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Virginia Legislature.
[extra session.]


Thursday, March 9, 1865.
At 11 o'clock the Senate was called to order by Mr. Johnson, of Bedford.

Mr. Dickinson, of Prince Edward, offered a resolution, which was agreed to, providing for the adjournment of the Senate, when it adjourns to day, to Saturday next, in conformity to the proclamation of the President setting apart the 10th instant as a day of fasting and prayer.

A communication was received from the Governor, complaining of the enormous charges made by the Danville railroad for the transportation of State salt from Danville to Richmond, and also citing other instances of indifference to the State's interest shown by that Company. Referred to the Committee on Roads and Internal Improvements.

The following bills were read the third time and passed:

House bill providing for arming the civil police of Richmond.

Senate bill providing for the relief of Wm. H. Mansfield, sheriff of Spotsylvania county, from the payment of eleven thousand dollars, State taxes collected, which were stolen from him by Sheridan's raiders in June, 1864.

House bill providing for the relief of Wm. E. Herndon.

[The bill was reported upon the petition of the wife of the beneficiary, who was a member elect to the General Assembly of Virginia, but subsequently lost his mind in consequence of a wound received in the service of the Confederacy, and has been, therefore, deterred from appearing in his seat. It calls for allowing the whole per diem compensation of the session to be paid out of the treasury for the benefit of Mr. Herndon's family.]

On motion of Mr. Dickinson, of Prince Edward, the joint resolution introduced by him yesterday, providing for extending the session of the General Assembly twenty days from and after Tuesday next was taken from the table, read the third time and passed — yeas, 30; nays, none.

On motion of Mr. Hunter, the Senate resolved into secret session.

House of Delegates.

The House met at 10 A. M. Speaker Sheffer in the chair.

A number of bills were taken up on their passage, and lost from the lack of the required constitutional majority.--Among the last was the bill, emanating from the Military Committee, providing for the enrollment and organization of the Home Guard for local defence.

The House adopted a resolution adjourning over until Saturday next — tomorrow being fast day.

The bill to provide a record of Virginia forces who have, or may take part in this war for independence, with the name of the regiment or organization to which they have been, or are, attached, the same to be deposited in the State Department, was taken up and passed — ayes, 87; noes, 0. [The bill makes an appropriation of seventy-five thousand dollars to carry out the object of the bill, and provides for a Recorder of Virginia Forces, to whom a salary of seven thousand shall be paid out of the appropriation.]

On motion to suspend the rules for the reconsideration of the vote by which the bill conferring conventional powers upon the General Assembly was lost, Mr. Hunter, of Berkeley, obtained the floor in opposition to the proposition to reconsider the vote. The discussion already had upon the subject had, he thought, a dangerous and pernicious effect. He hoped the vote would not be reconsidered; that the bill would be left to sleep the sleep of death.

Mr. Buford, of Pittsylvania, hoped the House would arraign itself upon the question fair and square, without prejudice. He thought no harm could come of a convention. The time might come when legislators would find themselves behind the people in this matter. He was willing to trust the people, and the people should be willing to trust their legislators.

Mr. Sheffer (Speaker), with Mr. Keily in the chair, spoke in opposition to the motion to reconsider the vote by which the bill to clothe the General Assembly with constitutional powers was lost. Of the two evils proposed, he would choose the least — a straight-out convention. He did not understand that there was to be any difference in the powers to be conferred upon either body. True, the Legislative could not touch the Bill of Rights, nor unite the powers of the Legislature, Executive and Judicial. If anything was contemplated by a convention, it was a looking to the severance of Virginia's connection with the Confederacy, and the opening of new and separate negotiations with the treaty making power of the North. Once open this flood-gate, and you will let loose a current that will sweep with desolation the last hope of freedom from this continent. Had we not rather bear these ills we have than fly to others that we know not of. How long will it be after this convention is called before the cry will go forth, and " reconstruction or no reconstruction" become the watchword of these dangerous times? No harm to trust the people as gentlemen say; but it is terrible harm for Virginia to lead off in the expression of a distrust for the General Government. The people will say it, the army will say it — Virginia is preparing to cast loose from the body of her Confederate union. Our enemy will say Virginia is preparing to leave a sinking ship and take to her jolly-boat.

The speaker never would, with his voice, advocate the call of a convention, legislative or straight out. If other States fly madly from their sphere like erratic rockets, to blaze awhile, then die out in eternal night forever, let them fly; but let Virginia be one of those calm; fixed stars, veiled sometimes in cloud and tempest, but indestructible as the firmament from which it shines. Virginia must never perish thus.

Mr. Staples, of Patrick, (interrupting the speaker,) appealed to the House. He had never said that a convention was to prepare Virginia for a dissolution of her co-partnership in the Confederate union.

Mr. Sheffer, continuing, said it was now too late to do this thing. The Ship of State is upon the rapids, and if the helmsman cannot guide the ship she must be dashed in pieces. It was no time now to change front; no time to seek a hiding place from the tempest of war. If we are to sink, let us sink where we stand, and go down with our ship with one triumphant shout of defiance, with the flag of Virginia--Sic Semper Tyrannis --floating over us.

Mr. Burwell, of Bedford, was going to stick to the ship till she struck or run ashore; then he would build a raft of the fragments and see what could be done. He favored a convention, vested in the Legislature.

Mr. Robertson, of Richmond, said that only when our armies were overthrown, the Confederacy torn limb from limb, and State from State, would he give his vote or consent to go into convention. Even up to the last extremity the honor and integrity of Virginia demanded that she should stand firm. If the Legislature be of the opinion that a convention is demanded, they should withdraw themselves from the possible imputation of being candidates for its membership.

Mr. Staples obtained the floor, when Mr. Boulden called for the order of the day — the consideration of the tax bill — and the question under debate was postponed, and a resolution from the Senate extending the session twenty-two days from Tuesday next taken up.

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