General Assembly of Virginia.


Saturday, December 16, 1865.
The Senate met at the usual hour; Mr. Trout, of Augusta, in the chair. Prayer by Dr. Minnigerode.

By Mr. Robinson:

‘ "Resolved, That a joint committee of three on the part of the Senate and five on the part of the House be appointed to visit the Eastern and Western Lunatic Asylums, and institutions for the Education of the Deaf and Dumb and Blind, and examine into their condition and management." Passed.

’ By Mr. Hannah:

‘ "Resolved, That the Committee of Courts of Justice be instructed to inquire into the expediency of providing by law to enforce the qualification of overseers of the poor after their election." Passed.

Mr. Taliaferro offered a preamble and resolution to the effect that--

"Whereas Virginia had conformed to the forms and conditions required of her, that it is her right and duty to express regret and disappointment at having her members elect refused seats in the United States councils."

After a brief discussion it was withdrawn.

Mr. Robinson offered the following:

‘ "Resolved. That so much of the Governor's message as applies to the Penitentiary, the Deaf and Dumb and Blind and Lunatic Asylums, be referred to the Committee on Public Institutions." Agreed to.

Mr. Robinson also offered the following:

‘ "Resolved. That the Committee on Public Institutions be, and they care hereby, instructed to inquire into the late Armory, with power to send for persons and papers."

’ On motion of Mr. Strother, a bill authorizing the Auditor of Public Accounts to pay claims of public officers in certain cases was taken up and passed unanimously.

The following bills were received from the House of Delegates:

An act to provide for the liabilities of the Lunatic Asylum at Staunton, incurred prior to the 1st July, 1865. Taken up and passed unanimously.

An act to amend the charter of the Midlothian Coal-Mining Company and to extend the duration of the same. The Senate agreed to the House amendment.

The report of the Select Committee on Public Printing was amended by striking out the resolution to go into the immediate election of a Public Printer.

Mr. McRae offered the following substitute for the report of the committee:

‘ "Resolved. That the matter relating to Public Printer be recommitted to the Joint Select Committee, who are requested to advertise for proposals for the execution of the public printing."

Mr. McRae advocated the contract system and the resolution in a few remarks, but the resolution was lost.

Mr. Gray opposed, in a short but telling speech, the appointment of a Public Printer. He showed the frauds perpetrated under that system.

Mr. Meade replied with much force in favor of electing a Public Printer. He held that the use of the contract system by the United States Government was itself a strong argument against it. He wanted a Virginian, and did not want him underbid by Yankee printers.

Mr. Cabell spoke in favor of the contract system.

Mr. Keen opposed the contract system on the ground that he was opposed to reforms (as they are called) of all kinds. He spoke with much earnestness.

Mr. Robinson wanted to stop this debate and get to the vote.

The report of the Select Committee was accepted by the Senate — ayes 19; noes, 18.


House of Delegates.

The House met at 12 o'clock, M.

The Speaker announced the following select joint committee on the pardon of Jefferson Davis and others, and the restoration of the writ of habeas corpus: Messrs. Baylor, Martin, Holmes, Bowles, Hancock, Trout, Lewis, Childress, Mann, Parsons, Langhorne.

Mr. Joynes, from the Committee on Courts of Justice, reported the following bills, which were read and ordered to be printed:

‘ A bill to provide that credit in all suits hereafter brought shall be endorsed on the original writ.

’ A bill to amend and re-enact section three of chapter three of the Code.

A bill providing for the punishment of vagrants. This bill provides that vagrants may be arrested by the overseers of the poor or others having charge of the county police on warrant of a justice, and hired out for a term not exceeding three months, the proceeds of hire to be appropriated to the support of the vagrant and his family; or, if they cannot be hired out, may be sent to the poor-house or work-house, or put on public works; and vagrants are described to be--

  1. "1. All persons who shall unlawfully return into any county or corporation whence they have been legally removed.
  2. "2. All persons who, not having wherewith to maintain themselves and their families, live idly and without employment, and refuse to work for the usual and common wages given to other laborers in the like work in the place where they are.
  3. "3. All persons who shall refuse to perform the work which shall be allotted to them by the overseer of the poor.
  4. "4. All persons going about from door to door, or placing themselves in streets, highways, or other roads, to beg alms, and all other persons wandering abroad begging.
  5. "5. All persons who shall come from any place without this Commonwealth to any place within it, and shall be found loitering and residing therein, and shall follow no labor, trade, occupation or business, and have no visible means of subsistence, and can give no reasonable account of themselves or their business in such a place."
Mr. Garnett, from the Committee on Propositions and Grievances, reported back Senate bill to amend and extend the charter of the Midlothian Coal Mining Company, with an amendment, which was concurred in, and the bill passed.

Mr. Graham, from the Committee on Roads, &c., reported the following, which were read and ordered to be printed:

‘ A bill to direct the transfer of certain turnpikes and plankroads to the counties in which they lie.

’ A bill to authorize the Richmond and Danville Railroad Company to borrow money.

A bill to authorize the Richmond and Danville railroad to secure certain liabilities to be incurred by the Piedmont railroad.

Mr. Bowles, from the Committee on Agriculture, reported a resolution that the petition of Duff Green asking for the incorporation of the "American Industrial Agency," and the "Mining, Manufacturing and Improvement Company," be granted. The report was accepted.

Mr. Bentley, from the Committee on Banks, reported a bill for arresting suits against the banks of this State, so that all creditors of those institutions may stand upon the same footing. Ordered to be printed, but was subsequently reconsidered, and amendments being offered, was, on motion, by Mr. Lee, recommitted.

House bill to provide for the liabilities of the Staunton Lunatic Asylum was passed.

House bill providing that "when any citizen of this State, being twenty-one years of age, shall reside elsewhere, and in good faith become the citizen of some other State of this Union, or the citizen or subject of a foreign State or sovereign, he shall not be deemed a citizen of this State," was considered and passed.

The resolution providing for a joint committee to make contracts for the printing of the two Houses was taken up, and a motion to lay on the table by Mr. Dunnington was rejected.

On motion, by Mr. Waddell, the words empowering the committee to make contracts for printing were stricken out, and the resolution passed.

By Mr. Waddell.--A resolution that the Committee on Public Printing inquire into the expediency of appointing a superintendent to let out and supervise the execution of the printing. Agreed to.

By Mr. Pendleton.--A resolution that the Committee on Roads, &c., inquire into the expediency of districting the State for the election of Commissioners of Public Works, or, if deemed expedient, to report a bill abolishing the Board of Public Works.

Mr. Woodson submitted the following resolutions, prefaced by a preamble giving the history of the partition of Virginia:

‘ "Resolved by the General Assembly of Virginia, That it is the wish of the people of Virginia that the partition of the territory of the State into two States should no longer continue, but that the ancient Commonwealth of Virginia should be restored with all her people and up to her former boundaries.

"Resolved further, That a joint committee of seven on the part of the House and four on the part of the Senate be appointed, whose duty it shall be to report to this General Assembly, at the earliest practicable period, if they deem it expedient, a proposition, to be submitted to the State and people of West Virginia, for the accomplishment of the purpose indicated in the first resolution."

Mr. Woodson advocated his resolutions.

Mr. Garnett moved to lay the resolutions upon the table. The people of West Virginia had separated from us, and he was in favor of letting them go. His constituency were opposed to letting them come back, even if they so desired.

Mr. Patterson was for letting West Virginia go. They had abandoned us when we needed their services, and we did not want them now.

Mr. Wilson desired their return. He was for forgetting all that was disagreeable in the past, and hoped yet to see Virginia restored to her ancient prosperity and greatness.

Mr. Herndon desired to see the ancient boundaries of the Old Dominion restored. He paid a handsome tribute to Virginia, the valor of her sons, and the virtue and patriotism of her daughters, and prophesied the future greatness of the State.

Mr. Joynes was in favor of the return of West Virginia.

Pending the discussion of the motion to lay on the table, the House adjourned.

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