Virginia State Convention.
Wednesday, April 10, 1861.
The Convention was called to order at 10 o'clock. Prayer by the Rev. Mr. Bosserman
, of the Universalist Church.
, of King
, presented the proceedings of a meeting of the citizens of that county, embodying resolutions in favor of secession; which, on his motion, were referred and ordered to be printed.
Equality of taxation.
The resolutions offered some time ago, by Mr.Willey
, of Monongalia, on the subject of taxation, came up in order, and Mr. Willey
briefly addressed the Convention
, urging their adoption, and opposing the amendments that had been proposed.
, of Gloucester
, advocated the amendment which he had offered, for the raising of a committee to report on the subject at an adjourned session.
, of Preston
, was in favor of action with out delay.
If it was the design of the Convention
to refuse the act of justice demanded by the West
, they ought to know it.
, of Greenville
, was willing to meet his Western friends at the proper time in a spirit of kindness; but he appealed to them to let the important Federal questions be acted on first.
No injustice was intended towards them.
He was in favor of the amendment offered by Mr. Seawell
, of Marion
, said the West
demanded that this subject should be settled before they would consent to the settlement of National questions upon any basis looking to separation.
moved the previous question, and the call was sustained. --The original resolutions were then read, together with an amendment offered by Mr. Turner
, of Jackson
, and the amendment to the amendment, offered by Mr. Seawell
Pending the consideration of the subject, the hour of half-past 10 arrived, and the Convention
Committee of the whole,
in the chair, for the purpose of considering the report of the Committee
on Federal Relations.
The 12th resolution was taken up, and Mr. Armstrong
, of Hampshire
, moved to amend by inserting the words ‘"within the jurisdiction of the seceded States,"’ after the words ‘"United States
,"’ (11th line.) Rejected.
, of Washington
, moved to amend the resolution by striking out the word ‘"nor,"’ (same line.) Agreed to.
, of Harrison
, said he would make one more effort to amend this report, after which he thought he should ‘"subside."’-- He moved to strike out all from the words ‘"seceded States,"’ to the end, which reads ‘"and that no attempt be made to subject them to Federal authority, nor to reinforce the forts now in possession of the military forces of the United States
, recapture the forts, arsenals, or other property of the United States
within their limits, nor to exact the payment of imposts upon their commerce; nor any measure resorted to, justly calculated to provoke hostile collision."’
The amendment was rejected — years 17, nays 104.
, of Princess Anne, moved to amend the 12th resolution by adding thereto the following: ‘"And the forts, arsenals, magazines and other places ceded to the United States
, in the the limits of the seceded States, ought to be evacuated by the authorities of the Federal Government
urged its adoption, as proposing a necessary measure of pacification.
, of Kanawha
, regarded the principle as an important one, and if the gentleman would so frame his amendment as to restrict it to merely local forts, it would, he thought, receive a vote approaching unanimity.
The forts at Tortugas
and Key West
, he conceived, should constitute an exception.-- They were points of national importance, as connected with the Gulf
Mr. Mr. Wise
said if the distinction which the gentleman made was not a distinction without a difference, he might act upon his suggestion.
The Constitution made all the forts, arsenals; magazines, and dockyards, National.
There was no such thing as a ‘"local"’ fort.-- There was no difference in the two forts mentioned by the gentleman; and Fort Pickens
, located in the same State.
The rule that required the evacuation of one fort required the evacuation of all.
, of Augusta
, moved to amend the amendment by inserting after the word ‘"ought,"’ the words ‘"in the interests of peace."’ Mr. Baldwin
said that he had understood the gentleman from Princess Anne to indicate that the object of his amendment was peace, and he desired that it should so appear in the resolution.
suggested that the phraseology be changed so as to make the amendment to the amendment read ‘"for purposes of pacifi cation."’ Mr. Baldwin
adopted the suggestion, and Mr. Wise
accepted the amendment, making his own amendment read ‘"ought, for purposes of pacification, to be evacuated by the authorities of the Federal Government
made another argument in regard to the claimed distinctions between the forts, and Mr. Baldwin
The vote was then taken, and the amendment rejected by the following vote:
, Jas. Barbour
, Richard. H. Cox
, Goggin Jno Goode
Jr., Thos. F. Goode
, Addison Hall, Cyrus Hall, L. S. Hall
, Kilby, Lawson
, Charles K. Mallory
, James B. Mallory
, Shefffey, Southall
, Speed, Surange, Sutherlin
, Tredway, Tyler
, Walter, Williams
, and Wysor.--60.
Alfred M. Barbour
, Brent. Brown. Burdett
, C. B. Conrad
, Robt. Y. Conrad
Eph'm B. Hall
, Peter C- Johnston
, Robt. E. Scott
, Sharp, Sitlington, Slaughter
, Chapman J. Stuart
, and Wilson
moved to amend the 12th resolution by striking out the words ‘"the forts now in possession of the military forces of the United States
,"’ and inserting the words ‘"any of the forts situate on the main land, or within the harbors of any of the seceded States."’
Debated by Messrs. Summers
, and adopted — a yes 78, noes not counted.
then moved to further amend the resolution by striking out the word ‘"nor,"’ and inserting the word ‘"except,"’ so as to make it read ‘"and that no attempt be made to subject them to Federal authority, except
to reinforce,"’ &c. Mr. Wise
thought this amendment necessary in consequence of the effect of the amendment just adopted.
In reply to a question asked by Mr. Summers
, Mr. Wise
declared that he was ready for secession the moment any one of the forts was reinforced; and not only that, but he was ready now to leave his seat and march to the aid to South Carolina
, a dispatch having been just revealed that the battle had commenced.
(This declaration created a visible sensation throughout the hall, and a disposition to applaud was quite manifest.)
said he was not prepared to make a reply with any reference to the telegraphic dispatch alluded to, for he was not aware of its extent; but he was called upon as a member of this body to deliberate with calmness upon the propositions before it. He differed entirely from the interpretation given to his own amendment by the gentleman from Princess Anne.
He regretted exceedingly if anything was occurring at Charleston
, or elsewhere, to disturb the peace of the country, but maintained that we were not to be driven from our propriety by any telegraphic dispatches.
When the path of duty and honor was fully pointed out, Virginians
would not hesitate as to the line of policy they should pursue.
replied, and read the dispatch to which he previously referred, to the effect that the Pawnee
had sailed from Norfolk
with sealed orders for the South
(The development called forth a laugh from the "Union" side.) Mr. Wise
, in continuing his remarks, paid an eloquent tribute to the "Southern cross," and said he would never consent that any Yankee foe should filch the Union
, or the forts, or the Capital
, from him.
, of Prince George, moved to amend Mr. Wise
's amendment (which he had signified his willingness to withdraw, but objection was made.) by adding to the word ‘"except,"’ the words ‘"with provisions."’--[Laughter.]
, in a forcible speech, commented with particular severity upon the attempt to starve out Maj. Anderson
, and said that if the attempt of the Federal Government
to supply him with provisions was to be a cause of war, he called upon the whole world to look down with an eye of condemnation upon the proceeding of South Carolina
, and claimed that it was the duty of Virginia
to help keep Maj. Anderson
alive until pending difficulties are adjusted.
' amendment was then voted down — ayes 35, noes 60.
said he had offered his own amendment for the purpose of getting an opportunity of replying to the gentleman from Kanawha
, and he now asked leave to withdraw it. No objection being made, the amendment was withdrawn.
moved to amend the 12th resolution by adding thereto the following:
"And the forts, arsenals, magazines and other places ceded to the United States
, and situate on the mainland, or for the protection of the harbors of the seceded States, ought, for the purposes of pacification, to be evacuated by the authorities of the Federal Government
, could not vote for the amendment, which he did not consider germanin to the resolution.
appreciated the force of the objection.
He was not strenuous for the adoption of the amendment; but he and some of his friends wished to set themselves right in regard to the amendment previously offered by the gentleman from Princess Anne, which they had voted against because it proposed the evacuation of some forts which they did not consider a necessary condition; not because they denied the principle.
The roll was called and the amendment agreed to — years 101, nays 25.
desired to move as an amendment that the Committee
now rise and report their work to the Convention
, and are hereby discharged from the further consideration of the report.
Decided out of order.
The resolution, as amended, was then adopted.
It reads as follows:
12. The people of Virginia
will await any reasonable time to obtain answers from the other States, to these propositions of amendment, aware of the embarrassments that may produce delay but they will expect, as an indispensable condition, that a pacific policy shall be adopted towards the seceded States, and that no attempt be made to subject them to the Federal
authority, nor to reinforce any of the forts situate on the mainland, or within the harbors of any of the seceded States, re-capture the forts, arsenals, or other property of the United States
, within their limits, nor to exact the payment of imposts upon their commerce; nor any measure resorted to justly calculated to provoke hostile collision.
And the forts, arsenals, magazines, and other places ceded to the United States
, and situate on the mainland, or for the protection of purposes of pacification, to be evacuated by the authorities of the Federal Government
The thirteenth resolution was then taken up:
13. In the opinion of this Convention, the people of Virginia
would regard any action of the Federal Government
, tending to produce a Collinston of forces, pending negotiations for the adjustment of existing difficulties, as aggressive and injurious to the interests, and offensive to the honor of this Common wealth; and they would regard any such action on the part of the seceded or Confederated States as hurtful and unfriendly, and as leaving them free to determine their future policy.
moved to amend by striking out the word ‘"them,"’ (tenth line,) and inserting‘"the people of Virginia
."’ Agreed to--73 to 21.
moved to further amend by striking out all after the word ‘"Commonwealth."’（seventh line,) and advocated his amendment.
, of Campbell
, moved to amend the amendment by leaving there in all except the words ‘"and as leaving them free to determine their future policy."’ Mr. Speed
explained his amendment.
replied, directing his remarks to the amendment offered by Mr. Wise
He said that so long as he was a citizen of the United States
, he should defend the flag of the United States
, and oppose all who assailed it. His motto was, ‘"My country, may she be always right; but, right or wrong, my country."’
said that was a very good fourth of July oration.
The gentleman, however, could not go beyond him in his attachment to the star-spangled banner; and when he attempted to carry it to the North
he would have to fight with him. He intended to keep that flag from Yankee and English hands, and when the struggle came as to who should have it — those who had broken or those who had kept the compact, it would be severe.
Pending the consideration of he amendment, the hour for recess arrived.