took an oath to support the Constitution of the United States. When the Convention assembled at Wheeling on the 11th of June, they found the late Governor, and many of the other officers of the State, engaged in an attempt to overthrow the Constitution which they had sworn to support. Whatever they might actually effect, with the aid of their confederates, by unlawful intimidation and violence, they could not lawfully deprive the good people of this Commonwealth of the protection afforded by the Constitution and Laws of the Union, and of the rights to which they are entitled under the same. The Convention attempted no change of the fundamental law of the State, for light and transient causes. The alterations adopted were such only as were imperatively required by the necessity of the case, to give vitality and force to the Constitution of the State, and enable it to operate in the circumstances under which we are placed. They attempted no revolution. Whatever others may have done, we remain, as we were, citizens of Virginia, citizens of the United States, recognizing and obeying the Constitution and laws of both. I trust, gentlemen, that you will pardon me for dwelling so long upon these important topics. Immediately on entering upon the duties of my office, I addressed an official communication to the President of the United States, stating briefly the circumstances in which we were placed, and demanding protection against the invasion and domestic violence to which our people were subjected; and I am happy to inform you that the President, through the Secretary of War, promptly gave me very satisfactory assurances that the guarantee embodied in the Constitution of the United States, would be efficiently complied with, by affording to our people a full protection. I transmit herewith copies of these communications. I also send you herewith a copy of a communication received from the Secretary of the Interior at Washington, certifying officially the apportionment of Representatives in the Thirty-eighth Congress under the census of 1860. Virginia has thirteen representatives in the present Congress. Under the new apportionment she will have eleven only. Before the term of the 38th Congress commences, it will be necessary therefore to re-district the State, in conformity with the principles established in the 13th and 14th sections of the 4th article of the Constitution of the State. The President of the United States has issued his proclamation convening an extra session of Congress, to meet at the National Capital on the fourth of this month. The two Senators from this State have vacated their offices. It is known to me that they are engaged in the conspiracy to overturn the Government of the United States, and in rebellion to its lawful authority. They have renounced the title of citizens of the United States, claiming to be citizens of a foreign and hostile State. They have abandoned the posts assigned to them by the State of Virginia in the Senate of the United States, to take office under the rebellious government of the Confederate States. I recommend, therefore, the election of Senators to fill the vacancies which have thus occurred. I beg leave to call your attention to the subject of the Circuit Courts. Those Circuits as now prescribed by law are too large to enable the Judges to efficiently perform the duties incumbent on them. In investigating this subject, you may find it not only necessary to reduce the size of the Circuits, but to increase the number of the regular terms, or make it the duty of the Judges to hold special extra terms, at which the business before them can be disposed of. I would recommend, however, that any alterations you may make for the present should be confined to that part of the State in which the authority of this government is recognized. I would also request your attention to the Ordinance of the Convention to authorize the apprehension of suspicious persons in time of war, and to the provisions of the code on kindred subjects. When a civil war is raging in the midst of us, an efficient system to protect the loyal people of the Commonwealth against the intrigues, conspiracies, and hostile acts of those who adhere to our enemies is necessary for the safety and good order of the community. Nor will the efficiency of the system be diminished, if it be conceived in a judicious spirit of moderation. I recommend the matter to your attention, trusting that any amendments which may be found necessary to protect the community will be unhesitatingly adopted, but at the same time that all proper precautions will be taken to avoid any measures of unreasonable harshness. The subject of the revenue will demand your attention. A recklessness has characterized the legislation of the State for the last ten years, that has involved us in a most onerous debt. For many years past the Western part of the State has been contributing in an enequal and unjust proportion to the revenue, which has been largely expended on internal improvements for the benefit of our Eastern brethren, from which the West has received no advantage in any form. The proceeds of the heavy debt contracted on State account have also been applied to Eastern railroads and improvements from which the West derives no benefit. The leaders of secession in the Gulf States have adroitly involved Virginia in an immense expenditure in support of their treasonable schemes; and to save their own people and property, have managed to transfer the theatre of war to our territory. Before they are driven out, the whole of the material interests of the State, east of the Blue Ridge, will probably be destroyed, including the Internal Improvements upon which such lavish expenditures have been made. I can only recommend to you a vigilant attention
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Battle of Bull Run .
Doc . 4 .- N. Y. Tribune narrative.
Doc . 59 : a Virginian who is not a traitor: response of Lieut. Mayo , U. S. N. , to the proclamation of Gov. Letcher .
Doc . 65 -speech of Galusha A. Grow , on taking the Chair of the House of Representatives of the United States , July 4 .
Doc . 135 .- Virginia ordinance, prohibiting citizens of Virginia from holding office under the United States , passed July , 1861 .
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.