Virginia State Convention.
Third day.

Friday, February 15, 1861.
The ladies gallery was crowded at an early hour, and, as on the previous day, many representatives of the fair sex were accommodated with seats elsewhere. When the front doors were thrown open, the throng that had congregated on the steps and in the passages made a desperate rush for the seats, which were almost instantaneously filled.

The Convention was called to order at 12 o'clock, by President Janney.

Prayer by the Rev. Jas. A. Duncan, of the Broad Street M. E. Church.

The President announced the first business in order to be the

Election of second Doorkeeper.

Mr. Forues nominated J. J. Winn, of Albemarle.

Mr. McComas nominated Henry S. Coleman, of Stafford.

Mr. Gregory nominated Roscoe Burke, of King William.

Mr. Tredway nominated S. H. Joter, of Richmond.

Mr. Speed nominated Wm. Josiah Leake, of Goochland.

Mr. Cox nominated Wm. Welch, of Chesterfield.

Mr. Montague nominated Jos. Tompkins, of Chesterfield.

There being no further nominations the Secretary proceeded to call the roll, and the vote resulted as follows: Jeter 35, Leake 34, Coleman 26, Welch 26; others, 16. No election.

Mr. Morton moved a suspension of the rules to allow him to make a motion to withdraw all but the three highest candidates.--Carried.

Mr. Morton then made the motion indicated, but there being a tie between two of the candidates, it was amended on the suggestion of Mr. Cox, of Chesterfield, so as to drop all but four, and the motion, as amended, was adopted.

The Secretary then announced the names of the candidates, as follows: Messrs. Leake, Jeter, Welch, and Coleman.

The vote resulted: Leake 46, Jeter 40, Welch 31, Coleman 27. No election.

Mr. Wise. of Princess Anne, desired to know if this squabble about a second Doorkeeper was not like fiddling while Rome was burning. [Applause in the galleries.] He was willing to adopt any method to facilitate the business of the Convention; and with that view moved a suspension of the rules to allow him to submit a motion that the highest on the list of candidates be appointed second Doorkeeper.

The Convention refused to suspend the rules.

Mr. Conrad desired that the plurality rule should be adopted, and moved a suspension of the rules of the House.

Mr. Branch, of Petersburg, saw no necessity for haste, and he hoped the plurality rule would not be adopted. He appealed to the members to vote the motion down.

The Convention again refused to suspend.

The vote was again taken, (the lowest candidate having been dropped by the rules,) with the following result: Leake 79, Welch 24, Jeter 42. Necessary to a choice 73. So Mr. W. J. Leake was declared elected second Doorkeeper.

The Southern Commissioners.

Mr. Preston, from the committee appointed to wait on the Southern Commissioners, submitted the following report:

‘ "The Committee appointed by the Convention to wait upon the Commissioners from the States of South Carolina, Georgia and Mississippi, to invite them to accept seats on the floor of this Convention, and inform them that the Convention would receive any messages from them, respectively, at such time and in such form as they might choose, respectfully report — That the Committee waited upon the gentlemen named in the resolution, yesterday evening, and stated to them, as directed, the purport of the visit. The Commissioners expressed their grateful sense of the courtesy shown to them personally, and the honorable consideration of their mission, and accepted the tender of seats upon this floor, (which they now occupy,) and said that, if it should suit the convenience of the Convention, they desired to address it orally on Monday next — all which they requested the Committee to communicate to the Convention."

’ On motion of Mr. Preston, it was resolved to receive the Commissioners at the hour of 12 o'clock on Monday next.

The Press.

On motion of Mr. Tredway, it was resolved that the editors and reporters of newspapers in the city of Richmond be admitted to seats in the Convention, under the direction of the President.

Committee of Elections

Mr. Haymond offered the following:

Resolved, That the President appoint a Committee of Elections, consisting of --members, to whom shall be referred the returns of delegates, and all matters relating to contested seats in this Convention.

Mr. Clemens suggested that the resolution be made to conform to the rules of the House of Delegates, adopted on the first day of the Convention.

Mr. Haymond declined to adopt the suggestion.

Mr. Dorman had foreseen the difficulties that would arise under the rules adopted, and would move, as a substitute for the resolution, the following:

Resolved, That the rules of the Convention of also be adopted for the government of this body, and that 200 copies be printed.

’ The President said the resolution could not be entertained until the Convention reconsidered the vote adopting the rules of the House of Delegates.

Mr. Haymond had no objection to adopting the rules of the Convention of 1850; but the course proposed by his resolution had a precedent in that Convention.

Mr. Nelson, of Clarke, said if the resolution were withdrawn, and the one he offered yesterday adopted, it would obviate all difficulty.

Mr. Haymond declined to withdraw his resolution, which was then put to vote and adopted.

The President was instructed to fill the blank with thirteen names, to constitute the Committee of Elections.

Rules of the Convention.

Mr. Nelson moved to take up his resolution, offered yesterday, to appoint a Committee on Rules, Negatived.

On motion of Mr. Dorman, the Convention reconsidered the vote adopting the rules of the House of Delegates.

Mr. Dorman then offered his resolution, that the rules of the Convention of 1850 be adopted, and that 200 copies thereof be printed for the use of this body.

On motion of Mr. Montague, the resolution was amended by inserting ‘"so far as they are applicable,"’ and passed.

Place of meeting.

Mr. Speed offered the following:

Resolved. That a committee of five be appointed, with instructions to ascertain whether some arrangement can be made by the House of Delegates by which they can so adjust their sessions as that their Hall can be occupied by the Convention during a portion of the day.

’ The objection to the present hall, as stated by Mr. Speed, was the difficulty of a member in making himself heard or hearing others.

Mr. Morton offered the following as a substitute.

Resolved, That a committee be appointed to see if a more suitable place can be procured for the meetings of this Convention.

Mr. Speed was willing to modify his resolution so as to instruct the committee, in case of a failure to make an arrangement with the House of Delegates, to procure some other place.

Mr. Moore advocated the substitute. The hall of the House of Delegates was a very indifferent place.

Mr. Carlile said the hall at present occupied was the best place that could be procured — far better than the House of Delegates, or the place occupied by the Convention of 1850. He thought if order were preserved, there would be no difficulty about hearing.

On motion of Mr. Woods, the whole subject was indefinitely postponed.

Federal Relations.

Mr. Conrad, of Frederick, offered the following:

Resolved, That a committee, to consist of 21 delegates selected from the different sections of the State, to be termed "the Committee on Federal Relations," be appointed by the President; to said committee all resolutions touching Federal Relations which may be offered in Convention, shall be at once referred without debate; and it shall be their duty from time to time to report the same to the Convention for its action.

Mr. Wise, of Princess Anne, opposed the appointment of such a committee. From long, and some sad experience, he knew its importance and its power. The adoption of such a resolution would be tantamount to a denial of debate. He should demand a voice at every inch of the progress of the business of this Convention. He claimed the right to oppose any objectionable measure, and kill it, if possible, in its early stages. This was no time to submit our action to an arbitrary power, (applause,) and he hoped no such resolution would be passed.

Mr. Carlile,--If this applause in the galleries be continued, I shall be compelled to follow the example of a distinguished Virginia Senator, and move that they be cleared.

Mr. Wise.--God save me from applause. I sometimes think, when the crowd claps its hands, that I have done something wrong. I hope, however, that the gentleman will follow the example of the Senator in another respect, and, like him, endeavor to save his country. (Great applause.)

Mr. Carlile.--I now move that the galleries be cleared.

A Member.--Except the ladies.

Mr. Carlile.--Of course. They would be guilty of no such impropriety.

Mr. Montague said if a vote was to be taken on that motion, he should call for the ayes and noes.

Mr. Macfarland said that he knew the public assembled here respected law and order, and if a suitable admonition were given by the President, it would be effectual, without the necessity of clearing the galleries.

Mr. Carlile withdraw his motion.

Mr. Wise resumed his argument against the resolution. Its adoption would lead to ruinous delay, and the Convention would be kept waiting until the 4th of March was here — worse than any ides of March ever known.--What was do be done, ought to be done quickly. If they wanted to preserve peace and preserve the Union, they should act with promptness and decision. Let it be seen that Virginia is determined to stand up for her rights, and peace will be preserved.

Mr. Clemens said the resolution was inconsistent with the rules of the House. He was for striking out the words ‘"at once"’ and ‘"without debate."’ He hoped the gentleman from Princess Anne, when he counsels the Convention to pursue a particular policy, would remember that we were but the servants, and the people were the masters. They will decide upon our measures hereafter. He agreed with Mr. Wise that no proposition ought to pass this body without full, deliberate and unequivocal debate.

Mr. Conrad said with regard to the ‘"inconsistency"’ of the resolution alluded to, that the rules of the House of Delegates had been rescinded, and there were now no rules. He had not intended to stifle debate, but thought delay would best be avoided by having no debate until after measures had been considered by a committee and reported to the Convention. He was, however, willing to strike out the words alluded to, though he thought such a course would retard rather than expedite business.

Mr. Wise admitted the fairness of the gentleman's position. He adhered to his opinion, but in order that preliminary debate might not be prolonged, would suggest that the resolution be so modified as to restrict remarks to a certain length of time.

Mr. Conrad was disposed to modify so as to meet the views of all. He preferred the mode suggested by Mr. Wise, and would place the resolution in his hands.

After consultation with Mr. Wise, Mr. Conrad submitted the resolution, so modified as to make it read ‘"to said committee all resolutions touching Federal Relations which may be offered in Convention shall be referred; and it shall be their duty,"’ &c. The resolution then passed in that form.

Resolution of thanks.

On motion of Mr. Graves, the thanks of the Convention were tendered to Wm. F. Gordon, Jr., for the handsome manner in which he had discharged the duties of temporary Clerk.

Peace Conference.

Mr. Wilson offered the following:

Resolved, That the Virginia Commissioners to the Peace Conference now in session in the city of Washington, be respectfully requested to report to this body, at their earliest convenience, whether, in their opinion, any result acceptable to Virginia may be expected from the deliberations of their body.

Mr. Clemens objected. The resolution lies over.

Election of Printer.

Mr. Johnson, of Richmond, reminded the Convention that they had not yet elected a Printer, though work had been ordered to be done. He moved that they now proceed to the election. Carried.

Mr. Johnson nominated Capt. W. M. Elliott, of the Richmond Whig, and no other person being named, he was elected.

On motion of Mr. Haymond, the pay was fixed at the same rate of the Printer for the House of Delegates.


Mr. Morris offered a resolution for the appointment of a committee of five, to ascertain and report speedily if the hall cannot be better arranged for the accommodation of the Convention. Laid on the table.


The President said he had a disagreeable task to perform, namely: To disappoint twenty out of twenty-four of the finest lads in the Commonwealth by the appointment of four Pages from their number. He selected W. A. Talman, Edward Gay, Auguste Rosin, and Archer Fleeger.


The President submitted a communication from the Young Men's Christian Association, inviting the members to visit their Library and Reading Room, in Goddin's Hall, at such times as might suit their convenience.

Mr. Patrick moved an adjournment, but withdraw it at the request of Mr. Wise.

Personal Explanations.

Mr. Wise said he wished to detain the members for a short time, and asked the privilege of vindicating himself from aspersions cast upon him at this capital and at Washington. He asked if the gentleman from Augusta (Mr. Stuart) was in his seat.

Mr. Stuart.--He is.

Mr. Wise proceeded to remark that he was in feeble health; that he had been in retirement for the past two months, nursing the sick, during which time he had not interfered with public concerns, nor even meddled with the election which brought him here. But he had been pained to hear, from day to day, that he was heading a revolutionary army to commit outrages without the pale of law. He had received letters from the North, stating that it was difficult to convince the people that he was not at Washington or at Harper's Ferry, in disguise.--He could have told them that if he wanted to engage in any raid he could have sent any day 20,000 barrels of gunpowder to South Carolina; and that if anything could have tempted him into the attributed acts, it would have been these aspersions cast upon himself. When he arrived in the city last night, these rumors pursued him still, and a paper was placed in his hands form which it appeared that a debate took place in the Senate of Virginia, on a resolution offered by the gentleman from Augusta.

Mr. Patrick here suggested that the matter be postponed until to-morrow.

Mr. Wise said it would take but a few moments, and he wished to make his statement now, in order that the gentleman from Augusta might have an opportunity to relieve him from the imputation contained in the resolution.

The Clerk was then requested to read the resolution referred to. (It will be remembered, by those who observe the legislative proceedings, as alluding to rumors and reports, that certain ‘"rash and ill-advised persons"’ in Virginia contemplated an attack upon the Federal property, an invasion of Washington, &c.)

Mr. Stuart, of Augusta, said he could set the matter at rest. He never dreamed of alluding to Mr. Wise as one of the rash and ill-advised persons. He had been prompted to offer it, from having received letters from all quarters on the subject. He was pleased to say that a thought of the gentleman from Princess Anne never entered his mind in connection with the resolution.

Mr. Wise was gratified with the reply. He would not have thought so much of it, if the resolution, instead of taking it as true and censuring it, had instituted an inquiry upon the subject as at Washington. Had he been summoned there as a witness he could have made the Lieutenant-General wince, for he had reason to know that that official had made him the pretext for stationing troops at the Federal Capital. He had reason to know, too, that his private letters had been peered into, but whether in the post-office or elsewhere, this depon mant sayeth not. But enough upon that subject.

Mr. Wise then produced a letter which had been placed in his hands by Mr. Douglas, the Senator from King William, written to that gentlemen by Messrs. J. D. Imboden and Jno. A. Harman, of Staunton. It details a conversation with Mr. Stuart in the rotunda of the Exchange Hotel, in the course of which (as stated) Mr. S. said a movement had been put on foot for the Convention to remove Gov. Letcher from office, and to put Mr. Wise in his place; that the fact had been telegraphed to Mr. Wise; that the information he (Mr. S.) had upon the subject was from a source not accessible to the public, and there was no doubt of its truth.

Mr. Wise, after reading the letter, and a note from Mr. Douglas, saying he did not regard it as of such a character as to be withheld, proceeded to remark that there was not, so far as he was concerned, one word of truth in the report. He could not say that some one did not undertake to telegraph him on the subject, but he lived eight miles from the telegraph station, and no such message had ever reached him. It was never intimated to him until he read this letter. If it had been, it would have met only a smile of pity at the idea. But this coming from a Senator of Virginia, he was compelled to ask what were the facts?

Mr. Stuart said it gave him pleasure to respond. As to his having received positive information on the subject, it was an entire mistake. He never had any information, except as an on dit in the rotunda of the Exchange. The gentlemen met him, and in answer to their common-place inquiry, ‘"what's the news?"’ he had mentioned this as one of the rumors of the day; but he was of the opinion that he never connected the name of the gentleman from Princess Anne with the rumor. He would not be certain of that, however.--He had heard it spoken of in the presence of Gov. Letcher, when he and others treated it as a just. He (Mr. S.) never thought or spoke of it, except as one of the rumors of the day.

Mr. Wise replied that he had trouble enough

in the canvass of '55, in endeavoring to keep his friend, whom he was happy to see here, (Mr. Flournoy,) out of the office, to desire another encounter in an attempt to oust his successor. He would, however, say, that he would have much preferred to be Commander-in-Chief of the army of Virginia now, to holding that position during the John Brown raid. Mr. Wise thanked God that, in times like these, he was hot-blooded. He believed there was truth in the aphorism of Jackson--‘"By the Eternal! there is policy in rashness."’ But he did not approve of rashness without calculation. In closing, Mr. Wise said that if this Commonwealth ever submitted to the rule of Black Republicanism, he would turn from her, with weeping but not with despair, and rush to some sister Commonwealth and beg her to come and save the mother.

On motion of Mr. Montague, the Convention adjourned.

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