Virginia State Convention.
Monday, Feb. 25, 1861.
The Convention was called to order at 12 o'clock.
Prayer by the Rev. Dr. Minnegerode, of St. Paul's Church.
Committee.The President announced the following select committee, under Mr. Tredway's resolution, adopted on Saturday, to make inquiries as to whether any movement of arms or men has been made by the General Government, indicating a purpose to coerce Virginia; Messrs. Tredway, Pendleton, Bouldin, Wilson and Mallory.
Amendments to the Constitution.Mr. Haymond offered the following resolution, which, on his motion, was laid on the table and ordered to be printed: ‘ Resolved, That the Constitution of this State should be amended, and that this Convention will amend the Constitution wherein it is necessary and proper that it should be amended, and will submit the same as amended to the voters of the State for their adoption or rejection. ’ Mr. Hall, of Wetzel, offered the following, which, on motion of Mr. Chambliss, was laid on the table: ‘ Resolved, That a committee of twenty-one be appointed by the Chair, to be styled the Committee on the State Constitution, and that they report to the Convention what amendments, if any, are necessary at present to be made to the present State Constitution. ’
Petition.Mr. Chambliss, of Greensville, presented a petition from Robert R. Collier, Esq., of Petersburg, making suggestions with regard to the present condition of the country, which was read. Mr. Nelson of Clark, moved that it be laid upon the table, but withdrew it temporarily at the request of Mr. Chambliss, who had previously asked for the reference of the petition to the Committee on Federal Relations. Mr. Chambliss advocated the right of petition, and said the suggestions of any citizen were entitled to the consideration which they deserved. Mr. Nelson, was in favor of the right of petition but opposed to reference on the ground that it would open the door for an endless number of petitions, which would consume too much time. He renewed his motion to lay upon the table, and Mr. Chambliss called for the yeas and nays. The call being sustained, the Clerk proceeded to call the roll, and the vote resulted — yeas 18, nays 98. So the motion to lay upon the table was decided in the negative, and the petition was referred to the Committee on Federal Relations.
Compensation of officers.Mr. Johnson, of Richmond, from the Committee on Compensation of Officers of the Convention, made a report. The report allows the President, in addition to his mileage, $8 per day; the Clerk, including compensation of assistants, $100 per week; Sergeant- at-Arms, $30 per week; each Doorkeeper, $28 per week; each Page, $14 per week; Superintendent of the Hall, (Mr. John D. Smith,) $5 per day, including compensation of servants, &c. The report was adopted.
The National difficulties.Mr. Moobe, of Rockbridge, offered the following resolutions:
- 1st. Resolved, That the conduct of the so-called free States, in resisting the execution of the Fugitive Slave Law — in refusing to give up criminals fleeing from justice — and in seeking to deprive the Southern States of any portion of the common territory of the nation — and of their citizens, in circulating incendiary pamphlets among us — in furnishing arms to bands of assassins to invade our borders, and murder our people — with other flagrant wrongs, is such as to require prompt reparation of the injuries inflicted, and justify Virginia in demanding, as she does demand, full and ample security that those wrongs shall not be repeated.
- 2d. That Virginia can never consent to become a member of any Confederacy, by the Constitution of which the re-opening of the African slave trade is not prohibited.
- 3d. That Virginia will not become a member of any Confederacy, the Government of which, except under extraordinary circumstances, is to be supported by direct taxation.
- 4th. That this Convention doth approve of the amendments to the Constitution of the United States, proposed by the Crittenden resolutions; and declare its readiness to accept the same as a satisfactory adjustment of existing controversies between the Northern and Southern States.
- 5th. That in the event of the amendments referred to, or other equivalent amendments to the Constitution of the United States, not being adopted, Virginia will be ready to enter into a compact with such States as will agree to said amendments; by which the present Government of the United States shall be declared to be dissolved, as to the States so agreeing, and that they will thenceforth constitute a new Confederacy under the Constitution so amended, from which all the States not so agreeing shall be excluded.
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And, by opposing, end them?"
’ Mr. Goode, while enforcing this point of his argument in words of thrilling effect, was heartily applauded by the spectators; where upon the President requested Mr. G. to suspend his remarks, and ordered the Sergeant-at-Arms to ‘"clear the galleries."’ Mr. Goode appealed to the President to countermand the order, but he declined. In compliance with the hint, the populace began to move towards the doors, when Mr. Franklin Thomas, a citizen of Richmond, exclaimed in a loud voice-- Mr. President! I have one single appeal to make. A motion was made that he be taken into custody, to which Mr. Thomas expressed his willingness, but the motion was withdrawn. After quiet had been restored, Mr. Brent, of Alexandria, moved that the resolutions under consideration be laid on the table until morning, as Mr. Goode did not desire to proceed with his remarks this afternoon. The motion was agreed to. Mr. Montague called the attention of the President to the fact, that an individual had been taken into custody in compliance with an order from the Chair, and asked that the matter be disposed of. The President said he gave no such order, and went on to explain what had occurred. Mr. Wysor, of Pulaski, said that the gentleman who made the disturbance had refused to leave, and was, in consequence, taken into custody by the Sergeant- at-Arms. After some further conversational debate, Mr. R. Y. Conrad moved that the prisoner be discharged from custody, which was carried in the affirmative. Mr. Burdett, of Taylor, offered a resolution, that in view of the disturbance that had just occurred, a committee be appointed to take into consideration the expediency of adjourning to Staunton, or some other place at which the sessions can be held without being interrupted by outside pressure. On motion of Mr. Wickhan, the resolution was laid on the table.