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Virginia Legislature.

[extra session.]


Wednesday, March 8, 1865.
The bill entitled an act to amend the eleventh section of chapter two hundred and eight of the Code, so as to increase the allowances to jurors in criminal cases, returned from the House with amendments, was taken up. Some of the amendments were agreed to by the Senate, and others rejected, when the bill was referred to the Committee of Courts of Justice.

The report of the joint committee relative to the impressment of trains belonging to the State of North Carolina, employed in the transportation of salt, and in which report the State of Virginia is exonerated from all blame in the matter, was taken up, and after some debated adopted.

House bill for the relief of William E. Herndon, a member of the House from Putnam county, who has been detained from his seat during the present session by wounds received in the service, was taken up, and, for want of a constitutional majority, rejected. On motion of Mr. Keen, the vote was reconsidered, and the bill then laid on the table.

The President laid before the Senate a communication from the Governor, inclosing a letter from S. Bassett French, commercial agent for the State of Virginia, defending himself from certain strictures made by Mr. Marshall in a speech a few days since.

On motion of Mr. Marshall, the documents were laid on the table.

The following bills were considered and passed:

Senate bill imposing taxes for the support of the Government.

Senate bill appropriating the public revenue for the fiscal years 1863-'64 and 1864-'65, which is supplemental of the act passed March 8, 1864.

Senate bill amending the act relative to the appointment of county receivers.

A bill to enlarge the jurisdiction of the circuit courts of the Commonwealth.

A bill to prevent the purchase or concealment of property belonging to the Confederate Government in certain cases.

Senate bill increasing the annuity to the Deaf, Dumb and Blind Institute for the support of said institution.

Senate bill to authorize the appointment of an Inspector of Salt, to reside at Saltville.

Senate bill to authorize county and corporation courts to purchase spinning-wheels, cotton and wool cards, for the use of indigent families of soldiers and sailors.

House bill amending an act concerning fees of commissioners in chancery.

Senate bill to confer a badge of honor on the officers and soldiers of Virginia who may distinguish themselves for gallant services was taken up, and advocated by Mr. Dulaney. The bill was put to vote, and rejected for want of a constitutional majority.

The Senate then went into secret session to consider a confidential communication from the Governor. When the doors were opened, the Senate adjourned.

House of Delegates.

A communication from the Senate announced the agreement of that body to joint resolution of thanks to General Heth. Also, the report of committee to settle the claims of Colonel John N. Clarkson.

The bill to provide an armed police for Richmond was taken up. [The bill authorizes the Mayor to organize and arm such number of persons as may be deemed necessary for the protection of property and the preservation of order within the corporate limits of the city of Richmond and one mile thereof; said police to be invested with the power of constables; to be armed and drilled under such form as the Mayor may best determine, and under what officers he may direct; the members of the said organization to reside within the city and a mile thereof, and to be under sixty years of age.]

The bill was advanced to its third reading, when, upon motion, the vote was reconsidered, and the bill retrograded to its amendatory stage.

Mr. Robertson, of Richmond, advocated the passage of the bill. It was not designed to take the place of the present police body, but to act as an efficient auxiliary to it. It was important that the bill should pass right away. He knew, and could state circumstances if he chose, to show that dangerous elements were fermenting, and exigencies arising in the distance, that made it necessary that this constabulary force — this interior guard and domestic police — should be called into existence.

Mr. Burr said the proposition for the formation of this extra armed police did not emanate from the authorities or citizens of Richmond; it came from high military authority of the Confederate Government, and was advocated on high grounds of public economy and safety.

Mr. English gave some personal observations, made among the citizens of Henrico, as showing their preference for the volunteer system.

Mr. Burwell would vote against the proposition to strike out the volunteer feature. People ought to be willing to defend their own private property.

Mr. Robertson, of Richmond, denied that there was any occasion for the remark of the member from Bedford. The plan of this police was a local concession of the Municipal Government to the Confederate Government, and was advocated with a view to the protection of the capital of the Government and the Government property.

Mr. Pendleton offered an amendment to the second section, making the constabulary force subject to the Council of the City of Richmond.

The bill, as amended, was ordered to its engrossment and third reading.

The bill to provide for the voting by persons in the army, and by persons absent from their counties by reason of the presence of the public enemy, was passed.

The House, at one and a half o'clock, went into secret session on one of the orders of the day.

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