The stay law.
We were led into an error yesterday in the remarks in this paper on the subject of the stay law of Virginia
, in reply to the New York Times
According to some newspaper reports, it appeared that before the Legislature took a recess it so amended the stay law as to except from its operation any debt contracted since the 3d April last.
Upon examination, we find the case to stand thus: The Legislature passed, on the 19th December, an act amending the act of the Legislature which met at Alexandria
so as to stay the collection of debts during the session of the Legislature, unless sooner repealed or amended.
This brief act made no exceptions, and therefore applied to all debts to the present time.
This was against the wishes of a majority of the members, and its passage in that form was more accident than design.
The next day the House
got up an amendment to the act, declaring that it should not apply to contracts made since the 1st of April last.
It was matured and passed and communicated to the Senate on the 21st, the very day the Assembly had determined upon as the day of adjournment for the recess.
Received thus at the last hour of the sitting, the Senate seemed disinclined to consider it, and a motion to suspend the rules in order to pass it immediately was lost by eight to thirteen.
We have not a doubt that the Senators
thought it unnecessary to dispose of the matter then, as the recess would be brief and they would soon be in their seats to act upon it. We do not believe there is any purpose on the part of the Legislature to interfere with contracts made in Virginia
since the surrender of General Lee
and the great fire in this city — contracts made in view of all the circumstances, and not entitled to any such protection as may be afforded by a stay law; a measure, at best, of doubtful propriety and benefit to society; one that has been, nevertheless, resorted to by all political communities.
We are sure that upon the return of the members to their deliberations they will put themselves and the State
right upon the subject.