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The Treasurer also reported, in general terms, that there were a large number of the members who were delinquent iu their dues to the Association.
The report was referred to the Central Council, to be audited and reported back to the Association.
The Central Council recommended the following names for membership in the Association, all of whom were elected to membership: J. W. Horton, R. T. Smith, of Nashville; John E. Richardson, Jesse Sparks, Jr., C. A. Sheafe, Horace E. Palmer, of Murfreesboro; S. A. Webb, of Memphis; Leon Jourolmon, IIenry IIudson, Ilorace Van Deventer, Tully R. Cornick, of Knoxville; W. C. Payne, Thos. II. Cooke, T. P. Chamlee, R. F. Craig, James H. Bible, Henry 0. Ewing, J. B. Sizer, W.0. McClatchey, Jas. T. Saunders, of Chattanooga; Jno. K. Shields, of Bean Station.
The next feature of the programme was a paper on “Strikes," prepared by Lee Thornton, Esq., of Memphis. Mr. Thornton being necessarily absent, his paper was read to the Association by James H. Malone, Esq. (See Appendir.)
It was announced that a concert for the entertainment of the Association would be given in the evening in the parlors of the Im. The meeting then adjourned to the following morning at 10 o'clock.
WEDNESDAY, August 8, 1894. The Association met pursuant to adjournment, President Henderson in the chair.
The Central Council made the following report as to the finances of the Association:
To the Bar Association of Tennessee:
The Central Council beg leave to report that they have audited the annual report of the Treasurer, and, on comparison of the same with books and vouchers, find it correct.
The amount of cash on hand at date of report was ... $276 94
The unpaid back dues cannot be precisely stated, but approximates $700, to which the attention of the Association is respectfully invited.
II ENRY H. INGERSOLL, Chairman.
The Central Council, through its chairman, further stated to the Association that they would, before the meeting adjourned, call the attention of the members to the question of delinquent dues, and ask for some action in regard thereto.
The first exercise in the regular programme of the day was a paper prepared and read by J. W. Caldwell, Esq., of Knoxville, on “ Constitution Making in Tennessee.” (See Appendir.)
The Committee on New Constitution and Code, appointed at the last meeting of the Association, then made its report. There were two reports, one signed by J. C. Bradford, Esq., of Nashville, Chairman, and the other by W. B. Swaney, Esq., of Chattanooga, and Jas. II. Malone, Esq., of Memphis.
The minority report was as follows:
At the last meeting of the Bar Association a resolution was passed creating a special committee, to be known as the Committee on Constitutional Convention, whose duty it should be to take charge of the matter of securing the adoption of a new Constitution for the State, and devising and recommending practical means to that end
The committee appointed by the President of the Association, under authority of said resolution, began, early in the fall of last year, to devise the necessary means and to take the proper steps to arouse an interest in the public mind in a constitutional convention. The necessity of the movement was keenly appreciated by your committee, and nothing was left undone to accomplish the end designed by the resolution. One of the steps taken was the publication, in pamphlet form, of a very able and excellent paper, read by Mr. James II. Malone at the last meeting of the Bar Association, together with tle remarks of gentlemen upon the paper, and circulating the pamphlet broadcast over the State. To Mr. Malone special praise is due for the active interest he took in the matter. A1peals were made to the various interests in the State by the different members of the committee and to the press generally: Numerous commercial bodies--notably several in Memphistook public action on the question, and appealed to the public to give the matter of a constitutional convention their earnest consideration. The press of Memphis took up the question and strongly advocated the movement. There was a pretty general expression of approval of the movement by the press all over the State. If times had been propitious, and publie affairs had been in such shape that people could have given the matter their consideration, it is highly probable that a very strong appeal could have been maile to the next session of the Legislature to call a convention, but the committee has met with the most serious obstacles and most stupendous difficulties. The financial troubles that had overtaken the country were so appalling, and other questions of great public interest were so pressing, that the appeal in behalf of the movement for a coustitutional convention fell on deaf ears.
As is well known, financial disaster was so widespread that people had time to think of little else except their own personal affairs, and thus the constitutional convention became a very subordinate question in their minds. Seeing the utter impos
sibility of accomplishing any thing, the chairman of the committee wrote to the different members, asking their advice as to the best course to be pursued. Several of the members wrote that they felt that the couditions were such that nothing could be then accomplished. So further efforts were postponed until later, and until conditions became favorable.
In the spring of the present year, the chairman of the committee again began the agitation of the question, and personally and by letter called the attention of a number of public men and commercial bodies to the question. The responses to his letters and his personal suggestions were such as indicated that the conditions were no more favorable then to the movement in behalf of a constitutional convention than they were in the fall of 1893. In fact, the chairman of the committee was persuaded that there bad grown up in the minds of the thoughtful men a very considerable opposition to the present holding of a constitntional convention. The two great parties of the country had become so demoralized by the disastrous paralysis of business that a great many persous thought it would be unsafe to hold a convention at this time. In these views the chairman himself was constrained to concur. lle felt then, and feels now, that it would be extremely inadvisable to call a constitutional convention pow. The organic law of the State ought to be written in a time of peace and prosperity, when obstinate factions and discontented elements would have but small, if any, representation in the convention. These, however, are the personal views of the chairman, and the other members of the committee are in nowise responsible for them.
Besides the indisposition of thoughtful men who were consulted on the subject to go into the movement at that time, it was discovered that some of the strongest interests in the State were opposed to it.
Notwithstanding the chairman of the committee deems the calling of a convention at this time for the purpose of formulating a new Constitution not only inadvisable, but impossible, yet he thinks that it is practicable to obtain relief to some extent. Section 3 of Article II. of the Constitution contains this provision :
“ The Legislature shall have the right at any time, by law, to submit to the people the question of calling a convention to alter, reform, or abolish this Constitution."
Under this provision, the chairman of the committee is of the opinion that it is competent for the Legislature to limit the scope of the work to be submitted to a convention that it might call for the purpose of considering the organic law. By an act of the Legislature, approved by the Governor, certain subjects or parts of the Constitution might be submitted to a convention, and all other subjects or parts kept from their consideration. It is understood that this view is entertained by Governor Turney. If this interpretation of the statute is correct, and the chairman of the committee believes that his opinion has the support of a number of able and distinguished lawyers in the State, then those particulars in which the organic law of the State most needs amendment can be submitted by the Legislature to a constitutional convention, to be called for the purpose.
The chairman of the committee earnestly submits these suggestions to the Association, and asks of it its earnest consideration. A discussiou of it would be of great practical benefit, · and might lead to results that would be beneficial.
J. C. BRADFORD, Chairman.
The majority report was as follows:
Your committee begs leave to report that, in its opinion, great progress has been made during the year in educating the minds of the people upon questions of constitutional reform. The public press of the State has, for the most part, fallen in line, and this of itself is a striking indication of the trend of public thought. Moreover, the influential commercial bodies of our cities, at meetings called for the purpose, have adopted resolutions declaring the necessity for a constitutional convention. But the strongest proof of a well-nigh unanimous sentiment in favor of a constitutional convention is found in a symposium of views published in the Memphis Appeal- Avalanche of June 10, 1894, from representative citizens throughout Ten
The only objection therein urged is the opinion of Hon. John J. Vertrees. IIe says: