Virginia State Convention.

Wednesday, February 13, 1861.

The delegates elect to the State Convention assembled in the hall of the House of Delegates at 12 o'clock M. The outside pressure was very great, and it was with some difficulty that the crowd could be kept from filling up the hall. The galleries were densely thronged, the eastern one being entirely occupied by ladies.

Temporary organization.

The assembly was called to order by Mr. Robert E. Scott, of Fauquier, who suggested that the Convention appoint a temporary Chairman, and on his motion, Mr. James H. Cox, of Chesterfield, was unanimously chosen.

Messrs. Patrick and Summers, of Kanawha, conducted Mr. Cox to the Chair.

The Chairman returned his profound acknowledgments for the honor, and reminded the Convention that they held in their hands the destinies of this great nation — upon their action, he believed, depended the salvation of the Republic.

On motion of Mr. Scott, of Fauquier, Mr. Wm. F. Gordon, Jr., was appointed temporary Clerk of the Convention.

The roll of delegates was then called, and it was ascertained that a quorum was present.

Permanent organization.

Mr. Summers, of Kanawha, nominated John Janney, of Loudoun, for President of the Convention.

Mr. Flournoy, of Halifax, nominated Valentine W. Southall, of Albemarle.

The vote was then taken, and resulted as follows:

for Mr. Janney64
for Mr. Southall54

Mr. Janney was thereupon declared elected President of the Convention.

Messrs. Summers, of Kanawha, and Floursoy, of Halifax, were appointed a committee to wait upon Mr. Janney and inform him of his election.

this duty having been performed, the same Gentlemen conducted the President to the Chair. He addressed the Convention, in substance, as follows:

Gentlemen of the Convention: I did not realize the fact until within the last two hours that I might possibly be called to preside over your deliberations, and therefore have no production of my head to give you; but my heart is full, and from that I desire to address you briefly. I return you my most cordial and sincere thanks for the honor conferred, not upon myself alone, but upon the county I partly represent. I am called to preside over the deliberations of a body by far the most important of any that has assembled since 1776. I am without experience, know little of parliamentary law, or the rules of proceeding. I have nothing to promise but strict fidelity and impartiality. Errors I may commit, but they will be Errors of the head and not of the heart, which your kindness will excuse, and for which your body will find a prompt corrective.

it is now almost 73 years since a Convention of the people of the Commonwealth assembled in this hall, for the purpose of ratifying the Constitution of the United States. The one main object was to consolidate, not the Government, but the Union of these States. Causes which it is not now necessary to enumerate, but which are fast passing into history, have placed that Constitution in imminent peril. Virginia has been called to the rescue, and well might the call be made upon her, the country expects it at her hands. Her honored son, whose ashes rest at Mount Vernon, the political Mecca of all future ages, was the President of the body who framed the Constitution.--another son, whose brow was encircled with a civic wreath which never fades, was its Chief architect; and five of her native sons have been called to the position of Chief Magistrate of the Republic.--the responsibility resting upon us is tremendous. It cannot be that a Government thus founded can now be permitted to fail, without reproach to the wisdom of its founders, as well as our own patriotism and intelligence. The old flag of the Union which has triumphantly waved for nearly a century, in battle and in peace, now floats above this capital, with one star which represents this ancient Commonwealth. God grant that it may remain there forever. But I know I speak the sentiment of every member of this body, when I say, that it must remain with its original lustre, undimmed and untarnished. [Applause.] We shall demand full and equal rights with New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio, and nothing more. We would scorn to ask more than would be conceded to the little States of Delaware and Rhode Island. Rhode Island! God bless her! a little State, but with a heart big enough for all. She was the first to repeal her Personal Liberty laws, and it is hoped that the others will follow her example.

I repeat, that the responsibility resting upon this body is awful. I consented to be a candidate for a seat here with fear and trembling. The people will revise our action, and I trust that our measures will be brought to such a conclusion as that some of our sisters of the South, who, from what they believe to be just causes, have wandered from their orbit, may be brought back to this their older sister. I hope that even Massachusetts will remember the land whence Washington came to struggle for her liberties, and, awakened by our example, expunge from her statute book that which her wisest and best men say is a disgrace to it. Gentlemen, this is no party Convention. We must elevate ourselves into an atmosphere where party prejudice and party passion can not live. In conclusion, I again thank you for the honor you have thought proper to confer upon me, and hope that your action may redound to the good of the State and of the Union.

’ the Convention then proceeded to elect a Secretary.

Mr. Tredway, of Pittsylvania, nominated Stephen C. Whittle, of Powhatan, who was Secretary of the Constitutional Convention of 1850.

Mr. Patrick, of Kanawha, nominated Green Peyton, of Albemarle.

Mr. Barbour, of Jefferson, nominated Samuel. T. Walker, of Rockingham.

Mr. Barbour, of Culpeper, nominated Zephaniah T. Turner, of Bappahannock.

Mr. Southall, of Albemarie, seconded the nomination of Green Peyton, and urged his election.

Mr. Moore, of Rockbridge, nominated John L. Eubank, of the city of Richmond.

Mr. Garland, of Amherst, seconded the nomination of Mr. Eubank.

Mr. Scott of Fauquier, seconded the nomination of Mr. Turner.

Mr. Leare, of Goochland, nominated S. Bassett French, of Chesterfield.

Mr. MacFARLANDarland, of Richmond, advocated the election of Mr. Eubank.

Mr. Montague, of Middlesex, nominated John Bell Bigger, of the city of Richmond.

Mr. Wickham, of Henrico, nominated R. Landsay Walker, of New Kent.

Mr. Fordes, of Buckingham, advocated the election of Mr. Eubank.

the Secretary then proceeded to call the roll, and the result of the vote was announced as follows:

Stephen C. Whittle6
S. Bassett French8
John Bell Bigger9
R. L. Walker11
Green Peyton11
John L. Eubank16
S. T. Walker19
Zephaniah T. Turner28

There being no election, the Convention again proceeded to vote, and the result having been announced, it appeared there was no choice.

A gentleman then moved that upon the next ballot the candidate having a plurality of the votes be declared elected Clerk of the Convention. Negatived by a large majority. A third unsuccessful ballot was taken, after which all the candidates except Messrs. Turner, Eubank, and R. L. Walker, were withdrawn.--This fourth ballot resulted — Eubank 58, Walker 51, Turner 19.

Mr. Wickham, of Henrico, then withdrew the name of Mr. R. L. Walker, and the fifth ballot resulted — Eubank 76, Turner 60.

So John L. Eubank was declared elected Secretary of the Convention.

Mr. Scott, of Fauquier, moved that when the Convention adjourn to-day, it will adjourn to meet at the Mechanics' Institute tomorrow at 12 o'clock. Adopted.

Mr. Morton, of Culpeper, moved that the sittings of this Convention be daily opened with prayer, and that the President invite the clergymen of the city to officiate. Adopted.

Mr. Clemens, of Ohio, moved that the rules of the House of Delegates be adopted for the government of this Convention until further ordered. Adopted.

A motion of Mr. Price, of Greenbrier, relative to the occupancy of selected seats in the hall of the Convention, was, on motion of Mr. Montague, laid on the table.

On motion of Mr. Scott, the Convention adjourned, to meet at the Mechanics' Institute on Thursday, at 12 o'clock.

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