Virginia State Convention.
Forty-third day.

Thursday, April 4, 1861.

The Convention was called to order at the usual hour. Prayer by the Rev. Dr. Jeter, of the Baptist Church.

Equality of taxation.

Mr. Stuart,of Doddridge, resumed the floor, and continued his remarks upon the pending resolutions of Mr. Willey, of Monongalia.

He did not desire to detain the Convention by any prolonged discussion of the question, for he was now ready himself to vote upon any subject before the body. He reiterated the position that his people were not Submissionists: they were ready to defend any interest of the State, even though they had been oppressed by the East quite as much as by the Northern agitators. He then went on to give specifications, charging that the course of legislation had been unjust to a large section of the State; and showing that while it was claimed that it was for the interest of the West to protect slave property in the East, because it paid a large portion of the taxes, the State had been at an expense of over $2,000,000 in the last two years for the protection of this property, and the entire tax raised from that source was scarcely sufficient to pay the interest on the sum. Nevertheless, his people were ready to drive back the invader whenever he should come upon our borders, and all they asked was a change in the organic law in respect to taxation by merely striking out the words ‘"other than slaves."’ This they demanded, and it must be done before they would consent to turn their faces to any proposition looking to a dissolution of the Union. He contended for justice, not as a question of interest, but as a question of principle, and proceeded to demonstrate that the Western people would in a few years pay into the State Treasury every dollar that had been appropriated to them, while in the East the tax upon slaves scarcely paid the interest upon the sum paid for their protection. Millions upon millions of dollars had been appropriated to the East, through which the State was deeply in debt, and he claimed that the East should bear a due proportion of the tax.

Mr. Stuart continued his remarks until half-past 10, when the Convention went into

Committee of the Whole,

For the purpose of considering the report of the Committee on Federal Relations--Mr. Southall in the chair.

Mr. Richardson, of Hanover, resumed his remarks.

He said that at the time of the adjournment last evening he was endeavoring to show that the proper place for Virginia was in the Southern Confederacy, and to answer, to the best of his ability, some of the arguments of gentlemen who took a different view of the matter. He proposed to show in his few remarks this morning the ruinous consequences to all the best interests of Virginia from delay. On this point he discussed the respective tariff systems of the two Confederacies, showing the unquestionable advantages to be derived from the one at the South, and alluded to the proud position that Virginia would occupy at the head of the Confederate States. She would then be strong enough to dictate terms to the North, and by no other method could she so surely aid in the ultimate reconstruction of the Union. He apprehended none of the difficulties alluded to by gentlemen on the other side, of getting to the Southern Confederacy through the friendly Southern States which have not seceded; but if difficulty should arise, we must wait until we can build ships for purposes of transport. Virginia must meet the difficulties, in whatever form they are presented.--Her position in the Northern Confederacy was humiliating, and under an iniquitous tariff her commercial interests must be ruined.

The Peace Conference he considered her final effort towards adjustment. The hopes of those gentlemen who did not despair of the Republic could find little encouragement in the progress of the abolition party heretofore, and he looked to no reform in public sentiment in that quarter. The South had a right to complain of the hostile action of the General Government, notwithstanding the claim set up that Virginia had always sanctioned or ratified the measures of the Administration in respect to slavery. The report of the Harper's Ferry Committee showed that the North had for years been engaged in running off the property of the South, and citizens had been murdered in the attempt to execute the fugitive slave law. A few years ago, under Fillmore's Administration, a negro named Anthony Burns was brought back, but it required not only the whole military force of a State, but a large force of the General Government, involving an expense of some hundred thousand dollars to bring back a slave worth seven or eight hundred. Such was an illustration of public sentiment at the North. Should Virginia remain under such a Government as that? He went on to argue that the free-soil had been trespassing upon the slave property of the border, almost depleting the counties there, and this system of underground operations would continue. He wanted to give protection to the frontier, which would put a stop to these encroachments. He did not conceive that it would require a standing army to do this. A line of military posts would be sufficient, and it was idle to maintain that this system of defence would impoverish the Southern Confederacy.

Mr. Richardson paid a just tribute to the men and scenes of the past. He would not consent to remain in a Confederacy where not only those great names, but the Southern people of the present day, were dishonored by the fiendish spirit of abolitionism. He would never consent to a reconstruction of the Union, except upon terms of perfect equality in every respect.

Mr. Morton, of Orange, said that he had designed expressing his views in Committee of the Whole, but in the very limited time that remained for discussion he would have to confine himself to a brief glance at the questions at issue. He argued that the proposed division by the line of 3630 was not the equality of the Constitution; not the equality proclaimed by the Supreme Court in the Dred Scott decision. Such a compromise he deemed a sacrifice of Southern rights, if not of Southern honor. He would never consent to a reconstruction of the Union except on terms of perfect equality — equality from the foundation to the very capstone of the Government.

He proceeded upon the position assumed by the gentleman from Fauquier, (Mr. Scott,) on yesterday, that the South would not be safe under any concessions of constitutional amendment coming from the North. A guarantee of political power was the only mode through which the South could protect herself, and the destiny of the Union, which the fathers contemplated, be worked out. The principle, he believed, should be applied to every department of the Government. He responded cordially to the sentiment advanced by the gentleman from Fauquier, that if this Union could not be safely reconstructed, the destiny of Virginia was with the South; and he hoped that it would find a response in the mind of every member on this floor. The point of difference between them was whether we should have a Conference before or after the withdrawal of Virginia. He alluded to the appointment of Commissioners to the proposed Conference. Appointments by this Convention, he apprehended, would not represent the popular sentiment of the State.--Maryland would be represented by Commissioners appointed by the Governor, who, if not a Black Republican, was cousin-german to that party. He had little hope that any of the Border States would be represented in such a manner as to reflect the popular interest. He maintained that Virginia should act for herself in the emergency — secede first, and trust to co-operation afterwards. He did not doubt that if Virginia went out and joined the Southern Confederacy, the others would follow. Until, however, they came to the standard which Virginia should set up for herself, he wanted no union with them. Mr. Morton continued to urge the necessity of secession until the hour of 12 arrived, when, under the order of the Convention, the Chairman announced the termination of debate.

Mr. Wise took up the resolution adopted with a view to the close of debate at this point, which allows ten minutes to any member offering an amendment, ten minutes to one member to make an objection, and ten minutes for replication. He wanted an interpretation of the resolution.

Mr. Conrad, of Frederick, explained the purport of the resolution, as understood by its friends.

Mr. Wise had distinctly understood that the word ‘"one"’ in the resolution signified that each member who pleased was entitled to ten minutes to make objection. If, however, it was to be confined to one, he protested against it as the most odious tyranny over sought to be imposed upon a deliberative body.

The Chairman called the gentleman to order. It was out of order to reflect upon the action of the Committee.

Mr. Wise said he would do it, holding to the very horse of the altar. He protested against the exercise of wranny in a body like this, and said he, ‘"If that be out of order, make the most of it."’

The Chairman stated the question to be upon the adoption of the third resolution, which was read by the Secretary, as follows:

3. The choice of functionaries of a common Government, established for the common good, for the reason that they entertain opinions and avow purposes hostile to the institutions of some of the States, necessarily excludes the people of one section from participation in the administration of the Government, subjects the weaker to the domination of the stronger section, leads to abuse, and is incompatible with the safety of those whose interests are imperiled; the formation, therefore, of geographical or sectional parties in respect to Federal polities, is contrary to the principles on which our system rests, and tends to its overthrow.

Mr. Wise said, before the vote was taken on that resolution, he would move that the Committee rise, for the purpose of endeavoring to effect a change in the order.

The Chairman said this was not in order. The Committee had resolved to sit until two o'clock.

Mr. Wise.--Suppose the house was on fire?

The Chairman.--We would take care of ourselves.

The vote was then taken, and the resolution passed--Mr. Wise voting ‘"no."’

The fourth resolution was then read, as follows:

4. The Territories of the United States constitute a trust to be administered by the General Government, for the common benefit of the people of the United States, and any policy in respect to such Territories calculated to confer greater benefits on the people of one part of the United States than on the people of another part, is contrary to equality, and prejudicial to the rights of some for whose equal benefit the trust was created. It the equal admission of slave labor and free labor into any Territory excites unfriendly conflict between the systems, a fair partition of the Territories ought to be made between them, and each system ought to be protected within the limits assigned to it, by the laws necessary for its proper development.

Mr. Wise again moved that the Committee rise; but the Chair ruled the motion out of order, from which Mr. Wise took an appeal.

The Chairman then read the resolution adopted on the 13th of March for the government of the Committee of the Whole; and stated the question--‘"Shall the decision of the Chair stand as the judgment of the House?"’

Mr. Wise explained the motive which actuated him in making the appeal.

Mr. Carlile rose to a question of order.--He desired to know if there was no limit to the discussion of an appeal.

The Chairman said there was no limit that he was aware of. It was a privileged question, and he overruled the point of order.

Mr. Speed hoped the appeal would be successful. He proposed to offer a resolution at the proper time, modifying the order so as to allow any member ten minutes to make objections.

The discussion was continued by Messrs. Montague, Price, (the gentleman last named calling for the yeas and nays upon the appeal,) Wise, and Ameler.

The Chairman then stated his opinion, giving his grounds for making the decision, which he had no doubt of the correctness of, and from which an appeal had been taken.

The roll was then called, and the decision of the Chair was sustained by the following vote:

Yeas.--Messrs. Aston, A. M. Barbour, Baylor, Berlin, Blow, Boggess, Bouldin, Boyd, Branch, Brent, Brown, Burdett, Byrne, Campbell, Caperton, Carlile, Carter, Chapman, C. B. Conrad, R. Y. Conrad, Couch, James H. Cox, Critcher, Curtis, Dent, Deskins, Dorman, Early, Echols, Flournoy, French, Fugate, Garland, Gillespie, Gravely, Goggin, A. Hall, Ephraim B. Hall, Hammond, Haymond, Hoge, Hubbard, Jackson, Janney, M. Johnson, P. C. Johnston, Kilby, Lewis, McComas, McGrew, McNeil, Macfarland, C. K. Mallory, J. B. Mallory, Marshall, Marr, Masters, Moffett, Moore, Nelson, Osburn, Parks, Patrick, Pendleton, Porter, Preston, Price, Pugh, Robt. E. Scott, Sharp, Sheffey, Sitlington, Slaughter, Spurlock, Staples, A. H. H. Stuart, Chapman J. Stuart, Summers, Sutherlin, Tarr, Tayloe, Waller, Whitfield, Wickham, and Willey.--85.

Nays.--Messrs. Ambler, James Barbour, Blakey, Boisseau, Borst, Bruce, Cecil, Coffman, Coun, Richard H. Cox, Fisher, Graham, John Goode, Jr., Cyrus Hall, Lewis S. Hall, Harvie, Holcombe, Hughes, Hunton, Isbell, Kent, Kindred, Lawson, Leake, Marye, Montague, Morris, Morton, Orrick, Randolph, Richardson, Seawell, Speed, Strange, Thornton, Tredway, Robert H. Turner, Franklin P. Turner, Tyler, Wilson, Wise, Woods, and Wysor.--43.

The question being again stated on the adoption of the fourth resolution.

Mr. Wise moved to amend by striking out the word ‘"united"’ in the fourth line, and inserting in lieu thereof the word ‘"several."’ so that it would read ‘"for the common benefit of the people of the several States."’ He objected to the term used in the resolution, for here, as in every other portion of the report, ‘"crops out"’ (a geological expression) the Federal idea of consolidation.

Mr. Conead, of Frederick, opposed the amendment; and Mr. Wise then devoted ten minutes to "replication," being prohibited by the Chair from adding five minutes, the length of time which he had economized when first up.

Mr. Seawell called for the yeas and nays, and the amendment was adopted by the following vote:

Yeas.--Messrs. Ambler, James Barbour, Blakey, Blow, Boisseau, Borst, Bouldin, Boyd, Bruce, Caperton, Cecil, Chapman, Coffman, Conn, C. B. Conrad, Richard H. Cox, Deskins, Dorman, Echols, Fisher, Flournoy, Garland, Gillespie, Graham, John Goode, Hale, Cyrus Hall, L. S. Hall, Hammond, Harvie, Holcombe, Hunton, Isbell, Kent, Kilby, Kindred, Lawson, Leake, Macfarland, Charles K. Mallory, Marr, Marye, Montague, Morris, Morton, Neblett, Orrick, Parks, Preston, Randolph, Richardson, Seawell, Sheffey, Slaughter, Southall, Speed, Strange, Sutherlin, Thornton, Tredway, Robert H. Turner, Franklin, B. Turner, Tyler, Whitfield, Wilson, Wise, Woods, and Wysor.--68.

Nays.--Messrs. Ashton, Alfred M. Barbour, Baytor, Berlin, Boggess, Branch, Brent, Brown, Burdett, Byrne, Campbell, Carlile, Carter, Robert Y. Conrad, Couch, James H. Cox, Critcher, Curtis, Dent, Early, French, Fugate, Gravely, Gray, Goggin, Adddison Hall, Ephraim B. Hall, Haymond, Hoge, Hubbard, Hughes, Jackson, Janney, Marmaduke Johnson, Peter C. Johnston, Lewis, McComas, McCrew, McNeil, James B. Mallory, Marshall, Masters, Moffett, Moore, Nelson, Osburn, Patrick, Pendleton, Porter, Price, Pugh, Robert E. Scott, William C. Scott, Sharp, Sitlington, Spurlock, Staples, Alex H. H. Stuart, Chapman J. Stuart, Summers, Tarr, Taloe, Waller, White, Wickham, and Willey.--66.

Mr. Wise then moved, in order to perfect the language of the resolution, to strike out the words ‘"one part of the United,"’ and insert, in lieu thereof, the words ‘"one or more of the;"’ and to strike out the words ‘"another part,"’ in the line following, and insert the word ‘"others."’

The amendments were agreed to.

Mr. Morton moved to further amend the fourth resolution, by striking out all after the word ‘"created,"’ commencing ‘"If the equal admission, "’ &c.

Mr. Morton having explained his amendment, and Mr. Montague having said a few words in explanation of his vote, the yeas and nays were demanded by Mr. Conrad. The roll was then called, and the amendment was rejected by the following vote:

Yeas.--Messrs. Ambler, Jas. Barbour, Blakey, Boisseau, Borst, Carlile, Cecil, Chapman, Coffman, Conn, Jas. H. Cox, Richard H. Cox, Fisher, Garland, Graham, John Goode, Jr., Hale, Cyrus Hall, L. S. Hall, Harvie, Holcombe, Hunton, Isbell, Kent, Kindred, Leake, Montague, Morris, Morton, Neblett, Randolph, Richardson, Seawell, Strange, Thornton, Robert H. Turner, Wise, and Woods. --38.

Nays.--Messrs. Aston, Alfred M. Barbour, Baylor, Berlin, Blow, Jr., Boggess, Bouldin, Boyd, Branch, Brent, Brown, Bruce, Burdett, Byrne, Campbell, Caperton, Carter, C. B. Conrad, R. Y. Conrad, Couch, Critcher, Custis, Dent, Deskins, Dorman, Early, Echols, Flournoy, French, Fugate, Gillespie, Gravely, Goggin, Addison Hall, Ephraim B. Hall, Hammond, Haymond, Hoge, Hubbard, Hughes, Janney, Marmaduke Johnson, P. C. Johnston, Kilby, Lewis, McComas, McGrew, McNeil, Macfarland, Charles K. Mallory, James B Mallory, Marshall, Marr, Marye, Sr, Masters, Moffett, Moore, Nelson, Orrick, Osburn, Parks, Patrick, Pendleton, Porter, Preston, Price, Pugh, Robert E. Scott, William C. Scott, Sharp, Sheffey, Sitlington, Slaughter, Southall, Speed, Spurlock, Staples, Alex. H. H. Stuart, Chapman J. Stuart, Summers, Sutherlin, Tarr, Tayloe, Tredway, F. B. Turner, Tyler, Waller, Whitfield, Wickham, Willey, and Wilson.--91.

The Committee then took a recess until 4 o'clock P. M.

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