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Pierpoint's message.

The traitor Pierpoint has issued what he calls his message, to the State Legislature of Western Virginia. The tone of the document is very hopeful, and the bogus Governor seems able to discover some patches of clear sky through the political clouds that overshadow the land. He says:

‘ I have already mentioned that the people of that portion of Virginia over which reorganized State government has prevailed, had contributed their full proportion of soldiers to the army of the Union. We have now ten full regiments in the field for three years service, besides three artillery companies. Three more regiments are rapidly filling up. Of this force, from the best estimate I have been able to procure, three-fourths are residents of Virginia, the other fourth being from Ohio and Pennsylvania. The citizens of those States have been anxious to enter our service, and meet the common enemy on the soil of Virginia. We thank them for the zeal they have displayed in our defence — It will ever be gratefully remembered by all Western Virginias. Nor can it lessen our obligations for the services they have rendered, that to meet the enemy upon our soil and drive him over the Alleghany mountains, was the surest protection to Western Pennsylvania and Southern Ohio.--Let us cheerfully recognize the great principle that we are each and all banded together in one great cause — to maintain the Constitution and the Union, and to protect and defend each other. When it is recollected that the loyal population of that part of Virginia which is under the reorganized State government cannot be estimated to exceed two hundred and twenty thousand persons, of all aged and sexes, and that many of these must be kept at home to defend their own families and homes from rapine and murder, to which the people of Ohio and Pennsylvania have not been exposed, we may justly claim that we have done our duty in support of the common cause.

I recommend that some provision be made out of the State Treasury to aid in the support of the families of our volunteers who are in the United States service by of our soldiers have left their families in strai ened or destitute circumstances at home.--They have hitherto been aided by the county and individual subscriptions but this resource is mostly exhausted. Nor is it proper that the burden should be borne in this manner. Some counties, having from eight hundred to a thousand voters, have three or four companies. Others, with a much larger population, have not raised many. As the taxes which come into the Treasury are raised by an equitable assessment upon all there is an obvious propriety that the State should contribute to this necessary expense.

The Legislature has made no appropriation to defray the expenses of organizing the volunteers of the State when called into the service of the United States. I devoted almost the entire civil contingent fund to that purpose, and then obtained temporary loans for the residue absolutely necessary. The Federal Government has refunded to me a considerable portion of the amount expended, which I have applied to the payment of the sums borrowed. But there are outstanding accounts, and other expenses daily acc ing, which it is necessary to provide for. All the States, it is believed, have found it necessary to make temporary advances of this character, in order to put their several quotes in the field; and in comparison with others, our advances on this account have been small indeed. The Federal Government recognizes such advances as just claims upon proper vouchers. It must be apparent, however, that it every expenditure of the kind, before being made, is to await the action of the Treasury at Washington, the public service may be greatly, perhaps vitally, injured by the delay. I recommended, therefore, that you make an appropriation for the purpose here indicated, in order that all such advances for United States service may go regularity upon the books in the Auditor's and Treasurer's departments, and be entered as they occur, to the debt of the Treasurer of the United States.

I refer you to the Auditor's report, accompanying this, for a full report on the finances of the State. When the State Government was organized, great apprehension was felt that difficulties would exist in raising the funds necessary to carry it on. But by the aid of the taxes collected in eleven counties, and of the amount received from the Federal Government, on account of the distributable share of the State of Virginia of the sales of the public lands, under the act of Congress passed in 1841, we have had full means for supplying the wants of the civil service, leaving a balance of eighty thousand dollars in the treasury on the 30th of September last. Owing to the disloyalty of the sheriffs in other counties, nothing was received from them prior to that date. But the State Government has since been reorganized in a large number of these counties, and loyal sheriffs are now actively employed in collecting the taxes therein for the present year, which will largely augment the receipts of the revenue.

I respectfully call your attention to the suggestions made by the Auditor in his report in regard to the appropriations of your extra session.

There are persons among us who support and encourage the cause of the rebellion by every means in their power, short of overt acts of treason. Their persons and their property are protected by the laws of the State and of the United States, and yet they deny the obligation on their part to support the one or the other.

Another portion of our citizens are engaged in a most active and decided support of the rebellion. They have enlisted in the naval or military service of the Confederate Government, or hold civil offices under the some, or they give aid and comfort to the rebellion by supporting Confederate forces with provisions, clothing, arms, or money, or furnishing information to the enemy. I would recommend that if any person hereafter guilty of such offence has any property or debts within the territory where the authority of this Government is acknowledged, such property and debts should he confiscated to the State, subject to the just debts of the offender. And I would also recommend that it any person has abandoned his home within our territory to go within the Confederate lines, the Executive should be authorized to issued proclamation requiring him to return, and if he fails to do so within the time specified in the proclamation that fact should be deemed prima facie evidence that he has been guilty of offences subjecting his property to confiscation.

I recommend the repeal of the stay saw passed at your extra session. The necessity for it no longer exists. Persons have taken advantage of the law, though they have the means of paying their debts; and the suspension of the power to collect debts seems to have encouraged the disorders of the times, by creating an impression that all law was suspended. The property, however, of soldiers, while in the service of the United States, should be protected from execution or attachment; and persons engaged in supporting rebellion, or who, being inhabitants of the State, shall refuse to take an oath of fidelity to the same, should be denied the right to sue in our courts.

The banks in this section of the State have sustained themselves admirably, considering the difficulties under which they have labored. Though the law authorizing the suspension of specie payments is still in force, they are furnishing exchange and specie funds for their issues at moderate rates; and are gradually approaching the specie standard for their circulation. Satisfied that they are prudently managed, for the interests both of the public and their own stockholders, to additional legislation is, I think, necessary at this period respecting them.

I desire, however, to call your especial attention to the branch of the Exchange Bank of Virginia, at Weston. It should, I think, be made an independent bank, thus severing the connection between it and the parent bank and other branches. The parent bank is located at Norfolk. It, as well as the other branches east of the Alleghany mountains, has made large advances to the Confederate States and to the Secession State Government at Richmond. They have exchanged their own issues to a large amount for the Confederate Treasury notes, which, as a ready states, are now thirty per cent, discount at Richmond, and are intrinsically valueless. The State owns a large amount of the capital of the branch at Weston, end the people of Lewis county the balance. I am informed that the branch is, itself, in very good condition, and there is no reason why the interest of the State and of the stockholders in Lewis county should be sacrificed by continuing its connection with the institution east of the mountains.

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1841 AD (1)
December 30th (1)
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