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State Convention.
Friday, Nov. 22, 1861.

The Convention met at 10 o'clock. Prayer by the Rev. Dr. Hoge, of the 2d Presbyterian Church.


The following resolutions were offered:

By Mr. Neblett--

Resolved, That the President of the Convention be, and he is hereby, authorized to sign the name of Richard H. Cox, the late delegate from the counties of King and Queen and Essex, to the Ordinance of Secession.--Adopted.

By Mr. French--

Resolved, That the efficient protection of Southwestern Virginia, from Meadow Bluff in Greenbrier county to Cumberland Gap, is of the highest importance to this State and Confederacy; that the loss or destruction of the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad, lead mines and salt works of that region would be a disaster to our cause beyond remedy; that for the effectual defence of this region of country it is essential to press the enemy back from the Cumberland, Flat Top, Sewell, and Sandy ranges of mountains; and that for the attainment of this object the strenuous efforts of the Governor of this Commonwealth are invoked, in conjunction with those of the Confederate authorities. Adopted.

By Mr. F. P. Turner--

Resolved, That the Secretary of the Convention be directed, at the close of the present session of this body, to issue his certificate for pay to Benjamin R. Linkoas, Doorkeeper of the Convention, during the present session; and that the said Benjamin R. Linkout be allowed mileage for his attendance at the last session of this Convention at the same rate as is allowed to members of the Convention, to be paid upon the certificate of the Secretary. Rejected.

By Mr. Woods--

Resolved, That the members of this body who have been elected in the place of those members who have been expelled, be permitted to sign the Ordinance of Secession. Adopted.

By Mr. Speed--

Resolved, That the Governor of the Commonwealth be requested to communicate to the Convention whether there are any officers of the Army or Navy of the United States, who have resigned their positions and applied for a corresponding service in the State or in the Confederate States of America, and have failed to obtain appointments. Adopted.

By Mr. G. W. Randolph--

Resolved, That the Committee on Military Affairs be instructed to inquire into the best means of promoting the manufacture of nitre, and to report by ordinance. Adopted.

By Mr. F. P. Turner--

Resolved, That the Auditor of Public Accounts be requested to furnish to the Convention a statement showing the number of suits now pending upon the dockets of the Circuit Courts of the several counties in this Commonwealth respectively, distinguishing between the law and equity sides of the Courts; also the number of suits brought during the year 1800--and the number of criminal cases pending on the dockets of said Courts at the time of the report last made by the clerks of said Courts. Adopted.

By. Mr. Martin--

Resolved, That the Committee on Privileges and Elections inquire into the cause of the absence from this House of Sherrard Clemens, Benjamin Wilson, and Caleb Boggess, delegates, and to report to the Convention, whether in their opinion such absence is owing to their disloyalty to the State or Confederate States; and if so, whether, in the opinion of the Convention, they should be expelled from this body. Adopted.

By Mr. Conrad--

Resolved, That the Committee on Military Affairs be instructed to inquire into the expediency of amending the 8th section of the ordinance to reorganize the militia, presented Nov. 19th and referred to said committee, by adding provisions to the following effect;

Whenever any portion of the militia shall be called into active service, it shall be the duty of the superior officer at the place of rendezvous to assert in and report the number of rank and file actually present; and their pay and rations shall commence from that date. He shall, at the same time, arrange them into companies of — men; arrange such companies, if enough, into regiments of — men, and brigades of not less than — regiments; shall assign the complement of officers, and of such grades as conform to the actual numbers, and report the names of the officers, discharging the rest; and no other officers than those so selected shall receive pay, nor in any case be entitled to receive any pay when his command is in number less than that belonging to his rank. Adopted.


Mr. McFarland, from the Committee on Finance, submitted the following:

Resolved, That the Committee ask to be discharged from the further consideration of the memorials of the Savings Banks and Common Council of the city of Richmond and town of Fredericksburg, not because they deem the consideration of the subject unnecessary or unworthy of favorable action, but that it is more proper for the action of the General Assembly, which will soon be in session. Adopted.

Mr. Johnston, from the Committee on Military Affairs, reported adversely to providing, by ordinance, that the commissions of field officers appointed in pursuance of the ordinance of April, 1861, shall expire whenever the regiments to which they are assigned shall be disbanded by the expiration of the terms of service of the companies composing their commands.

Personal explanations.

Messrs. Holladay and Fisher made personal explanations of language previously used in debate.

Mr. L. S. Hall corrected the report of his remarks in the morning papers in reference to biennial sessions. He was in favor of annual sessions, but biennial elections.

Mr. Haymond also corrected a report of his remarks.

Order of the day.

The Convention proceeded to consider the 3d section, Article IV., of the proposed amended Constitution, relating to the organization of the Senate.

Mr. Stuart offered the following substitute, rendered necessary by previous amendments:

3. The other shall be called the Senate, and consist of fifty members, for the election of whom the counties, cities and towns shall be divided into fifty districts. Each county, city and town, of the respective district, at the time of the first election of delegates under this Constitution, shall vote for one Senator, and the Sheriffs or other officers holding the election for each county, city and town, with in five days after the election, shall meet at the Court-House of the county city or town first named in the district, and from the polls so taken in their respective counties, cities and towns, return as Senator the person who has received the greatest number of votes in the whole district.

To keep up this Assembly by rotation, the districts shall be divided into four classes and numbered by lot. The first class shall consist of twelve, the second of thirteen, the third of twelve, and the fourth of thirteen. The seats of the Senators of the first class shall be vacated at the expiration of the first year after the commencement of their term of office; of the second class, at the expiration of the second year; of the third class, at the expiration of the third year, and of the fourth class, at the expiration of the fourth year — so that one class may be chosen every years; and the vacancies thereby occasioned shall be supplied from such class by new election in the manner aforesaid. This rotation shall be applied to each class according to its number, and continued in due order annually.

4. For the election of Senators the districts shall remain as now arranged until representation in the two Houses shall be reapportioned in the manner provided in this Constitution.

The foregoing was agreed to.

The Convention passed by the section on ‘"Apportionment of Representation,"’ and adopted the sections relating to the qualification of Senators and Delegates, and the powers and duties of the General Assembly, without change, to the 16th paragraph of the latter, which was amended to read as follows:

16. Every law or resolution having the force of law shall relate to but one subject, which shall be expressed in its title.

The 17th, which prohibits persons from holding office who shall hereafter fight a duel, was adopted. No change in-the 18th, upon maladministration or corruption in office.

In the 19th section, relating to slaves and free negroes, Mr. Dorman moved to amend by striking out all after the word ‘"and"’ in the third line, and inserting--‘"It shall be the duty of the General Assembly to prescribe proper regulations for reducing such negroes to slavery."’

Mr. Harvie moved a substitute for the whole that ‘"Slaves shall not be emancipated in this Commonwealth after the adoption of this Constitution."’ Rejected — ayes 52, noes 54. Mr. Gray, of Rockingham, was excused from voting at his own request.

Mr. Holladay moved to strike out all after the words ‘"actually free"’ and insert--‘"and shall pass to the distributees of the testator when the emancipation was by will; and where by deed, to such person as would be the distributees of the grantor were he dead at the time, subject to debts of the testator or grantor as in a due course of administration."’ Rejected.

Mr. Dorman's amendment was then agreed to

Mr. Chambers moved to amend by adding the following: ‘"But emancipated slaves who had not forfeited their right to freedom on the 19th of April, 1861, shall not incur the forfeiture of their freedom if they remove from this Commonwealth within twelve months after the existing war between the United States and the Confederate States of America."’ Rejected.

Another amendment proposed by Mr. Brooke was rejected, and the 19th section was agreed to, as follows:

19. Slaves hereafter emancipated shall forfeit their freedom by remaining in the Commonwealth more than twelve months after they become actually free, and it shall be the duty of the General Assembly to prescribe proper regulations for reducing such negroes to slavery.

In the 20th section, Mr. Bouldin moved to insert after the word ‘"may"’ in the first line, the words ‘"prohibit the future emancipation of slaves, or"’--which was agreed to.

Mr. Woods moved to amend by substituting the word ‘"shall"’ for ‘"may"’ in the third line, so as to make it obligatory for the General Assembly to pass laws for expelling free negroes from the State, but subsequently withdrew it.

The 20th and 21st sections were then adopted, as follows:

20. The General Assembly may prohibit the future emancipation of slaves, or impose such restrictions and conditions as they may deem proper on the power of slave owners to emancipate their slaves; and may pass laws for the relief of the Commonwealth from the free negro population, by removal or otherwise.

21. The General Assembly shall not emancipate any slave, or the descendant of any slave, either before or after the birth of such descendant.

On motion, the Convention adjourned.

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