June 25, 1861
Convention met at 10 A. M.
Prayer by Rev. J. L. Clark.
Mr. LAMB, from the Committee on Credentials, reported Wm. Radcliffe, of Wayne county, member elected to the House of Delegates, from that county, entitled to a seat as such in the Convention.
Mr. LAMB, on behalf of the Committee to whom was referred the ordinances passed by the Convention for revision, reported them back with an order that they be duly enrolled. He moved that they be signed by the President and Secretary of the Convention as such.
The report and motion were adopted.
Mr. Radcliffe came forward and took the oath.
Mr. MARTIN, of Wetzel, moved to amend the fourth section of the ordinance for the reorganization of the State government by inserting in the 22d line after the word "duties," the following:
"Provided, nevertheless, that any person having taken the oath of the officers of the government of the United States, and afterwards voted for the ordinance of secession, and since that time have advocated secession principles, shall be disqualified for exerci[si]ng the functions of any office in this Commonwealth until the cessation of hostilities between the United States, and the seceded States."
Mr. MARTIN moved that his resolution be referred and proceeded to make some remarks in support of it.
On the question of referring this resolution. Mr. Martin called for the yeas and nays. The call was not sustained and the question being taken the Convention refused to refer.
So the resolution was tabled.
Mr. CARLILE, from the Committee of Seventeen, reported an ordinance, which was adopted, entitled an ordinance recognizing the Constitutional duty of the Commonwealth of Virginia, to call forth the militia of the State in obedience to the lawful requisition of the Government of the United States, to execute the laws of the Union, suppress insurrection and repel invasions.
Mr. CALDWELL, from the same, reported the following which was also adopted:
The people of Virginia by their Delegates in Convention, at Wheeling assembled, do ordain as follows:
1. That on all taxes hereafter collected, there shall be allowed to the person from whom they are collected, by the officer collecting the same, ten per centum on the amount thereof, if such payment be made on or before the 15th day of September next; if made after the 15th day of September and prior to the 15th day of October next, six per centum on the amount paid; and if made after the said 15th day of October and prior to the tenth day of November next, three per centum shall be allowed on the amount paid.
2. It shall be the duty of the Auditor of Public Accounts to credit the amounts of the several Sheriffs with the percentage allowed to be deducted from said taxes under the terms of the preceding section, provded said Sheriffs shall account for and pay over the sale taxes collected within ten days after each respective period stated in said section.
3. This Ordinance shall take effect from and after the day of its passage and may be repealed or amended by the General Assembly.
Mr. LAMB, from the same, presented an ordinance, which was adopted, entitled an ordinance providing that the copies of the ordinances printed under the authority of the Convention shall be received as evidence.
On motion of Mr. Lamb, the following order was adopted.
Ordered, That the Attorney General be invited to occupy a seat in this Convention with liberty to participate in the discussions, but not to vote.
Mr. CARLILE, from the Committee of Seventeen, reported the following ordinance which was adopted:
The people of Virginia, by their delegates assembled in Convention at Wheeling, do ordain as follows:
1. When a person heretofore elected or appointed, or who shall be hereafter elected or appointed to any office in this State, shall take the oaths required of him in a Court of record he shall procure a transcript from the record of the Court stating the fact of his having taken such oaths, and when he takes such oaths before a Judge, Notary or Justice, he shall procure a certificate of the person administering the same stating the fact.
2. When the oath prescribed in the ordinance for the re-organization of the State government shall be taken as aforesaid, the person taking the same shall cause the said transcript or certificate to be delivered to the Secretary of the Commonwealth, who shall file and preserve the same in his office. And if such transcript or certificate be delivered as aforesaid to the Secretary of the Commonwealth, it shall not be required of the person taking the oath to deliver the transcript or certificate as prescribed by the 6th section of the 13th chapter, or by the 19th section of the 24th chapter of the second edition of the Code of Virginia.
This ordinance shall take effect from its passage and may be altered or repealed by the General Assembly.
Mr. FARNSWORTH offered the subjoined resolution:
Resolved, That if in the opinion of the Legislature, there shall be no necessity for the meeting of this Convention on the first Tuesday in August next, they have the power so to decide; but that the Governor shall have the power to call this Convention together at a later period than the time now fixed on, unless the Legislature shall otherwise direct.
Mr. FARNSWORTH moved the suspension of the rule, for the purpose of reconsidering the vote by which the Convention resolved to adjourn to the first Tuesday in August.
The question being taken on the suspension of the rule, it was decided in the negative.
So the Convention refused to reconsider.
On motion, the Convention then took a recess until 4 o'clock, P. M.
Mr. VAN WINKLE, from the Committee on Business, reported the Ordinances adopted during the morning session, as revised and corrected, and they were adopted and ordered to be enrolled.
On motion of Mr. Tarr, a vote of thanks was returned to the President, for the very able and impartial manner in he discharged the duties of his position.
Mr. PORTER also moved that the thanks of the Convention be tendered to the Secretary, Sergeant-at- Arms, and other officers, for the manner in which they have discharged their respective duties.
THE PRESIDENT: "Most cordially do I thank you, gentlemen of the Convention, for the complimentary manner in which you have seen fit to speak of my conduct as an officer called to preside over the deliberations of this body.
I part from you, one and all, with the kindest feelings, with emotions of heart that I have not language to address. We have been engaged in a duty of the highest importance not only to ourselves but to the State of Virginia, and it may be to the United States. I may be sanguine but I am convinced the action of the body will redound to the good of this whole country. We came here, some of us, through difficulties, some at the peril of their lives, some yet trembling, fearing not the consequences of their action, but fearing lest the call for this convention should not be responded to by the neighboring counties. But how agreeably have we been disappointed. We have representatives here from Hancock to Wayne from the Ohio to the mountains. Randolph, Tucker, Gilmer on the one hand, while Kanawha in its strength is with us on the other. We have thirty-four counties; almost one-third of the white population of the State of Virginia is represented by the territory within the counties from which delegates here hail. The people, our constituents, if they once are relieved from military rule, and have permission to express their sentiments, will hail our action here with joy and gladness, and will respond to it with hearts of gratitude, and with actions that will tell on the future destiny of this country.
We all love Virginia. We have always been devoted to our institutions, I am sure. It is not our interest to do an injury to the mother of us all. It is our duty to advance her interests, her prosperity and the happiness of the people. I am sure our action here will result in that happiness and prosperity.
Yet our work is not done with the action of this Convention. We have here done our work, and, in my estimation, have done it well. We have re-organized a government for the State of Virginia, in lien of the one which has been usurped. We have appointed officers in those positions to execute those duties where men have acted heretofore faithlessly, and permit me to say, you have been happy in the selections to fill the various offices filled by the ordinances and acts of this Convention. You have chosen men who are capable, who are honest, and who will be faithful to the Constitution and laws of their country. I have every confidence in them, that they will discharge their duties as men, honest men, men who will not go to the right nor to the left, but straight along in the line of their duty.
Then it is for us, gentlemen, after having inaugurated this government, to go home, not to idle away our time - not to fold our arms in inaction, but to go home with the determination to execute the government which we have re-organized; to put in motion in every county and in every neighborhood within our power. And if gentlemen who are opposed to us in politics on this great question of secession see fit to attempt again to oppose the free execution of the laws, it will be necessary for us, by the strong arm of the law, to put our purpose into execution. It is too late too be modest in this matter. It is too late for gentlemen now to doubt. The time for action has now arrived; and he who now falters, at a time when his country most needs his services, falters at a time when that faltering is not only a sin but a crime of the deepest dye.
Let us then go home and enter upon the execution of the government which we have re-organized. The people I am satisfied by an overwhelming majority are with us, and if we only manifest the disposition and the determination to execute our purpose all will be well.
Gentlemen, I return you my thanks for the compliment you have been pleased to bestow on me in adopting this resolution. I have spent a few days with you here very pleasantly, and have enjoyed myself as well as I ever did in my life. With these remarks and my thanks I close and take leave of you.
The Convention then adjourned to meet again on the first Tuesday in August next at two o'clock P. M., unless otherwise ordered by the Governor with the advice of his Council.
Chapter Seven: First Session of the Second Wheeling Convention