Trees Planted by the Water: Early African American Legislators



Handbook of Texas Online: Ralph Long
Texas State Library: Ralph Long



.Constitutional Convention 1868

Entries from the Journals of the Reconstruction Convention, 1868

  June 5, 1868

The President announced the following standing committees: Education-Ta1bot, Chairman; Schuetze, Lieb, Constant, Long,
Cole, Kealy.

July 8, 1868
Mr. Long offered the following resolution:
WHEREAS, The custom of carrying concealed weapons is openly
indulged by spectators and others who visit this Convention, in the
lobbies and elsewhere; therefore be it
Resolved, That the Convention do order that no person shall
hereafter be allowed in this hall, who carries belted on his person,
revolvers or other offensive weapons.
Mr. Carter moved the suspension of the rules for the consideration
of the resolution.
Rules suspended.
Mr. Lindsay offered the following amendment to the resolution:
Resolved, further, That the Sergeant-at-Arms is hereby ordered
to see to it, that this order is strictly observed.
The question being upon the adoption of the amendment, it was
Mr. Buffington moved to amend by inserting " deadly," instead
of "offensive."
Amendment adopted.
The question recurring upon
the adoption of the resolution as
amended, it was agreed to.

July 21, 1868
Mr. Long introduced the following resolution:
Be it Resolved by the people of Texas in Convention assembled,
That Fred. Slaughter, the carrier of the mail from the postoffice
to the capitol, and vice versa, for the benefit of the members
of this body, be allowed four dollars per diema, and that the Secretary
be authorized to draw upon the Treasurer therefor as he draws
for the members.
Laid over one day.

August 7, 1868

Mr. Lindsay made the following report from the Special Com-
'mittee appointed to inquire into the conduct of Messrs. Long and
August 7, 1868.
Hon. E. J. DAVIS,
President of the Convention:
SIR: The Special Committee appointed by you, under an order
of the Convention, to investigate the conduct of two of its members,
Messrs. Johnson and Long, upon a charge of having violated
the rules of decorum, prescribed for the government of this body,
during its session. have performed that duty, and now beg leave to
submit the following report:
From the evidence, which they were enabled to procure, it appears
that the occurrence took place entirely without the precincts of the
Convention; and, however reprehensible their conduct may have
been-about which the committee thinks it would be improper for
them, under the circumstances, to express an opinion-it is not
subject to the jurisdiction of this body. If the difficulty had taken
place in the midst of the members, during the session of the Convention,
or in the lobby of the House, then, by the rules adopted for
the government of this body, as well as by general parliamentary
law, the parties would have been justly subject to its censure, and
might be dealt with by reprimand or expulsion; but, as it took
place without the precincts of the House, if the parties are amenable
to any tribunal, it is to the civil authority of the country; and they


cannot be dealt with by parliamentary law upon the facts ascertained
by our investigation.
Whether the parties are amenable to the civil law upon the facts,
the committee deems it improper for them to express an opinion, as
such an intimation might prejudice the rights of the parties in an
investigation before the civil tribunals of the country.
They may be permitted, however, to say that, according to the
principles of parli mentary law, there are certain privileges guaranteed
to the members of all deliberative bodies, which shield and
protect them against arrest by the civil authorities of the government,
while in session. No member of a deliberative body can be
arrested during the continuance and term of its sessions, except for
treason, felony, breach of the peace, or in a case in which sureties
of the peace may be demanded, of one or both of the parties, for
threatened aggressions. In all other cases, the members of deliberative
bodies are privileged from arrest, while the body, of which they
are members, is in session.
In this case no treason nor felony has been committed. And,
as nothing occurred within the precincts and jurisdiction of the
House, calling for its action, or animadversion. it would be improper
for this committee to intimate whether a breach of the psace
was committed or not; as that might become a subject of judicial
inquiry by the civil tribunals of the country.
Upon examination of the parties themselves involved in the investigation,
the committee is satisfied the difficulty is at an end
between them, and no precautionary measure is necessary to prevent
a collision, and they therefore recommend their discharge from the
custody of the sergeant-at-arms, and their restoration to their privileges
in the House. They ask that the committee be now discharged.
All of which is respectfully submitted.
Upon motion, the report was adopted.
Mr. Burnett moved that the members be discharged upon the payment
of fees.
Mr. McCormick, from the Committee on Contingent Expenses,
made the following report:

August 28, 1868

Mr. Long introduced the following declaration:
Be it declared by the people of Texas in Convention assembled,
That all attempts to justify the rebellion and war against the
United States, made in Texas since August 5, 1865, by the courts
of the provisional government, by deciding that the statutes of
limitation have been running since said date and prior to the acceptance
of this Constitution by Congress.
That a payment to a " rebel receiver" operated an extinguishment
of the debt, that the '" so-called Confederate States of America and
the pretended States thereof" were de facto governments, that
promissory notes given for Confederate paper, and obligations to pay
money for slaves, made after President Lincoln's proclamation of
emancipation stated that it took effect, were- null and void fiom the
beginning, and shall so remain; provided, nevertheless, that this
declaration shall not be construed to validate or invalidate by
emancipation any of the acts of the other decisions.
Mr Burnett moved to reject the declaration.
Upon which the yeas and nays were demanded and resulted
Yeas-Messrs. Armstrong of Jasper, Armstrong of Lamar,
Bledsoe, Board, Boyd, Bryant of Grayson, Buffington, Burnett,
Caldwell, Carter, Cole, Constant, Curtis, Flanagan, W. Flanagan,,
Grigsby, Hamilton of Travis, Harris, Harm, Home, Johnson of
Calhoun, Jordan, Kealy, Keigwin, Kirk, Lindsay, McWashington,
Munroc, Phillips of San Augustine, Phillips of Wharton, Posey,