Prayer by Rev. G. W. Collier, Chaplain of 34th Ohio regiment.
Minutes read and approved.
THE PRESIDENT. When the Convention adjourned last evening it had under consideration the report of the Committee on Boundary, and the question was on the adoption of the second resolution. Is there any motion to amend? The gentleman from Taylor having intimated his purpose to offer an amendment is entitled to the floor.
MR. SINSEL. Mr. President, I propose to strike out the words, "votes cast," in the 15th line, and insert instead "qualified voters." The object of this amendment is, that all the territory of districts lying east of the Allegheny mountains, if they come into the new State, shall come by a majority of the voters residing within the district, and not by a majority of the votes cast.
As was remarked here yesterday by the gentleman from Ohio, one hundred votes in any of these districts would make the district a part of the new State by a few dozen acting in one county and a few dozen in another, and none others. In that way a whole district, we might say the whole Valley of Virginia - might be brought into this new State contrary to their will and wish; and I am in favor if we go to the Blue Ridge of mountains that we have a willing people - a people not opposed to this movement. For that reason I offer the amendment.
MR. STUART of Doddridge. Mr. President -
MR. WILLEY. With the leave of the gentleman from Doddridge, I desire to have a correct understanding of the effect of the amendment, if adopted. The clause reads at present: "provided a majority of the votes cast within the said district at elections to be held, etc." I do not see, sir, unless there are other modifications of the phraseology that the clause would be altered in its effect at all. "A majority of the qualified voters" * * * "at elections to be held" - must that not mean votes cast? Or does it mean "a majority of the qualified voters" as ascertained "at elections to be held?" I merely desire to understand.
THE PRESIDENT. The amendment alone, in the opinion of the Chair, would not effect the gentleman's purpose entirely; but he may follow it up with other amendments, perhaps, which would put the thing in form.
MR. STUART of Doddridge. I was aware the amendment as proposed by the gentleman from Taylor would not carry out the view he desires, and I presume it cannot be made so as to embrace the object desired by the gentleman.
I was just going to remark, Mr. President, I am compelled again to oppose the amendment, or rather the purpose indicated by the gentleman from Taylor: not that I would oppose the insertion of the words he proposes, because it would not change the effect of the resolution a particle; but the gentleman's argument indicated what his purpose was, and that was that a majority of the qualified voters living within the boundaries of this district should be necessary to be cast in favor of coming into the new State before they should be received.
Mr. President, in considering these resolutions, I must be permitted to say that I have no selfish motive, nor can I impute such a one to any member of this Convention. But I must be permitted to say, as the gentleman from Ohio last evening said, without impugning the motives of any member of this Convention - it would be much fairer to come up here now, fairly and squarely, and say that you do not want these people. It does seem to me that would be the fairer way. We could then understand you fully - where to meet you without attempting to avoid the issue by a dodge of this kind. Now, sir, it is virtually saying to these people that "You shall not come in." And you are saying that you don't want them to come in. Now, that is certainly a fair construction of the propositions and arguments of gentlemen. The ordinance that submitted the question to the thirty-nine counties - and counties lying contiguous - last July, submitted the question to the people within these boundaries; and a majority of the votes cast governed the action in this matter.
Now, sir, supposing the suggestion of the gentleman from Taylor, and the idea indicated by the gentleman from Ohio last evening, had been carried out in our last convention, where would we be today? We would not be endorsed here by a majority of the qualified voters of the thirty-nine counties, would we? And is not the very identical principle that is indicated in the resolution here reported by this committee sustained and vindicated by the action of the July (or June) convention last summer, which the gentleman seems to look to as such strong authority in the premises? Now, sir, this committee was governed by the same views and principles as the convention last summer: that a majority of the votes cast should govern this matter and not that it would require a majority of the qualified voters living within the district. Because under the circumstances last summer, we knew we could not get a majority of the legally qualified voters, even of the thirty-nine counties, to the polls. And at this late period of time, I must be permitted to say, even the gentleman from the county of Taylor is not endorsed by a majority of the qualified voters of the little county of Taylor, right within gunshot of the capital. Now, sir, is it not saying - when you could not get a majority of the voters of your own county - with all the protection that could be possibly thrown around them could not get them to the polls to vote - it is not virtually saying to these people who are under greater disadvantages and have a great many more obstructions in their way - "Unless you rally your people and get a majority of the qualified voters of your district to the polls, you shall not be admitted, you cannot get in." How is the number of "qualified voters" to be ascertained? I should like to ask the gentleman. I believe that the law, the statute, of Virginia requires that the commissioners of the revenue, should return to the clerk's office a list of the legal voters in their districts. That list was made up, I presume, sometime prior to the breaking out of the rebellion. Well, sir, I hold that a majority of those people that were then listed as qualified voters are in the rebel army or in the Union army. They are either in the rebel forces or in the Union army, or have been driven from their counties. Then, sir, you find these very counties to whom we desire to submit this question left without a majority of qualified voters in the district. Now, it seems to me, it is a mere sham - it is a mockery - to say to these people that "you must bring a majority of your voters to the polls before we will consider your propositions or consult your wishes." How are you going to reach them? I understand, Mr. President, if I have been correctly informed - that a large portion of this community embraced in these districts have been forced, under the militia law of Virginia into the service of the rebel Confederate States, against their will and against their consent - that they necessarily were compelled and forced into the service. We have assurance that this is the situation of many citizens of these counties; and for self-defense and self-protection many of the Union men of these counties have had to flee from their counties or take to arms. And I now appeal to the gentleman, how is he going to get a majority of these people to the polls?
Then, sir, it does seem to me, in this view of the case - it does hold out the idea - that the gentleman who advocated this amendment, or seeks to engraft it upon this resolution, is only trying to dodge the question; and that it would be much fairer to come out and say: "We do not want them at all." Now, that is the truth, gentlemen, take it home among yourselves. You do not want this country; and now if you can evade it in any possible way, without a plain vote of censure upon the committee, you desire to do so. If I understand upon the first resolution receiving into the boundaries of the new State the counties of Pocahontas, Greenbrier, Monroe, Mercer and McDowell, you conclude it was rather against you and, now, unless you can get round this vote in some way, by some dodge or crook, why these people will have the privilege, at least, of voting on the question; and if they should vote I am satisfied the majority of the people who get to the polls and have an opportunity of expressing their sentiments on the question whether they want to identify themselves with West Virginia or whether they desire to be attached and allied to eastern Virginia, which has been oppressing this people, legislating against their interests for years and years, that they will come out almost en masse for the new State.
Now, Mr. President, to show you - and it needs but to look at the figures to satisfy the mind of every member - that even a majority of the people within the district composed of the thirty-nine counties have never come to the polls and expressed their sentiments in favor of a new State. In a voting population of some 40,000 or 50,000 we see a poll of only 17,627 - and even some of them were in the army.
Now, sir, as I before remarked, if you had required the same at the hands of these people, who have all the advantages and have been cleared of the rebel armies - if you could not get a majority of them to come to the polls and vote, how is it possible that these other people can get to the polls under the circumstances I have indicated. Why, there are many of our counties here that have not been able to get to the polls at all; and there is scarcely a county, Mr. President, within the boundaries of the thirty-nine that has cast a majority of their legally qualified votes in favor of the adoption of the State and of the new State. There is scarcely a county. Now, sirs, for illustration one moment. The county of Doddridge which I represent - 1 expect if there is a Union county in the State of Virginia, it is the county of Doddridge. We have not one man that has ever gone into the rebel service - not one man that has ever left the county of Doddridge; and they have been unable in Richmond to get a man to represent that county. There is not another, perhaps in the state that can say this much. Well, even saying this, sir - with this Union sentiment - with the Union forces in our midst, armed to protect us, it was impossible even to get a majority of this people (the qualified voters) to the polls to endorse the action in favor of the new State. And why? It is on account of some secessionists. They would say to their neighbors they did not desire to see a large vote cast. They wanted to see this impediment thrown in our way. "The question will be carried anyhow. They will adopt the new State. If you go there and endorse it, and the southern cause prevails, you will place yourself in an unenviable position; and you had better stay at home and be quiet." Now, this is the sentiment of hundreds of even Union men, all looking to their interests; and the men who take an active part in this measure - who desire the people to endorse the action of the new State - could not get a majority of the people to the polls, although they were willing to be governed and controlled and ruled by those who did take an active part and who went to the polls and voted on the question. But, sirs, if we had been left with this - as the gentleman from Ohio last evening termed it - deception, I believe, and delusion -
MR. BATTELLE. No, sir, "snare."
MR. STUART of Doddridge. A snare and a delusion -
MR. BATTELLE. Not quite; "a delusion and a snare."
MR. STUART of Doddridge. "A delusion and a snare" - now we have it (Merriment). Well, sir, the gentleman said he did not impugn the motives of any member of this committee; but I must say we only followed out the principles and plan of the convention which he seems to look to and recognize as authority in this body; and that if we submitted a plan here, in that resolution which is "a delusion and a snare," the body whom he recognizes as authority, ruling and controlling his action here, submitted a question to the people last October which operated as "a delusion and a snare," because they were not endorsed by a majority of the voting population of the district.
Now, Mr. President, the only question at issue at present is, will the Convention adopt the amendment of the gentleman from Taylor, and thus require - for although the words of the amendment do not embrace it I suppose they will be made to embrace it; because that is the object and intention - require a majority of the legally qualified voters living within the district to endorse the action in favor of the new State, or not; and it is not necessary to run into any other questions. The whole question upon the main resolution has been argued over and over again; and every amendment that has been proposed here - every possible amendment that has been offered - has led to the result of arguing this main question, the right of the Convention to include other territory. I do not propose to go into a discussion of that question; for it is not involved in the question now before this body.
MR. SINSEL. In order to make this more definite, I move to insert in line 17 before "and" the words "is cast in favor of." The whole provision then will read thus:
"RESOLVED, That the district comprising the counties of Craig, Giles, Bland, Tazewell, Russell, Lee, Scott, Buchanan and Wise, shall be included in, and constitute part of the new State provided a majority of the qualified voters within the said district, at elections to be held for the purpose on the third Thursday of April, in the year 1862, is cast in favor of, and a majority of the said counties are in favor of, the adoption of the Constitution to be submitted by this Convention."
Now, Mr. President, in answer to the gentleman from Doddridge: He says I stand here not represented by a majority of my constituents in Taylor. That is true. The county only cast about 508 votes on this division question; but at the same time it will be recollected that there were two volunteer companies from that county in the service at Cheat Mountain, and in addition to that some 300 voters away with teams hauling for the Government; so that it was impossible to have a full vote under such circumstances. Had they been at home, instead of standing here representing a county giving 500 majority fora division of the state, it would be 700, 800, or 900 at least. The persons engaged for the Government would have voted on this question. The secessionists did not vote; nor will they vote on this until our national troubles are ended. That is their fixed purpose in that county; at least, they say so.
Well, then, in addition to that the county of Taylor is represented on this floor. They have a representative here. They can be heard through him. These valley counties are not represented here. If not represented here should not they, at least, in the adoption of this Constitution have the expression of a majority of the inhabitants residing within the district? Surely they ought.
MR. BATTELLE. Mr. President, allow me just one word. It is an old adage and a very true one, that those who live in glass houses ought not to throw stones. My very good friend from Doddridge charges the amendment of the gentleman from Taylor with being "a dodge"; and he repeats that charge in various forms, several times. I must think, sir, if there is any "dodge" it is all on the other side (Merriment) and I tried so to show last night. I tried to show then that the effect of the resolution - though I disclaimed imputing any such intention to the committee - is to put it in the power of say one hundred men - or even a less number - to decide the whole destiny of the action upon the proposition of this Convention in these twenty counties. Is there no "dodge" in that, sir? The effect of the amendment of the gentleman from Taylor is to avoid that contingency - to enable a fair election to be held. Its object is apparent to everybody. There is no deception in the case. It is to relieve this proposition, as it now stands, not only from the appearance but from the fact of being a delusion, so far as the question of the election is concerned, or so far as the principle is concerned. If the gentleman urges that the election cannot be held at this time or within a reasonable time hereafter he must see, it seems to me, that this is not an objection against the amendment but an objection to the whole proposition presented HOW to take in these counties. I repeat the expression of what I said last night, that in my humble judgment we are embarrassing this whole question at every step and every stage by attempting this extensive grasp at additional territory. The convention of August did provide that in an exigency certain counties might be included; yet it was evidently in the contemplation of the convention that so popular would be this movement and so desirous would those counties be to come in on as plain a plan as the simple seeking of these counties to come in, that this body was not to be so hampered but that it might let them in. Instead of that it is to be said that there is not - always except Berkeley, Hampshire and Hardy - not even the intimation of an authorized expression of individual opinion of their desire to come in.
MR. CALDWELL. Mr. President, to relieve the gentleman from Ohio and some others who seem to be opposed to making any of the counties named in the second resolution a part of the new State, from the charge of endeavoring to effect this purpose by way of a "dodge," I will move this proposition, sir: that all after the word "Resolved" in the resolution be stricken out.
I am free to say, sir, and I take occasion to say it now, that I am one of the members of this Convention who feel disposed to say that these counties shall not only not form a part of the new State, but that it is idle even to submit the question to them. I am opposed, sir, utterly opposed to taking into view the propriety of even submitting the question to these several counties. I do not design to argue this question at all. The reasons for saying this much to this people have been forcibly and well put by other members on last evening. I do not design to detain the Convention one moment longer. My proposition is, sir - and I think it is in order - that all in the resolution after the word "Resolved" be stricken out.
MR. WILLEY. I do not propose to indicate at present the vote I shall feel constrained to give finally upon this proposition; but I would submit to my friend from Marshall whether the resolution ought not to be perfected as well as the friends of it can make it, before a proposition so fundamental in its character as that made by him just now, is submitted to the Convention. That strikes at the possibility of amending it - strikes at the foundation of the matter; and brings, up the fundamental question whether we shall admit them under any circumstances, not on conditions. He at once brings up the debate, which I think has hardly been exhausted yet, in reference to these counties, whether they shall be at all admitted; for I hold that the proposition to admit these counties under proper rules and with proper restrictions stands upon very different reasons and grounds from the propositions that we have heretofore been considering for the admission of other counties; and I would be glad if it would suit the views of my friend from Marshall to withdraw his motion for the present until we can vote on this other proposition of amendment to it; and when it is made as acceptable as the friends of the resolution can get it made, that then he can make his proposition to bring up the main question on the admission of these counties, in any form he desires.
MR. CALDWELL. My object was not to embarrass this question, but it was just the contrary. We have had a great deal of discussion; and I think the members have made up their minds conclusively on the subject; and it was for that reason, and to keep off that debate that I made the proposition. I do not wish to deprive gentlemen of an opportunity of perfecting their resolution; and I am inclined now, so long as it is urged that opportunity is wanted to perfect the resolution, to withdraw my amendment for the present.
MR. WILLEY. A word, then, on the amendment. I think, sir, its principle has been stated in our deliberations when it was said that we are representing the loyal portion of the citizens of Virginia. We have been proceeding upon the understanding that the loyal citizens of this Commonwealth are the people of Virginia, to be recognized in our present capacity, or in any other public, political, or legislative capacity. If that be a true principle, sir - and I have not heard it denied - what will be the effect of the adoption of the proposition of the gentleman from Taylor? It is a matter of doubt, perhaps, whether there are not a majority of secessionists in the counties proposed in the resolution. Adopt the amendment and then it will not be a majority of the citizens of Virginia, but the loyal citizens of Virginia, or the true people of Virginia, that we recognize as having a right to be heard here. It will in fact be availing ourselves of the opposition of the secessionists whom we do not recognize as having any voice or authority in our deliberations. Will it not be so, sir? The proposition of the amendment is "a majority of the qualified voters" in the whole district. Now, sir, secessionists are qualified voters under the Constitution and under the laws; and in order to make our action of use to those who may desire the admission of these counties into our new State - to make it possible to obtain them we shall have to include all the Union votes. - every one of them perhaps in the district - and a considerable portion of the secessionists. It that fair, sir? Is that consistent with the principles upon which we have been proceeding in our deliberations hitherto? Does this body represent the voice and the will of the secessionists in these counties or even within the limits of the thirty-nine counties? I think not, sir. It seems to me that it is an unfair proposition; that it will operate unfairly and unjustly upon the true and loyal people of Virginia.
Again, sir, it has been argued here that it might so happen that a hundred men could bring all the Valley of Virginia within the boundaries of the new State. That is an extreme case. There is a bare, abstract possibility that such an occurrence could take place. But, then, sir, it is well known that our action here in the premises, so far as these counties are concerned, and so far as our whole action is concerned, is to be under the control and supervision, and action of the legislature; and when the matter comes before the legislature for its assent to the new State and to prepare its action for presentation to Congress that the assent of Congress may be obtained, that body can take into consideration all the circumstances; and if it should appear before the legislature that there was not a fair expression of the real sentiment within the limits of the counties proposed to be embraced, I have confidence enough in that body to suppose they would decline to include them. But, sir, if we are to make a proposition to those counties at all, I object to making it to any other than the loyal men in those counties - the true people of Virginia. That is my proposition and hence I am opposed to the amendment of the gentleman from Taylor, because it would give them the benefit of the united secessionist vote; and I hope my friend is not willing to avail himself of aid and comfort in any such quarters.
MR. VAN WINKLE. The gentleman from Doddridge and the gentleman from Monongalia have said pretty much what I had to say in reference to this proposed amendment; but it may do no harm, sir, to restate it in a different connection.
The object of the amendment proposed by the gentleman from Taylor, if offered in good faith, is certainly a good one. That object I understand to be, to have a full expression of the views of the people of those counties. And, sir, if a mode can be devised which will effect that purpose and be free from gross objections, I certainly should be inclined to favor it. But, sir, I think as the amendment now stands it is both impracticable and unjust. In the first place, I know no way by which under present circumstances the number of voters in any of these counties can be ascertained. If it was possible to send out commissioners to go round through these counties and ascertain the number of voters in ordinary times, it would seem to be impracticable at this time; and we cannot count with certainty on being able to take any such step before the election. I think, sir, therefore, it is impracticable. We do not know the number of legal voters in these counties and have no opportunity of ascertaining them. But, sir, supposing it could be ascertained, what would be the effect? In the first place there will undoubtedly be some secessionists in each of the counties. Now, they deny the authority of the Wheeling government. They deny that a legal election can be held under the authority of this government. They will, therefore decline to vote, if they do not choose to vote against it; but they will simply decline to vote. Every vote, then, that fails to be cast is equivalent to a vote against this proposition. Then, sir, there will be some good Union men favorable to these counties coming in, who will be sick on the day of the election: that is always a considerable percentage of the voters. Again there will be many who are absent on that day. That is always a considerable proportion of the voters. I know it is in my own county and town - and it has been much larger than most people would anticipate. But here are the sick and those who are absent - as many of them are probably under circumstances they cannot control - who may, if they were at home, have wished to cast their votes in favor of the new State, but who will be deprived of the opportunity of giving a vote; and those votes will in effect count against their admission. As for instance, say there were three hundred voters, and one hundred cast in favor of admission and one hundred against, and the other third were simply absent: does not every gentleman see the project would fail for it would take at least one hundred and fifty one, a majority of the whole number, to carry it. The effect would be that the votes of those who were against their will detained from the polls and would have voted in favor, will be counted against it. Therefore, I think I am right in saying it is an unjust mode of ascertaining the sense of the people. Under ordinary circumstances we resort to the mode proposed in the resolution, because, we say, if people do not come to vote they must take the consequence; and, sir, if the polls could be held in every precinct in the county, that rule is certainly the fair one; and if there is anything we are to provide against, it is simply to provide against circumstances that would prevent the opening of the polls. The amendment of the gentleman from Taylor does not do that. It proposes to do what I consider impracticable, and also to do what I consider - as I have stated - unjust. It in effect may make votes against annexation, that if given at all would have been for it.
The question on the amendment offered by Mr. Sinsel was put, and the amendment was rejected.
MR. CALDWELL. Mr. President, I renew my motion to strike out all in the resolution after the word "Resolved." I think I am not mistaken that a majority of this Convention - and I think - indeed I am well satisfied - that a majority of the people of whom it is proposed to form this new State - are opposed, sir, to taking in the counties in table B as a portion of the new State. That is my firm conviction.
MR. STUART of Doddridge. What effect has your motion?
MR. CALDWELL. It strikes out the resolution entirely.
MR. STUART of Doddridge. Would not voting against the adoption of the resolution have identically the same effect?
MR. CALDWELL. Well, I suppose the effect would be precisely the same, if the question now is upon the adoption of the resolution. If it is intended that question shall be put now, I withdraw my proposition.
MR. VAN WINKLE. The effect will be simply to take the vote as on one question.
MR. CALDWELL. It was to avoid further amendments that I made my proposition.
MR. VAN WINKLE. Well, it would have that effect.
MR. POMEROY. I believe my friend from Marshall would agree to withdraw that if he was assured the Convention would take the vote upon the resolution itself; and those who are favorable to these counties coming in will vote for the adoption of the resolution, and those opposed to them coming in will record their votes against it.
I agree with the gentleman: I think this Convention is certainly satisfied of the impropriety of having these counties in; but if gentlemen are disposed to go on with a lengthy discussion on this matter, then I would be very favorable to his motion being before the Convention.
THE PRESIDENT. The Chair understands the gentleman from Marshall as having withdrawn his motion.
The question will be on the adoption of the resolution.
MR. MAHON. I would be glad if the clerk would read over the names of the counties included in the resolution.
The Secretary reported the resolution as follows:
"RESOLVED, That the district comprising the counties of Lee, Scott, Wise, Buchanan, Russell, Tazewell, Bland, Giles and Craig shall be included in and constitute part of the proposed new State, provided a majority of the votes cast within the said district, at elections to be held for the purpose on the third Thursday in April, in the year 1862, and a majority of the said counties, are in favor of the adoption of the Constitution, to be submitted by this Convention."
MR. WILLEY. It is hardly necessary to repeat, what I suppose the Convention very well understands, that it is my opinion - not worth much I know, sir - that we have not any right to include any county within the limits of the proposed new State arbitrarily or against its consent. The result of the adoption of this resolution would be, perhaps, to include some counties that were opposed to being embraced within the limits of the new State; and with my conception, sir, of our powers here, and of duty and justice in the premises, I would be opposed to the reception of even the minority of the counties coming into our new State against their will. But, sir, in looking at the relation which the counties embraced in the proposition now under consideration sustain to the thirty-nine counties originally included, I am compelled to express my opinion that they are almost absolutely essential to our existence, to our welfare and to our prosperity as a State. I would be willing, sir, to take them in as they come, provided they would vote to come in in contiguous territory as far as they would agree to vote thus to come in; and I had prepared resolutions to that effect, that provided this resolution did not pass, yet I would be willing to receive county after county as they might vote to come in; provided they were all contiguous and in convenient form; although some of the lower counties in the district might decline to come. I want Pendleton and Hardy and Hampshire, especially; and if they vote to come in I would be glad to have Frederick and Morgan; and if they would also vote to come in, and all these other counties also should be included, then I would be especially desirous of having Berkeley and Jefferson.
A Member. They are not named in the resolution.
MR. WILLEY. Not in this resolution? They are not named in the resolution which we are now considering?
I was arguing on the supposition that the amendment of the gentleman from Kanawha had been adopted, but I believe it was rejected. I am obliged to the member for reminding me of the fact. I shall then reserve for the present what I have to say.
MR. BROWN of Kanawha. I move to amend this resolution so as to agree with the wishes of the gentleman who has just taken his seat, as far as practicable: to insert in lieu of "the said district" the words "each of said counties." I wish, sir, to give to these people the same privileges we are extending to Hampshire, Hardy, Pendleton, Bath and Alleghany. I do not desire to make fish of one and fowl of another. I do not desire to force any of these people in against their will. I go upon the hypothesis that being of us they will be with us, if an opportunity is extended to them and they can express their sentiments. And I confess, sir, that I have not the apprehensions gentlemen seem to entertain of the terrible hostility of that people, because peradventure, Messrs. Ballard Preston and Sheffey, two leading men of that section of the country have exhibited a hostility and activity in this rebellion that are surpassed by none others. I have no doubt their influence is one great reason these people are now involved in the disadvantages that surround them. But when the armies of the Union shall have advanced, these gentlemen will nowhere be found. They will have left their place of residence and have gone to the land of "Dixie"; and the people once rid of their influence will return to their allegiance to the Union and will cast their fortunes with us as a people.
But it has been the burden of the song of gentlemen opposed to this section of country, that there are a large number of secessionists there; and they have been spoken of as entirely secession in their sentiment - that there was no man there who loved the Union or who would stand up for their country. Why, sir, if you will take now and look at the history of the country and take the men in hostility against it - the men in the army - those whom Letcher speaks of as composing the 70,000 men the eastern part of the State has furnished to this rebel army; you will find as large a proportion of them from the counties these gentlemen propose to take in as you will find in this section of country. I will warn you when you come to test the question you will find every county has furnished its quota - whatever was demanded - and that there is no distinction in that respect. You will find the Union men at home. When you have restored the authority of the government over that section and come to take this vote, you will find the Union men at home there as you will in the other counties along this line; and these men of hostile feelings will be beyond your armies. They will not be there to vote. They will have no part nor lot in the matter. Their only effort will be to drive back your armies and recapture the Union men who would dare to vote.
Therefore, sir, it seems to me, unless there is. a manifest and determined disposition to make a distinction between these people and throw the balance of power and weight on one end of this State, that no principle of justice, or equality, or humanity, to our brethren there can prevent us from adopting this resolution as amended, to submit the question to the qualified voters whether they will be a part and parcel of the State or not, if a majority of the votes in each county shall be in favor of becoming such. I go upon the hypothesis that if this opportunity is afforded to this people, they will, every county, cast a majority in favor of this new organization, which is for their good as well as for ours. That is all I propose to remark on the subject.
MR. POWELL. I wish to say a few words on this subject before the vote is taken. The gentleman proposes to amend the resolution by inserting a provision that a majority of the votes cast in each county shall be in favor of the Constitution and new State; and if this amendment carries it seems to me it will throw us into a very awkward position. Here is Scott and Lee lying below Buchanan and Wise. If Scott and Lee cast a majority of votes in favor of being admitted into the new State - in favor of the Constitution, and Buchanan and Wise vote against it or not at all, we have a portion of our new State lying beyond us so that it does not touch the proposed boundary at all.
Arguments have been introduced here in favor of extending the boundary so as to include Greenbrier, Monroe, Mercer and McDowell that we might have a new State without so many notches in it - without having a fence-row for our boundary. These counties I think will make our boundary far worse than to have left out those counties that have already been admitted.
But, then, while I am up I wish to say that I am opposed - utterly opposed to the annexation of any more counties to the southern part of the proposed new State. We are sent here to form a Constitution for and to submit it to the people of the thirty-nine counties, or any more that might adhere to the proposition that was made by the June convention, by the ordinance of division that was passed on the 20th day of August, 1861; and if we annex new territory, as has been shown, we embarrass the new State, we cripple it, and in all probability we kill the measure. We defeat the proposition that has been submitted to the people and voted for by them by a large majority. We defeat the measure entirely, perhaps, and are left to shame for our failure. We embarrass the new state proposition. We cripple it and defeat it, in all probability. We introduce an element - we throw our arms, as it has been claimed, around these people; but can an individual take a serpent to his bosom and not be bit? Can an individual take fire in his bosom and not be burned? You throw your arms around this element - this secession, this rebellious element, and introduce them; and you will find that at last they will sting like an adder and bite like a serpent. You will feel the effects of it when you come to present your Constitution to the Congress of the United States for their approval or rejection. They will tell you that you have an element embraced in your territory that is disloyal and that may finally control the legislation of your proposed State. You have embraced in your territory an element that may control the laws of the new State. The result is they reject us, having already a sufficient number of secessionists in the halls of Congress.
But, then, another subject that has been alluded to here, that I should not have referred to had it not been referred to on the other side, and that is the slave population that we propose to now -
THE PRESIDENT. I would remind the gentleman that the discussion is on the amendment and not on the adoption of the resolution.
MR. POWELL. I am aware of that; but I wish to say all that I have to say on this subject while I am up, if it is not out of order. If the President says it is out of order I shall yield the floor.
THE PRESIDENT. The debate as far as it could be should be confined to the subject before the Convention.
MR. VAN WINKLE. Mr. President, as almost every gentleman has taken the range, I apprehend we shall have to extend the privilege to all who speak.
MR. POWELL. That was what I was aware of. I was about to say we were about to introduce or to take within our boundary an element which has been referred to - the slave population. It is true, it was said by the gentleman from Wood that it would only be about 8 1/2 percent of the population. That may be true. That I do not deny; but that 8 1/2 per cent amounts to almost 50,000 in the limits of the proposed new State; and if nothing else would destroy us in Congress - if nothing else would defeat our proposition in the House of Congress - it would be that. Without entering into a discussion on the merits of this question, I do hope that gentlemen will take this into consideration before casting their votes in favor of the annexation of those counties to the proposed new State.
But, then, we are told that we have not a sufficient amount of territory; that we want more territory; that we want to grasp all in our arms that we may have an abundance of territory. Will this, gentlemen, be an advantage to us? Will it, Mr. President, add to our greatness as a State? Individuals have been disposed to look upon the territory included in the 39 counties as insignificant - as almost beneath the notice of Congress, being so small. But then have gentlemen considered that we have embraced in the 39 counties, exclusive of the five that have been added, more territory than they have in Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey, or Delaware, and almost as much territory as is embraced in the great State of South Carolina that has turned the world upside down. And now, those states that I have alluded to as being nearly as large as West Virginia are among the leading states of this great Union. They stand as high as any other states. May I not say that they are in the lead; that they are in advance in many of the pursuits of our country, of some of the larger states. It is not territory merely that constitutes a state a great one; but it is wealth and intelligence and enterprise that make a great state. And by the shutting out of these counties that you propose to admit now the probability is - and I think it very probable, too, that wealth and intelligence and enterprising men will come from our neighboring states here and settle in our midst and clear out our forests and disembowel the elements of our greatness that are now embowelled within the boundary of our new State. The gentleman from Doddridge said he saw the object was to dodge the question - to dodge the main question at issue - by the amendments that have been proposed. Why not come out at once, he asked, and say we were opposed to the admission of those counties? Let me say, Mr. President, I am opposed to it. I am utterly opposed to it; and for the reasons I have already assigned. But, then, again, can those counties vote at the time that we propose to submit this Constitution to them? Is there any probability - is there the least probability - of them having the power of casting a vote at the time that we proposed to submit this Constitution to them, even if they were disposed to? Well, it is true from some of the arguments that have gone before that it is very probable that they may. We were told last week while considering the admission of Greenbrier, Pocahontas, etc., that it would be utterly impossible for them to vote at the time we proposed to submit to them the Constitution; and now it is even probable that the counties lying over the Alleghany may vote on the third Thursday of April! And if they can vote on the third Thursday - or if there is a possibility of it - why, sir, those counties lying further over in the valley, adjoining the Blue Ridge will be enabled to vote with equal certainty! Do you not see the fallacy of the arguments that have gone before? If those counties lying next to us will be utterly unable - if it will be utterly impossible for them to vote, how can it be probable that those lying beyond the mountains can vote? No, sir, there is no probability of their being enabled to vote; and why mock them by putting before them this dish when we know they cannot touch it? Leave them out, gentlemen; I do not believe they want to be with you; and if they do not, I have no desire for them that they should be until they repent and bring forth fruits meet for repentance - until they show by their works, by their actions - that they are sorry that they have thus rebelled against the best government the world ever saw. I have but little sympathy with secessionism; but little sympathy with those that have raised up arms against us, that have rebelled against this great government of ours - especially while they continue in rebellion; but if they come back; if they repent of their sins; if they come and bring forth fruits meet for repentance - then I have no objections to receiving them. But until they have done so, let us leave them outside; and if ever they want to come in and we want them - which I think is very doubtful - then it may be accomplished by other means. We are not expecting old Virginia to always remain in her present condition. We do not expect a rebel army always to be stationed at Manassas, Richmond, Petersburg, and Winchester. We expect the day to come when the rebellion shall be crushed out and loyal men shall take the helm of old Virginia again; and when they do they may not want these counties, if they want to come with us; and if we want them we may acquire them by treaty. We may then be enabled to bring them in.
O, but, says one, we want them! We want them! And the right has been assumed here that if any territory lying contiguous is wanted and cannot be obtained by purchase or treaty, we have the right to conquer it. The very doctrine of Walker's filibusterism: and I am opposed to it. If they are not willing to come, we do not want them; and if we undertake to force them in, we adopt practically the doctrine of Walker.
Let us, then, leave them out. Let us leave them beyond the border; for I do assure you that if by the action of this Convention the new State measure is defeated, that this Convention will have to answer for it, severally, to their constituents, who sent them here to make a constitution. I do believe they have gone beyond the limits of their power in taking forcibly those counties that have already been added to the boundary. Then, gentlemen, think on this matter. I intend to vote against the admission of these counties, and I think, any other territory.
MR. POMEROY. I do hope, now, we will take the vote on this amendment, and also on the main question before we adjourn.
MR. HALL of Marion. Mr. President, I do not like to occupy the time of this body in speaking, but trust my good friend from Hancock will, however, remember that we came here to talk, and think, and know what we do, before we act; and the greatest haste is not always to secure us the most speed.
I desire, before I vote on this question to understand the proposed amendment. I desire to ask a question. Do I understand this proposition of amendment aright, to say that before any one of these counties can come in - and I think that is the effect of it - that unless each and everyone of the counties shall by a majority determine to come in, no one shall come in?
MR. BROWN of Kanawha. That is it.
MR. HALL of Marion. Allow me to say, I must oppose that amendment. A single county in that district is placed in a position to do what gentlemen complain so much of our having done in Convention here - of absolutely coercing all these other counties out of the State. Now is that not the effect of it? I am opposed to it, if that be the effect. The amendment proposes that unless a majority be cast in each and every one of these counties in that district, that no one of those counties shall be admitted. I apprehend that that would accomplish the ends of those who tell us that they are opposed to allowing anybody to come in - of those who are so afraid of these men that they will not touch them until they repent and bring forth fruit meet for repentance, and who would yet shut them out and not allow them to repent.
My friend, sir, in another position, does not say that we cast you off because you have not repented; but he says, you shall not repent. That is his proposition; and it occurs to me that would be the effect of the amendment of the gentleman from Kanawha. He does not hold out the olive branch and say "Repent!" but he says if you are willing to repent and by your action and your vote to say you have repented and will come along with us - no, sir, you shall not do it! Now, I am opposed to that thing, too. I know my friend does not advocate that doctrine elsewhere; and I can hardly believe he means it here.
MR. POWELL. Yes, I do.
MR. HALL of Marion. He says he does; and therefore I must conclude that he does (Laughter).
I want that we shall not trammel or tie up any portion of the people within the district by the mere contingency that a single county cannot vote for going with us. I do not like secessionists any better than my friend. Some I like in spite of secession; and I do not believe they are a lost element; that they are all demons or that they intend to cut our throats; though some of them would. I think there are worse things upon earth than many of these secessionists. I do not think we have any cause particularly to be alarmed if they show through this very means we propose giving them, the evidence to us that they have repented. I am not afraid of them.
MR. BATTELLE. Will the gentleman from Marion allow me to interrupt him?
MR. HALL of Marion. Certainly.
MR. BATTELLE. I feel anxious for one, before we take a recess, to have the amendment reported by the Secretary, that I may know just what it is.
MR. HALL of Marion. Well, I, too, would be glad to have it reported.
The Secretary reported it as follows:
Strike out "the said district" and insert "each of said counties," in the 15th line, and in the 19th line strike out "and a majority of said counties;" so that the resolution would read:
"RESOLVED, That the district comprising the counties of Lee, Scott, Wise, Buchanan, Russell, Tazewell, Bland, Giles and Craig, shall be included in and constitute part of the proposed new State: provided a majority of the votes cast within each of said counties, at elections to be held for the purpose on the third Thursday in April in the year 1862 * * * are in favor of the adoption of the Constitution to be submitted by this Convention."
MR. BATTELLE. "Within each of said counties" - that is all, sir. I wished to understand exactly the phraseology.
MR. HALL of Marion. Then, Mr. President, one of two things must exist either that all these counties are made dependent on the action of anyone, and that although the vote should be unanimous in every other, yet a majority of one against coming with us in a single one of those counties will exclude the whole of them. Now that is coercion (Laughter). On the other hand, it occurs to me that would be manifestly unjust. If, upon the other hand, that amendment contemplates that you will take in such counties as vote to come in and only such, then I see another objection to it, to which my friend from Harrison alluded, and to which I am also opposed; for I am a coercionist. Then you go to piece-mealing this thing; and you go to setting your saw-teeth again. I think there was eminent wisdom and propriety in the arrangement proposed in the report of the committee, that when you have gone to a certain line, then if we go beyond that we go merely to take in a group of counties whose interests are homogeneous with ours and with one another. Hence it would be a matter of much interest whether a county should go one way or another, and it would have much to do with determining their action. Yet they must act in ignorance of that fact.
And, then, as I suggested before, this proposition is absolutely to cut them off and give them no chance for repentance. If you exclude them now, there is no opportunity after this. You need not expect when you have secured and fixed your boundaries to your new State that old Virginia is going to give you a piece here and a piece there, for the purpose of rounding up your lines, or for any other purpose; because there will be an element down there more dangerous than this valley element; and they will feel somewhat piqued at us, just as old mother England is vexed with us to this day. Unless they come in now, it is no use talking about their ever coming in; and therefore, I prefer to give these people a fair opportunity, so that I must oppose the amendment and resist the objection made to allowing these people to act fairly, freely and fully in this matter. And I am not one of those that will be alarmed and frightened if this people is disposed to come with us. I would not be alarmed if we should declare that our lines should go to the Blue Ridge. I would not be alarmed at all. I am satisfied we could maintain our position. I am not afraid that the Tartar would have caught us at all. Because we know this fact: that this people have an interest that is homogeneous with ours, and that eastern Virginia has pertinaciously persisted in preventing that very people having the outlet that their interests have always required and demanded, and which they have always been clamorous to obtain, but unsuccessfully. And these people are going to look at this thing; and we should consider this fact, too: that as we are acting in the absence of these parties, who they tell us have committed a very grave offense in not being represented here - with a knowledge of the fact before us that they cannot and could not be here - I say we should bear in mind that we owe something to that people, situated as we are; and that we should not be so selfish as to conclude that the whole world is right round about us and that there is no people anywhere that have any demands upon our considerations of justice and equity.
Now, sir, the proposition to leave those counties, out because there are secessionists there, is a proposition that would exclude the counties that we have taken in and must necessarily include as part of our territory. And to presume that because they have been under secession power, that they are to be excommunicated as for committing the unpardonable sin, is doing an injustice to them and that which would have excluded a very considerable portion - I do not know, sir, but a majority - of the very territory that is represented on this floor. Why, sir, how would it have been, but a short time ago with the county of Kanawha, the county of Jackson or the county of Roane? How is it with Gilmer and Calhoun now? With all that tier of counties a short time ago? They have committed the unpardonable sin; but Uncle Sam has purged them of that sin and they are no longer dangerous. Let us judge of what that other people is by this same rule; and let us say to them at all events that if they show that they do heartily disapprove of this. thing of secession and they want to come with this people, that they know are loyal, come along and go with us. Hence it is that I oppose the amendment and all the objections that are urged against the resolution; because I want this whole people to have an opportunity of speaking; and if they do determine, in sections so situated that we can receive them without making a saw-tooth line, or including them in a form that would be really deleterious to our own interests and the interests of those that would be left, then I say let them come along. And I trust that we will act with reference to that; that we will not be alarmed about being seized by these few counties. Why it really seems to me the very name of Wise, given to part of that territory, has more terror for gentlemen here than the old man himself had. Now, I think neither of them is much to be feared. One of them talks a great deal, and the complaint is that the other has not said a word.
I trust this, amendment will be either withdrawn or voted down, and that we will then act on the resolution itself - not as a bugbear; not as something set there to catch us; and that we will act in this matter not with an idea to see that something may occur by which we may be made responsible for this that or the other. We are sent here to discharge a solemn duty; and we must do that acting on the best judgment we can bring to bear; not looking ahead to what the people may say of me or you or anybody else in this body. We must do our duty without reference to any such considerations. It is true it is a proper consideration whether this action would prejudice the whole movement. If I believe it would thwart the original purpose I would then say to that people, we would have you come, if we could without our own destruction; but as we could not, I would not do it. But I have no such idea as that. And thus it is I shall vote to allow all those counties that are really placed and made part of us by nature and must of necessity be part of us - I will allow them whenever they are ready, to go along with us, to go; and I will not shut the door against them in an hour when they cannot even speak and even petition us. I will not turn my back on them and their cause by construing their inability to act as a refusal to ask our aid or protection. I shall not say that this inability to act shall be construed as an indisposition to do so. I trust we shall not so act in reference to any of those counties.
The hour for vacating the Chair having arrived the Convention took a recess.
The Convention reassembled.
MR. HERVEY. Before proceeding to the regular order of the day, I desire to offer a couple of resolutions, which I desire to have read, laid on the table and ordered to be printed.
THE PRESIDENT. No one objecting they will be received.
Mr. Hervey then sent to the Secretary's table the following, which were disposed of in accordance with his wishes.
"1. RESOLVED, That this Convention earnestly request the legislature of Maryland to direct a vote to be taken in the counties of Alleghany and Washington in said State, embracing the proposition, whether the people of said counties are in favor of annexing themselves to the State of West Virginia; and if it shall result that the majority of the votes cast at said election are in favor of so annexing themselves, then the legislatures of Maryland and West Virginia are desired and requested to unite in an application to the Congress of the United States for a union of the said counties of Alleghany and Washington with West Virginia."
"2. RESOLVED, That in the event the counties of Alleghany and Washington, in the State of Maryland, become united to West Virginia, then the eastern boundary of West Virginia should be the Blue Ridge."
MR. POWELL. Mr. President, I have a couple of resolutions here which I would like to offer.
Mr. Powell sent to the Secretary's desk the following; which were disposed of as the others.
"1. RESOLVED, That the legislature shall have no power to pass any law sanctioning in any manner, directly or indirectly, the suspension of specie payments, by any person, association or corporation issuing bank notes of any description."
"2. RESOLVED, That the legislature shall provide by law for the registering of all bills or notes, issued or put in circulation as money, and shall require ample security for the redemption of the same in specie."
THE PRESIDENT. The Chair would respectfully suggest to members, that much time is lost by departing from the strict rule of debate; and that very much time, indeed, would be saved if gentlemen would confine themselves as closely as they can to the questions under discussion. Perhaps the Chair is more to blame for the latitude that has been taken in debate than any of the members; but he would now request that gentlemen confine themselves as closely to the question in debate as possible.
MR. BROWN of Kanawha. I wish to withdraw the motion I made to amend the resolution before the Convention, and to state the reason for doing so. I made that motion with a view of obviating the objection of the gentleman from Monongalia to forcing, by the operation of that resolution if adopted any county in the district into the new State that happened to vote out, and a majority vote in. Failing, sir, to satisfy the gentleman, as I believe, and finding also that I incur the disapprobation of another gentleman, I unhesitatingly withdraw it. I would say, further, that the committee before whom this whole subject was, after a long and earnest effort to agree on the best plan for boundary and the best boundary to harmonize and attain the great objects we were assembled here for, adopted the resolutions as they stand in the report; and I believe that the Convention, if they act wisely in the matter will arrive at the same conclusion, adopting the report as it stands, with the simple alteration, by transferring, as we have already done, the counties of Buchanan and Wise.
MR. HAYMOND. Mr. President, I desire to say, before the vote is taken, that I am opposed to this resolution. My people, sir, did not send me here to hunt up territory for a new State. They did not send me here, sir, to hunt up people to frame a Constitution for. They sent me here to form a Constitution for those within the boundary they had fixed; and I am here, sir, for that purpose and for nothing else.
I am satisfied, sir, with the territory we have. It is a territory that combines the interests of the people. It is a territory within which no great questions can arise to divide the people. It is a territory, sir, that embraces one of the finest grazing countries in the world. It is a territory, sir, that is full of minerals. It is a country, sir, that will become one of the finest manufacturing countries in the world, if you can give us a Constitution that will draw capital from other states. And, sir, I repeat it: I am not here to hunt up territory for a new State; and my people will sustain me in it.
MR. TRAINER. Before I cast my vote on this question, I wish to give my reasons for the vote I expect to give.
In the first place, sir, the county which I have the honor in part to represent, is very strong for a new State. They want a new State. They will be satisfied with nothing else; elected their delegates, so far as I was concerned, on the understanding they would expect us to make them a Constitution for the territory embraced in the thirty-nine counties; and I feel, sir, that I am not willing to do anything to hinder the accomplishment of this great object which we have in view. And after hearing all the debate on this subject, to which I have listened attentively and with a degree of interest - I am satisfied, sir, in my own mind that the adding of those counties to the territory we have already fixed upon would be an impediment and would hinder very much the accomplishment of the great enterprise and object we have in view. For that reason, I am opposed to the receiving of the counties mentioned in the second resolution.
I am opposed to it for another reason. I think it has been very clearly shown in this Convention that it is impossible for those people over there to give any expression on this subject whatever; that they are so encumbered, even if they were willing and anxious to do it, that they will not have the opportunity to do it. It was argued on this floor, a few days ago, that the counties of Pocahontas, Greenbrier, etc., which were placed in the same category - or at least for which the gentleman's proposition was made - if they chose to come in they might - it was argued then that those counties could not possibly vote; and to place them in that position would be just the same as excluding them from the State altogether. Well now, sir, if those other counties lying west of the Alleghany mountains cannot cast their votes in April next, how do we expect the counties beyond the Alleghany mountains to do it? It looks like an utter impossibility; and I cannot help but think we have lost time here talking about a thing that is impossible, impracticable, and that which never can be accomplished at all.
Another reason, sir, which I have for voting against this resolution is this: I am, like the gentleman on this floor some days ago, opposed to those "sliding lines." We have fixed our line on top of the Alleghanies; and I feel opposed to sliding down the Alleghanies; so far as that is concerned, at the beginning corner down there on the Kentucky line, I am opposed to going any further in that direction. Let us stick to the top of the Alleghanies, at least at that point, and pursue them, at least a short distance before we leave them.
For these reasons, I shall feel bound in all conscience to vote against these resolutions. Yet another reason which I may offer is simply this: The gentleman from Doddridge said this morning the great central idea in this whole matter after all is, we do not want those counties. Well now, sir, let me say to him so far as I am concerned, I do not want them. I do not want them, and simply for the reason that they do not want us. I do not want to be unequally yoked together. This people so far as I can learn has no connection with us - never had any. They are on the east side of the Alleghany mountains; and their trade, commerce and intercourse is all in the other direction; and if you embrace them, how will they get here? We will have to construct a railroad or some other public conveyance, in order to bring their trade and commerce in this direction. It seems to me, so far as I can judge, they have no identity with us here; and that would be trammeled, we would be in danger of crippling the great enterprise of a new State in West Virginia, to attempt to embrace them for a moment. I think I have tried to look at this matter impartially and deliberately and so far as my own judgment is concerned, this is the conviction of my mind. I am a strong friend to a new state, and representing a people that is for it all the time and always has been, entertaining the views I do regarding the proposition before us, I feel I shall be bound to vote against this resolution.
MR. PARKER. I find, on examining the map, that the county of Craig lies outside of the county of Alleghany. The county of Craig is one of those included in this group which I understand is now before the Convention; so that if we should vote to take them in, we have the county of Alleghany - lying near the Alleghany mountains, or the ridge of them - lying inside of the county of Craig. Of course then it will impose upon us the necessity of taking in that county also.
THE PRESIDENT. I would remark to the gentleman that he will find the county of Alleghany in the next resolution.
MR. PARKER. If the President will spare me a moment: Now, I would call the attention of the Convention to the fact that the ninth section of the ordinance authorizing a division of the state, makes it incumbent upon the new State to pay every cent that has been expended by the State of Virginia upon the territory that we take - every foot of it! That is clear in the 9th section. There is no mistake about that. Just refer, gentlemen, to the maps, and you will see how the county of Craig is inter-locked with Alleghany. Now, I find by reference to the acts, etc., that upon the county of Alleghany has already been expended as follows: for the Covington and Ohio Railroad, in 1852-3, there was an appropriation of $1,000,000. One half of that was expended at the Ohio end, beginning at Guyandotte, between there and Charleston. The other half was expended in the other end in the county where Covington is; because it begins at Covington. Five hundred thousand dollars, there was expended in the county of Alleghany. In 1856 there was $500,000 more. In 1857 there was $800,000. In 1859-60, there was an appropriation of $2,500,000; making in all, $4,300,000; which has been or is about being - for the last appropriation is not quite done - expended in Alleghany county.
Now, Mr. President, this is the point; and this makes it, in my view, so far as I represent my constituency, have great weight with me: whether I shall join in a recommendation to the legislature of our State to bring in the county of Alleghany; which we must do if we bring in the county of Craig. Otherwise we leave - what? A spot like a chequer-board. This is West Virginia, now. We jump a piece further and we get into old Virginia.
There is also, Mr. President, the Central Virginia Road; which runs from Staunton, and is now completed to Covington, and going on, is completed to within twenty miles of White Sulphur - about that. This road runs for a number of miles through Alleghany; and three-fifths of this expenditure we have got to pay I have not the means now of getting at the precise amount of it; but it is a good deal among the mountains, and it is expensive building railroads among those mountains.
Then, in addition to that, in the county of Alleghany there have been large expenditures in behalf of the James River Canal. I happen to have all those James river reports at home, showing the large sums expended for surveys they have been making over the summit level at Jackson's river, upon the Alleghany mountains; the most of which has been expended in Alleghany county. The canal I think is now done to Buchanan, and is in process of being built some twenty miles or thirty miles further; and then the surveys have been carried over the Summit level, as it is. called, and a good deal of money expended there.
Now, it seems to me - I believe there is no other suggestion to make - that a great deal of time has been spent upon this question. I do not want to take up a moment longer. I suggest this in view of all the facts that surround me; for I stand here for my constituents simply to recommend to the legislature. They have told me what to do - to come here to try and help make them a government for their State as prescribed in the ordinance, not ours as we may choose to prescribe it. It seems to me, sir, that every argument that carried us to the summit of the Alleghanies forbids our going one inch beyond it. Every consideration which carried us up to take in the five counties which we took in on Saturday forbids us with equal if not greater force, to go any further. It was then, the streams were running hither; we were drinking the waters that came from the top of the Alleghany mountains (merriment). Well, now they want to get all the water that is running the other way (Laughter).
MR. BROWN of Kanawha. Where does the Kanawha or Guyandotte river head?
MR. PARKER. I presume the gentleman is in earnest. The Guyandotte heads in Wyoming. The Kanawha divides into Gauley and New rivers. The Gauley turns to the left; which we all know. You know, I presume. Very probably the gentleman knows better about it than I do. The New river does not head, according to my best knowledge of geography, in either of the counties the resolution proposes to include. If I am wrong, the gentleman from Kanawha will correct me.
MR. LAMB. It heads in North Carolina.
MR. PARKER. Then, if the gentleman from Kanawha is consistent he will have to take in the State of North Carolina (Laughter).
MR. PRESIDENT. I shall take up no more time.
Several Members. Question! Question!
MR. STUART of Doddridge. I am glad we have got down to the resolution at last, and have something before us we can act upon. I do not propose to detain this Convention. I am very glad the President indicated that he intended to rule us down to the question; and I hope we will stick to that.
One reason I want to notice - one or two reasons - made by the parties who oppose this resolution. And one reason of my friend from Harrison - the reverend gentleman - is that he doesn't want these counties, and assigns another reason that they don't want us. Now, sir, it must be admitted on the part of this body that this is an ex parte proceedings towards this people. We are acting without proper knowledge in the premises; and all we propose to do in the world is to submit the question to these people; and then so far as I am concerned, I would not ask whether they wanted me. I know well they are brothers in sentiment and heart with me; and if they want to come into the new State - want to be in the Union, and associate with us - I want them.
Again, I want to say we are acting without proper light and knowledge, unless gentlemen have a kind of clairvoyance and go over in the spirit and learn what those people want. I know always heretofore - in all the crises and fights for western rights and privileges - that those people have been side by side with us; and I have nothing now to convince me - to satisfy my mind - that they are not this day side by side with us in every respect. But in order to settle this question, I want to submit it to the parties themselves, who know more about it than any of us. Now it must be admitted that the people of these counties know better what they want than we know.
Now, the great hardship here, Mr. President, is to assign as a reason that you will not submit this question to these people, because they are not here represented on this floor. We all know the reasons why they are not here. It cannot be asserted, and no member of this Convention would be willing to make the assertion - that there are no Union men there. Then, sir, if these Union men could be here they would be here, in order to represent the wishes of their constituents.
Now the reverend gentleman from Harrison seems to think we ought to be confined to the thirty-nine counties; and he has the honesty to come out and say that we don't want these people. He appears to be one of the elect. I myself, sir, am for free grace (Laughter). And if those people want to come from under the yoke and bondage that is oppressing them by eastern legislation, I, as a member of this fraternal band here and a friend, and one that has a common sympathy with my fellow man, want to give them the opportunity. I am sorry to see the reverend gentleman taking this position; because I always thought it was his business to inculcate and preach a different doctrine.
Now, sir, another reason assigned by these gentlemen is that it will militate against us in obtaining our rights and our new State before Congress. Now, gentlemen, will not just the reverse of this be its operation? Can you see any other side to this question? Let me call your attention - but I believe it is a new idea; and I do not know that I have been able to advance a new idea at least in my present speech; for the subject has been so often travelled over before; but if I can advance a solitary new idea I may happen to be of some advantage to this body - Mr. President, suppose we confine ourselves to this restricted limit of the thirty-nine counties - or, if you please, the forty-four counties; suppose these counties whose interests are identified with us - who are West Virginians - who have a right to complain of their grievances - get up petitions and go down to Congress and say that they have been excluded from the rights and privileges of coming into this new State - Mr. President, I, if a citizen of one of those counties, what do you think I would do? Having the same feeling that animates my breast now as a citizen of West Virginia, I would get on my horse, sir, (Merriment) and I would ride those counties and get every Union man in their bounds to petition against the new State. Because I would not desire to be forever debarred from the privileges of a West Virginian, tied down to eastern aristocracy and eastern legislation, which they have been complaining of as long as we have. Do you believe this may and will happen if you do the great injustice of even refusing to submit to them the question of whether or not they want to come into the new State ? It does strike me very forcibly this will be the course pursued by our friends there now. We will make them our enemies in order to get the new State.
Now, Mr. President, as I do not want to detain this Convention, and cannot advance another new idea, I am willing that the question should be taken to accommodate the gentleman from Hancock, who is very anxious it should be taken.
MR. BROWN of Kanawha. Another new idea. The Honorable Mr. Whaley, who is a member of Congress, and whose district lies on the Ohio river, embracing the county of Wayne, Logan and Wyoming, extending on to McDowell and touching Tazewell, Giles and Craig, and on beyond that the county of Botetourt, we should think would have very strong reasons to say to Congress that a portion or a large majority of his constituents would be thrown out of this new State if they should have no opportunity to say whether they would come in or not. He will say their interests should be consulted as, well as ours, and whatever influence he may have with Congress may be exerted to defeat our admission by the Congress of the United States.
MR. POMEROY. With all the anxiety we have for the vote on this question to be taken, I do not think it would be exactly in accordance with all rules that I conceive to be just and right to have two speeches from the able gentleman over the way and then the vote peremptorily taken. My friend from Doddridge appears to have got the anxiety about taking the vote just at the time his Speech closed, (Merriment) but never appeared to have any before I had that anxiety pretty strong in the morning, but I do not know that I have it quite so strong now (Renewed mirth).
It might be well to answer the argument of the last gentleman, I do not care about going into dry statistics here. There is something very peculiar about the way gentlemen get seats in Congress at the present time. They admit members whether the people vote for them or not. I have no idea the gentleman alluded to ever expects to represent that district, or any other, in Congress after the present Congress; so that that argument has no weight whatever in the settlement of this question. And even if it had, are we to be influenced upon the votes we give here for a great principle where the new State is involved by the consideration of whether a certain man gets a specific sum of money as member of Congress? Certainly not. As the gentleman from Marshall very well remarked, the great idea with me, when we have got this far, is to accomplish the object we have in view; and I am not willing to stand here and throw insurmountable obstacles in the way of the accomplishment of that object. I was not sent here for the purpose of placing one barrier after another between our admission before Congress and this new State, but to help frame a Constitution for a people who had already decided by their votes that the new State should be formed in accordance with the ordinance passed by the preceding Convention; for I contend that we had no power or right to alter these bounds. I have not heard - and in fact I do not expect to hear - the argument of the gentleman from Harrison answered; because I conceive it cannot be answered either by the learning or by the eloquence of any man or set of men combined; because the arguments themselves are unanswerable in their very nature. In regard to the question now of a dodge, it appears to me that dodge is all on the other side. Here it is contended at great length -
THE PRESIDENT. The Chair would remind the gentleman from Hancock that he expects gentlemen to debate the question at issue.
MR. POMEROY. Well, sir, that is the adoption of this resolution - is it not?
THE PRESIDENT. Yes, sir. The Chair has permitted a good deal of latitude heretofore; but -
MR. POMEROY. I understood that I was debating the question at issue. That was what I was trying to do.
THE PRESIDENT, (resuming) Where gentlemen have departed heretofore he expects in future a stricter compliance with the rule.
MR. POMEROY. I thank the President for the suggestion. The question is the adoption or rejection of the second resolution of the report of the Committee on Boundary and in regard to that resolution I am opposed to its adoption. I claim the right to briefly state the reasons why. And the first thing is what do we gain by the adoption of this resolution that introduces a people here, as has been already stated, that we have no reason to believe want to come in. We introduce a people that we do not want admitted here. I am candid to make the same admission. How then can we walk together unless we be agreed? They want to have no part in this new state matter; and we do not wish that they should. That is certainly plain enough to be understood, as to my position. I do not want them in here. And secondly, and another reason I will give: it injures us. It materially injures us as a state. They have no interests that are identical with our interests. They have no interests that are in common with ours; and therefore instead of proving a benefit they would prove an injury to us if admitted here. The doctrine set forth that we ought to exercise feelings of charity towards these people is not a doctrine that comes in very well in this place. We are inflicting no injury on them certainly by leaving them where they are. It is the place of their choice. They ask to remain there. They do not ask to come here with us.
But the strongest objection, perhaps, is this: gentlemen have contended that a vote could not be taken in certain counties and that therefore no vote ought to be proposed to them, but here are counties lying further on towards the seat of the rebellion, where it must be still more difficult to take a vote, if an impossibility could be more impossible, and yet they propose to open polls there and take a vote! And then the question comes up - and that is another reason why I am opposed to this resolution - the question comes up before the Congress of the United States: you ask for territory that would not vote to go in. Do you suppose that we would extend the boundaries of the new State without consent of its people ? And will not that prejudice our cause there? Why it seems to me so plain that the man that runs may read. It is evident these counties would not open polls. There were none in October. And what evidence have we that there will be any in April ?
Why the evidence is conclusive that there will not.
Then for these reasons - but I do not wish to go into a lengthy discussion of this matter - I think this resolution ought not to be adopted; I think that we ought to say by our votes that we do not wish to extend the boundaries or transcend the power prescribed and conferred upon us by the convention which called us here.
There is just a single remark I would like to make, Mr. President. I believe we ought to stick directly to the rules. And I really believe the way we have been working on this matter, that by introducing various amendments, the same gentleman upon the identical same resolution can make a dozen speeches if he sees proper; and the amendment may be discussed for a long time and then voted down or withdrawn. And I hope we will - and that is the reason I make the suggestion, not for the purpose of cutting off my friends - take the vote and get along with a little more rapidity, as the gentleman from Doddridge has expressed a desire to have the vote taken, and I feel very much like a desire on my part to have the vote taken now (Laughter).
THE PRESIDENT. The Chair regrets very much the necessity of calling upon gentlemen to adhere closely to the question immediately under discussion, but he finds there is such a necessity.
MR. HALL of Marion. I do not propose to make a speech. I think the Convention has decided the question as to our power; and in voting upon this matter we ought not to be governed by that. I think the Convention has determined that it has a right to act on this question. If it has not that would be a very proper and legitimate subject for discussion now. I think we have had that fully discussed. These suggestions of that sort are not a legitimate argument to influence any man in voting on this subject. Another suggestion: I would say to my friend, I think it was not suggested by the gentleman from Kanawha that we should be influenced by Congressmen in that region of country in office; but he was looking to the question of what may result from not giving these people a chance. I am free to say here - just as they have bandied it back very frequently because I was an advocate for the coercion of Greenbrier, Pocahontas and the counties included with them - I admit it was argued it would be unjust and improper to leave it to the vote of that people to be taken at that time -
MR. WILLEY. If the gentleman will excuse the interruption - I do not know anything myself about the views of the member of Congress to whom the gentleman from Kanawha has alluded; except that I believe he is opposed to the whole project of the new State. Will some gentleman inform us how this is?
MR. HALL of Marion. I am not advised of that matter; but I understand the suggestion to be this, and not that the parties should have money growing out of his office: unless we extend an opportunity to those people, a thing of this kind might and in all probability will be gotten up and be very much in our way. Now, I am free to confess here - while I intend to vote to let these people vote - that I have no more idea that they will be permitted to vote than that they will gather up and pack off to the moon. I have no idea they can do it. That is why I was arguing against leaving it to a vote in Greenbrier. But I think there is propriety in showing up any objection that may be raised there. And then again it is but an act of justice to those people and gives them their chance. I do not think they will come along with us; because I do not believe the time will be long enough, or that they will be permitted or can vote. If they should I do not think they will vote to come along with us, unless they will be so disposed that they cannot do us any injury. And thus it is that, whilst I have no idea the vote can be taken, I am willing at all events that we shall extend to those people the opportunity and leave them the opportunity to avail themselves of it; and if the circumstances prevent it, the matter will not fall upon us; but it will be their misfortune and not our fault.
Now, I really and undoubtedly believe that is all there is in that.
MR. HAGAR. If I make anything it is generally a short story out of a long one. I cannot exactly definitely answer the question asked by the gentleman from Monongalia in reference to Mr. Whaley; but I suppose he was elected by a few Union men down in that region; but whether he is opposed to the new State or not, I will venture to say he is opposed to secession.
Now let us keep this one thing in mind: every county we add - secession county - in that direction, gives them more strength; and they have a good deal there now, if you recollect. Now they control a portion of Kanawha, Putnam, Cabell, Wayne, Logan, Boone, Fayette, Raleigh, Nicholas, Greenbrier, Pocahontas, and a few others; and then the scattering secession vote that is through your country, all through the new State - they will stick together and if they hold an election, at all at that time, it will be to vote the new State down. Let us think of these things. Caution is the parent of safety. We have stretched our arms in there as far as we dare do it, to my notion and by stretching them too far it might prove the truth of that declaration that says, Woe unto him that adds farm to farm.
MR. PARKER. The argument of gentlemen on the other side of the house seems to have come now to this point, as I understand it: that if we act upon and exclude these counties we shall do the inhabitants living within those counties a great injustice. That seems to be the final settling down of the argument. Now let us look for a moment and see what West Virginia has done towards the people of those counties. Six months ago she gave an invitation, which is in the ordinance there - published in all the papers, and has stood since open and bold; and everybody sees it, and everybody living in those counties knows it. There is no doubt of it. Now what is the response? That is the way to try things. It is not the talk, and imagining this and guessing that, and there is something over there, that determines how men act. The invitation has gone out upon the winds and everybody knows it. It is idle to talk otherwise. What now has been the response? That is the question. Not a word. They have not even given us a passing notice. What do they do? Treat us as a "bogus government," and spurn us. That is it. That is true. I believe there are some good Union men there; but they are far between. Having stood here six months in this generous, liberal, fraternal attitude of invitation, we have not heard a word, only they have called us a "bogus government." They spurn us from their embrace. That is it. Thus stand the facts. Now what? Well, we are going to give them six months more. For what? To spurn us again! Thank God I am not made of that stuff! Nor are my constituents. A supplicant! Now do come, and don't call us bogus any more! (Laughter.) Do come! I undertake to say, Mr. President - I speak it upon my firm conviction - that not one of us in this Convention could go to either of those counties to carry the message which the gentleman from Kanawha is so anxious about, for fear somebody will suffer over there. Neither he nor I, nor any other gentleman of the Convention could carry it there and come back alive. And those are the people that are going to suffer! With far more probability of an alliance might we go to the emperor Napoleon and ask him to annex his empire to our little State. He would not treat us to a rope. He would not scalp us; but yonder they would do both. That is my conviction - not from prejudice but from facts. They are facts which are palpable to every man, as we know them to be.
Now for us to lie by here for five months, and hang up - for what? Carry it into April, the gentleman says. Suppose they vote against it. These counties are proposed in two divisions. Suppose the people here vote and we take the outside tier, and the people of the inside tier reject it - why, what are you going to do? Well, there is so much of our State - but how are you going to get to it? Got to go over the old state to get to it.
One further fact and then I am done. These gentlemen that are so tender - that think it is going to do these people such great wrong to go and act here and not give them a chance to vote - propose to submit it to 55,000 people embraced in the counties now under consideration, and yet they have really got it fixed up here so that fifty out of this 55,000 people may secure a majority of the votes cast and a majority of the counties. And they start off by saying we must be tender or we shall do them a great injustice! We must take their full suffrage on it; and, O, we'll fix it up in just such a way that 50 shrewd men, under the garb of being Union men, could get together and concoct the whole concern, and then bring it up here and say, Here it is; and we have got a majority of the whole vote and a majority of the counties. How many did you get? Only 50. And when there is a motion made to enlarge it so as to take a fair expression of the people - the very thing gentlemen ought to seek - that is get an expression of the majority (that is the way counties speak, that is, a fair expression of that majority) - why do not they march up to the mode that will give it? That will not do at all. But we must have it so that ten or fifteen or twenty shall bring each of these counties in here. My constituents do not want any such arrangement. I do not want it; I do not recommend it; and I shall therefore vote against it.
MR. BROWN of Kanawha. The gentleman has told us so much about his constituents - I believe if he will look at the records they are of a much smaller proportion than we expect to get of the voters of the counties we propose to admit.
The gentleman has said we did not expect to and could not now enter the region of country that we are seeking to give the opportunity of voting themselves into the new State. That is true. That has been the declaration of us from the beginning. And why is it? From the hostility of the people? Certainly not. It is because there is a rebel army between us and them. Why, I might well ask the gentleman, why did he stay on the north side of the Ohio river when Jenkins was in his county? Was it because he was afraid of his constituents? No; because there was a hostile force there from which he had to take to flight. And for the very same reasons he or I could not go into the county of Giles, though we could go all the distance in a canoe, without crossing mountains or meeting any obstructions but falls in the river. But, sir, we anticipate that the government of the Union - that government to which we owe allegiance, and that government which we are expecting to maintain our rights - will roll back this oppression as it has rolled it off of him and us. My county was in that condition and his was. We, too, were silenced; but now we can open our mouths. And when this oppression is rolled back, the people there will speak as we now speak. The gentleman knows, and every man in our country knows, that the time has been - and that recently - when you could not utter your sentiments or maintain your rights in our county. We had not the ability to throw off this power. The government of the Union has driven them back; but it has not driven them clear beyond the boundary where these other people live; and when it shall do this, then these people can speak and say whether they prefer to cast their fortunes with us or their eastern brethren. I have said when the opportunity is given they will not hesitate to come with us. And if they do not? Why then, sir, they have harmed us not. Then why does the gentleman say we are begging for them? We are doing nothing of the kind. We are only dealing with them as brethren now under the pressure of a power they cannot resist. The events that we anticipate may not take place. It may not be possible for the government to drive out the forces that press them down by the time this vote is proposed; but it may be, and I hope and believe it will do it. If the movements that I have strong reason to believe are about taking place, shall be successfully accomplished according to our expectations, the thing will be accomplished. If disaster overtakes our efforts again, we must, perhaps, ourselves leave this soil as well as they. I am for doing equal justice to these people.
MR. STEVENSON of Wood. Mr. President -
THE PRESIDENT. There is a rule that prohibits a member speaking more than twice without leave of the house. I call the attention of the Convention to it without the object of applying it to anybody, particularly my friend from Wood.
MR. STEVENSON of Wood. I have no disposition to protract this discussion. Although it has been continued for a very long time, I feel like making a few remarks, more by way of explanation than anything else, in reference to a matter in which I think the gentleman from Kanawha misapprehended or misunderstood a portion of my argument on yesterday. In the course of my remarks, I undertook to convince the Convention - I do not know whether I was so lucky as to succeed in doing it or not - that in shaping the policy of this new State, it was very desirable to do it so as to invite the proper class of people from the adjoining states to make their homes amongst us. The gentleman from Kanawha, I think from the remarks he made just afterwards, supposed I intended this as a kind of reflection on the people of our own State. Nothing, sir, in the world was further from my intention; and I think I distinctly stated at the time that I believed the people who inhabit our country are just as moral, as industrious, as enterprising, and as good citizens, as could be found anywhere else. But I did remark, sir, that I thought we had not enough of them; and I think so yet; and I think any man who will divest himself of local prejudices will come to this conclusion, without thinking very long on the question; and if I wanted to convince this Convention, to instance them to one standing argument in favor of the maintenance of that position, I have no farther to go, sir, than outside of the walls of this building, around here through the city of Wheeling. But, I think, sir, I used that argument; and I think it can be used, as I did use it, without casting any unjust reflection, or making any unfair distinction between the people of this region of country -
THE PRESIDENT. The question is on the resolution.
MR. STEVENSON of Wood. This is a matter of explanation that I was at just now. It is a privileged question, I believe.
MR. BROWN of Kanawha. I desire to assure my friend from Wood that I was not at all disposed to disapprove of the argument of the gentleman. My only object was, understanding him to favor directing our policy to securing population, to say that I thought that was not the only great object in forming our State.
MR. STEVENSON of Wood. All I had to say about that was that I did not wish to make any remark here that would be considered unkind to any member of the Convention or be calculated to give offense to their constituents.
In regard to this question, sir, that is now before the Convention, I have only to say this: that after having listened patiently to this discussion in all its bearings, I have come to this conclusion, and I think a majority of the Convention has, that it is not a practical question; and I think the gentlemen who wish to introduce or add these counties have admitted that much; that while it cannot do these people any good; while the probabilities are all against a supposition of that kind, it is equally agreed upon almost all hands that it must embarrass the whole question. Now, sir, if it is not going to do them any good, supposing them to be all Union men; if, as one gentleman remarked, it would be just as difficult for those men to travel to the moon as to vote in next April - I want to know why it is that we propose to embarrass this whole new State movement; to accompany it with difficulties of this kind; to carry these doubts which prevail here (and which have advocates in this Convention) whether we have any right to act on this question of boundary at all in the way of extending the limits of the new State, with the whole question, through the legislature, and from it into Congress; and imperil, and probably in the end defeat, this whole new state movement? Now, sir, I am just as anxious for this new State as any man can be; and I do say here that if we are to proceed in this way, using one set of arguments today in favor of running to the top of the Alleghany mountains, because this is a great natural boundary, and putting these arguments up next day and knocking them down with another class of arguments, we will look ridiculous in the eyes of Congress when we apply for admission. Now, sir, such a course, with all due respect reminds me very much of one of the by-laws of one of the first temperance societies ever started in this country: "Any member of this society who becomes intoxicated shall be fined five shillings, unless it can be clearly proved that such intoxication took place on the 4th of July or at a regular militia muster." (Laughter)
There is just about as much consistency, it seems to me, in the arguments used on the two sides of this question by the same gentlemen, as there was in the temperance principles of that society.
Now, sir, I am opposed to this whole thing of passing over the ridge of the Alleghany mountains and of taking in additional counties, unless it may be I may possibly agree to take in some two or three or possibly more, the ones embracing the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. Further than that I cannot go.
MR. POMEROY. Mr. President, of course on this question, as it is a very important one, I call for the yeas and nays.
The yeas and nays were ordered and taken, resulting:
YEAS - Messrs. Hall of Mason (President), Brown of Kanawha, Brumfield, Chapman, Carskadon, Dolly, Hall of Marion, Hubbs, Montague, Mahon, Sinsel, Simmons, Sheets, Stuart of Doddridge, Van Winkle, Wilson, Walker - 17.
NAYS - Messrs. Brown of Preston, Battelle, Caldwell, Cassady, Dering, Dille, Hansley, Haymond, Harrison, Hervey, Hagar, Irvine, Lamb, Lauck, O'Brien, Parsons, Powell, Parker, Paxton, Pomeroy, Ruffner, Stevenson of Wood, Stewart of Wirt, Soper, Taylor, Trainer, Willey, Warder - -28.
So the resolution was rejected.
MR. STUART of Doddridge. I move that the next resolution be now taken up.
MR. VAN WINKLE. I would remind members again that the name of Frederick is accidentally omitted in the resolution. It will be considered, I suppose, as in.
The motion was agreed to, and the third resolution of the report of the Committee on Boundary reported as follows:
"RESOLVED, That the district comprising the counties of Frederick, Jefferson, Berkeley, Morgan, Hampshire, Hardy, Pendleton, Highland, Bath, and Alleghany shall also be included in and constitute part of the proposed new State, provided a majority of the votes cast within the said district, at elections to be held for the purpose on the third Thursday in April, in the year 1862, and a majority of the said counties are in favor of the adoption of the Constitution to be submitted by this Convention.
THE PRESIDENT. The county of Frederick, having been left out of the printed copies of the report of the committee by mistake, will be considered as in.
The question is on the adoption of the resolution.
MR. SHEETS. Mr. President, I have an amendment to offer to that resolution; that is to strike out the counties of Hampshire and Hardy and add them to the original list of the thirty-nine.
MR. VAN WINKLE. I do not think, sir, the whole matter is in order at present. The gentleman may move to strike them out and the question will recur on the passage of the whole; and then he could move to put them in the first section.
I would suggest, however, that it is not necessary even to move to strike these counties out here. When we come to consider the whole report, those changes, and others if they suggest themselves, can be made. They had better stay in this resolution until its fate is determined. If this is negatived, we can then add them to the other. That is to say: by a motion made by the chairman of this committee, this report was to be considered as a report of a standing committee; and under the rule for the discussion of reports, gentlemen will have an opportunity to make transfers of any kind when we come to the final adoption of the report. It would only embarrass business now to make a motion of that kind.
MR. SHEETS. I accept the suggestion of the gentleman from Wood and withdraw the motion.
THE PRESIDENT. The question will be then on the adoption of the resolution.
MR. WILLEY. Mr. President, I was waiting to hear from the chairman of the committee.
MR. STUART of Doddridge. It has been so usual to offer amendments, that I was waiting for some one to offer them; and I supposed when my friend addressed the Chair that he had one to propose. If any member has any amendment he desires to submit, I would be glad if he would do so now.
MR. POMEROY. Does the gentleman from Doddridge want an amendment simply to express his views on the subject? If he does I move to strike out all these counties except Hampshire and Hardy. I expect before this discussion closes to state the reasons why these counties should be stricken out.
MR. VAN WINKLE. In reference to this question of order; it is usual for the chairman of a committee, when any part of a report comes up to have the opportunity if he desires, to explain it; also if he sees occasion to explain the reasons which led the committee to adopt it. That I suppose the chairman does not feel necessary in this instance.
But I wish to say, further, that my friend from Doddridge seems to have misunderstood that it is also by courtesy, not by rule, allowed to the chairman to close the debate; and I have no doubt the chairman of this committee supposed he was closing it two or three times on the second resolution - but he failed to do so (Laughter).
MR. POMEROY. I will willingly withdraw the motion I made through courtesy to the chairman of the committee. I am very willing to hear the gentleman.
MR. VAN WINKLE. Your motion to amend will not hinder.
MR. POMEROY. Well, I will withdraw it anyhow until he makes his speech, so that I can offer it afterwards and he can make another on the amendment (Merriment).
MR. STUART of Doddridge. I had no set speech to make on the subject. I did suppose it was almost unnecessary to give the reasons for reporting this resolution by the committee. I supposed I would hardly get up until some member offered an amendment. But I understand now from the indications in this body, the Convention desires to pass upon this amendment - either adopt or reject it, and then gentlemen offer any substitute they choose.
I must be permitted to say that the inclinations and feelings of this committee leaned strongly towards the counties of Hardy and Hampshire so that we would hardly have embraced them in this resolution had it not been for an indication or suggestion made by one of the representatives from those counties and that was this: that the counties of Hardy and Hampshire, above all things almost, desire to come into the new State of West Virginia, to be with us as they are identified with us; but that if it is the sense of this Convention that you shall include them and exclude their neighbors, they do not think they can come. Now, I believe that was really the reason the committee classed these two counties, represented here on this floor, and always represented as loyal counties, with their neighbor counties. Now, from another indication from a member of this body from the same counties I am disposed to think these counties are divided; and "a house divided against itself" - I don't know what we are to do with it. I understand by the amendment as indicated by one of the gentlemen from Hampshire, that he desired to be cut loose from these other counties. I must admit my action would be governed very much by the gentlemen who represent these counties. If they want to be cut loose, I am for giving them that opportunity. That was my sentiment in committee; and I believe it would have been the sentiment of the entire committee if they had known that to be the wish of the parties who represent those counties.
Well, then, sir, the reason as before stated why the committee embraced the counties of Hampshire and Hardy, and classified them with these other counties lying contiguous: that we understood these counties did not desire, although they were in favor of coming with us, to be cut off from their neighbor counties; that their associations were such that it was not possible to do it. But I presume that if this body will look at the great interests we have at stake, and the interests of those people; that our interests are all identified; that our great thoroughfare, carrying our trade and commerce, passes right through them, we will be for giving them at least the opportunity of saying whether or not they want to come in. It has been understood that the counties of Hampshire, Hardy, Morgan, Berkeley and Jefferson were Union counties; and I believe a majority of them, if not all of them, on the ordinance voted against it. There may be some few of the counties that did not; but if they did not, it was because they were overrun by the soldiery of eastern Virginia, and had not the opportunity of voting or expressing their sentiments. They were afraid to do so.
Now, if we are satisfied in our minds that these people desire to be attached to the new State of West Virginia, all this resolution proposes to do in the world is to submit the question to them; and if they say they want to come with the new State, why, of course we will permit them to come in. It will not only be for their interests, but it will be for our interests. Now, I for one member of this body, and even one member of that committee, would have been willing and desirous to include those people peremptorily within the boundaries; because I look upon it that almost our existence depends on that thing. Self-preservation is the first law of nature; and I do not see, Mr. President, if we cut ourselves loose from those counties and let them remain in the old State of Virginia, with her unfriendly legislation towards us, what we are to do without them. How would we get along? It is well known that in a majority of our northwestern counties all our trade and commerce and very near all our travel, is over the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. Now, sir, unless we have the control of that road what is to become of us? Do you not see? The eastern portion of our State has always been disposed to unfriendly legislation towards us; and now when this excitement is up, and we are forming a new State, and cutting ourselves loose from the old state - I appeal to the members of this Convention, what they think will be the legislation of eastern Virginia towards us in regard to this great improvement, to which every vital interest we have is second. Now, sir, this resolution embraces some of the valley counties not exactly bordering on this Baltimore and Ohio Railroad; but their interests are so identified and interlocked with the counties bordering on the road that it is almost impossible to separate them. There is the road passing up from Harper's Ferry through the counties of Jefferson and Frederick to Winchester, with a small gap of some sixteen or seventeen miles necessary to connect with Strasburg, and then they have a line of road right up through those counties that would carry them down to the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, their natural channel of travel and trade. But if we cut them loose they are driven : from this natural course of commerce and trade. They are forced to operate against the laws of nature itself. You compel those people to look for their trade to eastern Virginia - to Richmond and Norfolk in direct opposition to their interests. But this committee supposes, sir, these people would look to their own interests, would desire to come to West Virginia where their interests are, and we looking to their interests would desire to have them here. That was the reason we embraced them and want to offer them an opportunity of saying whether or not they desire to come. I see no impropriety in it; but if we do not give them this opportunity, the argument I used on the floor a few moments ago on the other resolution will come into play; these people will array themselves against our interest here in getting the new State; they will band themselves together and say to the Congress of the United States that their interest, their every interest, is identified here, and that they are cut loose and left to the unfriendly legislation of eastern Virginia, and that they can hardly survive it. We will have to change our boundaries. Congress will never admit us without changing it. This is a great thoroughfare and we leave it in an unfriendly state at present. I am like my friend from Monongalia; I have every reason to hope, and I am of the firm opinion that this rebellion will be put down; but there is nothing I have learned more surely than that nothing is impossible. We may possibly be mistaken about this thing; and, as I have before remarked, wise statesmen legislate for any contingency that might possibly ever arise. Now, sir, looking to this matter; looking to our interests, and to the interests of these people, it does seem to me we will at least give them the opportunity of saying whether they want to come or not. If you do not want to militate against the interests of the State, and the prospect of getting it through Congress, I am firmly of opinion that it is necessary to leave the question with these people to let them say whether they want to come in or not. It will not be an impediment but it will aid us in getting our new State.
MR. CARSKADON. Being a party interested in the section now under controversy, I feel it due to my constituents to give my reasons for the course I have taken in regard to these counties. The chairman of the committee has said he had information - which I gave him, I admit, that I believed my constituents of the county of Hampshire were opposed to coming in unless the same invitation was extended to the surrounding counties. We lie there together. We have a community of interest; and if we are to be taken in without those other counties having the privilege of coming in, it as far as I am conversant with the views of the people, met with their disapprobation. They wish to go to the Blue Ridge or to not go at all. We live together in a common interest, and the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad is our outlet to market, and if we are cut off there with but two counties, we know that then we can get no internal improvements from the government of West Virginia. They will not legislate for us on that side of the mountain. It is perfectly natural that there being but two counties we need never expect any legislation from them to our particular advantage. Our people, the Union citizens of Hampshire are desirous, almost to a man, to go into the new State; but they wish the same invitation and chance extended to the surrounding counties; and there are strong reasons why they should be. If the counties of Hampshire and Hardy have delegates here, the counties of Morgan, Berkeley, and Jefferson certainly would have had if they had had the proper opportunity; from the fact that Berkeley gave something like 800 majority against secession, the county of Morgan as I said cast 300 and upwards, and Jefferson would have given a majority against the ordinance had it not been for the Confederate troops stationed in Harper's Ferry, some 7,000 or 8,000, at the time of the election Well, if Hampshire and Hardy, which did not give a majority against the ordinance of secession, are anxious to be in, will it not as a matter of course be the desire of the counties that I have just mentioned to come in? And I should think it would be very unjust to those counties and to the county of Frederick, and the others named in the section, not to have an opportunity to express their views on the subject. I am opposed to forcing these counties in. I believe it is as the gentleman from Monongalia said the other day, a violation of a fundamental principle to force them to come in and live under an organic law which they had no say in making, and not even a chance to remonstrate against. Therefore I am opposed to forcing them in; and I think the proper plan is to adopt the resolution of the committee and give them a chance to make known their wishes on the subject.
As to the expediency of taking in or leaving out those counties, I think it enhances, as the gentleman from Doddridge has just said, largely our chance of getting the State admitted by Congress, by the admission of those counties. He claims to have originated the idea, but I had it put down last night - I do not know when he thought of it first - of the petitioning of those counties if left out. And I will tell you I am firmly convinced they will petition to Congress to stop the whole matter until they have a fair opportunity to say whether or not they will come in. And gentlemen who urge the expediency of leaving them out will find that a mistaken idea. And I tell you petitions from counties as loyal as the counties of Berkeley and Morgan will have weight in Congress; and there is no help for it; if they are left out I am satisfied they will petition Congress for admission into the new State; and the whole matter will be delayed until they can express their views on the subject.
And as to the negro population in those counties, I cannot see the great bugaboo in it, as some see. If we had taken in a great portion of the slave population, as the gentleman from Wood said, we would have had but 8 1/2 per cent. And is it to be supposed that Congress will look at that as any great obstacle in the way of a new State? Or is it to be supposed that the legislation of a state when there is such a vast majority of white population will be such as will prejudice it in the eyes of the general government, supposing them to be opposed to the institution of slavery? I think not, sir.
THE PRESIDENT. The question is on the adoption of the resolution.
MR. CARSKADON. Well, sir, if I am wandering I am obliged to the Chair.
I am in favor, as I before stated, of taking in the whole section, or table C, I believe it is, as embraced in that resolution. I am in favor that they shall have the privilege of saying - and I think it more than probable that they may say before the third Thursday in April - that they shall have an opportunity - the great majority at least - of expressing their views on the subject. Therefore, I would rather they should stand as they do in the section, with that chance; but if gentlemen persist, and it is the sense of the house, to take out the counties of Hampshire and Hardy, they can just use their own pleasure as regards the matter. I believe the constituency which I represent would rather be out than in unless those counties lying along the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and contiguous would have an opportunity to vote on the question.
MR. POMEROY. Is the question simply on the adoption of the resolution?
THE PRESIDENT. Yes, sir.
MR. POMEROY. The reason I wished to submit an amendment at a certain time was, for the express and direct benefit of the gentlemen from the counties of Hampshire and Hardy and the people they represent. If they are willing that their cause stand or fall, if that is the expression of these gentlemen, with the whole resolution, why then of course we are ready to proceed with the discussion of the resolution; and although I made the remark in a playful manner, (though partly in earnest), of course in some way my friend from Doddridge will have an opportunity of discussing the matter without the amendment I wished to offer for his benefit. And I would like to offer this remark, and I would be very thankful to the Chair if he would call me to order if I get out: I believe it is legitimate and right and proper in all deliberative bodies in presenting the arguments that seem in favor of any side of a question under discussion, to answer, if we do it in a respectful and kind and gentlemanly way, the arguments adduced by the gentlemen who differ with us. I believe the Chair will so decide. Well, then, I want to answer what I conceive -
THE PRESIDENT. The Chair would, however, make this remark: that he would be thankful to gentlemen not to pass over any more ground gone over in the early part of the discussion than they can. The range has got too wide; and we are trying to restrain and bring it in.
MR. POMEROY. I think that is a good idea.
MR. VAN WINKLE. The difficulty arose yesterday on amendments. Now, it strikes me, sir, when a question comes up on the passage of a resolution, it necessarily opens all the ground connected with that resolution. If the question was simply to strike out one of those counties the range of debate would be improper. Of course every gentleman must judge for himself. He should put the proper restraint on himself and not make it necessary for the Chair to restrain him. The question is a different one when it presents itself on the passage of a whole resolution or on an amendment.
THE PRESIDENT. The question on the passage of a resolution does give more range necessarily than on an amendment.
MR. POMEROY. But I understand our President to wish to draw the reins a little so as to save time.
MR. VAN WINKLE. The President has no right to draw the reins more than the rules require him; and I was simply calling the President's attention to the fact that the range yesterday became peculiarly improper because it was on a single amendment: although I do not pretend to judge; that is for the Chair; but I only wished to suggest that there may properly be a wider range when the question comes up on the passage of a resolution.
MR. POMEROY. I conceive, Mr. President, that although this question presents a different idea at the outset, we will necessarily have to travel a good deal over the old beaten track. We will have to present the same reasons why these counties should not be received; and the same will be presented, I have no doubt why they should be. But I think I will call up before this discussion closes, what the gentleman from Doddridge would call a new idea; and if I can get hold of that idea, why perhaps I can show my objections to the resolution without going over the old ground. Now, here is an argument that I wish to reply to: that if the people of West Virginia go up in due form having complied with all the requisitions laid down in the books and ask admission by Congress, there are a few men over in this district that will array themselves against us and keep us out. I am willing to admit that they are very "honorable men"; and they may be men of I wonderful influence; and certainly they must be if they will be able to array themselves with such power that they will keep us out of the Union in that way.
The gentlemen say that another thing they wish to throw out an idea about is this: that suppose for a moment - although they say they do not hardly think it will be so - that we should all be disappointed about the putting down of this rebellion, what a deplorable condition we would be in then if we do not have the friendship of these people over here that it is proposed to admit. I ask the gentlemen, did you read the message of John Letcher in which he says the Ohio river is the boundary of Virginia now and will be still. If the rebellion succeeds, do you imagine that the boundary is going to be at the Alleghany or the Blue Ridge? If they have power to suppress the strong arm of the United States, why they have power to extend their boundary not only to the Ohio river but over it. And he says in that same message - which I hope gentlemen may have looked at - that the army ought to fight, not on the banks of the Potomac but on the banks of the Susquehanna. Why, they would extend their power and dominion everywhere; and I would not give a copper for the new State of West Virginia, if they succeed.
But, sir, the arguments used here by the gentlemen opposed to receiving these other counties will apply with the same force to a part of these counties, or with additional force. Take for example the county of Alleghany. Who ever represented her in this Convention? Who ever came here for admission? And in addition to her hostility shown by her vote, we have the fact brought forth, that that county incumbers us with a large amount of original debt, if it was possible to get her in; and therefore, I am opposed to taking her in even if she were willing. I believe too it would be doing injustice to that part of the State, the counties lying near them, in regard to which we have already voted that they shall not come in. Our boundary is fixed - a great natural boundary, as has been said, the boundary formed by the Alleghanies. Any man can see at a glance that it appears to be the regular and natural boundary. Now, why should we go over this and carve out counties? Because if I count these counties correctly there are ten of them. It would require six of them to control this matter and bring the whole ten in; and if they stand or fall together, why they must all stay out unless six vote to come in. Why shall we go and make a line of this kind? What kind of a boundary does it give you? But I confess I have no fears of their coming in - of their opening polls. Who ever heard of a man in Pendleton or Bath expressing the opinion that he would like to belong to this new State? Or Highland? Here are counties that we have had no expression from and the proposition is to take the vote, when we know it is impossible for a vote to be taken, even if we did not know they are so intensely hostile that if the opportunity were ever so favorable, they would spurn our proposition with contempt.
There is another objection I have to this matter. If it is a matter of necessity for us to have them, a matter of vital necessity, why not throw the line around them and bring them in at once? That has been the doctrine - the doctrine of coercion: that we had a right to take them, and power to do it. And if we are sustained by the Federal Government, we have power to do almost anything. That is the doctrine: that we have the power. And why not throw the arm of power around them and coerce certain people in? Why not coerce them all in? I wish I had a table of statistics which I think I have in my room to show what the vote of these counties is; because the population of a county is not in all cases a true criterion of its vote. I believe the general way is one out of every five. If that be so here are counties that would give a very large vote, if that vote was out. Does any person suppose Frederick with the town of Winchester in it - or city, I believe they call it - that the one-third, or one-fifth, or one-ninety-ninth part, of that vote will be cast on the third Thursday of April in the circumstances in which the people are at present situated? We have heard a great deal about the army; and I have almost been led to believe that this army in rebellion is omnipresent. But I do think they have a large portion of it in this town of Winchester. And are they going to permit polls to be opened there and for miles of them ? There is no other force there to drive them back, and permit at the different precincts in Frederick a poll to be opened to take the vote. Who are going to be the commissioners to open these polls? Can they do it secretly? The legislature, it is said, is to provide for the commissioners: who are the men who are going to open the polls in Frederick county? Is the same not true of Jefferson ? Are there any points in that county where a vote could be taken ? Is it not true that there are hostile forces in many of those counties that will prevent this expression of opinion that is recommended by this committee?
But then. let me say - and I believe the rules say a member may speak twice on a question - but let me just say that I find in viewing this matter fully that there are over 12,000 in these counties. They then say: we will be no barrier in Congress. Who will be there to explain that away? Who will be there to tell Congress that they do not want to build up and foster this hostile element there? I would like to know who is the representative of that district in Congress. We have to take all these things into view. These things were discussed ably in the other convention; and they came to the conclusion that these counties ought not to be included, unless they should within an appointed time express a desire to be included. They have not expressed such desire.
For these reasons I am opposed to the resolution. But as the President has suggested that we shall not travel over the old ground I will give way, hoping that we may not act hastily and inconsiderately in regard to bringing in such large counties as these when it is not practicable to do so.
MR. MAHON. Mr. President, I move that the Convention now adjourn.
MR. SINSEL. I would ask the gentleman to change his motion so as to meet hereafter at 10 o'clock.
MR. MAHON. I will withdraw my motion.
MR. SINSEL. I move now we adjourn to meet hereafter at 10 o'clock instead of 11 o'clock.
MR. HALL of Marion. Would not we accomplish more by meeting at the hour we do, and instead of half-past three meet at about half-past two in the afternoon.
MR. VAN WINKLE. I would suggest that the hour for meeting in the afternoon is fixed so as to accommodate those members who are also members of the legislature. The proper form of that motion is, I suppose, that the hour of meeting hereafter be ten o'clock in the morning.
THE PRESIDENT. The Chair thinks the best form would be that we now adjourn to meet hereafter at a certain hour.
MR. VAN WINKLE. Let us fix by a distinct resolution the hour of meeting, and then we can move to adjourn.
The motion of Mr. Sinsel, modified in accordance with the suggestion of Mr. Van Winkle, was agreed to.
MR. MAHON. I now renew my motion to adjourn.
The motion prevailed and the Convention adjourned.
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Chapter Eleven: First Constitutional Convention of West Virginia