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Day 52 of the Convention

Friday, March 13, 1868

The Convention was called to order on Friday at 10 o’clock, Mr. Pres. Cowles in the Chair.

An issue discussed previously during the Convention, Mr. Heaton called up the ordinance providing for the appointment of Victor C. Barringer, A. W. Tourgee and W. B. Rodman, as Code Commissioners. Their duty will be to prepare a Code of practice and procedure in the different Courts of this State, and reduce into a written systematic Code, the whole body of the law of the State. By provisions of the ordinance, the commissioners will develop a Code of Criminal Procedure and Code of Civil Procedure with requisite forms.

The ordinance was put to its final passage. Mr. Dowd moved to strike out the name of Mr. Tourgee and insert the name of Samuel F. Phillips. Lost.

The Article on Miscellaneous Provisions passed its third and final reading.

Divorces were granted – a controversial role for the Convention. This included for Mrs. Hopkins of Granville, whose petition for divorce had been discussed at length on February 4 (Day 19 of the Convention) and was referred to the Committee on Judicial Department on February 12 (Day 26 of the Convention).

Various other matters were considered before their adjournment.   The Convention reconvened at 7:30 p.m. for its evening session with 85 delegates answering to roll call. The Ordinance to Prevent the Intimidation of Voters was taken up for final reading. President Cowles announced the committee to draft an address to the people to consist of Messrs. Tourgee, Rodman and Gahagan. Mr. Tourgee explained the final report providing for the ordinance. After lengthy debate, the ordinance was adopted by the vote, yeas – 56, nays – 14. The ordinance provides in part:

Any person who shall prevent, or endeavor to prevent, any qualified elector of this State from the free exercise of the elective franchise, by violence or bribery, or by threats of violence or injury to his person or property, or by depriving an elector of employment of threatening to deprive him of employment, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one month, nor more than six months, or by fine of not less than one hundred dollars nor more than five hundred dollars, for each offense, and one half of the fine shall go to the prosecutor.

With a quorum no longer present, 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.)


*The debate and other quotes are close to verbatim from the reported resources with some adjustment to put all comments in first person, present tense.

Ann McColl

Ann McColl is an attorney and state constitutional scholar.