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House of Delegates.
Friday, March 8th, 1861.

The House was called to order at 11 o'clock by the Speaker.

The House was notified of the passage by the Senate of House bills incorporating the Berkeley Border Guard Armory Company, and amending the law restricting the catching of oysters in certain months.

Bills Reported.--Bills were reported for altering and amending the act incorporating the Blacksburg, Catawba Creek and Fincastle Turnpike Company, and to change the name of the same; regulating proceedings in Court upon motions on behalf of the Commonwealth.

Engrossed Bill.--The bill refunding to Mrs. Lucy Holland, of Fluvanna county, a sum of money paid on an erroneous assessment, was ordered to its engrossment.

Corporate Limits of Richmond.--The Committee of Propositions and Grievances, to whom was referred the consideration of the resolution for the extension of the corporate limits of the city of Richmond, asked the House to discharge them from the further consideration of the subject, as there will not be, in the opinion of the committee, sufficient time before the end of the present session properly to investigate the same.

Petitions.--Mr. Ballard presented the petition of Wm. Stratton, praying to be released from damages.

Adverse Report.--The Committee on Military Affairs reported that it was inexpedient to grant arms to T. V. Williams, of Tazewell, for the use of an Academy.

Senate Bills Reported.--The following Senate bills were reported from House Committees: For the relief of Celia Edmonds; releasing the schr. Pauline from the payment of Commonwealth's claim to any fine imposed, for an alleged violation of the inspection laws.

Sheriffs of the State.--The House adopted a resolution reported by Mr. Haymond, of the Finance Committee, which reads as follows:

Resolved, by the General Assembly, That the Sheriffs of this Commonwealth who pay all the revenue now due, and that portion which becomes due the 15th of the present month, by the 1st of April next, shall be entitled to be allowed their full commission of 5 per cent. by the Auditor of Public Accounts, provided that interest shall be charged on that part of the revenue due the 15th of December last until paid.

’ Advocated by Messrs. Critchfield, Keen, Anderson and Haymond, and opposed by Mr. Bass.

Covington and Ohio Railroad.--The Speaker said that the hour had arrived for the consideration of the order of the day — the bill "providing for the partial suspension of the sale of State bonds, and for complying with the contracts already made on the Covington and Ohio Railroad."

Mr. Baskervill submitted a motion to pass by, to take up the bill for the voluntary enslavement of free negroes, discussed on Tuesday, with a view of making it the order of the day for to-morrow.

Mr. Evans inquired whether it would be in order also to suspend the order of the day for the purpose of adopting the joint resolution fixing a day for final adjournment. The Speaker replied that such a motion was not in order.

Mr. Baskervill then submitted his motion, and the House agreed to pass by; but, in voting, refused to make the bill the order of the day.

The Covington and Ohio Railroad bill being before the House, Mr. Segar submitted a motion that the amount named be reduced from $500,000 to $300,000. The motion was adopted.

Mr. Chapman said that he did not rise for the purpose of discussing the bill; that had been done fully before, and it had been clearly shown that the passage of this bill was necessary to continue the work on the Covington and Ohio Railroad, as it was impossible for the contractors to continue it under the existing difficulties, with State bonds at 74 or 26 per centum below par. The bill would save the treasury by the suspension of the sale of State bonds and the issue of Treasury notes in lieu thereof, at least 26 per centum upon the amount of expenditure in the construction of the work. But he had only risen to say, that there was another saving which had not been alluded to, which he desired to call to the attention of the House. He had just been informed, by members of the Committee on the Penitentiary, that the contractors on the Covington and Ohio Road had hired 145 of the colored convicts in the Penitentiary, at a sum exceeding $17,000, and which sum would be an entire loss to the Treasury should the bill under consideration be rejected, as the work on the road being necessarily suspended, the convicts would be returned to the institution, and could not be employed there; for, in truth, at this time half the convicts in the penitentiary were idle, for the want of materials which could not be procured in sufficient quantities to give them employment.

Mr. Phelps, of Ritchie, said that he was a friend of the road, and had voted for the appropriation at the last session; but that he did not think the state of the Treasury authorized the issuing the Treasury notes as provided in the bill. If it was right to appropriate the sum of $300,000, it was equally so to apappropriate the larger sum. He had no idea that gentlemen could change the votes given on a former occasion, and as enough talk had been indulged in as to the merits of the bill, he felt constrained to move the previous question. The call being sustained the main question was then put, and the vote on the question of the passage of the bill was recorded as follows:

Yeas.--Messrs. Critchfield, (Speaker,) Alderson, Anderson, Bailey, Ball, Bailard, Barbour, Bass, Bisbie, Caperton, Carpenter, Chapman, Christian, Claiborne, Collier, Duckwall, Ferguson, Fleming, Frost, D. Gibson, J. T. Gibson, Graham, Grattan, Harrison, Hackley, Hunter, Kee, Lockridge, Lucas, Magruder, Massie, Matthews, Maupin, McCamant, McDowell, McGruder, Montague, Montgomery, Morgan, Myers, Nelson, Orgain, Patterson, Preston, Pretlow, Reid, Wyndham Robertson, Rutherford, Saunders, Segar, Sherrard, Sibert, I. N. Smith, Staples, Tyler, Walker, Wallace, Welch, Witten, and Wood. --60.

Nays.--Messrs. Arnold, Bassell, Bell, Boisseau, Brown, Burks, Childs, Cowan, Crane, Crump. Davis, Evans, Friend, J. Gilmer, G. H. Gilmer, Goodycoontz. Haymond, Hoffman, Huntt, Johnson, W. T. Jones, Kincheloc, Kuotts, Leftwich, Lynn, Mallory, Thos. Martin, McGohee, McKinney, Medley, Miles, Morris, Phelps, Pritchard, Randolph, Riddick, R. K. Robinson, Rives, Scott, J. K. Smith, Tomlin, Arthur Watson, Ed. Watson, Watts, West, Wilson, Wingfield, Woolfolk, and Yerby.--50.

Mr. Carpenter offered the following resolution, which was laid on the table:

Whereas, under the present price of Virginia State bonds, together with the unsettled state of national affairs, not anticipated as probable, or even possible, when the work of the Covington and Ohio Railroad was let to contractors, it cannot be expected or desired on the part of the Commonwealth that those contractors should be required to prosecute their contracts under existing circumstances: Therefore, be it

Carpenter" Resolved, by the General Assembly of Virginia, That the Board of Public Works are hereby authorized and directed to suspend the contracts now existing for the construction and equipment of the Covington and Ohio Railroad, and to compensate said contractors for all necessary outfit and outlay incurred for the completion of their work, according to the contract as specified by the order of the Board of Public Works through their Chief Engineers, and also to adjust and adjudicate all just claims due the contractors for work done.

Mr. Tomlin desired the House to take up the motion for adjournment on the 20th inst.

Mr. Anderson said he thought the bill concerning the sale of the James River and Kanawha Canal should be disposed of prior to that time.

The Tax bill coming up as unfinished business, Mr. Tomlin moved to pass by to offer the resolution concerning adjournment. The House refused.

Sundry amendments were offered to the Tax bill, and pending debate thereon the House adjourned.

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