Virginia State Convention.
Tenth day.

Monday, Feb. 25, 1861.

The Convention was called to order at 12 o'clock.

Prayer by the Rev. Dr. Minnegerode, of St. Paul's Church.


The President announced the following select committee, under Mr. Tredway's resolution, adopted on Saturday, to make inquiries as to whether any movement of arms or men has been made by the General Government, indicating a purpose to coerce Virginia; Messrs. Tredway, Pendleton, Bouldin, Wilson and Mallory.

Amendments to the Constitution.

Mr. Haymond offered the following resolution, which, on his motion, was laid on the table and ordered to be printed:

Resolved, That the Constitution of this State should be amended, and that this Convention will amend the Constitution wherein it is necessary and proper that it should be amended, and will submit the same as amended to the voters of the State for their adoption or rejection.

Mr. Hall, of Wetzel, offered the following, which, on motion of Mr. Chambliss, was laid on the table:

Resolved, That a committee of twenty-one be appointed by the Chair, to be styled the Committee on the State Constitution, and that they report to the Convention what amendments, if any, are necessary at present to be made to the present State Constitution.


Mr. Chambliss, of Greensville, presented a petition from Robert R. Collier, Esq., of Petersburg, making suggestions with regard to the present condition of the country, which was read.

Mr. Nelson of Clark, moved that it be laid upon the table, but withdrew it temporarily at the request of Mr. Chambliss, who had previously asked for the reference of the petition to the Committee on Federal Relations.

Mr. Chambliss advocated the right of petition, and said the suggestions of any citizen were entitled to the consideration which they deserved.

Mr. Nelson, was in favor of the right of petition but opposed to reference on the ground that it would open the door for an endless number of petitions, which would consume too much time. He renewed his motion to lay upon the table, and Mr. Chambliss called for the yeas and nays.

The call being sustained, the Clerk proceeded to call the roll, and the vote resulted — yeas 18, nays 98. So the motion to lay upon the table was decided in the negative, and the petition was referred to the Committee on Federal Relations.

Compensation of officers.

Mr. Johnson, of Richmond, from the Committee on Compensation of Officers of the Convention, made a report. The report allows the President, in addition to his mileage, $8 per day; the Clerk, including compensation of assistants, $100 per week; Sergeant- at-Arms, $30 per week; each Doorkeeper, $28 per week; each Page, $14 per week; Superintendent of the Hall, (Mr. John D. Smith,) $5 per day, including compensation of servants, &c.

The report was adopted.

The National difficulties.

Mr. Moobe, of Rockbridge, offered the following resolutions:

  1. 1st. Resolved, That the conduct of the so-called free States, in resisting the execution of the Fugitive Slave Law — in refusing to give up criminals fleeing from justice — and in seeking to deprive the Southern States of any portion of the common territory of the nation — and of their citizens, in circulating incendiary pamphlets among us — in furnishing arms to bands of assassins to invade our borders, and murder our people — with other flagrant wrongs, is such as to require prompt reparation of the injuries inflicted, and justify Virginia in demanding, as she does demand, full and ample security that those wrongs shall not be repeated.
  2. 2d. That Virginia can never consent to become a member of any Confederacy, by the Constitution of which the re-opening of the African slave trade is not prohibited.
  3. 3d. That Virginia will not become a member of any Confederacy, the Government of which, except under extraordinary circumstances, is to be supported by direct taxation.
  4. 4th. That this Convention doth approve of the amendments to the Constitution of the United States, proposed by the Crittenden resolutions; and declare its readiness to accept the same as a satisfactory adjustment of existing controversies between the Northern and Southern States.
  5. 5th. That in the event of the amendments referred to, or other equivalent amendments to the Constitution of the United States, not being adopted, Virginia will be ready to enter into a compact with such States as will agree to said amendments; by which the present Government of the United States shall be declared to be dissolved, as to the States so agreeing, and that they will thenceforth constitute a new Confederacy under the Constitution so amended, from which all the States not so agreeing shall be excluded.
Mr. Moore proceeded to advocate his resolutions. He spoke of the grievances solely as inflicted on the Border States, and drew a distinction between them and those inflicted on the seceding States. He thought our grievances were a matter of entire indifference to the seceding States, and that they were only brought forward now to induce Virginia to go into the Southern Confederacy. After reading an extract from the Charleston Mercury to illustrate this position, he went on to say that they cared nothing about the slaves we had lost. They were also for free trade; while the interests of Virginia demanded that the revenue in any Government to be formed should be raised from imports. South Carolina had endeavored to dissolve the Union long before our grievances commenced; for our loss of slaves had been chiefly during the last fifteen years. He contended that the election of Lincoln was not the cause of the disruption; only the occasion — and he read from a South Carolina pamphlet to show that the cause had existed ever since the formation of the Confederacy. He believed they contributed as much as any other State to the election of Lincoln — that they went to the Democratic Convention with a purpose to break up the party and dissolve the Union. There was no policy in common between the border States and the seceding States. It is interest of Virginia to keep slave property high, whilst it is their interest to depreciate it; and in this connection he alluded to the probable re-opening of the African slave trade. It was their policy to support the Government by direct taxation; and to show what would have to be thus supported, mentioned a standing army of 20,000 men, which it was believed would be necessary, making the cost of Government $50,000,000 per year, of which, according to his calculation, Virginia's portion would he $6,000,000 or $7,000,000; because indications were against the secession of Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri, Kentucky, Delaware, and Maryland. Virginia would be saddled with a burden, in addition to the completion of works in which her vital interest was involved, greater than she could bear. With reference to the threats of abolishing the inter-State slave trade, he said he did not choose to be intimidated by such threats as that.--He also scorned the imputation that Virginia would skulk under the protection of the North, and disdained a connection with a people who could make it. There were other interests to be considered besides King Cotton. What would cotton be worth unless there were a demand for it. King Spindle and King Hog, he conceived, were as potent as King Cotton. The Cotton States cannot live without manufactures, nor can they live without something to eat. With regard to secession, he took the view that it was a revolutionary remedy, and denied that Virginia had reserved to herself the right to secede.--He urged Virginia to act, without waiting for the result of the Peace Conference. With regard to the fifth resolution, he said it was probable New England would not agree to it, and he was not anxious that she should. He would welcome Georgia and Alabama back, but preferred that South Carolina should stay out until she had learned to treat us with respect. Mr. Moore proceeded to define his position at some length, expressing his desire that Virginia should be prepared for any emergency. He would go with her wherever she went, unless she went where she would be disgraced. His interest was with Virginia, now and forever. In closing, he brought forward a publication to show that England, so far from wanting to abolish slavery, was exerting a secret power for the dissolution of the Union.

Mr. Goode, of Bedford, desired to enter his protest against the views submitted by the gentleman from Rockbridge, which had given him, as a member of the Virginia Convention, inexpressible pain. He (Mr. Moore) seemed to misapprehend the object of this Convention. He had aimed his big gun entirely against the gallant States of the South, and had given not a word of rebuke to those who had brought the sad disasters upon the country — the people of the Northern States, the destroyers of the fairest temple of free Government the world had ever known. He had summoned up ‘"Gorgons, and hydras, and chimeras dire,"’ and arrayed a throng of evils before the Convention which had no existence in reality. While he was reading from the Charleston Mercury, which was not the organ of the Southern Confederacy, the Southern Congress had acted, and put its heel on those measures which he alleged as reasons for not uniting with them. Mr. Goode, in proceeding, summed up the aggressions of abolitionism, and remarked, that on Monday next a man would be inaugurated as President who believed that a negro was as good as a white man; who was an endorser of the doctrine of an irrepressible conflict; who had declared, in all his recent speeches, that he would administer the Government on the principles laid down in the Chicago platform. He (Mr. G.) had love the Union, and the memory of its patriotic founders; but he loved the Union in the past, which he had looked upon as a Union of equality. It had failed of its purpose, through the degeneracy of those to whom its keeping had been entrusted. The question now was, whether Virginia should, by a resolute and determined course, avert impending evils, or submit to the oppression sought to be imposed upon the South--

‘ "Whether' tis nobler in the mind, to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And, by opposing, end them?"

Mr. Goode, while enforcing this point of his argument in words of thrilling effect, was heartily applauded by the spectators; where upon the President requested Mr. G. to suspend his remarks, and ordered the Sergeant-at-Arms to ‘"clear the galleries."’ Mr. Goode appealed to the President to countermand the order, but he declined.

In compliance with the hint, the populace began to move towards the doors, when Mr. Franklin Thomas, a citizen of Richmond, exclaimed in a loud voice--

Mr. President! I have one single appeal to make.

A motion was made that he be taken into custody, to which Mr. Thomas expressed his willingness, but the motion was withdrawn.

After quiet had been restored, Mr. Brent, of Alexandria, moved that the resolutions under consideration be laid on the table until morning, as Mr. Goode did not desire to proceed with his remarks this afternoon.

The motion was agreed to.

Mr. Montague called the attention of the President to the fact, that an individual had been taken into custody in compliance with an order from the Chair, and asked that the matter be disposed of.

The President said he gave no such order, and went on to explain what had occurred.

Mr. Wysor, of Pulaski, said that the gentleman who made the disturbance had refused to leave, and was, in consequence, taken into custody by the Sergeant- at-Arms.

After some further conversational debate, Mr. R. Y. Conrad moved that the prisoner be discharged from custody, which was carried in the affirmative.

Mr. Burdett, of Taylor, offered a resolution, that in view of the disturbance that had just occurred, a committee be appointed to take into consideration the expediency of adjourning to Staunton, or some other place at which the sessions can be held without being interrupted by outside pressure.

On motion of Mr. Wickhan, the resolution was laid on the table.

Correction and Personal explanation.

A letter was read from Mr. Sherrard Clemens, (who was confined to his room by sickness,) correcting an error in the report, in the Richmond Enquirer, of his remarks on Saturday.

Mr. Hall, of Wetzel, embraced the opportunity to make a personal explanation in regard to his remarks on the same occasion, and again alluded to the fact that a Black Republican paper, published in Northwestern Virginia, bad a reporter on this floor.

On motion of Mr. Sheffey, the Convention adjourned.

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