House of delegates.
Richmond, Jan. 12, 1861.
was called to order at 12 o'clock, M., by Speaker Crutchfield
and opened with prayer by Rev.
J. A. Duncan
of the Broad Street
M. E. Church.
--The following bills were reported from committees, viz: A bill refunding to Matthew Warnsley
, of the county of Randolph
, a certain sum of money erroneously paid by him; a bill for the relief of James Scott
, of Greenbrier co.; a bill authorizing the payment to Wm. G. Jackson
of certain coupons; a bill refunding a license tax to Paul
A Farley, of the county of Lunenburg
; a bill for the relief of Enoch Atkinson
, of Giles county
; a bill for the relief of Nathaniel B. Harvey
; a bill to incorporate the Berkeley Border Guards; a bill to incorporate the town of Cameron
, in the county of Marshall
; a bill authorizing a loan from the Literary Fund to the Alleghany College; a bill for the relief of Rev. J. Packard
Committee on Claims.
--The Committee on Claims asked leave to be discharged from the consideration of the resolution with regard to the account of J. P. A. Entler
, for services rendered to the State
Petitions, &c., Presented and Referred.
presented the petition of the officers and privates of the North Fork
Rifle Company, of Loudoun county
, asking compensation for services rendered during the John Brown
raid; Mr. Barbour
, the petition of citizens of Culpeper county
, praying that one-fifth of the State
revenue be appropriated for the purpose of arming the people and placing the State
on a war footing; Mr. Saunders
, the petition of George I. Herring
and others, praying for a release as sureties of P. P. Winston
; by Mr. Smith
, of Kanawha
, the petition of citizens of Kanawha
upon the subject of free negroes from free States; Mr. Myers
, the petition of W. B. Wooldridge
and T. C. Howard
, executors, praying to be refunded excess of tax on land aid by them.
, of Richmond
, offered a resolution that debate on all questions that may arise on the Convention
tion bill now pending in this House
be restricted to 3 minutes by any one speaker, when they shall be put to the vote.
--The following resolutions of inquiry into expediency were read and referred: By Mr. Crump
, of legalizing the action of the County
Courts of Amelia
in issuing bonds for the purchase of arms, and to authorize said Courts to provide by levies for the payment of same; by Mr. Cassin
, of reporting a bill refunding to Isaac Snobe
certain taxes erroneously paid by him to the Commonwealth
; by Mr. Smith
, of Taylor county
, of incorporating the Western Virginia
Insurance Company, in Taylor co.
; by Mr. Mathews
, referring the bill incorporating the Sweet Chaly
beat Springs Company to Committee on Propositions and Grievances; by Mr. Wilson
, of reporting a bill providing that during the suspension of specie payments by the Banks there may be a stay of executions, and thus prevent a ruinous sacrifice of property; by Mr. Knotts
, of incorporating a company in the counties of Gilmer
for the purpose of manufacturing oil, and mining purposes; by Mr. Davis
, of allowing John W. Murrill
to withdraw from House
flies his petition presented at the last session praying to be released from the payment of a judgment; by Mr. Bisbie
, of reporting a bill so amending the militia laws as to raise the standard of qualification, extend the duties and increase the pay of the office of Brigade Inspector; by Mr. Nelson
, of paying to John T. Irving
, of Fluvanna
, a sum of money for the tuition of indigent children; by Mr. Bowman
, of providing for the payment of certain lost coupons for interest on the bonds of the State
, owned and held by the Exchanges Bank of Virginia and the City Bank of Racine
; by Mr. Gilmer
, of reporting a bill refunding to the heirs of L. Claiborne
, dec'd, of Pittsylvania county
, a sum of money improperly paid the Commonwealth
; by Mr. Staples
, of incorporating the Patrick Springs
Female Seminary, in Patrick co.
; by Mr. Magruder
, of amending the charter of the Bank of Howardsville; by Mr. Locke
, of allowing certain delinquent militia fines in the settlement of the account of John W. Moore
of Jefferson county
, for the years '52, '53 and '54; by Mr. Duckwall
, of compensating that portion of the 89th Regiment of Virginia
militia who were called into the service of the State
during the John Brown
raid by the Colonel
of the Regiment; by Mr. Woodfolk
, of compensating A. P. Routt
and R. V. Brooking
for conveying an escaped lunatic back to Staunton
; by Mr. Mathews
, of repealing and re-enacting the act incorporating the Lewisburg
Female Institute; by Mr. Edwards
, of reporting a bill for the relief of the sureties of S. S. Turner
, late Sheriff
of Franklin county
, because of his failure to pay the revenue of said county in the time prescribed by law; by Mr. Caperton
, of reporting a bill authorizing the Clerks
of the Supreme Court and the District Courts
of Appeals to take orders of publication in vacation; by Mr. Baskervill
, for increasing the capital stock of the Roanoke Valley Railroad; by Mr. Bentley
, of providing by law for the availability of the appropriation made at the last session, for more effectually arming the border counties; by Mr. Kemper
, of raising the sum of one million of dollars for immediate purposes of defence; by Mr. Wallace
, of amending the charter of the Monongalia Bank of Morgantown; by Mr. Grattan
, of refunding to J. W. G. Smith
, a sum of money erroneously assessed against him, and paid; by Mr. Leftwich
, of withdrawing House
bill amending the 1st section, 58th chapter of the Code of Virginia
, and referring same to Committee on Banks
; by Mr. Claiborne
, of reporting a bill incorporating the Meadsville Manufacturing Company
; by Mr. Lynn
, of reporting a bill for the relief of Hugh H. Hite
, of Prince William county
, for a sum of money paid by him for taxes erroneously assessed for the year 1859; by Mr. Bass
, of referring to the Committee of Finance, the Auditor
's Financial statement and suggestions relative to defects in the Revenue Laws
; by Mr. Claiborne
, of refunding to Geo. W. Tucker
, of Halifax
, the sum of $60.27, improperly paid by him to the Commonwealth
; by Mr. Keen
, of passing a general law authorizing the County
Courts to purchase arms, and to provide for such purchase either by levy, sale of lands or otherwise; by Mr. Baskervill
, of withdrawing House
bill of last session, providing for an increase of the capital stock of the Roanoke Valley Railroad, and referring the same to the Committee of Roads and Internal Navigation; by Mr. Edgington
, of incorporating a company to construct a turnpike road, from the National Road
in Ohio county
, by the valley of Big Sandy, Wheeling creek
, to the Pennsylvania
line; by Mr. Orgain
, of increasing the capital stock of the South-Side Railroad Company, to construct a branch of their road from Black
's and White
's, by Clarksville
, down New River
to its confluence with the Kanawha
The Convention Bill.
--The Speaker announced as "unfinished business" the bill "is provide for electing members of a Convention, and to convene the same," and the House
proceeded to its consideration.
On motion of Mr. Rives
, of Prince George, the third section which reads that "Any person may be elected a member of the Convention
, who at the time of election has attained the age of twenty-five years, and is actually a citizen of this Commonwealth," was amended by a prohibition against the election of any member of the present General Assembly as a delegate, by a vote of 95 yeas to 45 nays.
, of Augusta
, moved to strike out the section as amended, but withdrew the same.
He said he had voted for the clause prohibiting the election of members of the Assembly under the impression that the proposition had been offered as a piece of pleasantry.
The bill being in its amendable stage, Mr. Haymond
, of Marion
, offered the following as a substitute for the entire first section:
Be it enacted by the General Assembly,
That it shall be the duty of the Superintendents and officers who were appointed to control elections for county officers in May last, at the places established for holding elections for members of the General Assembly, to open polls for electing delegates to a Convention to consider and propose such measures as they may deem expedient for the Commonwealth
to adopt in the present crisis of State and National affairs.
The said election shall be held on the 4th day of February, in the year of our Lord
The yeas and nays were demanded, with the following result:
, (Speaker,) Allen
, Bassel, Bell
, Duckwall, Edwards
, Friend, Garrett
, J. T. Gibson
, J. Gilmer
, C. H. Jones
, W. T. Jones
, J. G. McDowell
, Medley, Mong, Montague
, S. K. Robinson
, H. Smith
, E. Watson
, Witten, Wood
, D. Gibson
, C. H. Gilmer
, J. G. Martin
. T. Martin
, W. Martin
, Miles, D. Miller
, Pretlow, Pritchard
, W. Robertson
, Sibert, J. K. Smith
, I. N. Smith
, A. Watson
, and West
The bill was then read by sections, amended and ordered to its engrossment.
On motion of Mr. Martin
, of Henry, the bill was read the third time and put on its passage.
When the Speaker
had stated the question,
rose and said: ‘Before the final vote of this House
is recorded, I shall say a few words, almost in the nature of a personal explanation.
Looking to that bill as the result of a weeks' arduous and agonizing labor, I am led to exclaim: "O, most lame and impotent conclusion!" "Montes parturiunt, nascitur ridiculus mus!
" Looking to the intense anxiety of the public mind, to the demands of my constituents, to my own unalterable convictions and my unflinching struggles, the provisions of the bill, as about to pass, fill the with disappointment, with sorrow and grief.
The State demanded an unshackled Convention of the sovereign people.
In my judgment you have refused it. You have provided a qualified and fettered representative body which is not a Convention, and which is wholly inadequate to the exigencies of the crisis.
And now, sir, although it was my unconcealed purpose to vote against the bill in its present form, yet trusting to the possibility of its amendment in the other end of the Capitol
; knowing the impossibility of amending it in this House
now, in view of the facts, obvious to all, that better action cannot now be had at the hands of this body, that imperious necessity warns us to do speedily whatever is to be done in vindication of the honor of the State
, I shall, reluctantly, sorrowfully, record my vote for the bill.’
, of Henry, submitted a few remarks in explanation of his vote, in which he was understood to coincide in sentiment with Mr. Kemper
, of Gloucester
, expressed his objections to the bill as it read, but would vote for it rather than nothing.
said: ‘I stated some days ago that I was in favor of calling a State Convention, as well as of a General Southern Convention, to make a formal and ultimate demand upon the North
for a recognition of our rights, redress of our wrongs, and a guaranty for the future, as the best, if not the only mode of preserving this Union, consistent with the honor and safety of Virginia
, and averting civil war, and I am prepared to do so now. In voting for this bill, I act in strict accordance with the known and expressed wishes of my constituents and the dictates of my best judgment.
I voted against the amendment of the gentleman from Petersburg
, proposing that a poll be opened to decide the question of Convention or no Convention, on the same day of holding the election of members for the Convention
, because my constituents had decided that question already — and I believed a large majority of the people of the Commonwealth
had, through primary meetings, instructed the Legislature upon that subject.
Therefore, the amendment was unnecessary, and might operate delay, and indicate uncertainty as to the real purpose and action of Virginia
I voted for the amendment of the gentleman from Pittsylvania
, which simply requires that at the time of the election of delegates to the Convention
, that the people shall declare whether the action of the Convention
shall be final, or returned to them for approval.
This amendment imposed, no legislative limitations or restrictions upon the powers of the Convention
But had the amendment failed, I should have voted for the bill as reported by the committee.
The bill being on its passage, I vote yea.’
said he believed the adoption of Mr. Keen
's amendment had destroyed all the moral effect the bill was calculated to have on the Northern
mind; yet there was no other course left to him but to vote for it.
was understood to express his preference for an untrammeled Convention; but a Convention at all hazards charged with the duty of pointing out the mode of redress for our grievances.
said he was so much pleased with the bill as it then stood, that he could not trust himself to speak.
He moved the previous question.
At the request of sundry members, he withdrew the same.
said his constituents had spoken in favor of a Convention, but the bill before the House
did not meet his approbation.
It was too namby pamby.
It did not declare our purposes and wishes with sufficient distinctness.
spoke of the conservatism of Virginia
, her long forbearance under manifold wrong, and her right of redress.
He wanted a straight-out Convention, charged with the duty of speaking the voice of the people.
He would vote for the bill, though he could not approve of many of its provisions.
favored the passage of the bill as it now read.
, of Appomattox
, wanted a Convention untrammeled by legislative enactments--one acquainted with our wrongs, and one vested with the power of exacting redress.
gave an explanation of his vote, which he cast in the interest of conservatism.
He was in favor of the Union
, if it could be preserved on equitable terms.
The Speaker directed the Clerk
to call the roll, which was done, with the following result:
, John T. Gibson
, Jno. Gilmer
, C. H. Gilmer
, Crawford H. Jones
, Warner T. Jones
, J. G. Martin
, Thomas Martin
, Wm. Martin
, Pritchard Randolph
, Wyncham Robertson
, R. K. Robinson
, James K. Smith
, Isaac N. Smith
, Henry Smith
, and Mr. Speaker.
was requested to communicate the passage of the bill to the Senate.--[Note.--The document in question will be found in Senate proceedings as amended and passed by that body.]
A motion to adjourn failed.
A large number of resolutions were read and referred.--The House
, after hearing that the Senate would meet at night to consider the Convention
bill, adjourned at 5½ o'clock.