The Convention was opened with prayer by Rev. Josiah Simmons, member from Randolph.
Mr. Battelle , Chairman of the Committee on Education, submitted the second report of that committee, and asked that it be laid on the table and printed. So ordered. Following is the report as submitted:
The Committee on Education recommend the adoption of the following as a part of the Constitution.
G. BATTELLE, Chairman.
"1. The right to enter upon or bring actions for the recovery of lands lying within this State, shall, for the term of twenty- one years next after this Constitution goes into operation, be limited to seven years next after the time when such right accrues or shall accrue; saving to persons of unsound mind or under the age of twenty-one years, the right to make such en- try or bring such actions within one year after the removal of their respective disabilities, and not afterwards, notwithstanding the said seven years shall have expired; but no such action instituted previously to the time this Constitution goes into operation shall be affected by any of the provisions of this section. After the expiration of the said term of twenty-one years the limitations of such entries and actions shall be prescribed by law.
"2. All lands lying within this State which have not been entered for taxation, or upon which taxes have not been paid to the State of Virginia or this State for more than five years, shall be deemed and declarer forfeited, and forever irredeemable, and such forfeiture shall not be released. No grant or patent for forfeited, waste or unappropriated lands, shall issue after this Constitution goes into operation, except upon surveys made according to law and duly returned to the land office previously thereto; but all such lands shall be publicly sold under decrees rendered by the circuit court for the county in which the same, or the greater part thereof, may lie, upon proceedings in the nature of proceedings in rem therein instituted, in such manner as shall be prescribed by law.
"3. The money received for lands sold under the preceding section, after deducting the costs and expenses of the proceedings and sale, shall be deposited in the treasury of the State. When forfeited lands are sold, the excess of the proceeds thereof deposited in the treasury as aforesaid, over the taxes and damages charged and chargeable thereto under the laws of the State of Virginia and of this State, shall be paid to the respective former owners thereof, who shall prove themselves entitled to such excess before the circuit court which decreed the sale of the same, by proceedings instituted in such court within five years next after such sale, in such manner as shall be prescribed by law. Appeals from the decisions of circuit courts in such cases to the court of appeals shall be allowed if applied for within one year next after the decree of sale by or for any person claiming an interest in the land sold, as owner of any part thereof; but the proceedings of the circuit courts leading to the sale of such lands shall not be otherwise re-examined or drawn in question in any court of the State, unless fraud or collusion, or the actual payment of all taxes and damages, charged and chargeable to the land sold, previously to the institution of the proceedings against, the same, be alleged and proved by the claimant, and then only in the court where such proceedings were had.
"4. All money being- the proceeds of forfeited, waste and unappropriated lands deposited in the treasury, and not reclaimed by the former owner as aforesaid, shall be carried to the credit of a separate fund, to be called the school fund."
THE PRESIDENT. When the Convention adjourned it had under consideration the substitute offered by the gentleman from Marion (Mr. Haymond) for the 6th section of the report of the Committee on Taxation and Finance. The question is on the substitute.
MR. DERING. Do I understand that this is to be added to the 6th section?
THE PRESIDENT. It is a substitute.
MR. DERING. Then if that resolution be passed, then the 6th section will be stricken out?
THE PRESIDENT. Yes, sir. The Chair would remark that there has been a good deal of discussion on this question and he hopes gentlemen will recollect their privilege. The Chair does not recollect who all have spoken on this subject, but where gentlemen have exhausted their privilege he hopes they will remember it.
MR. POMEROY. I design simply to state what I understand to be the state of this question. In the 5th section we provide that the State shall not contract debts, and we have already adopted that section. The 6th section is against the State contracting liabilities, I cannot conceive how the substitute of my friend from Marion could properly take the place of this section. If it should be the will of the Convention to vote his substitute, as it is now offered and pending, it appears plain to my mind that they should in the first place vote down the substitute and adopt the section as it stands; and then if they see proper to give that power to the legislature, adopt it as a separate and distinct section. It appears to me the 6th section is one of such a character that this cannot be properly considered a substitute for it. If the gentleman wishes to present it as a separate and distinct section afterwards, that might be done; but I do not see how we can possibly, after having adopted the 5th section vote for this to come in as a substitute for the 6th. I do not see how those who voted to sustain the 5th section as part of the report can now vote to adopt this as a substitute for the 6th. We have in the 5th section said that no debt shall be contracted for this State except for certain purposes of an imperative nature; and having voted it I do not see how we can fail something very similar to the 6th section in addition to the 5th; and this substitute is not by any means the same kind of a thing at all and does not cover the ground that the 6th section does. Of course, it is not designed by the mover to do so. I am decidedly in favor of sustaining this report as it is and especially of sustaining this 6th section as reported, and therefore I am opposed to the substitute.
MR. HAYMOND. I desire to say a few words more on this subject this morning. The gentlemen on the other side have contended appropriating money to make internal improvements afterward. They have argued, sir, that we were about to appropriate a large amount for the purpose of inaugurating internal improvements. This is not our intention. We ask only that the rising generation who are to come afterwards shall have the right to improve their property. This, sir, is not a contest for dollars and cents, it is a contest for liberty (Laughter). For liberty and nothing else; and I call upon friends from the south to rally round this question that it is the last blow struck at liberty (Laughter). Sirs, it cuts down the enterprise, the energy and future prosperity and glory of western Virginia. Tell your people, sir, that they shall never appropriate one dollar to carry on improvements and, sir, you strike a blow at liberty. Sirs, I would say to the people of the panhandle that I have the highest respect for them; they are an industrious people; they have improved their farm; they have built up their towns; built up this mighty city here on the banks of the beautiful Ohio. And how did they do it? They had the national road, their railroads all around them. Sir, they are now in palaces; and we are asking them to let the future generations that are coming after us to have the same right to improve their property as we have done. That is all we are asking. I am sorry, sir, my distinguished friend from Hancock has left me on this question. I know, sir, he has a soul within his bosom as big as a mountain, (Laughter) and I know if he was not led on by other men he would be with us today. Sir, as I told you yesterday I wish to see this new State come into existence with a liberal constitution; with a constitution that will encourage all inducement to industry. Sir, if you engraft into your Constitution a clause prohibiting them from improving this country what will be the result? Why, sir, we shall fold our arms and say to the world that we are tied up; that this Convention has thrown around us an iron band which we cannot burst asunder. Sirs, I tell you gentlemen of the south to stand by me here this day in defense of liberty, for that is the only cause we are pleading. And I say to the people of this commonwealth that this question is entirely the question of liberty or no liberty. There are men here who say the future generations shall not have the right to do as they please; not have the right to improve their farm, to improve their country by roads, manufactures and all this kind of thing. I cannot see how they can go this way. Look on this side and you see manufactures in every direction and railroads all around it. Are they not willing to extend us the liberality to the country and help us raise this State to its greatness? This State, if we nurse her as Wheeling has been nursed will become the great state of this Union. It is known throughout this continent that West Virginia is the best manufacturing country in the world. Sirs, we have the greatest water-power in any country; and all we want is the right to improve it. We are not asking for a dollar - not a single dollar; and so I hope the resolution will pass and give us the right to do that which we want to do. I say again, sir, that this is not a contest for dollars and cents, and it is for liberty and nothing else.
MR. DERING. I don't desire to make a speech on this question because the argument has gone over and everything pertaining to this question of internal improvements has been iterated and reiterated again and again. But, sir, I must say to the gentleman from Marion that I cannot vote for his substitute. I cannot maintain my own consistency, sir, and vote for his substitute; and I say, Mr. President, to this Convention, after the spirit that has been exhibited in our votes on this question it seems to me it is our duty to vote down this substitute. The gentleman from Marion says it is not a question of dollars and cents but a question of "liberty." I beg leave to differ with him and will reverse his proposition and say most emphatically that it is not a question of liberty but is a question of slavery and a question of dollars and cents. If we inaugurate this substitute which the gentleman from Marion has presented, it enslaves, forever puts in bond or bankruptcy the State of West Virginia. If we start out with the debt we owe on our shoulders, we will stagger and perhaps fall with this additional four million put on the tax-payers of West Virginia.
MR. HAYMOND. We are not asking for a dollar.
MR. DERING. Not asking for a dollar when he asks you to authorize an appropriation of four millions?
MR. HAYMOND. If the gentleman please, whom do we ask for the appropriation?
MR. DERING. You ask that this Convention give the authority to the legislature to appropriate four millions. The gentleman's proposition is so plain the Convention will see it is no argumentation between him and me.
The gentleman again calls upon the people of the south to stand up to him. For myself I can say that I know no south, no east, no west nor north in this new commonwealth nor in this Convention representing it. I look upon as one people, having a common interest and one common destiny, I look upon the Constitution we are making that it is to throw its broad mantle of protection over the whole people of western Virginia; and if I know myself, I love my brethren in southwest Virginia with heart and soul as I love eastern and western Virginia; and I beg gentlemen not to make sectional turmoil in this Convention. We are one people and whatever is for the weal of one is for the weal of every other part of this State. Whatever produces disaster to one part operates disastrously to the whole. I trust this Convention will rise above mere sectional rivalries to the dignity of a state that looks only to the stars and stripes as the great and protecting flag that will secure the welfare of the people of the whole of western Virginia. I trust it will not be the pleasure of the Convention after having passed section upon section ignoring this subject of internal improvements for the present to adopt the substitute of the gentleman from Marion.
MR. HAGAR. I agree with the gentleman from Monongalia that we are and should be one people; should bear each other's burdens and feel that we are one in prosperity and interest, and all this. But while I agree with him in that I beg to differ with him in some few things. It does seem to me, if I understand the substitute that it is not a mere call on the legislature to borrow four million dollars to make some internal improvements somewhere in the western part of this State. If I understood it so, I would go against it might and main. I understand it is only to give the legislature the power after five years shall elapse, if they see fit, five years after our State is received into the Union, if it ever is, if in their judgment, direct from the people well acquainted with the State of West Virginia - if in their judgment they think it is best for the people east, west, north and south, embracing all the territory of our little new State - if they think it is best to borrow money to be appropriated to make internal improvements, I think they ought to have that privilege. Yet I am opposed to this appeal that has been made calling upon the southwest to rally. This is my sentiment: that if you want a railroad anywhere in the southwestern part of the State and the legislature see fit, they can assist in making it. If there is an internal improvement wanting in the southwest where we live and in the judgment of the legislature, direct from the people, after five years have elapsed that it is best for the State, best for us as one band of brethren in this common cause of internal improvements and benefit that will bring prosperity and wealth into our State, let them have the power. I believe a great deal in the wisdom of this Convention, but I believe the legislature we will have five years after the State is admitted will have just as much sense as we have now. If we can learn nothing in five years, we had better quit trying to make constitutions and frame laws. My friends from Ohio and Wood and other intelligent gentlemen may not be in the legislature then, but there will be other men here and it will be their object to pursue that course that will meet the approbation of the citizens of West Virginia and be to their advantage in making internal improvements. If not, they are not obliged to borrow a dollar, when the five years elapse; not obliged to go to New York to sell the bonds to borrow four million dollars. I believe in the legislature having as much sense as we have and having just as much interest in the welfare of the people. If we want a railroad in the State, let us see that we encourage internal improvements by giving the legislature the privilege to make them, to invite others to come to their aid. If we want any other internal improvements, let us not tie the hands of those men who five years in the future, or six or eight or ten years in the future may say it is important; give them the privilege to borrow. Give them the money to use as they may deem proper. She is poor now, and the impression would be made on the men from a distance that it was enslaved. Don't believe it; it is not representing western Virginia right before the world. It is true we are a small State, but there is some wealth in it; but we expect to pay our debts, clear out our farms and have our public buildings and internal improvements and do the best we can. I don't believe we should represent that such men will know nothing about the benefit of the people and consequently their hands must be tied by the organic law inserted in this Constitution.
MR. BATTELLE. Not with the expectation of influencing any one to vote here but for the simple purpose of giving a reason that shall control my vote on this question, I beg leave to say, most emphatically and earnestly, that the vote I expect to give on this question, in accordance with what I have already given, is not a sectional vote. If I know myself, I am incapable - at least I claim to be - of being influenced by motives of that sort. I am a West Virginian, and in my humble way I belong to the whole State. My all, and all that I hope to be and have is bound up with this people for weal or woe, to enjoy with them, or suffer with them, what may be in God's providence before us. And, for one, I beg leave to protest against any such construction being attributed to the vote which I may feel called upon to give in this case. Nor do I wish my vote to be regarded as a vote against internal improvements. I am an internal improvement man all through; and I claim to have in my way - I will not say as large an interest but as certainly an interest - in seeing the resources, energies and capacities of West Virginia developed as any other man here. I have a deep and abiding interest in seeing that, but it is simply because in my judgment the measure that is proposed by the other side - that it is proposed to engraft in the Constitution - will not secure that end but, on the other hand, defeat it, that I am constrained to vote against it. I do not understand the provision as reported by the committee to prohibit appropriations, or the appropriation of means, to works of internal improvements either by individuals or by the State. It certainly does not forbid individuals or associations from engaging in that work; and, as I understand it, does not prohibit the State from engaging in that work whenever its capacities and resources may be sufficient to enable it to do so. What I understand the prohibitions of the section as reported to mean is that it prohibits the State from contracting debt for that end. I suppose we have all heard the incident in reference to that distinguished Virginia statesman, John Randolph, which runs, I believe, somehow in this shape: It is said that on one occasion when he was before the body of which he was a member a measure something like this was under discussion. He arose and made this speech - it was the beginning of it, the whole of it. In his peculiar sharp tone which I shall not attempt to imitate, he said: "Mr. Speaker, I have discovered the philosopher's stone; pay as you go." And down he sat. That was the whole of his speech. And I think there are individuals and communities, and states, all over the world, certainly all over our part of it, who have discovered that same philosopher's stone. The rule when applied to individual affairs is a very safe one. I know a man - 1 think I know him better than anybody else in the world - who commenced his career in life poor - and who has held his own remarkably well in that respect (Laughter) - who established that years ago as an unvarying rule, that when he needed that which he did not have the means to pay for, he went without it (A voice: "A very good rule.") and when he was able to pay for that which he needed, he purchased it. And to my certain knowledge, in the case of that individual it has saved him more than once from utter financial bankruptcy and perhaps from ruin in other regards. I take it that a rule which is a wise and safe one in reference to individuals is eminently wise in reference to states, for the reason that an individual, after all, is apt to be more watchful of his own affairs than are individuals who are entrusted with the affairs of the public. This ought not to be so, but all experience shows it is. It is so easy for us all to rely upon the expected facilities for paying borrowed money; always so much easier to pay a debt in the future than to pay it today. Temptations are so strong for us all to put our hands into the pile hoping that somehow or other, we may not know exactly how, the means are to come to pay.
The sum, then, with me, Mr. President, is this: I am not opposed to internal improvements; I am not opposed to the making of internal improvements by the State whenever it may be wise for her to lend her aid for the purpose of promoting such works. All that I am opposed to is that state shall contract debts; and especially so in view of our peculiar circumstances, for the purpose of engaging in these works. I am very much afraid such a course will lead to the result so very frequently pointed out by gentlemen on this floor in reference to other questions, that it will be the means by which we should outright slay the goose that lays the golden egg.
These are some of the reasons which will control me in the vote I expect to give.
MR. BROWN of Kanawha. The gentleman from Ohio, in illustration of his position has given an incident and remark of Mr. Randolph. I do not think the gentleman could have selected a more unfortunate example exemplifying the present subject. Mr. Randolph was always distinguished for his quickness of wit and his sarcasm; but for his wisdom, never. An aristocratic statesman, if he had any reputation atall - and I presume the gentleman does not admire him more than I do - I would ask the gentleman to point to a solitary statesman-like suggestion that ever came from Mr. Randolph. He was a man powerful to tear down; but to build up, his house was all corn-cobs. We are here dealing with a practical thing he knew little about. The gentleman says what applies to the citizen in regard to his daily vocation - to pay as he goes - is a wise policy to be pursued by the State. Now, our whole system of transactions of the business of the State and the public, and all the great enterprises of this country are on right the converse proposition. Your country is filled with banks; and the bank is as much an institution as republicanism. They accommodate those who have enterprises but not capital in order that they may obtain the means by which to put in operation the great schemes that are projected and execute that which is not their own but which by their energies they will return with fourfold. No, air; the idea is fallacious; a mere fallacy to chain and bind the limbs of young Hercules and prevent him exerting the physical powers nature had given him.
It has been urged that there is no distinction between this and the one that was voted down. That was an unlimited power in the legislature to incur any amount of indebtedness they might see fit. Gentlemen horrified at the idea of going in debt more than they were worth, have voted that proposition down. They say this is identically the same. Gentlemen say West Virginia is not worth and cannot meet four million dollars; cannot meet the interest on it at any time. Is any man to traduce the character of this young giant - this young Hercules that shall spring forth Pallas-like with same declaration, that it is to manacle us with chains of debt at the same time that that debt proposed is to be expended inside of the State to develop the resources, the energy, the lands and property of the country? Why, sir, it is idle. It seems to me to any reasoning man that very statement carries its own refutation. As well might gentlemen argue that the farmer by the expenditure of half his farm in tilling and cultivating it impoverishes himself and ruins his farm. And then, sir, he says he is a friend of internal improvements. If you expend nothing more than what you have in the treasury, will you ever expend anything? Because every economical and well-administered government has nothing in its treasury. Not one red cent ought to rest in the coffers of a government because it is a corrupting fund. You should first determine on the wisdom of a measure and then raise taxes to supply what it requires. If ever you wait till your treasury has four millions of dollars in the coffers, then you will have corruption all around, and you will never have a dollar of it for improvements. If you enter on a system of internal improvements the benefits of which are not to be derived to the people of today; if you make a railroad or turnpike or canal through your country, it develops its resources and enriches all the people along its borders. What is the justice of tacking a work on the present generation when that work is to last as long as the commonwealth and all the people in its borders shall be benefited thereafter? For a thousand years hence they shall transport their wealth of every description over it. Why shall you tax the whole of that burden on this generation when thousands hereafter to come are to enjoy its benefits? Why not, in the only feasible way that sensible men have ever yet devised, borrow the means and make it and distribute the burden over generations to come who shall receive benefits precisely as you do, and burthen none with what they are not able to bear? This is the plan of sensible men in all ages and will be continued as long as men have their senses.
(Here the President's hammer fell.)
MR. HARRISON. My friend from the county of Kanawha repudiates John Randolph and his maxims. Well the truth is the truth, no matter who utters it. The gentleman did not attack the fact, but the utterer of that fact. Ben Franklin was considered a pretty sound financier. He thought a penny saved was as good as a penny earned; a patch more honorable than a rip; it was better for a man to wear his ragged coat than to go in debt for a new one, and thereby in the end have no coat at all; that little boats should keep near shore, while larger boats might venture more. Old Ben was said to be a good economist; and it is considered that the wise utterances of poor Richard, like those I have quoted, had an immense influence in fortifying and building up the courage and finances of our revolutionary forefathers in their resistance to the greatest and richest power in the old world. But, sir, the farmer is alluded to. If he spends one-half what his farm is worth in improving it, his farm is worth as much afterwards as before. I do not deny that proposition. Is that the proposition, however? Not by a good deal. The first question is can he meet the mortgage he had to put on the farm to secure this improvement? If not he will lose the whole farm. But the proposition as applied is that three-fourths of the farmers in the State shall contribute perhaps one-half or more of what they are worth, not to improve their own farms but to improve somebody else's farms. Now, if the proposition is brought down to every man's door; if it was made feasible that by voting the four millions of dollars and thereby benefiting every farm that is to be taxed for the construction of a work of internal improvement, that his own farm was so near it that it would result in a great enhancement of its value, then the proposition would be good. But, sir, that is not the operation of these things. The proposition is to lay under contribution three-fourths or four-fifths of the farms in the new State to construct works of internal improvement for the other one-fourth or one-fifth. Is that fair? Is it sound policy?
The men of the southwest have been appealed to. I don't apprehend that this is going to produce any great effect. Does every man in the southwest believe that if this four millions clause happens to be engrafted on the Constitution that thereby he is sure of a road and a railroad, too? Well, sir, if a general system of railroads by which any section of the State is going to be benefited is going to be constructed by a credit of four millions of dollars, then I think the man who can do it will be entitled to a patent right for having discovered the cheapest method of railroad building that has ever yet been invented. Four million bonds, even if they were worth their face, would be but a drop in the bucket. There is not any money in it, Mr. President. It reminds me of the little boy who alleged that he and his brothers made five dollars every Sunday by trading hats. But there was no money in the operation.
The question on Mr. Haymond's substitute was taken, and the substitute rejected by the following vote:
YEAS - Messrs. John Hall (President), Brown of Kanawha, Chapman, Cook, Dolly, Hansley, Haymond, Hoback, Hagar, Irvine, Montague, McCutchen, O'Brien, Robinson, Ryan, Sinsel, Stephenson of Clay, Stuart of Doddridge, Smith, Taylor, Walker, Warder - 22.
NAYS - Messrs. Brown of Preston, Brooks, Brumfield, Battelle, Galdwell, Dering, Dille, Harrison, Hubbs, Hervey, Lamb, Mahon, Parsons, Powell, Pomeroy, Simmons, Stevenson of Wood, Stewart of Wirt, Sheets, Soper, Trainer, Van Winkle, Wilson - 23.
The 6th section was adopted and the 7th was reported as follows:
"7. No county, township, city, town or other municipal corporation, by vote of its citizens or otherwise, shall become a stockholder in any joint-stock company, corporation or association whatever; or raise money for, or loan its credit to, or in aid of, any such company, corporation or association."
MR. SMITH. I move to strike out the whole section. The denial of all resources has been consummated, and now this iron-backed majority seem determined to deny us our own rights. The legislature are expressly, according to the notions of gentlemen, to be forever prohibited from aiding the country - the interior portion of the country from improving their condition. Now, not content with that, they put the cord around ourselves and say you shall not help yourselves. No county, no city, no corporation of any sort shall for the improvement of its own section advance one cent of money, shall do nothing to help itself, nothing to advance its own interest. They have not the poor privilege of improving their own county. That is to be denied to them. Why, sir, was there ever a body, was there ever a people, that showed such utter disregard of the spirit of improvement as is here? You may as well say to the farmer he shan't improve farm because he may get in debt; you may as well say to the mechanic he shall not be a stockholder in a company if he has to go in debt for it. What is the difference? You are taking under your hands the protection and guardianship of counties. You gentlemen of the northwest, who seem determined to strike down that portion of the State that have come up to aid and assist you, confine it to your own country but don't come down into our section and say you shall not have it. Every improvement in my country almost that has been made has been effected through the instrumentality of the county courts subscribing to the work; and yourself, sir, (to Mr. Mahon) the only improvement you have in the county of Jackson is made by the aid of the county court; and the county of Kanawha also subscribed to the same work that leads from Charleston to Ravenswood by the resistance (assistance?) of that gentleman (Mr. Mahon). That is, by a county subscription. And now you are to deny the counties the right to make a road through their country; and who have such feelings of opposition to improvement that you wish to bind them, bind yourselves. We are willing to trust ourselves. If you are unwilling to trust yourselves, confine it to a line: take here the road from Parkersburg to Grafton and let that be the line beyond which the people themselves through their representatives have declared they are not willing to trust the people with their own business. On the other side of that line they are willing and ready to do it. Take that from us and you cut off the principle hope that there is in that part of the country of making any improvement at all.
I have said that this report looks like a studied effort to strike down every species of internal improvement. It seems to have been directed to that end. It wants only one thing. There is imperfection in your system - a great imperfection - that you do not take charge of individual responsibility in these counties. You should protect them against their own indiscretion and folly and say they should not be permitted to subscribe. Introduce that principle into your measure and your system of self-defection, self-immolation, is perfect. You thus have a perfect system. If this is the way in which this people is to be treated, although I may have been an ardent supporter of this new State, I say here candidly that I would prefer remaining as we are; but I would ask to be attached to the State of Kentucky in preference to living in a state where the majority of that state declare the principle that man, counties and corporations are not to be trusted; that they shall not have the right to improve themselves. I do say, without intending any disrespect to any one, that I never have seen a proposition that shocked and astonished me more than this does. In this new country, in this new State where - at least in our country - we have no roads, we have no means of capital, no means of building but by the aggregate capital of the county, that aggregation of capital is cut off from us by this measure on the main clay improvement itself, what it does get it must get by direct taxation on the people, and that is very small. The counties of Roane, Gilmer, Calhoun - all those counties needing improvement have no individual wealth. It must be raised by aggregation. Gentlemen, do you want to destroy us? If you want to sever us in affection from you and pass that measure, should you consummate perfectly, there can be no affection existing between the southwestern section of this State and the north, if this is the way in which we are to be treated; and we cannot - I will not say we will not but I will say we ought not - to unite with you if we are treated in this way. I call upon you to beware of the course which you are taking. We will bear much and sustain this State, but we cannot bear all the ills which a stubborn unyielding majority choose to thrust upon us. We will bear as much as men can bear, but that we cannot bear. I am a friend to the new State. I have maintained it in my own county and wherever I have gone; but I never dreamed of such a spirit as this; though I was told the northwest would "ride over you rough shod." I never believed it. But this course of proceeding makes me feel sad, and I speak in sober sadness and deeply regret the course which you are pursuing.
MR. VAN WINKLE. Mr. President, it has generally been my disposition when in any deliberative body I find opinion so closely divided as it has been in this place to be willing to assent to any fair and reasonable compromise that might be proposed in good faith, understanding always by compromise that something was yielded in such cases on both sides. I hold in my hand an amendment which I am about to offer to this section in the spirit of compromise and which I will read for information:
After the word "corporation," in lines 32 and 33, insert these words: "unless by authority of a vote of a majority of its citizens voting at an election held for the purpose after thirty days notice, subject to such general regulations as may be prescribed by law."
Those terms being complied with they may then become a stock-holder as indicated. I beg, however, to observe that in proposing this amendment I think I sacrifice none of the principles for which I have contended. It is a very different thing and I think will tend to illustrate what I have contended for when other evils have been before this body, that is the propriety of confiding to counties and subdivisions of counties all matters that they may properly do for themselves. Now, sir, in the legislature if we should inaugurate the same scheme or mode of making internal improvements that has prevailed in this state for many years, the members of that body voting away, as it were, other people's money, unless people are very differently situated from what I am myself, those economical considerations which should attend the spending of money do not present themselves half as forcibly as if they were about to spend their own money. Now, sir, I am ready to assert the necessity, the desirableness of improvements; and I am also willing that the people of each county should have it in their power to aid themselves in any local work they think desirable that does not produce greater evils than the benefits to be derived. This proposes then to place this restriction upon it: First, that after the county authorities have decided, so far as they are concerned, in favor of aiding any improvement which is making by an incorporation or association with the means of the county, they give thirty days notice that at the expiration of that time an election will be held for the purpose of testing the views of the citizens of the county on the propriety of making a subscription of a stated amount to say a joint-stock company or incorporation. On that day every voter will be supposed to have had notice and will be there to vote according to his own sense and judgment of the matter. If a majority of the citizens sanction the project then the board of supervisors will put it in force. Now you see every citizen when he comes up to vote on such a subject will not have before him a question of somebody else paying his money, or of someone being paid in future ages; but he will know that according to his means every man in the county and sooner or later he himself will be called on to shoulder his part of the burden. If under these circumstances the citizens of the county are willing to encounter the burden, of course they will have only themselves to blame if they make a mistake. They cannot say other people have been spending their money. They will, however, take the subject into consideration, as every man will when a matter comes close home to him, and will give it their best deliberation, and in ninety-nine cases in a hundred they will decide it correctly according to their interest. This, sir, also puts a stop to that political gambling which has characterized our state legislation for years. This objection cannot I think arise in a county, in an election district, wherever a man is able to judge for himself and where the matter directly affects him and he has a direct vote in regard to it. The thing cannot be done without the co-operation of a majority of the voters. Therefore we have every guaranty that if done it will be done judiciously; and further that any project that is for the real good of the county will be approved by the majority. If the project is a wild one, brought forward in time of excitement, something that looks well on the face, such as men too frequently give their assent to without due examination, the mode of proceeding tends to bring them back 'to calm reflection and the consequences of what they are about to do will certainly stare them in the face. It would first go before the board of supervisors, then the people of the county would have thirty days to consider and discuss it before the day of election. This is time for the fever to cool off and to enable them to think deliberately and with a view to their best interests of what they will do. If a majority come up and vote for it the thing will be carried into effect.
I offer this amendment in entire good faith and in the spirit of compromise and I trust it will be so received. I wish before I sit down to say that while I have no objection to gentlemen making what capital they can out of repeated assertions, as repeatedly contradicted that the northwest want nothing, I beg the gentlemen here in case they should be future legislators of the State that they will remember that the northwest does want a great deal. They call it northwest Virginia; but my people are in the middle of the new State. There are three senatorial districts lying north and three lying south, and I want gentlemen particularly to remember when they hereafter occupy that responsible position that we want as much as any other quarter; they want all they can get and then they will not have enough. But while this is true, we are not threatening to sever ourselves from the rest of the State, to destroy the harmony of this movement and defeat it, if we don't get this.
I offer the amendment indicated, sir. When there is a motion to strike out an entire section, the friends of the section have a right to amend it, to relieve it of the objection if they can. I suppose that will not be questioned; and if the amendment prevails the motion to strike out will then be put. The fact is a motion to strike out is scarcely permissible. The question occurs on the adoption of the section. Those who want to strike it out vote no on that question. But anyhow that motion cannot interfere with the right to amend.
THE PRESIDENT. The Chair would at any rate be disposed to give an opportunity to amend the section. He would have some doubts, however, really in relation to the motion. The motion of the gentleman from Kanawha is only -
MR. VAN WINKLE. The motion of the gentleman from Logan is to strike out the whole section. We go on to amend it. The motion to strike out is really the question, shall the section be retained?
THE PRESIDENT. The Chair entertains the amendment.
MR. HERVEY. I shall sustain the amendment of the gentleman from Wood. It obviates the objection which has been raised by the gentleman from Logan. I am perfectly satisfied with the section as it stands. I am satisfied our county - I suppose, however, no member on this floor has a right to speak for any county but his own - our county would be opposed entirely to borrowing money upon its own account.
MR. HAGAR. They would not vote for it if they were against it.
MR. HERVEY. There have been too many experiences against the propriety of allowing even counties or corporations by vote of the people to borrow money, either for works of internal improvements or anything else. I have no threats to make, either, if this proposition is voted down. I have been in the habit of concluding that majorities govern in this republic; that a majority of the people properly expressed under a republican form of government is the law. I have never yet recognized the idea that when differences arise the minority had any right to control the majority. That idea was the pretext for this rebellion. However ardently men may support the opposition yet, sir, in conformity to this great American republican principle, that majorities shall govern, no injustice is done, no right invaded, when that rule prevails. I defy any man to show where any right has been invaded in this report or in adoption of it by this body thus far or show why a minority should override the majority. But, sir, I am perfectly willing that the county of Kanawha or any other county, shall borrow money just as much as they please under regulations which secure to every voter the right of giving effect to his assent or dissent, as done in the addition to this section proposed by the member from Wood. While I believe as firmly as I believe anything in the world, that it would be the very worst step a county or state could take past experience has shown, yet I am entirely content, sir, that any county shall have the opportunity to involve itself if its people by a vote fairly expressed choose to do so.
Then, sir, holding these views - first, the great cardinal principle that majorities shall govern in this country, I am perfectly willing to apply that principle to these counties and let them be the sole judge in the matter before us. I shall then vote for the amendment of the gentleman from Wood.
MR. LAMB. I shall very cheerfully support the amendment of the member from Wood; and should it be adopted support the section thus amended by my vote. I may, however, be allowed to say that here in Ohio county we have had a pretty full experience of the effects of this measure. I do not think any citizen of Ohio county will ever hereafter be found voting in favor of loading the county or city down with debt for any work whatever. We have tried that matter effectually. But we have no right to say the people in other counties shall not have the liberty to try the experiment too, as we have done. If they will not learn from our experience, they should have the opportunity of learning from their own.
The question was put on Mr. Van Winkle's amendment, and it was adopted.
MR. SINSEL. I would like to know how you are going to regulate the elections - going to let men, women and children vote? A majority of "citizens" it says.
MR. VAN WINKLE. Change it to "voters" if you please. The committee can make the correction.
The question was taken on the adoption of the section and it was adopted.
MR. SMITH. I wanted to make some remarks.
MR. LAMB. I move a reconsideration.
The motion to reconsider was agreed to.
MR. SMITH. One objection I have to this is that you are prescribing in the Constitution, in a clumsy and imperfect way, the mode in which these elections shall be held. It is an improper place to put it. If it is to be left to the people, why not leave the legislature to prescribe a plan for doing it, lay down the system and direct who are to vote, what portion of the people are to vote, where they are to vote, how they are to vote and all about it? It does seem to me that there is a disposition here to crowd into this Constitution every matter that belongs to the legislature. Why the necessity of prescribing in the Constitution? Who is to present this to the people, where is the system under which it is to be presented, by what authority is it to be presented? You have taken the subject into your own hands. You prescribe it by constitutional provision. If you wanted to put it into the Constitution the section could have been amended better than this - greatly better than this. Strike out "or otherwise" and leave the balance of it to the legislature. I will ask the Secretary to read the amendment again.
The Secretary complied with the request.
MR. SMITH. Now there is going into the minutiae and then winding up and saying the legislature is to prescribe the plan. Why not leave the whole subject to the legislature? Strike out the whole section and then the whole subject is left to the legislature, and one county may petition for a law of its own and may indicate the sort of form they desire, the sort of proceeding they desire. The legislature can accommodate itself to the wishes of every county as it is presented to them by the people. If Wheeling doesn't want to raise money in this way, she can reject it. She can say I don't want to apply for any such express provision. The counties cannot do it without authority of the legislature; they are dependent on the legislature for the privilege of doing it, and each county may apply as it desires it, or they may form a regulation by which every county may at its own will and pleasure have a plan by general law and any county coming within the directions of the general law may without any application to the legislature proceed upon it. Leave the whole subject to the legislature and it is then simple, and the counties that want it may avail themselves of it, and those who do not intend to avail themselves of it need not. But here you put it into the Constitution and you prescribe to some extent the manner of proceeding, and then after doing that you add "and as may be prescribed by law." Why not leave the whole subject to the legislature and not thrust it into the Constitution? It does look to me - I do not charge it upon gentlemen - it does look to me like an effort to cripple the subject in the Constitution. Why introduce that section unless it is for that purpose? They talk about the spirit of compromise. When you talk about compromising, do yield something. When you do yield it do it with grace and liberality and in such form as is most acceptable to those to whom it is yielded. Here is a great deal yielded to us to soothe and satisfy us after what we consider a great injustice done us.
I make use of these remarks without censure on anybody; but I feel that it is injustice.
MR. LAMB. I do not know that I understand the quality of the gentleman's objections. It does seem to me the section as it stands, with the amendment incorporated, is precisely what he wants if it is his purpose to deal fairly, honestly with the people in the counties. What details are embodied in the section, the amendment? Nothing whatever except that the people are to vote on these propositions for a loan, and they are to have thirty days notice. Everything else is to be under such general regulations as shall be prescribed by law. The section as amended evidently contemplates that a general law shall be passed which shall authorize counties, towns, etc. to contract debts in those cases whenever the people at an election, of which proper notice shall be given shall see proper to authorize it. I don't see how a plainer or simpler provision could be made on the subject. It does not enter into details. This matter must all be regulated by the legislature. Only two things are prescribed: that the people shall have the opportunity of voting upon it, and of the time and place of voting, they shall have thirty days notice. Now this is the whole restriction imposed here; and is there any possible objection to that restriction? The matter is then to be subject to general regulations by law. That is, I take it, that the legislature are to pass a general law for the holding of these elections anywhere that the people may desire and that the manner in which notice shall be given and all other necessary details will be embraced in that law; so that any county, city or town can hold such an election when it sees fit without further application to the legislature, and vote these loans if they see proper. Could you have a more general and extensive authority granted on this subject? It is not subject, it seems to me, to the objection which I myself have made repeatedly of entering too much into detail. As I have-already .stated, there are but two requirements: one that the people must consent to it; the other that they shall have thirty days notice of an election at which they may express their will. I think if the gentleman from Logan will look upon the section, not with the eye of suspicion, with which he seems to regard everything that comes from this quarter, but trust to his own good sense in the construction of it, he will be satisfied this accomplishes all he is aiming at.
MR. SMITH. I would call the gentleman's attention to the latter clause of that section. The first applies to the taking of stock in it, the latter clause is a distinct provision as the other part of it. Whether this amendment being inserted in the first clause applies to the second as well?
MR. LAMB. I know the gentleman, as a lawyer, will bear me out in saying this amendment applies as well to the latter clause as to the first; that the amendment which is inserted governs all that succeeds it. That at least is the intention of it; and I think that is the evident construction of it. Most certainly I do not think there is any ambiguity here.
MR. SMITH. Not the least in the world.
MR. LAMB. It applies as much to the latter clause of the section as to the former; applies to the whole matter and is in its proper position.
MR. SMITH. Mr. President, it strikes me that a fair and just interpretation of that section is that the amendment as inserted applies only to the first clause forbidding the county, etc. to become a stockholder; that if it was to apply to the latter clause, about raising money, etc., it should be placed after the second clause or repeated in that connection.
MR. LAMB. I see no objection at all to putting this any place in the section that will make its meaning clearer, if there can be any question about its application to the whole section, or repeating it in connection with the second clause.
MR. VAN WINKLE. It applies as much to the second as to the first.
MR. SMITH. No, sir; I beg leave to differ with the gentleman; I do not think it does. It applies expressly to the first and it is continued in the latter without repeating it; giving two distinct subjects, one with the qualification, the other without it.
MR. VAN WINKLE. Strike out the semi-colon and put a comma, as there could be no difference of opinion as to the interpretation. I have no objection to putting the amendment at the end, but then you would have to alter the phraseology of the preceding. I think it is not liable to the objection the gentleman raises. It was intended that the restriction should apply to both clauses, as to becoming a stockholder and as to raising money.
MR. SMITH. My view of the whole section is that it is drawn so distinctly, with distinct purpose to cripple corporations, that the section is not capable of being amended to carry out the views of the gentleman. If a distinct independent section should be put in, it would be different. But it is so utterly defective in itself, I do not believe it can be amended so as to present the meaning. There is a leading mind which drew it that gives a direction to it in opposition to any sort of local aid to corporations; and now it is attempted to correct it by amendments that do not avail. I think it can be better done by drawing up a new section and striking this out. I would greatly prefer a section that would look to this plain object. This is looking to another and letting it have that other object; and now it is intended to take another direction. If you do give us the poor privilege of subscribing by counties, give it to us in such form as we want. I think it is better to leave it to the legislature, and I don't see why it should be inserted in the fundamental law. I object to it on that ground also. The whole matter is much more properly left to the legislature.
MR. HARRISON. I think the objection to the construction of this section by the gentleman from Logan can be completely obviated by striking out in line 34 "joint stock company," do away with the semi-colon and substitute "joint stock" for "such" in line 36. I merely suggest it.
MR. BROWN of Kanawha. At the first blush, it struck me there was some force in the objection taken by the gentleman from Logan; but when I re-read this section, with a change of the semicolon, I confess I am not able to see that the sense is not as indicated by the gentleman from Ohio; and whether there be any difficulty about the real meaning of the qualification of the sentence in the section, I understand the gentleman to say distinctly that the object is that it shall apply to both clauses as fully as to one, if it even were to be obtained by a repetition of the words, which I think is unnecessary and can be avoided and for the elegance of the section would be better without than with it.
MR. HARRISON. The first clause is to forbid them from becoming a stockholder; the second from lending credit in any other way. Now I thought that amendment was a friendly thing to do, because it permits any of these bodies to do all these things if their people vote for it.
MR. BROWN of Kanawha. I do not see the objection to the amendment and I confess it relieves the section very much to my mind of its objectionable features, because if I understand the amendment, it reverses just exactly what was in the mind of the draftsman of the section from a positive prohibition to a conditional permission. So that it is a half-way departure from the section as it stood. While I am not prepared to support the section as amended, yet I must confess that it does change to a very great extent much of the objectionable features; and therefore I shall not seek to make any opposition to it on the ground of opposition to the phraseology of the amendment as proposed, because I see the idea is intended to be the same.
MR. SOPER. I am opposed to the section entirely and shall vote for striking it out. I think there will be no beneficial results coming from it. It will only embarrass the people within the counties. The legislature undoubtedly will by general laws define the powers of the county board of supervisors; and if it becomes necessary to raise money in a county for any particular object not within the scope of those general laws a special application will have to be made to the legislature for it. I have always found, sir, that the interest of the people of a county so far as guarding from improper taxation rests safely in the hands of the board of supervisors. They are elected annually; they come from all portions of the people and they are always very careful and competent to express the views of their constituents on all those questions. Now, sir, look at the county I represent. We have a turnpike, which my friend from Doddridge alluded to the other day, running from the northwestern turnpike and terminating at the river. With subscriptions we gave to it an aid we obtained from the State. We never were able to build it fully. When the northwestern railroad terminating at Parkersburg went into operation it drew from our road a considerable of its revenue. It took from our towns a large portion of the business, depreciating our property and in some degree retarding our prosperity. With this we found no fault because in the course of time it improved currents of trade in our part of the country and it benefited other portions. But, now, sir, the late freshets have swept away our bridges and the income of our road is barely sufficient to keep it in repair aside from erecting bridges. Applications I understand to the legislature for relief cannot be had. They have been made at the present legislature where the state is the high stockholder in similar companies. The legislature have refused to contribute aid. The result will be, sir, that in the county of Tyler we shall have to ask the state to release its interest to our county and then we shall have to raise money upon the county to erect those bridges; and it may become necessary to raise the money required needing one, two or three years to repay. If we were under our new State organization the board of supervisors would direct and manage all this matter. I want nothing in the Constitution that will prohibit them from doing it. The State I think ought to be left entirely without any hamper in this matter. I believe the interests of the people, of the State and its prosperity would be benefited by striking out this section entirely. This is my present view of it and I shall so vote.
MR. STEVENSON of Wood. I would call the attention of my friend from Tyler to one fact in which he supposes the danger which is anticipated here may be prevented by the adoption of the county and township organization which we have adopted here, and that fact is this: that in these other states which all have that system of county and township organizations that have found that that peculiar organization has led to this very difficulty; and hence in these very states, for instance the State of Ohio, and I do not know but the State of New York, but certainly the State of Ohio and the State of Pennsylvania, where this township organization prevails, they run into the very difficulties to a very great extent which this section is intended to obviate; and they have, naturally, in at least these two cases, and they are very prominent ones, incorporated this very provision, word for word, in their constitutions. So that it would seem that where this new system (new to us) is adopted we are more likely to run into these dangers than under the old system. Hence I think there is eminent propriety in retaining the provision, especially as it has been modified.
Now, sir, the gentleman from Ohio alluded to the peculiar working out of this plan of loaning the credit of the county to these corporations in the city of Wheeling and in the adjoining country. There is one fact that just occurs to me and that is a very strong one. In the city of Pittsburgh and in western Pennsylvania, - and, indeed, I believe, all through Pennsylvania - when these internal improvements were projected by different parties, by a majority of the people, at least in many counties, that their tendency would be to increase to a very great extent the prosperity of those cities, and quite a number of lines of railroad improvements were projected. This system of allowing the officers of a county to lend the credit of these counties to these improvements was then in effect. There was not the safeguard which this amendment provides; there was not this safeguard that the question should be first submitted to the people, but their supervisors (or as termed "commissioners") of the county had the power to endorse and issue the bonds of the county and give this credit for the purpose of running these improvements through those counties. They did so, and I believe it was urged, as it has been urged here, that it would really benefit the counties which were then loaning their credit to these corporations. Now, sir, what was the result? In western Pennsylvania, in the middle counties and I believe all east to the Allegheny mountains - at least most of them, liberally issued their bonds and gave the credit of these counties to these improvements. I can only remember some of these improvements and the result. The Central Railroad received the credit of these counties and cities and of the towns to very large amount. The Pittsburgh and Connellsville Railroad received some extension from the counties; the Pittsburgh and Steubenville road did, the Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne & Chicago road received some; the Allegheny Valley road some; the Chartiers Valley some; and it looked at the time as if every one of these improvements would pay the stockholders the counties, townships and cities included; and hence they never thought the possibility would arise in which those very counties and cities should become involved in the debt of these corporations. What was the result? But one of these many lines of public improvement ever paid the interest on their bonds, and that was the Central Pennsylvania road. The Pittsburgh and Connellsville, Pittsburgh and Steubenville, Fort Wayne & Chicago, Allegheny Valley and Chartiers Valley - every one of them failed to pay the interest on their bonds; with result, sir, that the people in those counties, townships and cities - why, in an unsuspecting moment, it fell upon them like a clap of thunder from a clear sky - were mulcted in the interest and bonded debt of every one of these corporations. That is the way it will work here if you strike out that provision. But if you retain this provision and allow the question to be submitted to the people of the county, city or township, as the case may be, so that if they run into this with their eyes open, the responsibility will be with them and they will suffer the consequences, if there should be any unpleasant consequences. Let me say, sir, that there is nothing in this provision that will prevent any amount of improvement you want in your counties. Nothing at all. The question will be left with the people locally. There is nothing here to prevent any man, or every man, in any county in the State subscribing all he is worth and borrowing all he can, and putting it into any turnpike or railroad that may run through his own farm or county. There is the utmost latitude given for all the local public improvement they may desire. But it does seem to me the preservation of this principle is necessary, that the local officers shall not have the power to lend the credit of their counties, cities or townships without a vote of the people whose property is to be mortgaged by such action; and for one I shall vote to reserve this safeguard to the people of the counties. Experience shows that they always need it.
MR. MAHON. I would say here that since this amendment, I believe I am satisfied with it. I think I am prepared to vote for it. I believe, too, that the members of this Convention will bear me out that I have given them very little trouble in speaking. I have made no violent attacks on any person; I have cast my vote and in all the votes that I have cast in this Convention I have done it from an open conviction of right. I have cast those votes independently believing the votes I cast were for the benefit of the people whom I represent in this Convention. But this morning, to my astonishment, I seemed to be attacked directly by the gentleman from Logan in reference to a vote yet to be taken. He says: "You (the gentleman from Jackson) are now tying our hands, or wishing to tie our hands, in order that the counties shall not improve their property." I have cast no such vote in this Convention. I have not spoken on the question; I have never said a word on the subject, and yet I am attacked and it is said I am about to tie the hands of my friends in my adjoining county in the vote about to be taken. I have not done it. But I admit that we have a mud turnpike and he says it goes right before my door. That is so. However, the door has been put there since the pike went along (Laughter).
But I would say here, Mr. President, I object to the system of county appropriations without the consent of the people, and I object to it on this ground. He says the county of Jackson made an appropriation to build these roads. What those appropriations were, I know not when and what amount; but I do know that the Jackson county court did appropriate $3,000 to support secession soldiers. I know they did that, after there was a vote in Jackson county of 325 majority against it! That is why we oppose this kind of thing; not because I am unwilling to have all the improvement necessary, but it is to keep the minority from ruling and trampling over the majority. Now, I esteem and respect my friend from Logan; have always been on the best terms with him; looked up to him as a father and instructor; but why I should receive this attack - well it is understood here. It is, I suppose, that in all conscience and in good faith I could not vote in reference to internal improvements just as my friend voted. I say here to this Convention now and I hope I will ever be able to say, no gentleman in this Convehtion can drive me from what I believe to be right. I have voted conscientiously and I will still vote so in everything that comes before the Convention. I will go before my constituents and leave them to justify or condemn me; and no member of this Convention must try to lead or drive me from what I believe to be right. And therefore, I say, Mr. President, I feel like supporting the present amendment.
MR. HERVEY. This is a very clear proposition as it stands. I cannot see, really, any objection to it. I can understand the objection those who want to lend local aid would have to the section in its original form; but in the position in which the subject is placed now by the amendment, I do not see how any objection can be raised against it at all. I was in favor of the suggestion of the gentleman from Logan, that these counties, if they saw proper, by a majority of their votes, might take on themselves a debt. Now, I am willing to support that proposition. The gentleman from Logan still complains. He is hard to please. But I am marching up to his help if he desires it. But like the gentleman from Jackson, I always do my own thinking and my own voting. Always. I see nothing objectionable in this proposition as it now stands. It meets the entire demand of all the members, so far as I have heard them express it on this floor. I cannot see why there should be any objection. The people certainly are the safe depository of all power. We have voted continually to refer this whole question to the people; and failing to that we must do the next best thing that we can. I will support the proposition.
MR. LAMB. If the gentleman from Logan and the gentleman from Kanawha prefer to strike out the proposition entirely, I, for one, have no objection. I presume the legislature in that event will not authorize any county to contract a debt without a vote of its citizens. But we offer this in good faith; and I do not want to take advantage even of the proposition of the gentleman from Logan. He will recollect one thing: if you strike out the whole section the legislature may prohibit this contracting of debts by counties and towns entirely. It is transferring the question from the Convention to the legislature. They may prohibit it entirely as well as authorize. If you adopt the amendment which we have proposed, when the vote is taken on 30 days notice and the question has been decided in the affirmative, the county has the thing in its control, whether the legislature are willing or not. In a word, the legislature has nothing to do with it except to make the general regulations under which these elections shall be held. I want him to understand what will be the effect of putting the thing in the shape he desires it. Strike out the whole section, the legislature will have authority to prohibit this thing entirely - to make a law providing exactly the same thing this section as originally reported provided. It will only be transferring the contest to the legislature instead of settling it here.
MR. DERING. I am decidedly in favor of fixing the amendment to suit the gentleman from Logan. I am willing if you let this section stand as it is with this amendment that the legislature shall prescribe by law the mode of the election, and I think that is about in substance what he wants. I am willing that the amendment of the gentleman from Wood, so far as I am concerned, shall be so modified as that the legislature shall prescribe the mode in which the election shall be held. I am desirous of getting them on their own ground and doing for them all they ask in reference to this matter in a spirit of compromise.
The question was taken on Mr. Smith's motion to strike out the 7th section, and it was agreed to.
The 8th section was reported as follows:
"8. The legislature may at any time direct a sale of the stocks owned by the State in banks and other corporations; but the proceeds of such sale shall be applied to the liquidation of the public debt; and hereafter the State shall not become a stockholder in any bank or other association or corporation."
MR. STUART of Doddridge. I move to amend by striking out all after "debt" in the 40th line.
MR. VAN WINKLE. This rests on the same principles as the long discussions we have had here. I do not think it worth while to detain the Convention with any remarks on the subject. It involves the same principles as those on which we voted yesterday and Saturday.
MR. STUART of Doddridge. I do not consider it so and I was perfectly willing to take a silent vote on it so far as I am concerned. I do not like the gentleman from Wood to place a misconstruction on it. I want it distinctly understood the Convention has not settled this question at all. I understand our present state has stocks in most of the banks of the state. They have a voice in the regulation of our currency so far as bank paper is concerned, and the governor of the state has the appointment of some of the directors in these banks. If you leave these banking privileges entirely to the corporations then they will have the entire control of the money themselves and the government will have no regulation over it at all. I think it is good policy that if we have a system the State should have a voice in the directors of that bank. I believe our present regulations gives the state the appointment of a majority of the directors.
MR. HERVEY. I hope this latter clause will not be stricken out. I do not think the state connection with the banks has been a beneficial principle, and it has been long and often alleged that the government should be separated from the banks and the banks from the government, taking away this great controlling and dominant influence from the banks. It is well known, sir, that the state very often appoints those to superintend the affairs of a bank who have no interest whatever in its concerns, don't own a dollar of stock, derive no profits; and yet, sir, they are foisted in on the concern and control its operations. The worst feature of the whole is that they are almost universally partisans, men of the same political complection to the appointing power. If he is a Whig, he appoints Whigs; if a democrat, he appoints democrats, as directors. If he is secesh, he appoints secesh directors. In a word the control is used for party purposes. The other general clause presents the same question we have discussed heretofore; prohibits the State from being a stockholder in any association or corporation; prevents the State from being a stockholder in these works of internal improvement over which we have been fighting so much. I presume members of the Convention retain about their original views on that question.
MR. BROWN of Kanawha. I am not acquainted with the political affiliations of my friend from Brooke; but heretofore, sir, he has mistaken the fundamental principles that have been involved in the enunciation that I understand him to make in regard to the separation of the government from the banks. The separation of the state governments and the banks in their currency I think has never been a political object by any intelligent party; and if it were I think the good sense and intelligence of the people would soon consign it to the tomb of the Capulets. That such a project has been one of federal politics in which the connection of the national government and some institutions have been to some extend the subject of controversy and difficulty is unquestionable. But here is a case that is wholly different in its nature and purpose and in its operation. What objection can he urge against the supervision and control by the State government of the banks that it charters which are to furnish currency for its own people? Why charter a bank at all? Is it that the gentlemen who are in the corporation shall speculate on the franchises that are secured to them on the necessities of the people? Is that the great object that superinduces the representatives of the people to confer special privileges on chartered corporations? I imagine not. That their profits are incident to the franchise is certain both from experience and common sense; and the great object that induces the granting of the franchise if for the public good; and the very object of the public good requires that the public interest should be continually controlled by the public representatives who themselves are responsible to the public. The very reason for having a currency and having that guarded by the representatives of the people for the benefit of the public is the very same reason to my mind that requires that the State should have a right to be a party interested in these corporations; and thereby have a right to control, regulate and manage them.
There is nothing in which the people are more interested than in the currency; and since gentlemen seem to think this now involves the identically same question that has been involved in the controversy about internal improvements, I would simply say the whole argument of the gentleman who has opposed granting power to the legislature, or rather saying nothing about it and leaving to the legislature - to whom belongs all authority that is not prohibited by the Constitution - we are asking no grant, have asked none; we are only opposing their prohibiting the legislature from doing what they see fit in regard to internal improvements and the same thing here.
The great argument urged by the gentleman was that they apprehended an indebtedness would be incurred; that they were all friends of internal improvements; and the great ground of opposition was that it was to run the State in debt. Who ever heard of a state's losing anything by its indebtedness. I ask the gentleman from Brooke to point me to a bank in which the state has lost any great amount of money by banking operations. Will he also tell me of all the profit she has derived by purchase of stocks in the banks of the State the solvency of which was created by the very fact that she was a stockholder in them. Today but for the revolution that has been precipitated upon us I would rather have her stock and guaranteed bonds and her bank notes than any state in this Union, because her whole policy and system has been to pursue the even tenor of her way with an eye single to her future prosperity and safety.
I say then why shall you deny in this Constitution the right of the State to be a stockholder in your banks that are to secure the currency to the people in which every man is interested. The argument fails; the reasons cut each others throat; and yet the same line of policy is pursued with a strange inconsistency that I cannot reconcile.
MR. STEVENSON of Wood. The gentleman discussed this motion to strike out as if it had reference exclusively to banks. I wish to call attention to the fact that it has not but that it covers the entire question we have been discussing for two days. The section reads that "hereafter the State shall not become a stockholder in any bank or other association or corporation." I suppose they expect to have other corporations and associations in this new State besides banks. I understand all these great corporate companies, mining and manufacturing companies, and so on through the whole catalogue, are covered by this clause. If you strike this out it simply means this and nothing else: that the State may invest the money of its citizens in any or all of these associations or corporations. If that is stricken out, you are at sea on that question as much as if you had stricken out every other section you have adopted here. It involves unquestionably the same principle but in different words. They may tell us they are not likely to incur debt. Why, sir, if the State invests a million dollars in this railroad and five hundred thousand in that steel manufacturing company, a million in a turnpike or a number of them, and these do not happen to make any return, doesn't the State lose the money she has put in? Will it be said she did not put up any money; she only issued her bonds; borrowed the money? Will it not require money to pay the bonds when they come due? And how can they be paid except by laying taxation on the property throughout the State? It comes back at last to the tax-payer. If that is not the very same question we have been talking about I am not capable of comprehending the question at all. It is the same thing in different words; because the people can be just as effectually ruined and made bankrupt if that provision is stricken out as if you had not a prohibitory clause on that subject in your Constitution - just as effectually. I would give very little for the other sections if that provision is stricken out.
I wish simply to call the attention of members to the fact that is not the reference only to banks in which the state now has stock. I should be in favor of retaining that, because I think it is a very incorrect principle, though it may have worked no great harm in a limited case and under peculiar circumstances. Yet, sir, as a general principle it is not the rule it is the exception. That is a general principle where a government like ours becomes connected with these shaving-shops - these shinplaster manufacturers, sir - they are the losers in the end. This new State commences its career under a different kind of circumstances than those which have surrounded it heretofore. I am afraid, sir, that if we remain connected with these banking institutions, we will run into the same difficulties that the thing has generally produced in other places. Even if it had worked well to some extent heretofore, I do not think that is a conclusive argument in favor of connecting this new State government, started on different principles, with an entirely different territorial organization and different set of provisions in many respects in its Constitution to govern all these relations and these actions. I think the purity of banking institutions - if there can be such a term applied to them - will be better preserved by disconnecting them from the State government; and I am certain the interest of the people will be as well looked after and better cared for if they are disconnected from these banking institutions.
But, sir, I say most unhesitatingly in regard to these other improvements that just the moment you adopt the principle in this Constitution that will allow this new State to become a dabbler in the stocks of incorporated companies from that very day the fate of the prosperity of the people of this new State is sealed. I am just as firmly convinced of that fact almost as I am of my existence. And that is the reason I have insisted, with some reluctance I will admit, upon the incorporation in this Constitution of these prohibitory provisions in reference to matters of that kind; and I tell gentlemen here that if they vote to strike out these words they have knocked the life out of the very principle they have been contending for for several days.
MR. DERING. My friend from Doddridge understands parliamentary tactics admirably. He is an old stager at the business, and we should be careful how we strike out anything in this report that pertains to corporations. I know his ingenuity, and this motion of his covers the whole thing we have been battling for. The State may become the partner in all the companies, associations and corporations in this State if you strike out this feature. The gentleman from Kanawha says the State should be permitted to participate in the stocks of our banks, etc. I for one favor an eternal divorce between the banking institutions and the State. I am opposed to the State becoming a banker. Let the State regulate by law the charters of the banks, and the banks will move on performing their legitimate duties and the State in its sphere will move on, controlling and regulating the spheres in which they shall move. The gentleman from Kanawha said sum up the advantages which banks have been to the state they would be great. If my friend from Doddridge would go into a calculation and examine the statistics on that subject and arrive at his conclusions I don't know whether the State would not come out considerably the loser. I remember the banks of Virginia equal in credit to that of almost any other state; but, sir, this thing of mixing up the state policy with the banking policy of the state has gone to the detriment of both the state and the banks. The state has pledged its stocks; permitted banking institutions to go into operation on the credit of their stocks. Why, sir, just as state stocks went up and down so the banks went up and down. And how much is the stocks of the banks that were based on this principle worth today? I would not give two cents to the dollar for it, sir. You find the very institutions mixed up with the state connected with that principle winding up their concerns and asking to be chartered upon independent principles. Sir, I am opposed to any alliance of state and bank. I trust that the banks will be held in their proper sphere and the legislature, in its independence and disinterested action, will so legislate in reference to them as to promote not only the interests of the people but of the banks themselves. I do not want our new State to become a great banking corporation and ally itself to the various corporations that may be instituted and originated herein. Let us sever the connections that have held them together for so long a period and we will start out on new and independent principles that shall lead to prosperity for time to come.
MR. STUART of Doddridge. Although the State may have hundreds of thousands of dollars; may be perfectly able to make these improvements, if you don't strike this out you are saying the State shall not do it under any circumstances. I have conversed with some gentlemen, who say they are willing to do it under restrictions. Now, if the State is hereafter not to become a stockholder in any incorporation, of course she cannot appropriate money for any improvement, because she is not to be a stockholder.
MR. DERING. She can appropriate it.
MR. STUART. Very well. We don't anticipate that the State will ever be engaged in any of these improvements entirely on the credit of the State. It has never been done heretofore; but that she would come up to the aid of these corporations, and private individuals who would be willing to give their means as far as able. Then, sir, if you don't strike this out you are saying the State should not appropriate money although they have it in the treasury.
MR. DERING. Cannot we give the money, if we have it as you say?
MR. STUART. I do not want to give it. I want if there is any profit in it I want the State to have the profit. If it pays, I don't want to give it too liberally.
MR. DERING. I want to give it.
MR. STUART. I do not, sir. We want, if the State is in a situation to give it, to make the appropriation, and if it happens to be a paying institution that the State then pays. I don't expect the State ever will give a hundred thousand dollars to any incorporation. If she makes an appropriation it will be with the expectation that the improvement will pay some time. But that is not the question. You say now although our treasury may be overflowing the State shall never appropriate a dollar to an incorporation unless they give it.
MR. STEVENSON of Wood. I only want to say it must be either an illusion or a delusion that leads my friend from Doddridge to go on arguing that it is not allowing the State to incur a debt if we allow her to become a stockholder in a corporation. How else is she to acquire her interest? Is she not to give an obligation for it? We have said the credit of the State shall not be granted to or in aid of, nor shall the State ever assume or become responsible for, the debts or liabilities of these corporations. I want to show you this is the same thing. The State invests half a million in some one of these corporations, and if it fails the money is lost. The State has given her bonds or endorsed bonds, at least puts that much in the corporation. It has to be paid. If the money was borrowed it has to be paid; and if she had the money it is lost. I want to know who loses it. Don't the people of the State lose it? Wasn't it their money? Can the State have any money that is not the money of the people of the State? It is the very same thing we have been battling against here.
MR. BROWN of Kanawha. The argument of the gentleman from Wood strikes me very strangely, the gentleman has professed to be a friend of internal improvements; only just keep us from the indebtedness and we are with you. We have fixed in the Constitution that this State shall incur no debt on that account. If there is anything fixed, I think that is a fixed fact. Then starting from that point that this State never can incur a debt. Then how do you propose to effect the object? There is but one of two ways in which it can be done. One is to appoint your own officer and agent and go on and appropriate the public funds to make the work, to pay it out by the day and keep an account and render it to the Auditor. The other is by aiding a stock company, whereby you bring to your aid other individuals with the assurance that they will not waste their moneys. Which of these two will you pursue ? The State of West Virginia, if it is ever formed, will have I presume the public works that belonged to the old state within the borders of the new. There is a railroad laid out without the rails upon it made by the State of Virginia out of the treasury of the state. What shall you do with it? Wait till you get money enough to appropriate it, ten dollars at a time until you finish it? How do you propose to render that efficient? If you say you shall not take that work and give it to a corporation for stock to the extent of the work and let the corporation go on and complete the work. Why every other man of common sense would say that is the only sensible way of doing. That is the only way in which the State of Virginia has ever made a solitary improvement except the expenditure on the Blue Ridge tunnel and the Covington and Ohio road.
MR. HARRISON. It would seem to me the views of the gentlemen from Kanawha and Doddridge, from what they have said on this question do present to this Convention the question, now complete unequivocal question, for their determination, whether it will permit this State ever to make any internal improvements as state works. In the 5th and 6th sections that have been acted on, I voted in favor of the sections because I was opposed to the State going in debt for any public improvements, and that has been the principal objection. It seems to me the motion of the gentleman from Doddridge should be divided. There may be a good many of us prepared to vote that the State shall not become a stockholder in any bank but may not be willing to go so far as to say she shall not make any internal improvement by an annual appropriation and planking up the money. I suggest to some gentleman who is more familiar with parliamentary usage than I am that a motion ought to be made to take the vote first on the question whether the State shall become a stockholder in any bank, and then upon the other question; because I think the other question does bring before the Convention the simple question, shall the State ever make any improvements by paying the money? I understand the term "stockholder" to mean the having a share in any company or association and paying money at the time of entering into the contract.
MR. STEVENSON of Wood. Not all the money.
MR. HARRISON. Yes; pay up all the money.
MR. STEVENSON. Generally paid in installments.
MR. VAN WINKLE. A stockholder pays $2 at the time of subscribing.
MR. HARRISON. Well, let us have a division on the bank question anyhow. I move a division of the question.
MR. STUART of Doddridge. I would move then to strike out "banks."
The motion was rejected by the following vote.
YEAS - Messrs. John Hall (President), Brown of Kanawha, Brumfield, Chapman, Cook, Dolly, Hansley, Hoback, Haymond, Hagar, Irvine, Montague, McCutchen, Robinson, Ryan, Stephenson of Clay, Stuart of Doddridge, Smith, Taylor, Walker, Warder - 21.
NAYS - Messrs. Brown of Preston, Brooks, Battelle, Caldwell, Dering, Dille, Harrison, Hubbs, Hervey, Mahon, Parsons, Powell, Parker, Pomeroy, Sinsel, Simmons, Stevenson of Wood, Stewart of Wirt, Sheets, Soper, Trainer, Van Winkle - 23.
Mr. Stuart of Doddridge then moved to strike out after "bank" in the 41st line.
MR. HERVEY. This is no feature. We do not seek to incorporate anything in this Constitution that is not known in the history of the constitutions of the United States. I have within the last three or four months had time to look at the constitutions of but very few states. I find in the Constitution of Indiana that the state shall not be a stockholder in any bank, "nor shall the credit of the state ever be given or loaned in aid of any person, association or incorporation, nor shall the state herself ever become a stockholder in any association or corporation." Michigan: "The state shall not subscribe to or be interested in the stock of any company, corporation or association." Missouri: "The state shall not be part owner of the stock or property belonging to any corporation." Texas: "The state shall not be a part owner of stock belonging to any corporation." Wisconsin: "The credit of the state shall never be given or loaned in aid of any individual, association or corporation." California: "The credit of the state shall not in any manner be given or loaned to or in aid of any individual association or corporation; nor shall the state directly or indirectly become a stockholder in any association or corporation."
I hope gentlemen will discuss and regard this question on public grounds alone and not charge that their "rights" are sought to be invaded. The citations from the various constitutions of other states prove the very reverse, and show that the policy of the younger states is to the effect that the credit of the state should not be even loaned to individuals, corporations or associations.
MR. SMITH. I know the house is very weary, but I appeal to the friends of internal improvements - every gentleman who has spoken here says he is a friend of internal improvements, that is if we are to take their declarations on this floor; they are friends of internal improvement, but I think they are evidencing the fact very singularly by refusing to strike out these words.
The Secretary reported section 8.
MR. STUART of Doddridge. The amendment is to strike out all after "bank" in the 41st line.
The vote on this motion was taken and it was rejected by the following vote.
YEAS - Messrs. John Hall (President), Brown of Kanawha, Chapman, Cook, Dolly, Hansley, Haymond, Hoback, Hagar, Irvine, Montague, McCutchen, Robinson, Ryan, Sinsel, Stephenson of Clay, Stuart of Doddridge, Smith, Taylor, Walker - 21.
NAYS - Messrs. Brown of Preston, Brooks, Brumfield, Battelle, Caldwell, Dering, Dille, Harrison, Hubbs, Hervey, Lamb, Mahon, O'Brien, Parsons, Powell, Pomeroy, Simmons, Stevenson of Wood, Stew-art of Wirt, Sheets, Soper, Trainer, Van Winkle, Wilson - 24.
The hour having arrived, the Convention took a recess.
The Convention re-assembled.
THE PRESIDENT. When the Convention took a recess it had under consideration the adoption of the 8th section of the report of the Committee on Taxation and Finance.
MR. SMITH. I feel exceedingly anxious that a constitution should be formed that would be satisfactory to the country and that we shall not leave here with heartburnings among ourselves. Where there is, as there evidently is in this house, an almost equal division on the questions that have engaged us for the last few days, I think it is a matter of serious consideration enough to give this subject a further consideration and take a course, if practicable to suit all parties in the Convention. I would be exceedingly gratified if something could be done to suit all parts of the house. As it is, there is a deep, fixed disquietude in the minds of all. I know I feel that way myself. Generally I consider myself an individual of very good temper; but when I find my temper so much weakened as it is on this occasion, I feel there is a deep sentiment of hostility in my mind towards the proceedings. I do not wish to entertain those feelings I desire to adopt some course if it be possible that would suit all; and I do think if there ever was an occasion when there should be a spirit of yielding and of compromise among the members this is the occasion in which it should occur and should exist. Entertaining those feelings, desiring so heartily as I do to adopt that which will be approved by all with almost unanimous concurrence of opinion, I make of my own motion, without having consulted anything but my own judgment, my own sense of duty, I recommend that this whole subject be again referred to to a special committee. There are reasons for this reference. I look at the committee that framed this report. That committee has not a member in the minority. I do not suppose the committee was appointed with reference to their opinions; but it so happened that here is a report returned to this house by unanimous vote of the committee, not one of them in opposition to it, as I believe. This it does seem to me, is not giving a fair opportunity to what may be called a large minority - almost an equality; and I think this subject should undergo a revisal by a committee selected from all parts of the State, in which the sentiments of all may be heard and some attempt at a compromise made that would be satisfactory to all. I believe it can be compromised and adjusted if that spirit prevails which is proper to prevail in such cases as this. But as it stands, I say to this house that it will produce a sensation in my quarter of the country that will repel this Constitution, ardently, derisively. I know, Mr. President, that you are aware of the fact that your constituents will not sustain it. I know that the people of the extreme west and the south will not sustain it. You may carry your Constitution by a small majority; but with what sort of force does it go into Congress; what sort of influence is there to sustain it when it goes there? Here is a divided people on the very adoption of the Constitution among themselves. And if we do send it back and do get opposition to it, why that will be the result. I now speak not for myself but for this State which I do say I am eager and anxious to sustain and which I must say and have said I cannot sustain with the provisions here.
I therefore make the proposition that this report be recommitted. There was I understand a question of difficulty among the members which was submitted to a committee, and that was at once reconciled in the committee; not two hours engaged in it, brought into this house and accepted and received with almost unanimity. Now, may not something be done? Is it not due to us to give us an opportunity to be heard in committee on this question of limiting the committee to one side of this internal improvement question, of bringing a report into this house without a minority having been heard in the committee ? I ask it and submit it in good faith and hope it will be adopted. I move to recommit.
MR. DERING. The chairman of that committee is not here. I have the honor of being one of the members of it. While I appreciate the motives that actuate the gentleman from Logan very highly it does seem to me it would not do to set this precedent in reference to a report which we have nearly passed through after careful and prolonged discussion, on which the minority have been abundantly heard. This report was very carefully considered in committee before offered to the Convention. There were dissenting opinions in reference to some provisions incorporated in the report as first prepared. These provisions were modified to meet the objections and so as to meet the views of the whole committee. This report has been before this Convention nearly three days. It has undergone an investigation and contest almost unparalleled in the history of any report submitted here. It has been warred upon from the very first introduction of it in this Convention up to the present time. The gentlemen who objected to sections of this report have sometimes succeeded. They have stricken out a whole section of this report. The Convention has examined it in all its phases and bearings; and it seems to me that now after we have got nearly through the report to ask this Convention to recommit those sections that have been passed upon by the Convention - not to recommit but to send them to a special and select committee, is a reflection on the committee that brought in this report - no less a reflection on the Convention itself, who have adopted all but the last section after a most exhaustive discussion of it. You are asked to set a precedent in reference to this report that may be followed up in reference to every other report that has been submitted to this Convention. Now, sir, on the second reading of this report it is open to amendment. Any gentleman will then have the right to come up and object to any of its provisions, and it seems to me that will be the time and place to adjust this report so that it will as nearly as possible meet the views of all the members of the Convention. Why, Mr. President, we have not had a report before us that some of its provisions has not been objected to. And yet should we get up and make a motion to refer those reports to a special committee? If you do this there is no telling when we will get through the business of this Convention. I am as willing to meet the gentlemen on that section - upon this and every other section, in order to harmonize and adjust all things to meet the views of all as nearly as possible; but it is simply impossible to present anything to this Convention on which the whole fifty will agree. It is simply impossible to adjust any law that will meet the approbation of every body or the entire approbation of this body. Had it not then better be proceeded with, every section passed or amended as we shall see proper? Let it pass to its second reading, and then let the gentleman from Logan or his friends, or any other gentleman get up and make their objections; and I think it can be harmonized; and where there is no parting with principle, where they do not ask for a departure from principle, I am willing to meet him half way. But, sir, where principles are at stake it will be asking too much of this Convention that the majority shall concede and depart from principle at the demand of the minority. My desire, sir, above all others, is to get a constitution that will meet the approbation of all our people, but it is utterly impossible. Where there is such a fundamental and radical difference as there is here between the principles which the Convention have adopted in regard to the financial conduct of this new State and the methods proposed by the minority, it is impossible to find common ground. It must be one or the other; and if the majority is not to decide, then we are all at sea. Let us do the best we can and go on with our business. I trust we will get through shortly and submit our Constitution to the people.
MR. HERVEY. This report is almost completed, all, I believe except the last section, which cannot create any difficulty in the Convention; and now when the report is almost finished, to ask to recommit the subject is something I am hardly prepared to meet on the spur of the moment. When this Convention was organized it authorized the President to organize certain standing committees. The President proceeded in the discharge of that duty and appointed these committees. Now, sir, it was my understanding at the time these committees were gotten up that the members of those committees were from different sections of the State; and that question has never been raised before, has never been thought of till now. I presume the President of this Convention in appointing that committee did his duty; I have no doubt of it, not only with reference to this committee but with reference to all the committees. Sir, it does not make any difference what kind of a report is brought in here, this Convention will adopt it unless it approves it. Is it to be supposed that because you get up another committee, who bring in another sort of report that therefore the members would be under the necessity of supporting any proposition so brought in, or that they would support it if it did meet their approval ? What has been the fact in regard to reports heretofore? Why, sir, we have sometimes amended them so that the committee hardly knew them when we got through - hardly bore any resemblance to the original report. If there was anything of vital interest at stake in this question; if there was any right of the people invaded in this report, then it would be a different question. If, for instance, it was unfair in its operations, or something of that sort; if it was unequal in its taxation; if some principle of representation or taxation involved; if it was unequal and unjust, then there would be some propriety perhaps in referring it back. But that is by no means clear. The whole question, all the principles involved, have been exhaustively thrashed out here for days; the whole matter is fresh in the minds of the Convention; the whole question is understood from beginning to end; and the Convention can never be better prepared to decide the issue than now, than it was when it adopted, one after another, the principles which a majority approve as the governing principles for the conduct of this new State. Is it to be supposed that any other report brought in now could change the opinion of this Convention?
I hope, sir, there will be no recommitment and no new committee. If it is recommitted at all, it properly belongs to the committee having the report in charge. I deny that this house has any right at this period of its session to dissolve one of its standing committees and constitute a new one. The proposition is before the Convention. The Convention have already conceded what the gentleman from Logan asked. The gentleman from Wood tendered it as a compromise. In doing so he defined a compromise as a case where something was yielded by both sides. But this concession was all on one side; and now we see in what spirit it is received. The gentleman from Logan asked that counties be allowed to subscribe as they pleased to these works. The concession was made; and now he demands that the majority shall abandon all the ground established after an exhaustive discussion of two days and send the whole question back to committee.
MR. BROWN of Kanawha. I have had no consultation with any gentleman relative to the proposition before the house; had not thought of it until I heard the gentleman who made it speaking on the floor in regard to it. This is unlike any other question, except one, that we have had before us. We have been at one time very near the point we now are. In the legislative committee in the effort to settle that equilibrium, after the house were unable to agree and we were then approaching the very difficulties and dangers we are now so near, this Convention reconsidered its action and felt a disposition to agree and harmonize; thought it was proper and wise; and they did it, and referred the matter - that which had not been passed upon and that which had been passed upon - back to the committee and added another member to it. Although there was objection raised I believe it was withdrawn and that committee assembled in good faith with a sincere purpose to endeavor to harmonize the diversities of opinion known to exist.
MR. HERVEY. Was it not referred to the same committee?
MR. BROWN. Yes, sir, with the addition of one member. There all sections of the State were represented on that committee, though the section to which the minority belonged in that case, as in this was in the minority in the committee, and although one member was added continued in the minority. That committee went to work with a real earnest desire to accomplish something and they did it, and I believe did it to the satisfaction of all sides; if not exactly what each would have preferred, yet what all can agree upon without any sacrifice of principle; and this Convention endorsed the action of that committee. Well, now, sir, we have attained the very same point in this case that we did in that; arising, too, out of a difficulty precisely of the sort in its bearing. It is a question, as in that case, that involved the local interests of the State; and that sectional interest has been manifested here perhaps to a stronger degree than in that case. Now, I am satisfied the gentleman who made this proposition intended no disrespect to the members of the committee; and I confess I could not, if I were a member of any committee, feeling that I was treated with disrespect, if for the purpose of harmonizing a difficulty that committee did not create and which arose out of the nature of things, circumstances and localities of the peoples who are found to differ in interest and to some extent in feelings - now the question is, will you widen that breach, or as patriots and statesmen seek to heal it?
Why, sir, can anybody be blind to the fact that no free people yet, as a people, were ever ruled by another people? Can any man be so blind as to suppose that any people or section having a majority could ever expect to carry their Constitution or law over another people if that other people all opposed it? Can any statesman in this incipient effort to form and erect a new commonwealth be blind to the fact that it is absolutely essential to success, to peace and harmony that you heal these differences and restore harmony among this body as well as among the sections that are represented? Now, I don't pretend to say that it can be done. I hope it can be. I am willing to labor to the last and trust that it will be. I believe it will be more likely to be done by the appointment of a committee as proposed with the avowed purpose to do the best they can, in a spirit of compromise, having seen where the shoe pinches and what the call is, than you can by attempting to force on this proceeding before the Convention.
And I believe another thing: that when a committee have agreed to come into this house and tell the house that they have affected an agreement, it will have a great weight before the members of this house. I feel well assured that the proposition submitted to the Committee on the Legislative Department and returned to this house as the agreed report of that body could not have been carried as it was carried if- there had been no such report. That committee yielded something in reconstructing that report that they would not have yielded, and no power on earth could have forced them to yield if it had not been taken by the power of the majority and carried over their heads. Now, it were better gentlemen should learn a little by experience and recognize that majorities are not absolute and that there are other rights to be guaranteed. It were well, I will say, for gentlemen to remember, while perhaps there may be majority of one or two on this floor, there are four or five counties lying in the same section of the State not represented here whose interests are identified with those, and who if there were representatives here would turn the majority on to the other side. How would this Convention feel in sending to that Constitution embracing provisions that they were all opposed to, carrying a proposition against their will by a minority representation? I don't think it would add strength. I think therefore it is the part of wisdom to take the course the gentleman from Logan has proposed, and if it can accomplish any good, let us adopt it. If it utterly fails, then we are where we now are. We have then to take the worst and determine our future course when the whole field will be before us. For myself, I am resolved to sit here and do my duty as honestly as I can and as fearlessly, and do everything I can to bring about the erection of a new State and the making of a Constitution as well as I can. If I cannot, then, sir, I shall yield to that and to the alternative as determinedly as I do this now.
MR. POMEROY. I cannot conceive any similarity between the motion just made and the motion made in regard to the legislative committee. In fact, there is no similarity in the essential features of the two propositions. That was to refer a part of the report that had not been acted on and adopted by the Convention back to the same committee in order that they might make some alterations; but we did not refer back the part we had adopted at all. They had no privilege given them when that report was recommitted to open up the questions that had already been decided by the Convention. And then there is something said in regard to the report they brought in. Well, the report they brought in the second time was just the same as they had brought in before. One gentleman on the committee (the gentleman from Taylor) made the identical alteration in the report that was the main one before the body, that the number of the house of delegates be increased from 46 to 47. No person felt disposed to stick on that point of increasing the number by one. The number 54 had been tried and met with a similar result. The only difference we made was in relation to that number and some little and unimportant changes about how the counties should elect their delegates in districts. If we establish the precedent of referring back a report that has nearly all been adopted, where are we likely to end? Some gentleman said on the floor that they did not expect we would end before the 4th of July. Now, I can only speak for myself. If the gentleman's motion was only to recommit to that committee that part of the report which has not been acted on I would have no objection to that personally. We could go on with something else. But suppose you appoint a new committee - I don't know that the members of this committee would feel anyways bad about that - what would be the result? If they were men who had voted on the different sides of this question substantially as we have voted time and again - for we voted Saturday as we voted today - so far as the principle is concerned - you bring in two reports, and how much nearer are you to a conclusion than you are now? The Convention, as has been stated, would not be at all under obligations to adopt the report. Now, if the gentleman had made his motion to recommit, that part not acted on, I would have no serious objections to that; but to recommit to this new committee, with the feelings manifested towards it, ought not to be entertained. When I came here I did not expect to carry everything I should advocate. I have not been so fortunate as to do so, and they thought I was doing wrong by not acting with them. Well, now we ought to go on harmoniously about these things and with the best feelings towards each other. I cannot conceive what this committee could do. You cannot in my opinion recommit that part of the report adopted by the Convention unless you reconsider the votes by which it was done. You have already adopted it by vote of the Convention, adopted one section as amended, and stricken one out. How can you take them up without reconsidering the votes by which they have been adopted?
Well, now, in regard to the gentlemen on the committee, I have never examined carefully, but I understand one gentleman who was on the committee opposed the main features of their report. I suppose the same is true in regard to every report that has been made to this body. Now they might get a committee divided so that they could not harmonize. The result would be two reports, and the reports would have to be taken up and acted on. If we have the report of the majority, why, of course, we will not adopt the report of the minority. The same ground will have to be all traveled over again. Not having entered into this discussion and taken no part in it except simply to record my vote, and to make a suggestion this morning in regard to the substitute of the gentleman from Marion, I think if the gentleman from Logan would reflect on this he would either be in favor of recommitting that portion only not acted on or of going on as suggested by the gentleman from Monongalia.
MR. MAHON. I feel deeply interested in having this difficulty adjusted if possible. I say if it is possible for this Convention to appoint a new committee, to reconsider this whole subject again; and if there was any probability or prospect of having it brought into this Convention, that we might pass resolutions offered by such committee in harmony and peace that would be calculated to meet the views of the different counties, I would be exceedingly glad. I am not prepared now to say or even think it is possible. But it may be possible and I am exceedingly anxious to extend the hand of friendship to those who view this matter differently from myself, and say to them I am willing to concede everything I possibly can in order that we may harmonize, that after we have framed this Constitution it may go before the people with our united approval. I admit, sir, that it is not reasonable to suppose we can all carry our point. But had the opposite party, those who voted against me, carried I should not have taken it so hard nor said one word. It is because I am on the side of liberty that I extend the hand of friendship in this act, saying that if it can be compromised, where we do not violate a sacred principle, we are ready to meet you, so we will not be bound to sacrifice what we conceive to be a sacred principle. I have no disposition whatever to defeat any measure that you cherish. God forbid that I should do so merely to be opposed to any measure. If the gentlemen on the other side think it is possible we can have a report that we can harmonize on I am willing to vote for them to go back into the hands of such a committee.
MR. STEVENSON of Wood. I will move to amend the motion made by the gentleman from Logan that the report be recommitted to the Committee on Taxation and Finance. I think that will probably accomplish the purpose, if it can be accomplished at all, which the gentleman desires. That committee is, of course, or ought to be, better posted in reference to the matters that will come before it on this question, and particularly after the matter has been so extensively discussed, than a special committee could be; and I have not the least doubt - 1 don't know who is on the committee - that those gentlemen will adjust these difficulties if they are adjustable at all as well as any special committee. Now it was the same course we pursued in reference to apportionment. We referred it back to the same committee, and although a majority of that committee was opposed to the view taken here by the minority, they reported a provision that was satisfactory to the entire Convention. Now, if we wish to throw oil on the troubled waters this is the only way we can do it; and if without violating what appears to be right on their side, this committee can change this report so as to meet these difficulties, I think they will do it. That far I will go, but I shall vote against referring to a special committee.
MR. HAGAR. I favor the amendment. I am opposed to having a special committee. It is like persons when they have a trial before the justice of the peace wanting to take it up before another. The committee that have acted on this knows as much about it as any men that could have been selected. I would be satisfied to refer that part that has not been passed upon. I don't like to hear so much south and north, so much east and west. We are one people, should be one; our interests are one and our feelings should be. However, I have no objection to referring the whole report to the same committee; and if they see proper let them choose one to act in concert with them from the east, or west or north or south part of the State, wherever they please. I am opposed to appointing another committee, and I am satisfied there is not a man in this Convention that desires peace and harmony more than I do. Our zeal is apt to run us into extravagance on either side. I have no objection, of course, of the report being referred to the same committee; and if they think proper I would be satisfied to refer only the last two sections and let all that have been passed upon stand as it is. Then if they saw cause to add another section to it and could best adapt it to the necessity of the whole State and bring a compromise about let them do it. I favor the amendment.
MR. SMITH. I offer this proposition from the very best motives in the world. I appealed sincerely and candidly to the Convention to adopt some measures that would heal the wounds that I feared had been inflicted on a portion of the State. I fear this will work disastrously if something is not done. I recollect being in the convention at Richmond when the great "basis" question came up there, when the convention was warmed up into a state of excitement and anger which exceeded anything I ever saw. A gentleman not on the side of the house that I belonged to but one who belonged to the opposing side got up and proposed a resolution of reconciliation. He proposed a committee to report a compromise. That was accepted by the convention and quieted its excitement. The interests involved there were much greater than those involved here; but I even now say that so far as I am concerned I feel almost as much solicitude about this as I did on that occasion. I hope it will be the pleasure of the house when an offer was made for peace and harmony to see it accepted on all sides; and I regret to say my respected friend from Monongalia rises first in his place to reject it; and much more did I feel surprised when the minister of peace himself rises in opposition. I hope and trust it may be the pleasure of this Convention to make an effort at reconciliation, to compromise this difficulty. I objected to the committee, not that I am reflecting on the committee or any member of it or those who appointed it; but it has happened that there is a committee from one section of the country, and not one of them except my friend from Marion but is in opposition to it; and I think if you refer it to the other committee, there ought to be a report of the other portion of the State by an enlargement of that committee. I am not particular as to manner it is done and I do not think it is any reflection to ask another. I am willing that my friend from Ohio or my friend from Wood shall be appointed on the committee. But I do ask as a right to have every portion of the State represented in that committee; and when they get through in good faith without feeling or passion, with a determination to compromise, I believe they can hit upon a compromise. I never yet have entered into a body of that sort with a determination on the part of all to give on each side that they could not come to some conclusion that would be satisfactory to them. I hope it will be the pleasure of the house to adopt this proposition which I have offered, and I care not if it is in the form offered by the gentleman from Wood if additions are made to that committee. But to send it back to a committee who have formed it entirely without any representation from any other quarter of the State, I do not think it would result in anything good. There ought to be on this question representation from every part of the State. There is not at this time on this floor any of that committee to represent the country to which I belong. I regret that my friend from Brooke, who I think is a good-natured man - I am astonished now to see him get up in this house and resist a proposition so just and proper in every respect; and as to committing the whole report nothing is more usual. This report will come in, if it is made, as a substitute for that which is now before the house. The whole subject will then be before them, and everything can be adjusted and made whole. That is the only way in which it can be done. The amendment of one branch of it may come in conflict with another branch. The committee that takes it into consideration ought to have it all before them and I hope no man in this house who seeks to accommodate all parts of the State will raise objections to a proposition so reasonable. I ask it because I want to be satisfied. It will save time. If the committee come to an adjustment it will be accepted; there will be no further discussion of the subject in the house. Here is my friend from Marshall who offered an amendment and agreed that an amendment should be added for the benefit of the humbler roads that are now by this last amendment hopelessly excluded from all favor whatever in all time to come.
MR. HERVEY. The hardship that I thought the motion of the gentleman from Logan inflicted on this committee was this: that it was disgracing this committee. The President appointed this committee among others. They have gone on in the discharge of their labors and have performed those labors admirably and ably. And, now, sir, - 1 am sure the gentleman meant it; it strikes too hard, sir - the coming in of a proposition to discharge a committee of this Convention, appointed as all the other committees were by the President of the Convention, because their conclusion on the most important economic question this body has to deal with does not suit the gentleman from Logan. Therefore they are to be disbanded, after the Convention has adopted all their report but one section, about which there is no controversy. It would be saying to the whole country that the committee cannot discharge its duties - and perhaps that the Convention does not know its own mind when voting. The Convention has adopted more of this report in proportion to the amount gone over than any other committee report presented here, I believe. Now, sir, in view of that fact, the fact that the Convention has almost literally walked in the footprints of this committee, and that to maintain our principles we have had to fight the gentleman from Logan all the time like fury, it seems to me he is asking a good deal.
MR. DERING. I would just suggest to him that I think a proposition will be made that will perhaps meet the approbation of the Convention.
The President remarked that the Chair was not sensitive on the subject of changing the composition of the committee.
Mr. Brown of Kanawha said if he thought the appointment of a special committee would reflect on the action of the Chair, or on the committee appointed by him, he should vote against it promptly. He hoped the gentleman from Brooke would not press that subject.
MR. DERING. The committee never thought of any sectional issue in their report until it was discussed in the Convention. He did not believe the President had any such thought in his mind when he appointed the committee. There was no such sectional issue in the Convention until raised by the two gentlemen from Kanawha and Logan. The committee made its report, as the President had the committee, simply with a view to the welfare of the whole State. Nothing like a sectional feeling existed for a moment in the committee. We canvassed the subject thoroughly, as we thought; and we thought what we were doing was for the benefit of the people. The majority of the Convention, despite all that had been done to increase the vote from the southwest, had endorsed the action of the committee.
Mr. Stevenson of Wood proposed that the report be referred to the committee that had reported it, Finance and Taxation.
Mr. Smith hoped they would appoint a new committee.
MR. LAMB. There are two main principles in this report which, for one, I could not compromise away. The first is enbodied in the 1st section, that "no one species of property shall be taxed higher than any other of equal value." I do hope, whether this matter is referred or not, that this Convention will regard that principle as so essential that it must be the foundation stone on which your system of taxation and finance must rest. So far as I am concerned, I look upon it as equally essential for the future prosperity of the new State that we should provide against the creation of debt. If these two principles can be preserved, I am prepared to enter on any compromise. But, for one, I must say that as long as my voice is here raised in this Convention, I do regard these two principles as essential and principles that cannot properly be abandoned without involving the most essential interests of the new State in ruin. Anything else, if this matter is to be referred to this committee, that can be conceded for the sake of compromise, I might be willing to yield.
MR. SINSEL. I would suggest that the first two sections should not be recommitted. Leave them just as they are. We have acted on them, after a long debate; let them stand as they are.
MR. DERING. I regret exceedingly that the chairman of our committee is not here. I have no objections myself to part of that report being recommitted to the friends of the gentlemen from Kanawha and Logan; nor have I any objection to having Mr. Lamb added to the number. I know that he will be efficient, and will make a good member of the committee, and it is very desirable to have the benefit of his knowledge and experience on this subject. While I agree to all that let me say in advance as a humble member of that committee, I am willing to hear propositions for compromise; yet as I said a while ago, I will adhere to principle as far as I can. I do not desire to compromise any principle. I am very willing, however, that the report shall be referred back, with additions to the committee, for a conference, and report our action whatever it may be.
MR. SMITH. So far as I am concerned, I have no sort of objection to modify my proposition so far as to accept the first and second sections. I have made no particular war on them. The principle meets my approbation.
MR. LAMB. A gentleman suggested that I should be appointed on the committee. I thought it fair to give him notice of what I deem the essential features of this plan, so that he might if he thought proper withdraw the suggestion.
MR. SMITH. I know no man in this house that I would rather have there; and I think that he will enter into it in the same spirit that others do.
MR. BROWN of Kanawha. What is the proposition?
THE PRESIDENT. The question is on the adoption of the amendment of the gentleman from Wood to the motion made by the gentleman from Kanawha.
MR. SMITH. I accept the proposition of the gentleman from Wood, provided three others are added to the committee; and I ask now that it be recommitted with the addition of three members to the committee.
MR. STEVENSON of Wood. How will the three persons be named?
MR. HERVEY. The committee is an odd number now, and the addition of three would make an even number. I would move to add Mr. Van Winkle.
MR. VAN WINKLE. I must decline, sir. I offered a compromise this morning, which was repelled somewhat slightingly.
MR. HERVEY. I will nominate Mr. Stevenson, then.
MR. BROOKS. I am willing, for my part that the report shall go back to a special committee or to the original committee; but I ask for my own part to be released from serving on the committee, and that will make the number nine.
MR. HERVEY. I hope not.
MR. BROWN of Kanawha. As I have announced, I was always willing to discharge my part and to enter on it with a desire to accomplish the end proposed, and that is a compromise, but I confess I feel disinclined to enter upon it on this occasion; and one of the chief reasons that induces me is the fact that other gentlemen have announced that they cannot compromise principle. I see in the declaration that it is principle alone that is concerned, and the intimation is that there is but one principle, and that they are on the right side. I cannot see one hope of a compromise. That is a settled question, and I do not wish to undertake a vain effort on my part. I am satisfied no compromise can be affected unless entered upon in the spirit of compromise: none. And I therefore hope the Convention will not place me on the committee. I am employed as laboriously, perhaps, as any gentleman in the house, and I hope some other gentleman will be appointed.
MR. RAYMOND. I was a member of that committee, and I am satisfied from what I know of the committee that it is absolutely necessary to send this report back to them. I was the only man that differed from them in this report. I told the President that I was in opposition to them in relation to internal improvements; that I thought the State ought to be allowed to use its credit to some extent; that when the report came into the Convention, I should pursue that course. I have done it. I have done my duty and we have been beaten. The resolution I offered yesterday was offered as a compromise. It was a compromise which should have been accepted. It was asking that the people, after five years, if they desired, should have the right to borrow four million dollars. That is all we ask. Four million dollars is a small amount for a state to borrow, to carry on internal improvements. It would have been a very small debt. I do think, sirs, if you are referring this back to a committee, it would be better to appoint a new committee of say some five or nine. I do not think it would be any disgrace to the present committee. Their views are known. If my resolution had succeeded, all would have been right and this Constitution would have gone home to the people with flying colors. But, sir, the gentlemen tell you the people in the country never will consent to be tied up hand and foot. Sirs, they may vote for this Constitution but they will tear it asunder before ten years. No people ever lived that knew how to enjoy liberty that would suffer themselves to be bound hand and foot. The people of West Virginia I tell you never will submit to this Constitution as it has been fixed here today. They may, as I say, vote for it for the purpose of being admitted into the Union, but I tell you they will tear it asunder.
MR. DERING. I don't like to trouble the Convention so often on this subject, but I desire to say that I do trust the Convention, having seen the feeling manifested throughout this whole discussion, will adopt this plan of settling this matter. I am willing to listen to the experience and wisdom of our venerable friend and that our committee shall have the aid of the gentleman from Kanawha and the gentleman from Ohio. Let us meet together. It seems to me we might bring in something that would be acceptable to the Convention. I trust you will give it a trial. I desire above all other things that throughout all our action here we shall act in a spirit of compromise and harmony. We all want the Constitution and the new State and we must have some harmony of action and some little compromise at least before we can have it.
Cries of "Question! Question!"
MR. STEVENSON of Wood. The motion would be now simply to recommit the report except the 1st and 2nd sections, which it is agreed are to remain as they are; recommit the balance of the report on Taxation and Finance. Add the gentlemen from Kanawha, Logan and Ohio to the committee. If it is necessary to have another member, I should like to be excused myself and suggest the member from Brooke.
MR. HERVEY. I am a member of that committee, sir.
MR. STEVENSON. I presume there will be no difficulty on account of the even number.
MR. BROWN of Kanawha. I approved of the first proposition of the member from Logan only for the purpose of endeavoring to harmonize conflicting interests, when the action of that committee had been endorsed by the house and when there was every reason to believe the whole report would be adopted. It is therefore a matter that is past the supervision of the house. The question now is to secure harmony and satisfy many of the members. I consider it a foregone conclusion as it stands. The committee was endorsed by the majority so that nothing can have any reference to the committee. I am here desiring to harmonize these conflicting interests and divisions in the house. Now to aid that either there ought to be an entire equality by reference back to the committee without any new members on it at all or it ought to be, as the gentleman has proposed, a new committee; a special committee for the special purpose of attempting to harmonize these conflicting interests, not for having remedied the matters in consideration of the report; and that that ought to be appointed from the two sides even. Unless the committee is appointed on those terms, I cannot vote for it and am very decided in my wishes and feelings about it that I do not wish to serve on the committee and therefore must decline.
MR. POMEROY. Such vote is a matter of courtesy and kindness. It has always been customary not to take any special action without the presence of the chairman. I understand distinctly that Mr. Paxton paired off with Mr. Paxton simply on the votes where it was well known how both parties would vote. But here is a proposition to add to the committee in the absence of the chairman. One or two gentlemen on that committee have already intimated they cannot serve if those additions are made. Now, would it not be proper to defer action until the chairman of the committee could be present and give his views about the addition to the committee? May it not be that as many men as you add to the committee you lose from the other. I would be rather in favor of the remarks of the gentleman from Kanawha, that if that is going to be the state of the case there should be a new committee. Well, then, just this remark. If it was important, in the first place, that the committee have an odd number on it it is equally as important when you recommit important matters to it. Therefore, I hope the gentleman from Wood and the other members will forego any feeling they might have on the subject and will all serve also. But I would suggest to the gentlemen if it would not be proper to wait on the chairman who paired off today. Would not it be well enough to wait till he could be present in his seat?
Mr. Brumfield offered the following amendment:
"Whereas, There is dissatisfaction in the Convention, in order to bring about satisfaction,
"RESOLVED, therefore, That this Convention be divided and those in the majority to take from their body and those in the minority to pick from theirs four men, and the eight to pick out one which will make a committee of nine, and that the report of the Committee on Taxation and Finance be committed to them as soon as possible."
Mr. Stuart of Doddridge moved that the whole subject be laid on the table for the present, and the motion was agreed to.
Mr. Harrison moved that the Convention take up the report of the Committee on the Executive Department.
The motion was agreed to and the Convention proceeded to the consideration of the second report of the Committee on the Executive Department.
Mr. Stuart of Doddridge moved to strike out "four" years and insert "two" as-the length of the governor's term.
MR. LAMB. Before knowing how to vote on that question I would like to know what disposition can be made of the 5th and 6th lines. If he be elected for two years only the clause which makes him ineligible for a second term ought to be omitted. I move to amend the amendment by striking out from the word "two" in the 4th line to the end of the 6th line.
MR. POMEROY. I am in favor of that motion. If the people believe he is the best man I am in favor of re-electing him, but I am opposed to any man being elected to the office of governor for the term of four years.
MR. BROWN of Preston. Here is another difficulty. He shall hold his office for the term of four years to commence on the first day of January next succeeding his election. I believe it was understood the legislature was to be the judges of the election of this officer. The Convention has fixed the third Tuesday of January as the day upon which that legislature shall assemble. I think the time ought to be changed here or there ought to be a condition made to this time; ought to be accommodated to the other time indicated.
MR. BROWN of Kanawha. If I understand the proposition, I shall favor the amendment, for it is striking out a feature that I object to in toto. It is a restriction on the people after electing a man and finding him fit for the service, a prohibition against reelecting him; a prohibition in both clauses of the sentence. I hope to see those lines stricken out.
MR. STUART of Doddridge. I withdraw my motion to amend by striking out "four" until the motion of the gentleman from Ohio be taken.
MR. DILLE. I would suggest that the chairman of the committee is now here and I think as a matter of courtesy he ought to present the sections as they are placed before the house previous to any amendments.
MR. CALDWELL. I will call attention, however, to the fact that this report was made as early as about the middle of December previous to the action of the Convention on the time the legislature should convene; and therefore it was anticipating that the sessions of the legislature would be as they are now in Virginia, commence on the first Monday of December, we fixed the period on the first day of January. With the additional remark, however, that the time of the meeting of the legislature being changed necessarily some amendment should be made as to the time of the commencement of the office of governor. That time, however, I do not propose to fix but leave it to the Convention to determine what would be the best time. The other questions before the Convention were brought to some extent before the committee. The first in reference to the office of governor. The committee having decided that his term should be four years they thought it was proper to make the governor ineligible for the next four. If it is the wish of the Convention to shorten to two years, then I think there would be propriety in striking out as proposed by the gentleman from Ohio. For myself, it was my opinion as well as that of every member of the committee that four years was about the period that should be designated for the term of this office of governor, that he should not be re-elected at the end of four. It struck the committee that it might be possible that a person might be occupying that situation and from improper motives would be wielding the influence of his office for some improper and undue motives, and therefore this other part of the section was introduced. For myself, I am indifferent whether the term of this office is to be four years or two. If it is to be four I think the Convention will see the necessity of this interregnum. If for two only, why he might be eligible for re-election.
MR. POMEROY. The only amendment now before us is to strike out as proposed by Mr. Lamb.
THE PRESIDENT. The gentleman having withdrawn his amendment, the amendment to it would, of course fall.
MR. LAMB. I renew the motion.
MR. POMEROY. I am decidedly in favor of that. Mr. Lamb's amendment was agreed to.
MR. STUART of Doddridge. Now, Mr. President, I move to strike out "four" and insert "two", as the term of the governor.
MR. STEVENSON of Wood. I would offer to amend by inserting "three."
MR. STUART. Three years will not work in well with the rest of the Constitution. There are 21 states in which the term of the governor does not exceed two years.
The motion to strike out "four" was agreed to; the motion to insert "three" was rejected, and the motion to insert "two" was adopted.
Mr. Powell moved to strike out the first day of January and insert the 4th day of July.
MR. VAN WINKLE. I would suggest that under the circumstances it would be better to strike out and leave it blank for the present. The governor's election cannot be pronounced upon until the legislature meets and we have not fixed that. It is some late day in January.
Mr. Powell moved to strike out the first day of January and it was agreed to.
MR. VAN WINKLE. It can be filled after we have got to that part of the report which treats of the returns of the governor's election.
The section as amended was adopted.
In section 2 Mr. Stuart of Doddridge moved to strike out: "a county forming a part of this".
Mr. Brown of Preston moved to insert after "years": "and is a citizen of the United States."
MR. LAMB. That is all provided for in the report of the Committee on Fundamental Provisions.
MR. VAN WINKLE. It provides that all the officers shall have been a resident of this State for five years and that they must be citizens of the United States.
MR. BROWN of Kanawha. He should also be a citizen of the State.
Mr. Van Winkle moved to pass by the second section.
Mr. Brown of Kanawha wanted to settle it now and was in favor of fixing the age at thirty years.
Mr. Van Winkle said he had no objection, that the vote should be taken on the number.
Mr. Stuart of Doddridge thought it was better to settle the thing at once.
Mr. Caldwell suggested to Mr. Stuart to insert "in some part of this State", simply striking out as Mr. Stuart proposed.
Mr. Van Winkle moved to strike out "thirty."
Mr. Lamb favored the motion.
Mr. Stevenson of Wood was for retaining that number in the report.
The motion was rejected, and the second section was adopted.
Mr. Stuart of Doddridge moved to strike out in the third section "five hundred" so as to leave the salary of the governor "two thousand dollars."
Mr. Stevenson of Wood moved to make it $1800.
The motion to strike out $500, leaving the salary $2000 was agreed to.
MR. VAN WINKLE. Mr. President, your honor was a little too quick for me. I meant to make a remark or two before the first striking out. I call the attention of the Convention to the fact that in fixing the salary of the governor we must take into consideration that he is subject to expenses which none of the other officers whose salaries we have provided are liable to. He must remove to the seat of government and remain there permanently. He has got to provide his own house and that of a better quality than most of us have occasion to in our private houses. Strangers of distinction have to be entertained by the governor. The present salary in Virginia, I believe, is $5,000 besides the house and furniture. A gentleman from Richmond told me they believed the governors generally could not save one dollar out of it. Now in the economical system we have introduced, we have fixed the salary of the judges of the supreme court of appeals at $2000. I certainly trust the highest executive officer in the State will not be fixed at anything less. It is true our governor is not in ordinary times a very responsible office, not entrusted with much discretionary power; has very little appointing power except in the military and his duties are more or less onerous according to circumstances. I know that the duties of the present Governor have been exceedingly arduous; his term was but for a short one; he has removed his family here, hired a house and fitted it up. He would not have been justified for the few months he expected to do it; but it might be desirable even now if the Governor was living in a different way from what he is. If you estimate the services of other officers at so much, you ought to add $1000 to the governor's salary for the extra expenses to which he is subject. Considering, however, that the term is placed at only two years, those expenses will be the more onerous. I don't think that $500 additional for the two years would be any compensation for the additional expense he would be subjected to. But, gentlemen, the term of the present Governor of the state is four years, the house to live in and that house furnished at the expense of the state. These things ought to be taken into consideration. I merely wish to present the case before the Convention and apprise them that this cutting down of the governor will make it difficult to get the place filled with any but a very rich man; and then he must be a rich man who would be willing to throw his money away for the sake of the honor. We are I hope going to bring things down if we can to a more practical scale, more in accordance with the ability of the State; but we ought to be just if we do not be liberal. I think the example of the surrounding states if we could get at that would be some indication to us. They have lowered and raised and lowered and raised their members of the legislature, governor and judges in Ohio, so that you can hardly tell what it is, I believe; but as it was said here in the discussion on the judiciary the common-pleas judges of Ohio got $750; and yet I learned from a gentleman of that state with whom I was in conversation the other day that they get $2500 and the supreme court judges get $3000. So that we have acted against the facts in one case anyhow.
I just throw out these remarks that the Convention may take. them into consideration. I trust it will not go below the $2000 under any circumstances. I think it ought to be more.
MR. BROWN of Kanawha. I concur with the gentleman from Wood. I desire to see this State, if it ever is a State, a respectable and decent State; and I desire to see officers, whoever they may be, representatives of the State, live in the style they should, the governor at the capital so we may at least find him, with a salary that he can give one his breakfast and entertain with at least the decency an ordinary private citizen can. It almost seems to me humiliating that the people of a great State are to have their highest executive officer living on a salary about double what a large number of clerks in the capital would receive, and be obliged to entertain the public and discharge the social duties of the position in addition to his public duties in a way that would not discredit the State. Capable bank clerks or other bank officers get better salaries than you propose here to pay to the governor of your State. What gentleman with the dignity and character to fit him for the position would be willing to go to your capital and keep open house and try to do it on the salary you propose, or on the other hand live in the niggardly style he would have to if he lived within his salary? How can you ask such a man to pay his own expenses required by his position for the credit of the State and do the work for nothing? I believe the governor has no very arduous labors to perform in times of peace; but whether much or little he is required to live at the capital and support a style of living creditable to the State. I voted against striking out $2500, and I think the Convention have manifested a disposition to run this thing into the ground.
MR. VAN WINKLE. As this is a question of numbers, I suppose any number may be suggested. I move $2400.
THE PRESIDENT. The Chair would have some doubts about the amendment at this time. The purpose could be effected as well by refusing to put $1800 or $2000 in with a view of putting in the larger number.
MR. VAN WINKLE. When a blank is to be filled, it is usual to suggest any number and then the rule is to take the question on the highest number first.
MR. HAGAR. I go against extravagant salaries. I have tried to judge as best I could and do what I thought was right in these things. I am against the amendment to the amendment. I think it is too little. My object is to give a respectable compensation to all our officers. There is but little pride about me in reference to my State but to have a governor serve us for $1800 it would very near be a disgrace. I am opposed to the amendment.
MR. HAYMOND. I have been thinking, Mr. President, after voting for $2000, that since I have heard today what I have I will take the lesser number. We have been told today by the gentleman from Wood and other people that there never would be a single dollar to spare for internal improvements (Laughter). No, sir; no, not a single dollar could we have; and now we are on the salaries the thing is changed. Salaries are going up (Laughter). Sir, there was no money two hours ago. The gentleman from Wood tells us a governor cannot live at Richmond with $5000. Sirs, I believe him right. I believe if you will give those men there $10,000 they will not have a dollar left. That is the place where they paid a $900 bill for Mr. Meminger of South Carolina for the wine he drank in a few nights. I have not any doubt about the Governor spending $5000 in Richmond. But I tell you I am going for the $1800. That is what the Governor of Ohio gets. Eighteen hundred dollars once paid the greatest man in Ohio. There was Chase and a number of such men who were Governor of Ohio for $1800 a year, in -that wealthy state. I think this new State ought to put up with the governor's salary of $1800 a year, and that is what I shall vote for.
MR. STEVENSON of Wood. I intended to submit the amendment without any discussion; but some gentlemen seem disposed to discuss the matter as a very "niggardly" question (not the "nigger" question, however). I do not offer the amendment with any ambitious motive but because I believe it is enough for the governor, and because I think it is as much as the people in this new State can afford for the first governor, or for a dozen governors afterwards. When the judgeship question was up the other day, gentlemen argued that the judge had to perform much more arduous duties than the governor had to perform. I suppose now we will be told that the governor has a great deal more than the judges. In times of peace the governor has very little to do; and if he is a man of industry, he can turn his attention sometimes, particularly in the infancy of our State, to some other matters that may assist him to get a living if he cannot live on $1800 a year. I expect it will be impossible to refer to a state in this Union that when they were in the condition of this new State of West Virginia gave their governor's office as much as $1800 a year. I think when Ohio was much more populous than this new State of ours, they gave their governor, I think, $900 a year. And so with the other states when they were commenced. At the present time that very state just across the river here, with its population of between two and three millions of persons and where the governor will have ten times the amount of duty he will have in this new State, he gets but $1800 a year.
MR. SINSEL. Permit a question? Will not it take the whole time of the governor here just as it does in a big state?
MR. STEVENSON of Wood. Why, he may not stay here all the time. A man can reside here at the seat of government if he sees proper and if his official business only occupies his attention one month in the year, he has got eleven months that he can occupy himself at something else. Now, sir, when Ohio can get the services of such men as the present Governor and a number of governors which they have had before him, among the first intellects in this country for $1800 or $2000 a year, a state immensely rich and populous, I think it is entirely out of place, looking at the condition of the people in this new State, with a population of only a quarter million, to say that we shall start out with these high salaries. If we have, or after we get this immense network of internal improvements which we are going to get, and had all this natural wealth found in this new State developed and a population here equal to half that of Ohio, it would be very proper and consistent to talk then about giving the governor $2000 a year. But I tell you, gentlemen, you are making one of the greatest mistakes that you will make in the formation of this Constitution by adopting this principle of high salaries in the commencement of this new State. No, sir, I favor the amendment and offer it because I think that a governor in this new State of ours ought to be satisfied at $1600 or $1800 a year; and I know that we can get good men in the State to fill the office for that amount.
MR. LAMB. Will you inform us whether the Governor of Ohio is or is not furnished with a house?
MR. STEVENSON of Wood. I do not know whether he has a house or not. I suppose he has, probably. But if he has a house to live in at $1800 a year, why, sir, let me make a comparison with the State of Ohio, with the amount of wealth that is almost incalculable and the ability to fit that house, yet with a population four or five times as great as ours, they could pay that many times as much as we could, yet they don't do it. Gentlemen talk about our governors being capable of entertaining the people of the State when they come to see him. Let people who go to see the governor of this new State of ours entertain themselves and let the governor and every other officer endeavor to conform their living, somewhat at least, to the character of the people who elect them; not to live in style of magnificance when the people of the State are not able to support them in that style. I want the governors and judges and all the other officers in this new State, particularly as we commence it, to be something like the balance of the State.
MR. BROWN of Kanawha. I desire, for information, to know if the gentleman knows that the Governor of Ohio only gets $1800; because that has been a statement in regard to judges and it turns out to be incorrect. Now, I don't believe it is less than $3000 or can be.
MR. RAYMOND. I received a letter from a gentleman from the State of Ohio. I had written to him to know, and he told me the Governor got $1800.
MR. STEVENSON of Wood. I think I may say almost positively that is the salary. I don't know whether he has a house to live in or not, or a horse and buggy.
MR. VAN WINKLE. I would ask, very respectfully, the President of the Convention to tell us whether he has a house to live in.
THE PRESIDENT. I was at the Governor's house last summer. It is a magnificent house, which as I understood, with all the grounds around it, belongs to the state.
MR. BATTELLE. I believe in economy and am opposed to all extravagance, but I believe if West Virginia is able to have a governor at all she is able to pay him an adequate compensation, and it strikes me that the probabilities are that the man you elect governor under this Constitution will have actually more work to do ten-fold than the Governor of Ohio during the same time; and I need only refer in proof of this to the condition of our territory and the condition it is likely to be in for months and, I may say, years to come. There is force in the suggestion that the governor, whoever he may be, will be under the necessity of receiving and entertaining a great deal of company, a great many strangers who will come to him - parties, individuals, companies, associations or their officers - seeking information as to the geography or resources of the country - and it is desirable that the governor should be able to make a creditable and respectable appearance and show the proper hospitality as the representative of the State. Above all and beyond all, I take it that this State is able to pay what is an adequate compensation for services and to support its own dignity in the person of its official head at the seat of government. I undertake to say from my own observation in reference to the gentleman who fills the gubernatorial office of the restored Government of Virginia, that he works as hard as any man in the commonwealth; and as I said before the incumbent under this Constitution will necessarily have a great deal of constant labor to perform; and it does strike me that if the salaries of the judges which we have passed are adequate and proper salaries the propriety of making the salary of the Governor at least $2000 cannot be gainsayed. I think that would be a fair compensation. There is still another reason in reference to the case of the judge. He leaves his profession and for a respectable term of years he is settled in his profession, whereas the governor leaves a lucrative profession and it may be the popular will or whim may retire him at the end of his first term of two years. It takes time after an interval even as short as that to gather up the threads of either a profession or business. So that in taking the executive chair he had done so at a great loss and sacrifice.
I am, as I said, opposed to anything like extravagance, and equally opposed to anything niggardly or mean.
MR. STUART of Doddridge. It would cost the governor every dollar of $2000 and he would lose his time as a matter of patriotism. Now, let us be reasonable. Let us pay to the governor just what we think he can live on, nothing at all except to pay his expenses. If we reduce it below $2000 he cannot live on it at all.
Mr. Powell called for the yeas and nays on the motion to make the salary $1800. The question was taken and the motion rejected by the following vote:
YEAS - Messrs. Brown of Preston, Dille, Hansley, Haymond, Hubbs, Hoback, Parsons, Powell, Ryan, Stevenson of Wood, Walker - 11.
NAYS - Messrs. John Hall (President), Brown of Kanawha, Brumfield, Battelle, Chapman, Caldwell, Cook, Dering, Dolly, Harrison, Hervey, Hagar, Irvine, Lamb, Robinson, Sinsel, Montague, McCutchen, Parker, Pomeroy, Simmons, Stephenson of Clay, Stuart of Doddridge, Sheets, Smith, Taylor, Trainer, Van Winkle, Warder, Wilson - 30.
The question recurring on the motion to make the governor's salary $2000, it was agreed to and the section as amended adopted, and the Convention adjourned.
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Chapter Eleven: First Constitutional Convention of West Virginia