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needs but little protection. And yet, by said section, the poor man has just the same tax to pay before he can vote as the rich man.
3d. The required pre-payment of the poll-tax as a qualification for voting is more oppressive to the rich than a property qualification.
Where there is a property qualification the voter can vote and pay
his poll-tax afterwards. But here he must pay his poll-tax before he can vote at all. In truth, this whole thing is nothing but a property qualification in disguise.
4th. The required pre-payment of the poll-tax will give the rich candidate an unjust but great advantage over a poor candidate.
The rich candidate, in person or through friends, can pay the poll-tax of every poor man favorable to his election, while the poor men, favorable to the poor candidate, will in many cases be unable
And here the door is opened to infinite bribery and infinite corruption in Tennessee politics.
5th. The required pre-payment of the poll-tax will enable a partisan tax collector to disfranchise many voters. Suppose the tax-collector should refuse to receive the poll-tax from certain voters, or should absent himself, for political purposes, or should resign or die shortly before an election, how easily could he thus change the result of an election, and defeat the true will of the people. We see here commissioners of registration with a new name!
6th. The required pre-payment of the poll-tax only substitutes a tax receipt for the present voting certificate. The voter has to produce "satisfactory evidence" to the judges of election that he has paid his poll-tax. What is “satisfactory evidence ?" It is legal evidence sufficient to satisfy the judicial mind; and that legal evidence the courts will quickly declare must be a tax receipt, the most odious of voting certificates.
7th. The required prepayment of the poll-tax will enable partisan judges of election to disfranchise legal voters. Democratic judges will be satisfied” with little or no evidence” when a Democrat offers his vote; but will require the most “ satisfactory evidence," to-wit: a tax receipt, when a Republican offers his vote, and vice
How monstrous the inducement to corruption ! 8th. The required pre-payment of the poll-tax will be the mother of infinite contests and strife in elections.
In consequence of the possible frauds above mentioned being actually perpetrated, many lawful voters will be practically disfranchised, and many unlawful voters allowed to vote. Fraudulent tax receipts will be forged. Perjury will usher in many a vote. Bribery will luxuriate around the ballot-box. Poor men will stand back with a sigh, while the rich put in their votes. Challenges will be endless ; and the resulting strife and bad feeling infinite. Nobody will be satisfied. The ballot will lose its dignity. Elections will become a farce; and—but we prefer to drop the curtain upon the last scene in this horrid drama.
And therefore it is, that the undersigned predict that this required pre-payment of the poll-tax will be odious to the people. It will array the poor men of Tennessee, the men who fight your battles, and who constitute your wealth and your strength, in solid phalanx against that Constitution which strikes at the
st precious of all their rights. It will awaken a breeze of opposition in every settlement from the Blue Ridge to the Mississippi ; and if that breeze is swelled into a storm by the advocates of white suffrage, and that storm is swelled into a tempest by the removal of the existing judiciary; and that tempest swelled into a tornado by the friends of free schools, then will this fabric of government, we are here erecting, be swept away, and “like the baseless fabric of a vision, leave not a wreck behind.”
For the foregoing considerations, the undersigned protest against so much of said franchise section as requires the pre-payment of poll-tax as the condition of voting; and ask that this their protest be spread upon the Journal.
HENRY R. GIBSON.
The roll was called for Memorials and Petitions.
Mr. GORDON offered the following resolution :
Resolved, That the Committee on Miscellaneous Subjects be instructed to inquire and report whether a provision shall not be inserted in the Constitution appropriating for ever all revenue derived from poll-taxes for the use of the State to the purposes of education in common schools throughout the State.
On motion of Mr. GORDON, it was ordered that the foregoing resolutions, and kindred propositions, be referred to a Special Committee of seven, to be appointed by the President.
Mr. NICHOLSON submitted the following resolution, which was read, and on motion of Mr. Jones, of Lincoln, was ordered to be laid on the table, and 100 copies printed for the use of the Conventfon :
Resolved, That before taking up the reports of the majority or minority of the Judiciary Committee, or of any of the substitutes therefor offered to the Convention, it is expedient that the judgment of the Convention be taken on the following propositions, viz:
1st. It is the judgment of the Convention that the offices now held by the Supreme Judges, Chancellors, Circuit Judges, Criminal Judges, Attorney General and Reporter for the State, and District Attorneys, shall be vacated after the ratification by the people of the amended Constitution, at such time as may be therein prescribed.
2d. It is the judgment of the Convention that the Supreme Judges, Chancellors, Circuit Judges, Criminal Judges, Attorney and Reporter for the State, and the States Attorneys for the Districts be appcinted by the Governor, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.
3d. It is the judgment of the Convention that a Special Commission be appointed by the Governor, by and with the advice of the Senate, to consist of three lawyers in each division of the State, to sit as judges, with full jurisdiction to hear and determine all the causes pending in the Supreme Court at Knoxville, Nashville, and Jackson, their commissions to expire on the 1st of October, 1871.
Resolved, That upon the determination by the Convention of these propositions, the majority and minority reports, together with the several substitutes, be recommitted to the Judiciary Committee, with instructions to prepare and report a plan of judicial reform in pursuance of the judgment of the Convention on said propositions.
Mr. HEISKELL submitted the following amendment to Article XI, Section 7:
The Legislature shall have power to pass a statute of limitations applicable to the lands which have been granted by this State, on payment of entry taker's fees only, different from the general statute of limitation in regard to lands. Which was read and referred to the Committee on the Legislative Department.
Mr. FENTRESS submitted the following resolution, which was read and referred to the Special Committee to be raised on the subject of Common Schools :
Resolved, That the Committee on Miscellaneous Provisions be instructed to inquire whether the Legislature shall not be prevented by constitutional provision from making a common school law which forces the poor white man to send his children to school with negro children, or lose entirely the benefits of the free common schools.
RATIFICATION BY THE PEOPLE,
Mr. THOMPSON, of Davidson, submitted the following resolution:
Be it resolved, That it is expedient that the new Constitution shall be submitted to the people at the next ensuing election of
county officers; and, therefore, in the event that the adjournment of this Convention shall not leave a sufficient interval to elapse before the day for the county elections, as now fixed by law, to be held on the — day of March, 1870, the day of election should be postponed, not less than thirty days after the adjournment of the Convention.
Mr. HOUSE, of Davidson, Robertson and Montgomery, moved to suspend the rules and take up the resolution, and submitted the following resolution in lieu :
WHEREAS, It being expedient that the new Constitution should be submitted to a vote of the people at the ensuing election for county officers on 5th March, next; therefore,
Be it resolved, That this Convention will meet each night of its daily sessions, at 7 o'clock, P. M., commencing on Monday next.
Mr. KENNEDY moved to amend the amendment in lieu, by adding “ that no vote shall be taken at any night session.”
Mr. PORTER, of Haywood, moved to lay the resolution of Mr. Thompson, the resolution in lieu, and the amendment, on the table.
Mr. CYPERT demanded the yeas and nays, which were ordered, and the motion to lay on the table sustained. Yeas......
...32 Those voting in the affirmative are:
Messrs. Bate, Baxter, Blizard, Branson, Brooks, Brown of Davidson, Burkett, Campbell, Carter, Chowning, Cypert, Doherty, Dromgoole, Fentress, Finley, Fulkerson, Gibbs, Gibson, Gordon, Heiskell, Henderson, Jones of Lincoln, Jones of Giles, Kennedy, Key, Mabry, McDougal, Meeks, Parker, Porter of Haywood, Porter of Henry, Shelton, Staley, Stephens, Taylor, Walters and Williamson-37.
Those voting in the negative are:
Messrs. Allen, Brandon, Britton, Brown of Henry, etc., Burton, Byrne, Coffin, Cummings, Deaderick, Deavenport, Dibbrell, Fielder, Gardner, Garner, Gaut, Hill of Warren, House of Williamson, House of Davidson, Robertson and Montgomery, Ivie, Kirkpatrick, Kyle, MeNabb, Martin, Netherland, Nicholson, Sample, Shepard, Thompson of Davidson, Thompson of Maury, Turner, Warner and Wright-32.
Mr. BROWN, of Davidson, offered the following resolution, which
was read and referred to the Special Committee on Common Schools:
Resolved, That the Constitution be so amended that all revenue derived from poll tax be applied exclusively to the payment of the public debt, and when it is accomplised it shall be applied to common schools and for no other purpose.
TO SAVE TIME.
MR. FENTRESS submitted the following preamble and resolution, which were read and referred to the Committee on Miscellaneous Provisions :
WHEREAS, These daily discussions of how to save time consume more time than is saved by them :
Resolved, That hereafter discussions as to how to save time shall be out of order, and that this Convention proceed to the business before it, and when finished that they adjourn.
SUFFRAGE AND ELECTIONS.
On motion of Mr. JONES, of Lincoln, the Convention resumed the consideration of the unfinished business of yesterday—the report of the Committee on Franchise, Right of Suffrage and Elections.
Article II, Section 7, as reported by the Committee, was adopted.
Mr. PARKER submitted the following amendment, which was rejected by the Convention :
In all elections by the people, and also by the Senate and House of Representatives, jointly or separately, the votes shall be personally and publicly given viva voce.
Mr. NICHOLSON submitted the following in lieu of Section 8, as reported by the Committee :
Article II, Section 8. The first session of the General Assembly shall commence on the first Monday in October, 1871, at which time the term of service of the members shall commence, and expire on the first Tuesday in November, 1872, and at which session the Governor elected on the first Tuesday in November, 1870, shall be inaugurated ; and forever thereafter the General Assembly shall meet on the first Monday in January, next ensuing the election, at which session thereof the Governor shall be inaugurated.
Which was adopted in lieu, and the section, as thus amended, was adopted by the Convention.