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But we have not stated the ruinous effects. Government must be supported. Taxes sufficient therefor must be collected. If the burden is by law lifted from the great bulk of personal property, it must fall on real estate. And so it does. Just in proportion as personal property is exempted, will real property be burdened.

To be specific: For eighteen years—or since the Constitution of 1870 was adopted-personal property in Tennessee aggregating $75,000,000 has been withdrawn altogether from taxation. We worried our creditors into accepting a big scale of the bonds of the State, and our plea was in part that the State was not able to pay her public debt. At the same time we were excepting from taxation this enormous amount of personal property; and we are excepting it still. The Governor and the Treasurer and their clerks are running about over the State, and to the money centers of the East and North to borrow enough money to meet our accruing interest on a public debt scaled to fifty cents on the dollar.

These things ought not so to be, and would not if all personal property paid its just share of taxes. Nor would our public schools languish for lack of funds to maintain and support them.

It would seem that if any species of property should be favored it ought to be real estate, land, because it is permanent, fixed, indestructible, and can't get away, and can't evade the collection of taxes. But under this section of the Constitution of 1870 the reverse is the rule.

The conclusion of the whole matter is, that the clause of the Constitution which exempts $1,000 of personal property from taxation ought to be abrogated as soon as possible.

But there is another provision of the Constitution that should be promptly vitalized by legislative enactment. It is this:

By Section 1, Article IV., of the Constitution, it is ordained that “ There shall be no qualification attached to the right of suffrage, except that each voter shall give to the judges of election where he offers to vote satisfactory evidence that he has paid his poll-taxes assessed against him for such preceding period as the Legislature shall prescribe by law, without which his vote cannot be received."


That would seem to be mandatory. It is a positive order to the Legislature to have an act prescribing as a condition to voting that each man liable to poll-tax must exhibit satisfactory evidence of the payment of his poll-tax for a preceding period, to be determined by the Legislature.

Cnfortunately, the Legislatures are too timid to prescribe the “ preceding period.” Why? Because the average member of the Legislature is a politician, as contra-distinguished from a Statesman. Instead of considering conscientiously what is best for the State and his constituency, he is after considering how to placate the majority voter and get back to the Legislature, and then go to Congress, and afterward be Governor or President. He does not intend his record shall antagonize the seeming rights or privileges of the dear people, and hence he will not advocate a measure that shall subject him to the criticism of voting, to prescribe what is inaccurately described as property qualification to the right of suffrage, or that shall in any way abridge the elective franchise to the poorest and humblest citizen. He will blow by the hour about the political rights of the poor, horny-fisted laborer, and contrast his condition with that of the “ bloated bondholder," " who dresses in purple and fine linen and fares sumptuously every day.”

That states the question fairly, and it is the quintessence of demagogism. Why? Poll-taxes all go to the public school fund, and the poorest and humblest citizens are the chief beneficiaries of the public free schools. The free public school is emphatically the school that should be dearest to the heart of the poor; for ordinarily, it is his chief dependence for the education of his children. He knows, or ought to know, that the best legacy he can leave his child is a good education, and yet we find among the poor a reluctance to pay poll-taxes that is incomprehensible.

Annually there is lost to the public schools in Tennessee in uncollected poll-taxes at least two hundred thousand dollars, notwithstanding no property is exempt from distraint and execution for unpaid poll-taxes.

Take my own county for illustration, and it presents perhaps a fair average.

The officers are as efficient and diligent as any in the State,


and yet I am informed we lose every year in insolvent and uncollected poll-taxes two thousand dollars. We have say one

hundred counties in the State, and it is safe to assume the same general average will obtain throughout the State.

How are we to rectify the trouble?

A change in the Constitution should be made, striking out all ambiguous or equivocal verbiage, leaving nothing for legislative enactment, and requiring every voter liable therefor to pay his poll-tax as a condition precedent to voting. Let the provision be self-acting, and let the Constitution be accordingly so changed.

Inasmuch, however, as there is no prospect of a Constitutional Couvention in the near future, the trouble could be remedied by legislative enactment, vitalizing and carrying into effect the constitutional provision. That is to say: Have a law enacted requiring the voter to give satisfactory evidence to the judges of the election that he had paid his poll-tax for the preceding year, or he if had not and could not pay his poll-tax, let him make an oath to that effect. If a man wants to bring a suit he must give bond for costs or take the oath prescribed for poor persons.

If he wants to vote is it any greater hardship to require him to pay his poll-tax, or, in lieu thereof, file his affidavit that he cannot pay it on account of his poverty? And this would answer all the argument that a property qualification was a condition precedent to voting.

The result would be all poll-taxes would be paid. If a man should be found unable to pay, some aspiring candidate would advance the money in contemplation of his support.

It would vitalize that section of the Constitution relative to poll-taxes. It would carry into effect the intention of the framers of the Constitution.

With the adoption of these proposed changes the demand for Federal aid to our struggling schools, which is the terror of the politician, would cease. Every man would then bear his just share of the burden; our schools would be creditably maintained and our public debt speedily paid; our waste places would be built up and an era of unprecedented prosperity and intelligence among the masses would soon dawn upon our State. CHANCERY PLEADING AND PRACTICE IN TENNESSEE.


To fully understand and appreciate the system of Chancery pleading and practice, now in use in Tennessee, it is necessary to call attention to the origin and progress of the High Court of Chancery in England, and its modificatious and adoption in this country. We use the expressions, “ Chancery Court” and "Court of Equity” as convertible terms. Neither can be satisfactorily defined in a single sentence, but can be understood and explained only by studying the history of that Court, and its manner of transacting business.

The idea of the Court of Equity in England was undoubtedly borrowed from the Roman law, and was in imitation of the Roman Equitas, and judicial powers of their magistrates. In fact, I am inclined to the opinion that a great deal more of the English law was borrowed from the Romans than one would infer from reading Coke and Blackstone. Recent investigations of juridical scholars have, at least, demonstrated the existence of the closest relation between the civil law of the Romans and the early common law of England.

All of the Courts of England had their formative periods and seasons of trial and failure. But even the courts in which the common law was administered, when in full and successful operation, were utterly inadequate for the ends of justice in a large number of cases.

The rules of the common law were harsh, rigid, and unyielding. The Common Law Courts refused to adopt that part of the Roman law which may be called equitable, as distinguished from that which is merely stricti juris; and on this account the Common Law Courts were unable to meet the demands of justice. The English people were now beginning to doff the garments of semi-barbarism and don the vesture of an enlightened, Christian nation, and the courts must be conformed to the new state of affairs. Under the rigid rules of the common law the judgment must be either for the plaintiff or the defendant without qualification or modification. Says Bispham: “A judgment does not always touch the true justice of the cause, or put the parties in the position which they ought to occupy. While the plaintiff might be entitled, in a given case, to general relief, there might also be some duty connected with the subject of litigation which he owes to the defendant, the performance of which, equally with the fulfillment of his duty by the defendant, ought, in a perfeet system of remedial law, to be exacted. This result could only be attained by a decree of equity, which could be so framed and moulded, or the execution of which could be so controlled and suspended, that the relative rights and duties of parties could be secured and enforced. This power of moulding a decree to suit the exact exigencies of a particular case is indeed one of the most striking advantages which procedure in Chancery enjoys over that at common law, and must have been a potent element in originating and developing equitable jurisprudence.”

No common law writ existed by which a defective instrument might be reformed, a fraudulent conveyance set aside, a mistake corrected, a trust set up and enforced, or any of those powers peculiar to Courts of equity, might be called into exercise.

Hence, many injuries must, and actually did, exist for which the common law courts furnished no appropriate redress. Increasing intelligence of the English people, and their more enlightened sense of justice, required a change in the administration of justice in the courts. New and ever changing conditions of society demanded the existence of a Court that would, in some sense, follow the law, and yet not be bound by the stern and unbending rules of the common law. It was this idea that evolved that tribunal known afterward as the high Court of Chancery. It did not spring suddenly into existence by a special statute, full-fledged, with all its powers defined, but was a growth, requiring centuries for its maturity. At first, in the class of cases above mentioned, the petition was addressed to the King as the fountain-head of all justice, some

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