General Assembly of Virginia.
Senate. Saturday, May 10th, 1862.
The Senate was called to order at 12 M. by Mr. Johnson
. of Hedford,
The Clerk presented a massage from the House
in relation to the duration of a ses
Ne son said the resolutions were the same as those presented the first day of the extra session.
The re then presented in their favor and him of their rectitude and propriety.
He hoped, therefore, they would pass.
he said the Constitution
provides for biannial sessions of not more than ninety days. The first resolution declares that the provision applies to extra as well as to regular The resolution further declares that the limitation means there shall be not more than 20 days of s legislative session, and excludes all days of recess and vacation.
The reasons for this are so apparent, especially in view of present circumstances, that he hoped the resolution would commend itself to the judgment of the Senate.
, of city, hoped that the nts would lay the resolution on the table.
Though he had never fasly considered the ect, yet he did not that vacations ought to be excluded.
If so, the one day of the and the ten days or more of the present session only counted, the Senate might inde tely. If the construction put by the Senator
was right, in regular sessions every day's vacation ought to be excluded.
hoped it would not be laid on the table, as at the first day of the extra session the resolution was laid on the table for the purpose of giving time to examine it. He believed the true construction of the Constitution
to be that given by the Senator
It was true, the officers of the Government
in paying, and the Legislature in accepting pay, had implied given color to the view that days of vacation ought not to be excluded; still he believed the construction of the Constitution
by the Senator
was the true one.
said that the resolution might be proper; but he would ask if a Court were instructed to sit thirty days, and it would sit ten days and adjourn twenty, and then twenty days, would that be acting in conformity to law?
son said the illustration could be d successfully against the Senator
The provision in regard to a Court was of a creative
character, that in regard to the Legislature of a restrictive
And all restrictive
enactments must be construed strictly.
If his interpretation was accepted, there would be no paralysis of legislative power; whereas, If a contrary construction were adopted, there might be a suspension, if not destruction, of legislative action.
said he was too dull to understand the distinction drawn by the Senator
He never knew before that the Legislature was sovereign — he thought the people were sovereign.
said he was misunderstood — that the Legislature was a sovereign, but limited by the Constitution
denied that there could be any limitation to sovereignty.
He only asked that the resolution be laid on the table for the present.
The motion was put and rejected.
The question then recurring on their adoption, Mr. Ball
called for the yeas and nays, with the following result — yeas 21, nays 6.--The resolution was concurred in
The committees were called upon for report, when Mr. Newman
offered from the Committee
on Military Affairs an act to amend and re-enact the first section of an act entitled ‘"an act to authorize the organization of ten or more companies of rangers,"’ passed February 27, 1862.
The Chair presented a communication from the Governor
, covering the resignation of Henry W. Thomas
from the 24th District.
On motion, the communication and documents were laid on the table.
asked and obtained leave to introduce a bill to provide for a lost coupon.
asked and obtained leave to introduce a bill imposing a tax for issuing certificates of transferred stock of the Commonwealth
On motion of Mr. Brannon
, the bill to pay to L. D. Raymond
a bill for locating a turnpike, was taken up. Mr. Beannon
knew the bill to be right.
The claimant had been prevented, by reason of the fact that the road was in the hands of the enemy, from collecting his debt.
knew the claim to be just.
He hoped it would pass at once.
The bill was adopted, and on motion it was communicated to the House of Delegates.
The Chair stated that some resolutions, adopted by the Senate in secret session and sent to the House
for their concurrence, had been amended and returned, and asked if it was the pleasure of the Senate to consider them in open or secret session ?
On motion of Mr. Robertson
, the doors were closed, in order to consider them in secret session.
When they were again opened.
On motion, the resolution offered by Mr.
P Te. in regard to filling vacancies, was taken up.
offered a substitute for the same, which was accepted.
The substitute is in these words.
the vacancies existing in the representations of the 24th, 46th, and 50th Senatorial Districts, cannot, by reason of he presence of the public enemy, be filled in the manner prescribed by the Constitution
and laws, and whereas, by virtue of the ordnance adopted by the Convention of Virginia the 4th day of December, 1861, the senate authority to elect members to fill such vacancies in its own body during the present war, and the Senate deems it a duty in the present juncture to exercise such authority.
That the Senate proceed to fill said vacancies.
said, the principle being decided on before, be hoped this question would no be again precipitated upon the Senate.
said two decisions of the body had been rendered on this question.
We are in the misdate of a crisis.
The condition of the country is appalling.
Unless we take some hold steps, we cannot survive.
Even now we are indebted for a quorum to the presence of Senators
whose counties have long been in the hands of the enemy.
Perhaps at this time two Senators
who were here at the last
session may be in the hands of the enemy; besides, two have died since last session.
He had no more to say, except to urge upon the Senate the adoption of the resolution.
, of Richmond
, moved to lay the resolution on the table.
On that motion the years and y were called, with the following result — year 8, May 21. The Senate returned to lay on the table.
thought the time had come for prompt action on this subject.
The time was fast coming when the Legislature may be left without a quorum.
Being satisfied of the constitutionality of the measure, and anxious to preserve the constitutional powers of the Government
, he should vote for it.
renewed his entire and utter opposition to any such ch Having taken an oath to support the Constitution
, he believed he would commit perjury if he voted for it. He did not believe the Convention
could grant any such power.
The Constitution which they did make had been made a dead letter by the people.
hoped the resolution would be adopted.
He was as well satisfied of the validity of the measure as the Senator
was of its invalidity.
never had expected the contingencies of this hour, but now he should vote for it.
felt embarrassed; but having doubt, could not vote for it.
said that the Senate had recognized other ordinances of the Convention
, and it was singular they could not recognize this for example — that one changing the words ‘"Confederate States
"’ wherein they occur for ‘ "United States
thought the ratification of the Ordinance of Secession by the people carried with it the right to change Confederate States
for ‘"United States
"’ wherever they occur.
never doubted the propriety of the action proposed to be taken.
The Convention when called into existence was sovereign, and its every act was binding unless they chose to submit it to the ratification of the people.
thought the Convention
had the right to exercise certain powers su ct to the ratification of the people.
said, if this were true, the Convention
was the mere rival of the Legislature without power.
In his view the Convention
was a sovereign, whose only limit was its discretion.
He did not believe in restrictions upon sovereignty.
If the Convention
was sovereign, all its acts were binding; if not, no e were.
asked if the Convention
could have adopted a Constitution distasteful to the people without referring it to them?
B Ll said the Convention
, once called, was sovereign in all its parts.
if the Convention
had adopted a Constitution and refused to have submitted it to the people, it would have been binding.
The vote was taken and lost — yeas 16, nays 16--as follows:
, Neeson. Newton
, New n, Pate
, Quesenberry, Spitier, and Whitten
of Prince Edward, Early
, and Witey--16.
offered the following resolution:
That the Committee
on Military Affairs it quire into the expediency of reorganizing the militia of the Commonwealth
not subject to the Conscription act.
offered the following joint resolutions, which lie over one day. Mc.
gave notice that he should offer some remarks in favor of their adoption on Monday, when he would call them up.
about a year ago the despot who wields and attractancy abuses the powers of once free and proud, but now broken Federal Union, called for only seventy five thousand men to suppress the resistance offered by the sla holding States to his authority over them, and the representatives of these States in Congress, in Montgomery
authorized a an of 15 millions to be negotiated as sufficient to raise and support an army of 50,000 men, a part of which already numbers nearly half a million of men in the field, to repel invasion as ce and formed this as it can be by a force already augmented to more than three quarters of a million of men in ms, and considering in great part of foreign hirelings, and, where is, the mories of the would have spened to our enemy and closed to us, wh t is trust that we who have been conf ed to our own resources, being with agricultural people, we out of that Federal Union on the idea of peaceable secession which act only contemplated but Const ned absence of preparations for war; and whereas, thought thus unprepared in advance and in the progress of the war out off from supplies from abroad we have not been crushed as yet, and still in end to be independent and free.
- 1. Resolved, therefore, by the General Assembly of Virginia that our thanks and gratitude are and given to the President of the Confederate States, and those associated with him in the executive authority thereof, for the devoted patriotism and noble energy with which they have called into requisition and activity the resources of the Confederate States, and have kept the remorseless enemy in check — Nevertheless--
- 2. Resolved, That in the opinion of the General z, it is expedient, and would be gracious and gratifying to the gallantry of the rank and file of the army, that more enter prise and dash be thrown into the conduct of the war henceforth.
- 3. Resolved That the faithfulness and fortitude of the Confederate Executive, and the generalship and courage of the Confederate army, should in spite our constituents with confidence that the anc nt and liberties of this great and illustrious Common wealth, and the equal independence and freedom of the unverified Confederates, all and in all, will be sustained, vindicated, and avenged.
- 4. Resolved, That the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate of the General Assembly of Virginia, communicate this proceeding to the President of the Confederate States.
asked leave to introduce a bill to sell the Roanoke Valley Railroad.
A bill authorizing the Auditor
to employ four additional clerks
in his office, at a salary of $800 per annum, was ordered to be engrossed.
A bill providing additional warehouses for tobacco, was ordered to be engrossed.
On motion of Mr. Garnett
, the Senate adjourned.