portend, nothing can be done, or is intended to be done by the Council, information of their determination is at least important, that the citizens of neighboring States, may be appealed to, to protect the soil, and give security to the people of Florida; and then the pleasing reflection may be indulged, that others not ourselves, have defended the fire-sides and homes of the people from assaults-from pillage, and from burning.
JNO. H. EATON, Which was read--Mr. Wood moved that 500 printed copies thereof be ordered— The yeas and nays being required on said motion by Messrs. Hawkins and Wood, were yeas Mr. President, Messrs. Berthelot, Blount, Brown, of Columbia, Brown, of Jackson, Dennis, Duval, Hawkins, Higginbotham, Holloman, Hunter, Johnson, Kenan, Macon, McNeill, Morton, Ramsay, Tabor, Walker and Wood, 20. Nays, nore. So said motion prevailed.
Mr. Wood, pursuant to previous notice, asked and obtained leave to introduce a bill, entitled "An act to incorporate the City of St. Joseph-which was read the first time, and on his motion, placed among the orders for å second reading on to-day. Mr. Wood, pursuant to previous notice, asked and obx