Monday morning...April 1, 1861.
General Assembly of Virginia.
Saturday, March 30, 1861,
Covington and Ohio Railroad.
--The order of the day, the Covington
and Ohio Railroad bill, was considered on motion of Mr. Smith
offered his substitute and advocated its passage.
proposed an amendment to the substitute, which was rejected.
The vote on the substitute was then, taken, and adopted — yeas 17, noes--.
A motion to reconsider, was lost.
proposed another amendment to the substitute, to come in at the end of the second section, which was adopted.
The substitute as amended was then voted on, and rejected for want of a constitutional majority — yeas 23, nays 12.
The following is the substitute as amended :
the state has undertaken to construct the Covington
and Ohio Railroad, for the purpose of securing a continuous line in connection with the Virginia Central Railroad, to the Ohio river
; and whereas, large sums of money have been appropriated out of the Treasury for the construc- tion of the said Covington
and Ohio Railroad, a part of which remains at this time unexpended and has subscribed stock to, and made loans of money to, the said Virginia Central Railroad Company; and whereas, the completion of the said Covington
and Ohio Railroad will involve still more heavy additional appropriations to complete and equip the same; and whereas, it is the desire of the General Assembly to avoid further appropriations for that purpose, and to invite the employment of means other than the means and credit of the Commonwealth
to secure the com- pletion of the said continuous line of road from the city of Richmond
to the Ohio river
- 1. Be it therefore enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia. That in consideration of the Virginia Central Railroad Company undertaking and agreeing to complete the construction of a railroad from Covington, in the county of Allegheny, to the mouth of Big Sandy river, in the county of Wayne, upon the route and plan adopted for the Covington and Ohio Railroad, within eight years from the passage of this act, all the rights, franchises, works, and property of the Covington and Ohio Railroad Company, together with any unexpended balances of appropriations to the said Covington and Ohio Railroad, are hereby transferred to the Virginia Central Railroad; and all the road, works, rights, and property of the Blue Ridge Railroad Company are in like manner hereby transferred to the said Virginia Central Railroad Company, free from the contract of the said Virginia Central Railroad Company, in respect thereto, for the payment of tolls and other purposes; and the said Virginia Central Railroad Company is hereby released from the payment of the principal and interest of the loan of six hundred thousand dollars, made by an act of the General Assembly, passed the 9th day of February, 1860; and any balance of said loan, so authorized by said act, and not yet paid to said company, shall be paid to said company whenever demand is made therefore, free from any demand on the part of the State.-- The work on the Covington Road shall not be suspended by the Board of Public Works until the provisions of this act shall be accepted by the Virginia Central Railroad Company; and the Commissioners of the Sinking Fund are hereby authorized and required to invest in the bonds is- sued, for the construction of the Covington Road, the sum of one hundred and fifty thousand dol- lars, at ninety-two cents in the dollar, for the temporary relief of the contractors on said road-- the said one hundred and fifty thousand dollars is to constitute a part of the appropriation hereto- fore made to the Covington and Ohio Railroad.
The said Virginia Central Railroad Company shall complete and equip the said road to the White Sulphur Springs, within three years; to Loup Creek Shoals, on the Kanawha river, in six years; and to the mouth of Big Sandy river, in eight years from the passage of this act.
It the said Virginia Central Railroad Company, in a general meeting of the stockholders, shall accept the provisions of this act, and certify a copy of such order of acceptance to the Board of Public Works, then the said Virginia Central Railroad Company shall be invested with full title to all the property, works, rights, and franchises of the said Covington and Ohio Railroad Company, together with any unexpended balances of appropriations to the said Covington and Ohio Railroad; which said unexpanded balances shall be drawn from the Treasury at the time and according to the provisions of the laws authorizing the same; and in like manner the said Vir- ginia Central Railroad Company shall be invested with all the rights, franchises, works, and pro- perty of the Blue Ridge Railroad Company, free from their obligation to pay tolls for the use of the said road; and the said Virginia Central Railroad Company shall also be discharged from their obligation to pay the principal and interest of the loan of six hundred thousand dollars, au- thorized by the said act of the 9th of February 1860, and shall have the right to draw any bal- ances of the said loan which may not have been paid to said company, free from their obligation to pay the principal or interest of the same.
- 4. The unexpended balances of the appropriations heretofore made to the Covington and Ohio Railroad shall be expended in the construction of said road west of Covington, and not otherwise.
- 5. All the contracts of the Covington and Ohio Railroad Company shall be binding and valid upon the said Virginia Central Railroad Company.
- 6. If the said Virginia Central Railroad Company shall fail to complete the said road from Covington to the White Sulphur Springs within three years, or shall fail to complete said road to said Loup Creek Shoals within six years, or shall fail to complete the said road to the month of Big Sandy river within eight years from the passage of this act, then, in either of the said events, the said Virginia Central Railroad Company shall forfeit to the Com- mon wealth all the rights, franchises, works, and property hereby granted to them in respect to the Covington and Ohio Railroad, together with the work which said Virginia Central Railroad Com- pany may have constructed west of Covington; and the contract of said company, in respect to the payment of tolls for the use of the Blue Ridge Railroad, shall be deemed to be reinstated, and have the same force and effect as if this act had not passed, and shall pay any tolls that would have accrued if this act had not passed, and shall pay the principal and interest of said loan that would have accrued if this act had not been passed, and continue to pay the same according to the pro- visions of the act authorizing the said loan.
- 7. The said Virginia Central Railroad Company shall have power to increase their capital stock from time to time, not exceeding ten millions of dollars, and to borrow money and execute mort- gages and other liens on the entire line of road from Richmond to the Ohio river, and on other property of said company; and on the revenues thereof to secure the payment of the principal and interest of the same.
- 8. The said Virginia Central Railroad Company and the said road, shall in all respects to said en- tire line to the Ohio river and to all the parts thereof, and in all other respects, be subject to the general railroad law and the law regulating internal improvement companies, except so far as said company by its charter heretofore granted, may be exempt; and said company may exercise all the powers over said entire line and parts thereof, that may now be exercised by said com- pany over its present road; and said company shall be subject to such other and further legislation and control in respect to said entire line that the Legislature might now have the power to impose on said company.
- 9. If any person shall loan money to the Virginia Central Railroad Company for the purpose of completing the railroad from Covington to the Ohio river and equipping the same, and shall ob- tain a lien on said road west of Covington, or on the Blue Ridge Railroad, or on the works, pro- perty and revenues of the Virginia Central Railroad Company, to secure the payment of the prin- cipal and interest of the money so loaned, the person thus loaning money, or the holder of a bond or other evidence of debt for money so loaned, shall not lose his lien or have the same impaired by reason of the failure of the Virginia Central Railroad Company to complete the said road, west of Covington, within the time prescribed in this act, or on account of any for- feiture which may accrue under the provisions of this act.
This act shall be in force from its passage and acceptance by the Virginia Central Railroad Company, if the same shall be accepted within nine months after its passage.
The vote by which the bill was rejected, was subsequently reconsidered, on motion of Mr. Johnson
, and the bill laid on the table.
The bill authorizing the Adjutant General
to employ an assistant in his office--$800 clerkship — was rejected for want of a constitutional majority.
French Line of Packets.
--The joint resolutions from the House
in relation to a line of Packets from Paris, France
, to Virginia
, were taken up, and passed.
General Appropriation Bill.
bill making appropriations for deficiency in former appropriations, and for defraying expenses of the General Assembly and Convention now in session, was taken from the table, and several amendments having been agreed to, the bill passed.
bill to incorporate the Preston
and Augusta Railroad Company; House
bill allowing compensation to the Clerk
of the House of Delegates and Clerk of the Senate for services rendered during the present session of the General Assembly; releasing to the personal representatives of A. C. Lane
the rent due under his lease for a portion of the Public Armory
; Senate bill for the relief of Thos. W. Scott
of Dinwiddie county
; Senate bill for the relief of E. N. Eubank
of the Revenue for the city of Lynchburg
; Senate bill to allow the claims of the Hillsborough Border Guard, of the county of Londoun
; Senate bill for the relief of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, as amended by the House
; Senate bill for the relief of Nathaniel B. Harvey
On motion, the Senate adjourned.
The Senate met at 8 o'clock, Lieut. Gov Montague
in the chair.
--A bill to authorize the Circuit Court of Amelia county
to make allowances for certain children of. William Willis
, a lunatic.
Laid on the Table
--The joint resolution for the relief of the securities of P. P. Winston
, late Sheriff
of Richmond city
, was, on motion of Mr. August
, laid on the table.
moved that the Senate go into Exceptive session for the purpose of considering the Governor
's appointments for the Ordnance Department.
Appeals were made by friends of the Covington
and Ohio Railroad to pass by these appointments until the bill indicated had been disposed of. Mr. Douglas
refusing to withdraw his motion, it was agreed to.
The Senate chamber
was ordered to be cleared of all, except members of the Senate.
We understand that the Executive
session continued until near midnight, during which, all the nominations made by the Governor
were confirmed, though not exactly in the order in which they were made.
House of Delegates.
Saturday, March 30th, 1861,
was called to order at 10 o'clock, by Speaker Churchfield
was informed that the Senate had passed House
bills ‘"for the better government of the town of Danville
,"’ with amendments, and House
bill incorporating the Home
Savings Bank of the city of Richmond
; also, bills absolving the State
from all damages for loss of coupon bonds
deposited as security for bank circulation; and Senate bills for the incorporation of the Kanawha Salt Company; authorizing the formation of a battalion of two companies in the towns of Scottsville
and Howardsville, in Albemarle county
; and have agreed to amendments proposed by the House
to a bill incorporating the American Agency.
The various Senate bills mentioned were passed and amendments agreed to.
Senate bill releasing John W. Murrell
from the payment of a judgment rendered against him in the Circuit Court of Lynchburg
, was taken up and passed — ayes 97, noes 8.
agreed to Senate amendments to House
bill establishing the county of Bland
out of parts of Giles
A message was received from the Senate, through Mr. Lynch
, who informed the House
the Senate had passed an act for the relief of E. N. Eubank
of the Revenue for the city of Lynchburg
A message was received from the Senate, through Mr. Carter
, who informed the House
that the Senate had passed a bill, entitled ‘"an act to allow the claims of the Hillsborough Border Guard, of Loudoun county
were informed, through Mr. Thompson
, that the Senate had passed a bill, entitled "an act for the relief of Thomas W. Scott
, of Dinwiddie county
A resolution to rescind a resolution, fixing a time of adjournment of the General Assembly, and designating another day, communicated from the Senate, was taken up. Mr. McKenzie
moved the indefinite postponement of the resolution — and the question being on agreeing thereto, was put and decided in the affirmative — ayes 63; noes 53.
A joint resolution in regard to the movement of troops and arms within the limits of this Common wealth, by the General Government
, with the amendments proposed thereto by the Senate, were taken up. Mr. Collier
submitted an amendment to the Senate's amendment, and the question being on agreeing thereto, Mr. Cowan
moved the indefinite postponement of the whole subject, and the question being on agreeing thereto, Mr. Cowan
demanded the previous question, and the question being, shall the main question be now put?
was put and decided in the negative — ayes 55; noes 64.
The question being open for debate,
said that hitherto he had been silent as to the great questions of Federal import which had been discussed off and on during the session, but the extraordinary and revolutionary resolutions which had been sent from the Senate forbade his longer silence.
The resolutions directed a seizure, by military force, of the property of the United States
, and he could not sustain them.
He would sooner die in his seat than cast his vote for them.
He maintained, first, there was no necessity for the intense excitement which had sprung from this matter, and of course no necessity for the adoption of the resolutions; secondly, that we had no moral or legal right to pass them; thirdly, that the seizure would be an act of war; and, finally, that the great excitement and alarm pervading the country, and the revolutionary action of the secession party and the seceding States, had no just warrant in the facts of the case.
The excitement about the transfer to Fort Monroe
of the guns from Bellona Arsenal, was wholly uncalled for. It scarcely rose to the dignity of a tempest in a teapot.
What were the facts?
In 1857, the Government
, through Secretary Floyd
, contracted with Dr. Archer
for sundry cannon, to be delivered in Richmond
The very date of the contract exonerated the existing Government from all hostile purpose in reference to the guns.
The guns having been made, the contractor wanted his money, and applied for payment, and to his application it was replied, that on the compliance with his contract by the delivery of the guns in Richmond
, the money would be paid, and the head of the Ordnance Department accordingly advised Dr. Archer
to deliver the guns to Colquitt
& Co., in Richmond
, to be by them re-shipped to Fort Monroe
, the chief Virginia depot for the reception and keeping of National arms and munitions of war. So the first movement of the guns had its origin in an act of indebtedness of the Government
to a citizen of Virginia
, in need of, and demanding his money, In such a movement, no hostile intention could be detected.
It was but the doing of an ordinary act in the ordinary routine of the business of a department of the war office, and it was done without any regular military order of the head of the War Department, which at once negatives the idea of any inconsistency between the statement of the officer of the Ordnance Department, and that of the Secretary of War
Thus far, the facts gave no ground for the supposition that the Government
designed to employ the guns against Virginia
, or for any dangerous or improper use. And it is conclusive against any unfriendly or warlike intent on the part of the Government
, that the Ordnance Department, immediately on being apprised that the removal of the guns had provoked excitement, notified Dr. Archer
not to move them at all. What cause, then, was there for alarm, or for the passage of these harsh and illegal resolutions?
Besides, General Scott
had said that there was no need for the guns at Old Point
, there being a large number of supernumerary cannon already there.
The simple truth was, that the guns were to be sent to Fort Monroe
because it was the only convenient depot in Virginia
to which they could be sent.
It was not only the most natural and proper place to send them to, but the only one in the State
within convenient reach.-- The panic which had arisen from these simple circumstances were unworthy the chivalry of Virginia
It could have no other effect than to scare timid women and children, and did not become grown-up and bearded men. If Virginia
, under provocation so slight, and circumstances so little and significant, adopted those resolves, she would provoke the ridicule and contempt of the brave and fearless all over the world.
And was not all this fuss about these guns one, in a series of measures, designed to precipitate Virginia
Secondly, the General Assembly has no right to pass these resolutions.
The guns are the property of the Government
— that all admit.
, the point to which they were to have been transported, belongs also to the Government
, by solemn act of Assembly, and by formal deed duly recorded in the clerk's office of his county, ceded and transferred all her rights, title, and jurisdiction in and to the lands at Old Point
Comfort, for purposes of fortification and National defence.
Then, if the guns were the property of the United States
, and Old Point
Comfort were also the property of the United States
, what right had Virginia
to lay her hand upon these guns, or prevent their removal to the lands of the United States
A man said (Mr.
S.,) illegally takes my horse, and the law pronounces the act larceny — in plainer language, stealing.
Now, what difference, he begged to know, is there, either in morals or in law, between the act of an individual illegally taking and carrying away another person's property, and that of a State doing the very same thing?
Do we make the thing better by paying for the guns after they shall have been seized?
Not at all. The wrong is in the seizure and appropriation.
If a man steals my cow, does he escape the moral infamy or the legal penalty of the act?
S. said he should regard the passage of the resolutions as a foul stigma upon the good name of the State
It would dim her escutcheon forever.
God forbid that she should do so dishonorable and dishonoring an act!--He (Mr.
S.) did not mean to say that there were no circumstances under which Virginia
might properly take possession of the cannon.
If she were at war with the Federal Government
, or if by revolution she had dissolved all connection with that Government, the principles of self-defence and of well-settled international law, would justify the act.--But we are not at war with the Federal Government
; our connection with it is yet undissolved; Virginia
is still in the Union
, and being yet a member of the Confederacy
, she was bound by all the duties and responsibilities of that membership.
Observing those duties and responsibilities, she could not seize and appropriate to herself property that was held for National purposes, for the common defence, that, in other words, belonged to the Union
or the common Government.
Thirdly, (he argued,) the seizure of the guns by the State
would be an act of war against the Federal Government
The taking of the property of one nation by another nation, has always been regarded just cause of war. If I go (said Mr.
S.) into the port of Liverpool
with my vessel, and the British Government
seize it, it is an act which would justify war upon Great Britain
, and would lead to it if the wrong should not be redressed.
Will it not, then, be an act of war on the part of Virginia
, if she should seize and appropriate to herself the property of the United States
And in this view, is not the act an unconstitutional act?
Congress, alone, can raise and maintain armies and navies, and declare war — do acts of war. Can Virginia
, while she remains in the Union
, declare war or do any acts of war?
believed the passage of the resolutions would involve an unconstitutional act, but he hoped the State
would not tarnish her fair fame by its perpetration.
Let not her honor be thus soiled.
Let the jewel of that honor sparkle, and sparkle on, now as heretofore, lustrous and more lustrous yet, now, henceforth, and forever!
And the inconsistency of the thing, was it not apparent?
We profess to desire peace, to avoid collision with the Federal Government
The secessionists themselves all the time avow that such is their desire.
And yet, while we all profess to desire peace, and to avoid collision, we propose to do ourselves acts decidedly warlike — acts that provoke collision and the destruction of peace.
S. objected, further, to the passage of the resolutions that it would much increase the excitement and panic already existing through the State
, and so existing more by misapprehension and the ceaseless efforts of a sensation press, than for any just and sufficient causes.
It would alarm unnecessarily the innocent women and the plain yeomanry of the State
, who have little time to investigate matters of public concern, and would lead to general disquiet.
The passage of the resolutions would be regarded as a sort of license to the wicked elements among as.-- Besides the mass of conscientious and honorable secessionists, there was he said, in this State, as in all others, a class who desired revolution because they might be benefitted and could not be injured by change — that class so well described by the historian Sallust
as studio at nova, um retun
--desirous of change — because, in the general upheaving of society, they might come to the surface, and be bettered in their condition.
This class long for collision and blood, because they know well that the first clash between the State
and Federal muskets — the first drop of blood that collision spills — will enkindle a flame that will light them on to the accomplishment of their foul, hellish purposes of blood and carnage.-- This class would, in a mere spirit of adventure, fire the very temples of Liberty, and dash into fragments that proudest and noblest monument of human wisdom — the Union
of these States--the handiwork of Washington
, and Franklin
, and Madison
, and Gerry
, and Morris
, and comrade conscript fathers — under which we have been the proudest, freest, happiest, greatest nation on the face of the earth.
This class does
exist in Virginia
It exists all over the civilized earth, and it is detraction from Virginia
to say that it exists within her domain; she would be an exception to all human society, if she did not hold in her bosom such a class.
Now all this class will be stimulated by the passage of these revolutionary, and force inviting, and lawless resolutions, to deeds of lawlessness, violence, and blood.
Let this Legislature beware how it holds out the seductive bait.
It may encamp us on a mine, which a spark may explode, and the explosion of which may ‘"deal damnation round the land,"’ and involve the fathers and mothers, and husbands and wives, and sons and daughters, and brothers and sisters, and innocent children of Virginia
, in miseries and woes unnumbered, and the end whereof none of the present generation will live to see. Mr.
S. then went into an elaborate argument to show that there was nothing in the past political action of Virginia
to justify the extraordinary and revolutionary action which the secessionists proposed, and which was shadowed forth in the Senate resolutions.
In 1798 she fixed her political rule that the Federal Government
should not be resisted until it had committed some ‘"deliberate, palpable, and dangerous" ’ infraction of the Constitution
.--What infraction of this sort has been committed by the Federal Government
What is it, where is it, when was it committed?
Has the present Administration perpetrated any such aggression?
And if the seceding States had remained in the Union
, could Congress, with twenty-one majority in one House
, and eight in the other, have committed any outrage upon the rights of Virginia
, or the South
, then, on her own established principles of political action, ought not now to present the spectacle she does, of extreme excitement, and ought not, and cannot, consistently, rush upon the violent and unconstitutional measures involved in these Senate resolutions.
She ought — it becomes her dignity and her past renown — to look calmly, even placidly, around her, and, from the stand-point of that dignity and renown, surveying the whole ground, consider and advise, and remonstrate and forbear, until every pacific and constitutional expedient for composition and safety shall have been exhausted.-- These radical measures of seizing the United States
arms, and seceding from the Union
, are totally unwarranted by the more recent political action of Virginia
In 1850, when the subject of the Wilmot Proviso
was up for consideration in her Legislature, Virginia
took a new position.--She declared that if any one of these things should be done by the Federal Government
, she would ‘"resist at all hazards, and to the last extremity:’" first, the application of the Wilmot Proviso
to the common Territories
, secondly, the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia: and, thirdly, interference with the slave trade between the States.--Has any one of these things been done?
Has the Wilmot Proviso
been applied to the Territories
No. On the contrary, at the late session of Congress, though it had, by the secession of the Gulf
States, a clear majority, that body, Black Republican as it is, passed three Territorial bills, from all of which the Wilmot Proviso
was excluded; and more than this, a provision was engrafted in each of them that all rights of property should be determined by the principles and proceedings of the common law — provisions that open up the Territories
to every citizen of the Union
that shall choose to carry his slaves thither.
The Black Republicans, as his friend from Stafford
so delights, with peculiar emphasis, to call them, have themselves surrendered, given up the Wilmot Proviso
And had the Cotton States
remained in the Union
, could this Black Republican party, with its minority of twenty-one in one house and eight in the other, have ever applied the Wilmot Proviso
to the Territories
that belong to us all,‘"share and share alike? "’ No law, then, has been passed applying the Wilmot Proviso
.-- Has any been enacted abolishing slavery in the District of Columbia?
No. Even Mr. Lincoln
assures us that he will approve no such law, except with the consent of the slaveholders of the District
, and then not without compensation to the owners.
Has any law been passed interfering with the slave trade between the States?
Not at all; such a doctrine is not even in the Chicago
platform; and at the late session of Congress, in which, by the secession of the Gulf
States, (as already said,) the Republicans have the majority, a resolution was adopted by the necessary constitutional majority, recommending an amendment to the Constitution
, whereby hereafter interference with slavery in the States by the Federal Government
is to be totally and forever forbidden.
Not one, then, of the three things has been done for which Virginia
said she would break up the Union
Why, then, all this hot excitement, and this hot haste to go out of the Union
, and make its disruption complete, by dashing it into irrevocable fragments?
, on her own principles, (so far as the question of slavery is concerned,) proceed hastily to extreme measures of resistance, or to the adoption of the seizure and appropriation proposed by the resolutions before us?--Besides this, I wish to be informed (said Mr.
S.) what wrong has been done me or any citizen of the South
, or the South
at large, by that Federal Government which some regard as accursed, and which they so haste to break up?
I know of no wrong it has done us. If there be any law on the Federal
statute book impairing the rights of one Southern man, or impeaching the equality of the Southern States
with the Northern
, let it be pointed out. The production of it is defied.
No man has ever shown it, and no man ever can, because it is not on the statute books.
If it be there, it is easy to show it. And not only is no such statute there, but the Federal Government
has been to the South
the most parental of Governments.
It has given the South
all it has ever asked or demanded.
In 1793, the South
wanted a fugitive slave law, and, as it was entitled, received it. It demanded, after wards, a better and more stringent fugitive slave law, and it was not only granted, but the drafting of the law was left to a Virginia Senator
of the United States
, Mr. Mason
In 1320, we made with the Federal Government
a certain compact, the celebrated Missouri Compromise
, with which we were then so well pleased that every Southern Senator
but one voted for it, and a large majority of Southern representatives.
But in the course of time, when the wave of politics set high, and politics became trade, we became dissatisfied with the compromise of 1820, and we appealed to the Federal Government
to break up the old, and make a new contract.
The Federal Government — this accursed Federal Government that we are so anxious to annihilate — took us at our word, broke up the old and gave us a new bargain, whereby the Missouri Compromise
was repealed, and the Kansas
pro-slavery act substituted.
The Federal Government, then, has not been unkind or unjust to the South
it has been even especially
kind and parental to our section; and more than this, the South
, by Northern accord, has had the Federal Administration
in its hands during nearly the whole period of our national existence.
Why should we of the South
desire to break up such a Government?
And why should we make such haste to rid ourselves of it when we know, by official returns, that we had at the North
at the last election, 1,600,000 friends standing fast and faithfully by us?--Some wrongs and some ills we are
suffering at the hands of some of the Northern States
, as the slavery agitation and the non-tradition of fugitive slaves; but whatever wrongs and ills we thus suffer, will be a thousand times aggravated by a full separation of the States.
The slavery agitation will be intensified, and we shall lose, by disunion, scores of slaves where we now lose one; because, by the abolition of the Fugitive Slave Law
, and the readier facilities of escape, there will be no effectual impediment to such escapes.
On the whole, it may be safely said that there is too much excitement, and not sufficient cause, for extreme measures of any kind.
We had better wait awhile longer yet, impatient as some of us are. Virginia
is now sitting in her sovereignty and her majesty.
When she acts in that sovereignty and majesty we shall all be agreed.
She is the ‘"good old mother of us all."’ She is the author of all our municipal blessings.
She gives us all our rights and rules of property, our laws of descent and marriage, our social privileges, our form of society, our remedies for wrongs.
She throws over all our rights of property, of reputation, of liberty, and life, the ægis of her protection, and when she, our mother, in her sovereignty, gives us law, we will obey her whether she be right or wrong.
Every loyal son of hers will say, as I have heretofore said, and as I now say, ‘ "My author and disposer, whatever thou biddest, unargued I obey."’
While opposing the indefinite postponement of the whole subject, Mr. Robertson
desired to state his objections to the Senate's amendment.
He thought, to say the least, it was infringing upon the privileges of the Executive
He had introduced his resolution merely as a measure of police, to preserve the public peace, and he thought that a matter within the province of this House.
He would not authorize the Governor
to do an act which might bring about a collision between the State of Virginia
and the Federal Government
The debate took a pretty wide range and the gentleman's remarks were continued at some length, but the above points were the main ones made by him.
said he sympathized in the indignation manifested by the gentleman from Richmond city
, (Mr. Robertson
,) but thought that gentleman had ‘"roared as gently as a sucking dove."’ He (Mr. Robertson
) advocates a simple protest against the removal of the arms, and questions our power to seize them.
Your meek protest is crouching supplication at the foot of the Black Republican
throne; for when you protest with an acknowledgment on your lips that you have no right to enforce your protest, you avow that you will tamely submit if your protest is contemptuously spurned back upon you. Better do nothing than resort to the brutum fulmen
of such a thing as that.
Have we no power to execute our purposes by any means better than words?
What did gentlemen mean on the first day of this session when they voted that Virginia
would meet any effort at coercion by arms, and would resist it to the blood and to the death?
Did any gentleman then say we violated the Constitution
or our official oaths by pledging and binding Virginia
to make war upon the Federal Government
in specific contingencies?
Why, sir, gentlemen here have acknowledged that the removal and appropriation of these arms in the present condition of things, by the Federal Government
, is coercion; and not to resist this incipient coercion by all the instrumentalities necessary to its suppression, is an ignominious backing down from the position of the State
The gentleman, (Mr. Robertson
,) too. while questioning the power of the General Assembly to resist the removal, yet assures us that the Governor
will resist it and prevent it, thus assuming that the Governor
, who is the agent sworn to execute the will of the General Assembly, has more power than the General Assembly--that a fragment of the Government
is more powerful than the whole Government.
But I will not, at this late day, stop to demonstrate that Virginia
may interpose to arrest aggression by force, if necessary.
Any question or denial of that power now, any employment of your empty protests, or expostulations, or supplications in a crisis like this, is but a continuation of that policy of vacillation, of timidity and inaction, which has brought upon us all the iliad of our woes.
Sir, I feel it, and know it, that if this old Commonwealth had in the beginning of this crisis met Black Republicanism — uplifting in its face that sacred falchion which she bathed in the best blood of Great Britain
eighty years ago, every son of hers would have rushed to her defence, filled with the very spirit of the Revolution.
Every man would have been a hero, ready and exulting to die in her cause.
The whole Commonwealth would have breathed deliberate valor, from the Ohio
to the ocean, and the very spirit of aggression would have crouched in dismay.
would have exercised her immemorial prerogative of leader of whatever cause she espoused, she would have been the marshal of the van-guard of the Southern
column, and would have led the whole South--which was eager to follow her in solid array.
There would have been no fragmentary dissolution of the Union
; there would have been no talk of coercion and no menace of civil war. Such a lead and such a Union of the South
would have driven Black Republicanism to surrender the Government
which it had confiscated under the forms of the Constitution
, and would have insured a peaceful and perpetual settlement of all our troubles.
But the vacillation of Virginia
has brought about the disunion of the South
itself, and it has united and emboldened her enemies.
It has robbed the old Commonwealth of all her power in the councils of the South
, presented her to the world as, ‘"a luke-warm friend and a placable enemy."’ brought upon her the maledictions of her own allies, and contributed to bring the country to the utmost verge of civil war.
K., continuing, said he was sick and tired of this namby-pamby policy.
If we meant to do nothing, we should say nothing.
If we really meant to prevent the removal of the arms, it was logically necessary to provide the means to execute the purpose of prevention.
If we showed, by our preparation of means, that we were earnest in the matter, then our action would prevent riot and collision, and restore calm to the public mind of this vicinity upon this matter, at least.
Any superficial tampering with the matter would create the very ground-swell of popular riot and revolution, which gentlemen deplored.-- He commented with severity upon the letters of the U. S. Colonel
of Ordnance and Secretary of War
, denounced their duplicity, and declared that the Secretary of War
was convicted of falsehood in denying that there had been no order for the removal of the arms.-- Gentlemen had spoken of another probable order, suspending or countermanding the removal.
Even if such an order should have actually arrived, what of it?-- What faith was to be attached to the orders of the Administration after their known prevarication and duplicity?
Were we not warranted in believing their object to be to temporize and delay for the present, and then to renew the order after the General Assembly had gone home?
No matter what order might be issued now, it did not warrant us in entrusting this delicate business, in the future, either to the mercy or the honor of a Black Republican authority, already convicted of perfidy and falsehood in respect to this very matter.
He argued that anything short of the Senate resolutions would be no guaranty against a public outbreak in the future, and would not secure the rights of Dr. Archer
, which we had already taken charge of and were bound to respect, for we had deprived him of the fruits of his contract with the Federal Government
.--He deprecated any supplicatory effort to mollify the Administration in its action, or to temporize or treat with that power, but insisted that Virginia
should execute her own will, and by her own action secure her peace and safety.
Pending discussion, the House
took a recess till 7½ o'clock.
The Speaker resumed the chair at 7½ o'clock.
--The following Senate bills were passed: Establishing a Branch Bank at the town of Jeffersonville
, in the county of Tazewell
; amending the 15th section of chapter 109 of the Code of Virginia
, second edition; directing the payment of certain interest to Emmet J. O'Brien
The engrossed House
bill appointing superintendents of the Staunton and Parkersburg Turnpike Road
was taken up, on motion of Mr. Fleming
, who submitted a ryder thereto, which was incorporated in the bill and passed with it; House
bill for the relief of J. J. Spaulding
was also passed.
informed the House
that the Senate had passed House
bill making appropriations for deficiencies in former appropriations, and for defraying expenses of the General Assembly and Convention, now in session, with amendments.
A message was received from the Senate by Mr. Johnson
, who informed the House
that the Senate had agreed to the joint resolutions in relation to a line of steamers between Virginia
and some port in France
, and to the amendments proposed by the House
to Senate bills for the relief of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad; and passed an act amending the bill incorporating a company to construct a railroad on the plan of Jas. S. French
, between Alexandria
; also, House
bills releasing to the personal representative of A. C. Layne
, the rent due under his lease for a portion of the Public Armory
; allowing extra compensation to the Senate and House clerks; incorporating the Preston
and Augusta Railroad Company, and for the relief of Nathaniel B. Harvey
Removing Troops and Arms Across the Soil of Virginia.
--A joint resolution in regard to the movement of troops and arms within the limits of this Commonwealth, by the General Government
, with the amendments proposed thereto by the Senate, being the unfinished business of the morning session, was called up, and the question being on the indefinite postponement of the resolutions, Mr. McDowell
moved the previous question, which was ordered by the House
; and being put, was decided in the negative — ayes 43, noes 61.
The question recurring on the amendment submitted by Mr. Collier
which is as follows: Add to the first resolution after the word directed,
"in case of the actual attempt of the Federal
authorities to transport said guns over the soil of Virginia
," Mr. McDowell
demanded the previous question, which was sustained by the House
, and being put, was decided in the affirmative.
then moved further to amend the resolutions of the Senate by striking out that portion of the first resolution by which the Governor
was authorized to order out such portion of the ‘"militia of the State
as he may deem necessary," ’ and the question being on agreeing thereto,
obtained the floor, and proceeded to answer the argument advanced by Messrs. Robertson
, which he did at length, taking the Southern State-Rights
view of the questions now agitating the public mind.
replied by correcting his friend from Stafford
in relation to his misconceived views of his position.
obtained the floor, and commenced an argument against Collier
's last proposition to strike out, which he continued for four hours, with many interruptions and calls to order.
A call of the House
being agreed on, several hours were consumed in calling the roll.
The doors were locked, and the Sergeant-at-Arms dispatched after absentees, the members in the meantime amusing themselves in talking and other innocent amusements.
At 4½ o'clock, Collier
's amendment was adopted, on a call of the previous question.
After more noise and talking, a vote was taken on a substitute offered by Mr. Yersy
, somewhat similar to that offered by Mr. Robertson
, which was voted down on a call of the previous question.
A little after 5 o'clock, a vote was taken on the Senate resolution, as amended by Mr. Collier
as a substitute for Mr. Robertson
's resolution, heretofore adopted by the House
, and it was adopted — ayes 45, noes 32, several members positively refusing to vote.
The number of votes recorded constitute exactly a quorum, and two of those voting in the negative were only induced to do so by the Speaker
's ordering the doors to be opened so that they might not appear to do so under duress.
adjourned at 5½ o'clock-- "broad daylight" --Sunday morning.