House of delegates.
Tuesday, March 12th, 1861.
was called to order at 11 o'clock, by Mr. Tomlin
, of King William.
The passage of a number of bills by the Senate was communicated from that body.-- The House
agreed to Senate amendments to bill establishing branches of the Merchants' Banks at certain places.
Senate Bills Passed.
--Senate bills were passed as follows: Enforcing
the payment of balances due from Commissioners upon forfeited and delinquent lands; incorporating the Rockbridge White Sulphur Springs Company; amending the act incorporating the Mason City
Mining and Manufacturing Company, in Mason county
; providing for the voluntary enslavement of certain free negroes of Fauquier county
; incorporating the Virginia Mineral Oil
and Coal Company, in Mason county
; incorporating the Jackson County
Agricultural Society; providing for the voluntary enslavement of certain free negroes in Hanover county
--The bill amending that portion of the Code concerning Turnpike Companies was laid on the table.
said he designed to offer for the action of the House
, a series of rssolutions on the present state of affairs.
He requested that they be read, which was done, as follows:
- Resolved, by the General Assembly of Virginia, That without deeming it necessary to decide on the right of a State to secede from the Union, we yet recognize the fact that seven States at least have actually seceded, and have peacefully organized and established State Governments, and a Confederate Government of their own, to which the people thereof seem to pay all allegiance, and render obedience in like manner as the people of any other Government.
- 2. That without, in like manner, deeming it necessary to inquire into the General Government to execute the laws of the United States within the territory, or against the people of such seceded States or Confederacy, by force, we yet wholly deprecate and denounce the policy of attempting to do so, which seems to be indicated by the President of the United States as that which he proposes to pursue, as being, in the actual circumstances which exist, utterly inexpedient and reprehensible, and tending to involve the whole country in an unnecessary and abhorrent war.
That interests of Virginia, of vast magnitude, vital to her safety, and of paramount importance to all others, and common, moreover, to other States of the Union, are so bound up in, and imperilled by, the inevitable results of that policy of coercion towards the seceding States, which seems to be foreshadowed in the President's Inaugural address, as to authorize her to demand that he should forbear from attempting to carry any such purposes into execution, if such has been his design; and to declare that, if such attempt be made, Virginia should, in our opinion, and will, oppose to it, with all her means, and in such mode as her sovereign authorities shall deem most expedient, a determined resistance.
- 4. That by the ratification of the Conventions of nine States of the original thirteen, the Government of the United States became an established Government among the Powers of the earth; that as the accession of other States to the Union does not increase or change in the slightest degree its political powers, so neither does, nor can, the secession of others from it lessen or effect them; that it remains, in both cases, neither less nor more, a perfect Union and complete Government to all intents and purposes, with the rights conferred on it by the Constitution, full and unimpaired forever, so long as nine States, whose concurrence sufficed, originally, rightfully to establish it, shall choose to continue it.
That the Government of the United States is, therefore, competent to consider the seceded States or the Confederate States of America, without any necessity for deciding the validity of the claim they assert to independence de jure, as being independent de facto, and may treat and deal with them in all respects, so far as the question of power is concerned, as with any other States or people claiming independent political existence.
- 6. That the mode of dealing with such cases, whether by war or by specific modes of settlement should depend on the causes which give to them the consequences they entail, and all the circumstances that surround them; that in none of these considerations, in the present instance, can be found just cause of war, and we earnestly recommend the present recognition by the Government of the United States of the fact of the independent political existence of the Southern States, or Confederation — but. at all events, its total abstaining from all efforts forcibly to execute the laws of the United States within their territorial limits, or against their citizens, or to hold, occupy or possess the property and places belonging to it therein, or to collect the duties and imports, as being in effect, or leading inevitably to, war.
That the main causes of the trouble between the North and the South are to be found in the offensive intermeddling of the former with our exclusive right to regulate our domestic institutions --in their invidious ascription of sinfulness to them, and in the insulting claim to exclude us from all Territories of which we are part owners, except upon the condition of our parting with our slaves; and, in the formation and accession to power of a party "founded on geographical discriminations"--all which acts we hold to be equally against the spirit and provisions of the Constitution — a just equality of rights and eta duty; that the first duty of the North, if it would win back the States that have gone out of the Union, or would keep in those which still remain, is to "do justice" to the South by removing these causes of complaint.
But if, from prejudice, they choose to indulge, or in an incorrect appreciation of their obligations they shall decide that they cannot, or will not, remove those causes, then they should at once concur in some proper mode of providing for the peaceful separation from another of such States as may choose to remain united on the original terms of constitutional and social equality, to be secured by proper additional guarantees, and those which refuse to continue in the Union on these terms — for continued Union on any other terms is simply impossible.
- 8. That it is the true policy, and should be the aim of Virginia, unless driven by a force policy of the General Government into disruption or war, to maintain and restore her Union with all the States North and South of her that are willing to stand loyally on the Constitution, in its original spirit and meaning, with such amendments thereof as experience has show a to be necessary to carry out the original objects of its formation; and to force out of the Union all such states as are faithless to its obligations and its objects, and shall refuse to concur in making such amendments; and to facilitate that object should proceed now, by her Convention, to prepare such amendments as they may deem suitable and satisfactory, and take proper measures to obtain the earliest practicable action on them by the people of the different States, through a General Convention or otherwise, whose proceedings, if the same be held, to be reported back to the Convention of Virginia for ratification or rejection; and if said General Convention be not held, or if its conclusions be not ratified, then the Convention of Virginia to take such measures for severing her connection with the present Union, and for her future welfare, as to them shall seem best.
, of Jefferson
, said he hoped the House
would lay the resolutions on the table, as he was of opinion that they assumed the duties of the Convention
now in session in this city.
said he was embarrassed by the motion offered.
Designing, as he had done, to offer one of similar import, (after addressing the House
,) he could make no reply to it.
The Speaker said that Mr. Robertson
would be afforded an opportunity of addressing the House
by moving to indefinitely postpone — He then made such motion, and addressed the House
; at the close of which, a motion to lay on the table prevailed.
renewed the motion for indefinite postponement.
objected to the resolutions.
He supposed they would lay on the table, if objected to.
, of Gloucester
, said the unfinished business of yesterday was before the House
when the resolutions were offered.
The mover only asked that they be read for the information of members.
He was of opinion that further proceedings were out of order, as no motion had yet been submitted to pass by the unfinished business, and consequently the resolutions were not properly before the House
The Speaker said that if it were insisted on, the unfinished business took precedence over everything else.
said he supposed the resolutions would lay on the table, objection having been made to them.
The Speaker so ruled, and the resolution were laid on the table.
moved to lay over the unfinished business of yesterday, (the James River
and Kanawha Canal bill,) which next came up in order.
He did so for the purpose of asking the House
to take up the bill incorporating the Richmond and Liverpool Packet Company.
The motion to lay over on the table was agreed to.
On motion of Mr. Newton
, the bill of incorporation was then taken up, and being read a third time, was passed.
The James River and Kanawha Canal.
--The Speaker said that the "bill incorporating the Virginia Canal Company, and transferring the rights and franchise of the James River
and Kanawha Canal Company," came up as unfinished business.
proceeded to its consideration.--It was read section by section, and was amended and discussed.
On motion, the House