Friday, January 24, 1868
The Convention was called to order on Friday at 11 o’clock, Mr. Pres. Cowles in the Chair.
President Cowles presented and the secretary read a message from Major General Edward Canby, top military authority of the 2nd Military District with jurisdiction over North Carolina. Canby stated: “I desire to add my conviction that from the character of your body, the result of its labors will be such as to commend it to the favor of all who aspire to the speedy restoration of your State to its full relations in the Union. I desire, also, to give you the assurance of my hearty cooperation with the Convention, whenever that cooperation may be necessary or proper.”
Mr. King of Lenoir provided the report from the Committee on Contingent expenses, providing the terms for contracting with Joseph W. Holden for publishing daily reports of the convention.
Mr. Petersen presented several resolutions pertaining to education: (1) that the General Assembly at its first session make a uniform system of common schools; (2) to provide for a Board of Education to consist of five persons from the State at large; and (3) a board of education in each county, consisting of five citizens, to be elected by the people. The first two resolutions were referred to the Committee on Education. There is no record of action in regard to the third resolution.
Discussions regarding the delegate’s expenses were raised again. The per diem rate had been agreed upon on January 21. These debates took a turn to raise questions of whether the costs could be paid out of the State Treasury. This devolved into a discussion (again) of whether the reconstruction acts calling for this convention were constitutional. Mr. Graham of Orange quipped that “some delegate here are so loyal, kept up doubtless and nightly prayed:
Now I lay me down to sleep,
The reconstruction faith I keep,
If it should change before I wake,
Help me another charge to make.
After laughter died down, the debate continued until the previous question was called on the resolution, “Be it ordained by the people of North-Carolina, in Convention assembled, That the Treasurer of the State of North-Carolina, upon the warrant of the President of this Convention is hereby authorized and directed to pay the per diem and mileage of members and officers of this Convention.” The results were as follows: Yeas – 104, Nays – 12.
After the announcements of meetings of various committees, on motion the Convention adjourned.
Ferrell, Joseph, ed., Compilation of the Official Report of the Proceedings of the Convention (Chapel Hill, N.C.: unpublished manuscript 2007). (See day 8 for fuller explanation of this resource and the selection of Holden.)