"Clearing the Galleries."
This process, hitherto, we believe, unknown in Virginia
, was admirably executed by the Sergeant-at-Arms of the Virginia Convention on Monday last.
Having never before witnessed such an operation, we beheld it with great interest, and were much impressed with the illustration it afforded of the prompt and cheerful obedience which the people of Virginia
always render to authority.
The term "galleries," as used in the Convention
, includes the one gallery of the building properly so called, and the large vacant space in the rear of the seats occupied by members, which is allotted to spectators.
At the time the order was given, as, indeed, on every day since the assembling of the Convention
, every inch of available space was occupied by an interested and respectful audience.
The audiences which daily attend this body are made up of gentlemen from all parts of Virginia
, as well as those of our own citizens who have leisure for such a purpose, and certainly, to one who has seen the disorderly and ill-bred multitudes who fill the galleries of Congress and of Northern Legislatures, a greater contrast could not be imagined than is presented by the spectators at the Virginia Convention, mostly a grave, decorous, dignified body of Virginia
gentlemen, who have as substantial interests in society, as much intelligence and respectability in every way as the Convention
There are of course exceptional cases, just as there are in the Convention
, but not at all more numerous than may be found in that respectable body.
Besides this, many of these gentlemen have ladies under their charge, often members of their own families, who have a claim upon their protection, and whom they must leave in a house full of strangers, unattended, under an order to clear the galleries.
We are therefore not surprised that this is a rare process in Virginia
, where such a thing as a mob is unknown, and that its inauguration in the present instance was regretted by many who do not approve the involuntary applause which accompanied the remark of Mr.Goode
, that "Virginia
would never submit to a President on the Chicago
platform," and which applause led to the clearing of the galleries.
Whilst we are fully of the opinion that all who visit a deliberative assemblage ought to be governed by its rules, we cannot help thinking that some allowances might be made, in these exciting, revolutionary times, for the unpremeditated guilt of those who involuntarily applauded a Virginia sentiment.
The applause, at the worst, was not vehement, and was not participated in by the great body of spectators.--Nevertheless, the innocent in such cases have to suffer with the guilty, and we saw staid, quiet gentlemen, many of whom would never dream of applauding anything in the Convention
, who had committed no breach of propriety, but were silent, respectful listeners to the debate, compelled to leave the house and give up for one day (we believe that is the extent of the exile on such occasions,) the privilege of gratifying their natural curiosity to witness the proceedings.
At the same time, we acknowledge that the Convention
has the right to enforce order, and would invoke the people to aid them in this lawful endeavor.
We know not how they can better promote this object than by staying away, and denying themselves the very questionable luxury of standing up in a dense crowd, to listen to debates which they can read at their ease in the morning papers, and which at present possess no special interest.
Another remedy, we observe, has been suggested by one of the members, in the shape of an adjournment of the Convention
This would be also effectual in ensuring order and quiet, and we are sure no citizen of Richmond
would interpose the slightest objection to such a movement.