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The Legislature--Tuesday.

In the Senate, Mr. Christian, of Augusta, introduced the following bill: A bill to provide for a quorum in meetings of joint stock companies during the existing war.

The bill for the enrollment of free negroes, to be employed in the Confederate service, reported on Monday and referred to a select committee, was reported back with a substitute for the bill.

The bill abolishing the Pay Department of the Virginia forces, passed once by the Senate, amended in the House and sent back, was still further amended, extending the period to the 1st of December, 1863, when all commissions shall be cancelled, and the business of the department turned over to the Auditing Board for settlement.

Mr. Coghill, Chairman of the Committee of Salt, introduced a bill making an appropriation for the purchase of salt, which was ordered to a second reading.

The bill to provide for the appointment of general agents and storekeepers by the County Courts, authorizing them to borrow money and purchase and distribute provisions at cost to county inhabitants in need thereof, was taken up and passed unanimously.

The bill to prevent and punish, by fine, the traffic in gold and silver, and bank notes, was taken up and indefinitely postponed.

In the House, the Senate's amendment to the House joint resolutions concerning impressments, so that the reading would be, "that the Confederate authorities be requested so to forbear impressments as not to prevent the free transmission to towns and cities," was taken up and rejected, not being considered sufficiently specific.

Senate bill providing fuel and lights for the Governor's house was then taken up, and, after being discussed at length, was passed by the following vote — ayes 82, noes 20.

Mr. Brooke, from the Committee of Courts of Justice, reported back, with amendments, the bill to punish forestalling, regretting, and engrossing.

From the Committee on the Penitentiary, Mr. Haymond reported back the bill for the reorganization of the penitentiary, with amendments.

Mr. Cowan, the chairman of the committee to make arrangements for the funeral of the late Israel Robinson, Delegate from Berkeley county, reported that arrangements had been made and that the funeral would take place from the Capitol at 3 o'clock.

The Chair laid before the House the following communication from the Secretary of War in response to a resolution of the House:


War Department,
Richmond, Va., Oct. 24, 1863.
Hon. Hugh W. Sheffey, Speaker of the House of Delegates: Sir
--I have the honor to acknowledge your letter of the 21st inst., enclosing a report and resolutions, adopted by the House of Delegates, on the subject of details by the Confederate States Government.

I am reluctant to suppose the House of Delegates contemplated asserting any jurisdiction or right of supervision over the disposition by the Confederate Government of the soldiers and conscripts enrolled in its service; yet, to avoid all misconstruction from the broad terms of the report and resolutions, it behooves me, as an officer of that Government, respectfully to remind you that it possesses exclusive control over the whole subject, and to say that my answer is dictated by no recognition of other authority in the matter, but solely by the consideration which I am happy to feel for the opinions of the representatives in one of the Houses of the General Assembly of Virginia. I have preferred to consider the report and resolutions as evincing only of the deep interest felt by the House of Delegates in the common cause, and of its desire to afford counsel and assistance in the discovery and removal of hindrances and abuses tending to lessen the strength and efficiency of our armies. Viewed in this light, I accept the report and resolutions with satisfaction, and acknowledge my obligations for the information and suggestions sought to be given by them. I will not deny they might have been more acceptable had they been couched less in the language of complaint and stricture, but I shall not on that account fail to seek from them the benefits of which they may be susceptible. In furtherance of that end, I may be pardoned for requesting that the House of Delegates, in substantiation of the somewhat vague and general charges of the report and resolutions, will require the committee to submit to the Department the proofs before them of the cases of imputed fraud and abuse, with the names of the parties committing or participating in them, on which they have founded their statements. In my limited experience in the Department, I have too frequently found general charges, when sought to be probed and investigated, unsustained by the facts; but I cannot doubt that adequate evidences were possessed by the committee and the House before they embodied in the form of a report and resolutions such grave charges. When furnished with such evidences, I may be enabled, as I shall be prompt, to investigate and correct the supposed abuses. I cannot indulge the hope that where so many interests and temptations exist, abuses and excesses to some extent have not prevailed, but I have been ever anxious to guard against and remove them. It would be tedious to enumerate the orders and measures which have been from time to time adopted by the Department to restrict details to the industrial operations indispensable to the Government, and which could not otherwise be carried on. It has been earnestly sought to withdraw as few men as possible from military service in the field, and none when it was not confidently believed they could be more beneficially employed for the common cause in works of production than in arms. The resolutions of the House found me engaged in urgent measures to effectuate such restrictions, and I am happy to be assured of the cooperation of the House in attaining them. It is with some surprise, however, as well as satisfaction, that I find myself, by the second resolution of the House, urged to adopt such measures as will in my opinion substitute men over the conscript age and able bodied free negroes, by draft, for details from the army. It has been my earnest wish to do this, and so far as temptations to voluntary engagements could be presented to the classes referred to, they have been liberally offered, but I have not been invested by the Legislature of the State with the power of compulsion in the premises. Whenever any effort of the kind, even under the stress of military necessity, has been essayed, it has been at once met by discontent and remonstrance, which members of your House have, on some occasions, been the organs to express. In the resolution of the House, I trust, is to be found a purpose, so far as depends on them, to afford, by appropriate legislation, the command of the resources they recommend. When so afforded, I shall promptly seek to bring them into efficient use, and manifest my appreciation of the confidence reposed by the Legislature in the Confederate authorities by a zealous effort to employ the instrumentalities your House has desired.

Very respectfully, your ob't serv't,

James A. Seddon,
Secretary of War.

The communication, after being read, was, on motion of Mr. Robertson, of Richmond, referred to the Committee on Confederate Relations.

Mr. Brooke, from the Committee on Salt, reported a resolution ratifying a contract, and a bill making an appropriation for the purchase of salt.

The report of the committee of conference on the military bill was then taken up and discussed at length by Messrs. Anderson, Randolph, Harris, and others. The previous question being called and sustained, the main question was ordered, which was on agreeing to the report of the committee of conference, and the vote being taken by ayes and noes, resulted — ayes 51, noes 49.

The Chair decided that a constitutional majority was necessary to the adoption of the report, and therefore declared that it was rejected.

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