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Reorganized Government
General Assembly of Virginia

July 22, 1861

House of Delegates met at 10 A. M.

Prayer by Rev. J. L. Clarke, of the M. E. Church.

A communication from the Senate informed the House that that body had adopted the report of the Committee of Conference, relative to the bill authorizing the issue of small notes; also concurs in the resolution of thanks to Gen. McClellan and troops; also concurs in appointing a Committee of Conference in relation to House bill No. 4, regulating the volunteer forces not mustered into the service of the United States; and has adopted the House substitute for the Senate resolution in relation to the $27,000 obtained from the branch of the Exchange Bank of Weston.

Mr. SMITH, from the Committee on Courts of Justice, reported a bill to prohibit the county courts and overseers of the poor from making levies and appropriations to aid the rebellion against the General Government.

Mr. LOGAN, from the Finance Committee, reported a bill to exempt from taxation the real estate occupied by the Northwestern Virginia Agricultural Society.

The bill was read a first and second time and ordered to its engrossment.

House bill No. 6, prescribing the duties and fixing the compensation of the clerks of the two Houses was taken up. The bill as amended by the Senate provided that the salary of the clerk of the Senate should be $900 per annum, instead of six dollars per day during sessions of that body, as provided by the original bill; which amendment was disagreed to; also provided that the clerk of the House receive $1,000 per annum, which was concurred in.

The non-concurrence in the first amendment was reported to the Senate.

House bill No. 7, appropriating public revenue, &ampc., was taken up.

Mr. FARNSWORTH offered a series of amendments. The bill and amendments were committed to the Finance Committee.

Bills on their second reading were taken up.

House bill No. 21, regulating the sale of munitions of war, &ampc., was read a second time. The bill authorizes the Governor to appoint in any county or city of the State one or more agents to keep for sale munitions of war under such restrictions as he may determine; and provides that any persons selling such articles without a permit shall be fined $500 for such offence.

It also authorizes the seizure of munitions of war when found in the possession of unauthorized parties, and the arrest of persons known to be inimical to the Government of the United States, or the reorganized Government of Virginia.

Mr. WILLIAMSON of Wirt, moved to indefinitely postpone.

The motion was rejected.

Various trivial amendments were offered.

Mr. VANCE moved to so amend as to not confer upon the Governor the authority to make the arrests indicated in the bill. He said the Constitution guaranteed the right of trial by jury, and he considered this provision of the bill unconstitutional.

On this motion

Mr. WEST said:

Mr. Speaker: The time has passed by for us to take into consideration constitutional quibbles. The time has come for this House to act, and act promptly.

I have received intelligence this morning from the county of Wetzel - where, perhaps, we have expected as little danger as in any county in this Commonwealth - informing me that these very desperadoes that gentlemen propose here to screen from just vengeance, have murdered a good Union man, and that one of them is a magistrate of that county. I think, sir, the time has come that we should endeavor to throw out all the guards and precautions we possibly can, to protect the lives of Union men. If the public safety demands it, I am for arresting these men, and if that is not sufficient to deter them from acts of violence, I am in favor of hanging them. I hope we will not urge constitutional quibbles, when the lives of our people are jeopardized every day, and when it is our business here to legislate so as to take care of their lives.

Mr. VANCE moved to lay the bill on the table.

The motion was rejected.

The question was taken and the bill ordered to its engrossment.

House bill No. 22, to exempt uniformed volunteer companies from performing ordinary military duty with ununiformed militia, was taken up, read a second time and ordered to be engrossed.

Senate bill No. 2 was taken up from the table and referred to the Committee on Courts of Justice.

Mr. HOOTON offered the following:

Resolved, by the General Assembly that the clerks of the several County Courts of this Commonwealth be required as early as practicable to transmit to the Auditor of Public Accounts duplicates of all bonds in their offices given by the Sheriffs and Notary Publics, within the period of the terms of their present offices.

Resolved, That the clerks of the several Circuit Courts be required as early as practicable to transmit to the Auditor of Public Accounts, a list of all the entries made in their several courts for allowances made to witnesses to be paid by the Commonwealth, within the last twelve months.

Resolved, That the Clerks of the several Circuit and County Courts be required to transmit as early as practicable to the Auditor of Public Accounts a list of all jury allowances for which the Commonwealth is liable within the last twelve months.

The rule was suspended and the resolutions adopted.

Mr. HOOTON was appointed to notify the Senate of their adoption.

Mr. CROTHERS offered the following:

Resolved, That the Committee on Roads and Internal Navigation consider the expediency of reporting a bill exempting the mail carrier from toll on the Wheeling and Bethany Turnpike.


Mr. SMITH moved to take up the substitute for Senate bill No. 1, enacting a Stay Law.

Mr. FARNSWORTH offered a substitute for the substitute, which, after considerable discussion, was rejected.

The question recurring on the substitute (offered by Mr. Smith, of Marion) it was ordered to be engrossed, as follows:


1. Be in enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia, That no writ of fieri facias or order, or other process, shall issue under any judgement or decree, heretofore rendered by any Court of Record of this Commonwealth, or Justice of the Peace, nor upon any judgment, nor under any decree that may hereafter be rendered by any such Court or Justice while this act shall remain in force; nor shall there be any sales under any deed of trust heretofore executed, without the consent of all the parties thereto, nor under any decree or Judgment now rendered or that may hereafter be rendered, until otherwise provided by law. And in any case where a levy has been made prior to the passage of this act, the property so levied upon shall be returned to the owner, and the judgment upon which the levy was made, shall be a lien upon all the property, both personal and real, of the debtor, and shall have priority over all other judgements, as to the personal property of said debtor.

2. Be it further enacted, that any person may sue for any debt and maintain any action at law or in equity, and proceed to judgment thereon, and any judgment, execution, order or decree now rendered or issued or that may hereafter be rendered, shall in addition to the provisions of Chapter 186 and 188 of the Code of 1860, constitute of lien on all the estate, both personal and real, of the judgment debtor, from and after the docketing of any such judgment, as provided for in the 3d and 4th Sections of Chapter 186 of the Code of Virginia. This provision shall include all judgments, whether rendered by Justices of the Peace or Courts of this Commonwealth.

3. Be it further enacted, that nothing herein contained, shall be construed so as to interfere with or abridge the laws now in force in relation to attachments, and action of debtinne and trover, nor in relation to actions of ejectment and unlawful entry and detainer, nor in relation to the prosecution of criminal offences and the collection of fines, taxes, county levies and all debts due the Commonwealth; but the same may be proceeded in as now provided for by law. Nor shall this act apply to liabilities on the part of Sheriffs, Constables or other public officers, either to the State, counties, corporations or individuals, nor to debts hereafter contracted, nor to deeds of trust hereafter executed, but payment of and sales under the same may be enforced and proceeded in as if this act had not been passed. Nor shall the time during which this act is in force be computed in any case in which the statute of limitation may come in question.

4. Be it further enacted, that any person or persons who shall voluntarily leave his or their place or places of business, home and property, and go into the armies of the so-called Confederate States, or who having so gone, shall remain in said armies of the said so-called Confederate States, twenty days after the passage of this act, shall be deemed a non-resident and may be proceeded against by attachment as is now provided for by law against non-residents.

5. This act shall be in force from its passage, and shall remain in force until repealed or changed by the General Assembly of Virginia, and if not so repealed or changed, shall expire at the end of the regular session of the General Assembly of Virginia.

The following message was communicated from the Governor:

July 22, 1861.

To the House of Delegates:

GENTLEMEN: As your session is drawing to a close, I deem it all important to call your attention to the fact that I have at my command only two thousand muskets. Calls are coming in from different sections of the Northwest, from Union men, for arms and munitions of war to defend them against the threatened incursions of armed secessionists. I am supplying the demands as fast as they come in, but in a few days all the munitions at my command will be disposed of.

A number of volunteer companies have organized themselves, under a permission I gave them some time ago, in the county of Wayne and adjacent counties, and have been doing noble service in the cause of the Union. These volunteers will have to be paid. I have no doubt their patriotic example will be followed by the Union men in other sections of the State. I have no funds at my disposal sufficient to purchase arms, accoutrements, and other munitions of war for home service.

I therefore hope you will give this matter your immediate attention, and make an appropriation of at least $200,000 for the purposes indicated, authorizing the Executive to expend each part of it as may be necessary for the purchase of munitions of war, and in payment of State troops who may be employed in actual service in putting down rebellion under the order of the Executive.


Referred to the Committee on Finance.

The House then took a recess.


The House reassembled at 2 o'clock P. M.

The special order, it being the consideration of the bill and substitutes reported by the Committee on a Division of the State, was taken up.

The bill was reported by the Clerk.

Mr. RUFFNER inquired if there was a quorum present.

The Chair responded in the affirmative.

Mr. RUFFNER - Then I would propose that the resolution I offered on this subject, in behalf of the minority of the Committee, be brought forward as a substitute for the bill just read.

The Clerk read the resolution as follows:

Resolved, That, while we consider the division of the State desirable and inevitable, we believe it inexpedient at present, to legislate on the subject.

THE CHAIR - The question is on the adoption of the minority report as a substitute for the original House bill No. 20.

Mr. WEST - I am inclined to think it would not be proper to act on this bill with so very thin a house as we have at present, and I think it will be an impossibility to get a full house at any time during the present legislature in our afternoon sessions. I move, sir, that the bill and substitutes lay on the table and be made the order of the day for ten o'clock to-morrow.

The motion was agreed to.

Mr. SMITH - If there be nothing further before the House, and in order to afford an opportunity to the committees, who have much to do, to be at work, I move that this House do now adjourn until to-morrow morning at ten o'clock.

The motion was agreed to, and the House adjourned.


In the Senate, no business of importance was transacted, except the passage of the following resolution in relation to a division of the State:

Resolved, That, in the opinion of the General Assembly of Virginia, all the great industrial and commercial interests both of the East and West, imperatively demand that at the proper time the State should be divided.

But while they entertain this opinion, they are also of the opinion that it is inexpedient at this time to legislate upon the subject, and the preliminary proceedings should emanate from a Convention and not from the General Assembly.

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Chapter Eight: Legislature of the Reorganized Government of Virginia

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