Prayer by Rev. Joseph S. Pomeroy, member of the Convention.
Journal read and approved.
THE PRESIDENT. When the Convention adjourned it had under consideration the third resolution of the report of the Committee on Boundary.
MR. BRUMFIELD. Mr. President, I offer the following:
"RESOLVED, That when this Convention adjourns on Saturday, the 21st of December, that it adjourns to re-assemble on the 7th day of January, 1862, in the city of Wheeling."
The resolution was laid on the table.
THE PRESIDENT. The question is on the adoption of the third resolution of the Report of the Committee on Boundary. Is the Convention ready for the question?
MR. BATTELLE. Mr. President, I want to offer an amendment. I move to strike out the counties of Pendleton, Highland, Bath and Alleghany. I must apologize to the Convention for not having matured my proposition. I did not anticipate the vote would be taken so early. I believe that is about what I want: to strike out the counties of Pendleton, Highland, Bath and Alleghany.
MR. WILLEY. Mr. President, would it be competent to divide the question, take it in parcels? I might be in favor of striking out some of these counties and not others. I am in favor of striking out Alleghany and perhaps Bath.
THE PRESIDENT. The Chair is of opinion that the amendment might be amended by proposing to strike out the two counties.
MR. POMEROY. I think that if my friend from Ohio would just withdraw that, I would be very much in favor of the suggestion of the gentleman from Monongalia; and I believe we would really save time to take the vote first on striking out a particular county, say the county of Alleghany.
MR. BATTELLE. I have no objections to the suggestion, at all, Mr. President. I withdraw the amendment.
THE PRESIDENT. (To Mr. Willey.) You consent to the withdrawal?
MR. WILLEY. Certainly, sir.
MR. BATTELLE. I may say briefly, for one I am desirous, or at least willing, that the railroad counties should be identified with this new State, and Hardy which is not a railroad county. I do not offer that suggestion on the ground of any apprehension of a permanent separation of the states of this Union. I believe most heartily that we of western Virginia and the Union are in the same boat together; and we sink or swim together; and if the Southern Confederacy is to be established, our new State is not worth the paper on which its Constitution is written. That has been my conviction from the beginning and is now. But, still, notwithstanding we expect eastern Virginia to become in a certain sense loyal, yet it will be her policy, I apprehend, in the future, as it has always been in the past, to embarrass this great line of improvement, which is so indispensable not merely to northwestern Virginia, but I undertake to say to all West Virginia, in a very important sense. I desire, for one, to have every rod of that great improvement within the lines of this new State: that is to say, provided the people are willing to be so included. I am at least willing to give them an opportunity; and I am the more inclined so to do because the indications of coming events point now in the direction that they may have, soon perhaps, the opportunity of expressing their sentiments.
MR. WILLEY. I therefore propose to strike out the word "Alleghany" in this resolution. I will state in very brief terms the reasons why I think it ought to be stricken out. In looking over the map it will be seen that it may be stricken out without disturbing the harmony of the new State, and the regular boundary, very materially at least. There is another consideration, sir; it seems to be connected with eastern improvements and with eastern Virginia, perhaps, more than it is with western Virginia, in consequence of those improvements. And there is still another consideration; and that is that by including it we not only do violence to the wishes of the people of that county, but we would saddle upon ourselves a considerable part of the public debt of Virginia without any corresponding benefit to ourselves.
These, in brief are the reasons why I think it ought to be stricken out.
MR. STUART of Doddridge. Mr. President, as these counties are to be stricken out in detail, as a matter of course, we will not propose to argue the question on every motion. I would simply say to the Convention that the county of Alleghany was, with us, loyal, and would have been represented here if it had been at all practicable. It sent a Union delegate to the convention at the city of Richmond; and he stood side by side with us through the whole contest - voted against the Ordinance of Secession there, and stood by the side of my friend from Monongalia. Well, sir, if we are to take that as an indication of the sentiment of that people, they are with us; and this resolution now only proposes to that old representative in the Richmond convention who stood by us, who fought with us, who voted with us, who did all he could for the Union - it only submits to that old man, friend and associate aider and abettor in a good old cause: Do you want to come with us or do you not? Now, that is all it asks. That is my reason for voting against the proposed amendment of the gentleman from Monongalia.
MR. DERING. Mr. President, I concur most fully in the amendment; and I do, sir, because acting here in a representative capacity I am representing my constituents in opposing any additional territory to this new State. I think, sir, that we endanger this whole movement by adding Alleghany county or any of those counties spoken of, that the gentleman from Ohio proposes to strike out, to the territory of our new State. And, sir, we have intimations from a high quarter this morning that any additional territory beyond that which was provided for in the August convention, will embarrass the action of Congress with reference to our admission into this Union.
MR. VAN WINKLE. Will the gentleman be kind enough to inform the Convention what the authority is?
MR. DERING. Our member of Congress, sir, from this district.
I, sir, would be willing to take in the tier of counties lying immediately contiguous to the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, believing that that great artery of trade, sir, should be under the control and legislation of western Virginia - not to be subject to the action of the legislature of eastern Virginia. We all know sir, that they will do everything to impede the prosperity and progress of West Virginia; and that in their legislative action they would do everything they could do to cripple the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, that great artery of trade. Therefore it seems to me it should belong exclusively to West Virginia; and it should be under our control and subject to our legislation, and not that of eastern Virginia.
I believe, sir, that any action looking to the annexation of territory that we are not bound to have will produce delay. I believe, sir, that delay is dangerous; for if we should wait, sir, until this rebellion is put down, and until eastern Virginia is made to bow the knee and acknowledge the supremacy of the Federal Government, they, sir, never will consent to part with West Virginia. We, sir, are too good a tax-paying people; and they, sir, will find themselves impoverished, with a heavy debt on hand; and they will look to us to help them to extinguish that debt and keep up the government. Eastern Virginia, sir, is being literally crushed out. They will be bankrupt and unable to pay even the ordinary expenses of their state government. They will be unwilling, sir, to lose western Virginia; and will want to hold her and make her tributary to their coffers and to make her help pay the debt that they have been incurring.
Sir, in this discussion - and I have listened to it with interest; I have been instructed and profited by it - throughout this whole discussion, sir, we have been treading upon debatable ground. We have been skirmishing, sir, upon dangerous ground; and I do trust, sir, that that vexed question which has brought the country down to its present deplorable condition, will be ignored in this Convention; and that we will set and fix and determine these boundaries so as to cause as little trouble on this subject as we can possibly have. Let us not, sir, endanger the passage through the Congress of the United States, by annexing a large amount of this rebellious element of secession and the surroundings connected therewith. Let us steer clear of it, sir, and, in the language of the gentleman from Marion, let us not hunt up territory out of which to make a new State, but let us adhere to the ordinance, sir, which convened us here, and make a Constitution for the thirty-nine and the few counties immediately contiguous to the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. My constituents will be satisfied if we do that, and will approve the conduct of her delegates in this Convention; and I verily believe all the people throughout western Virginia, as laid down in that ordinance, will be well satisfied with our action. Let us adhere to the old landmarks. Let us adhere to the ordinance as closely as we can, only going beyond it to take in that which is necessary to be taken in, in order to our prosperity and welfare and the protection of that great artery of trade through our mountains and territory. When we shall have done that, and shall have made a Constitution suited to our people and the territory laid down we, sir, may go home and every delegate here will meet with the approval of his constituents.
MR. PARKER. Mr. President, the motion is now, I understand, for striking out Alleghany. I mentioned about the indebtment, the main indebtment, which would attach to that county last night. I have since examined to ascertain the precise amount; and I find from a report of a select committee on the subject of internal improvements, dated March, 1860, which was handed to me by a gentleman in the city here, and which I suppose is correct, that there were previous to March, 1860, $2,300,000 appropriated and nearly all expended. That was the amount of appropriation before the last appropriation of two millions and a half. Deducting, then the $500,000 which was expended at the western end, and it leaves, I believe, $4,300,000 expended within the limits of Alleghany county upon the Covington and Ohio Railroad, besides the three-fifths of the amount which had been expended on the Central road leading from Staunton to Covington, the precise amount of which I have not been able to come at. I have arrived at the amount very nearly which was expended in Bath and Alleghany; but the precise amount to Alleghany I have not made. Then add to that the expenditure on the James River and Kanawha Canal. Some considerable amount was expended in their surveys and other work connected with or incidental to their elections. But for the Covington and Ohio Road a debt of $4,300,000 attaches to that county.
MR. VAN WINKLE. The expenditures the gentleman speaks of have evidently been upon the big tunnel there. Whether that would come in or be left out, I cannot say. It is on some of these boundaries, if I am not mistaken. But it does not indicate that the whole has been spent in these counties. There is something, sir, certainly in the argument that has been used that a public work running into this county of Alleghany entails the debt of its cost upon the State embracing that county. Covington is in it, the present stopping point; and I believe the connection with the James River Canal is not far off. I do not know, sir, that there is anything so particularly desirable in the county of Alleghany or Bath or Highland, except this: that we get a better boundary, a straighter one than without, by taking in these counties, provided we take in those north of them.
But in reference to the motion that was made and withdrawn, to strike out four counties including Pendleton, I think there is something to be said, and I say it now while Alleghany is up because it naturally joins itself to some of these other counties; and as good reasons would exist for striking out Bath and Highland as there would for striking out Alleghany, if the object is merely to get rid of territory. Then I suppose the same reasons that apply to Alleghany apply to the other two; and as one gentleman has intimated by a motion he made and withdrew, he thinks Pendleton is in the same class: which I do not.
Before I go any further, permit me to say that the great authority that has been quoted here does not strike me as being a great authority - or as being any authority whatever. It does not strike me as any evidence of the opinion at Washington. The gentleman has not been there long enough to gather opinions. And lastly, sir, the opinions of individual members of Congress, before the question is presented to them, before they know its bearings and circumstances - is worth just nothing at all. I hope gentlemen are not to be deterred, even by this authority, if it is a great one, from doing what they think is right and just towards the new State in the premises. That gentleman, avowedly, during the last summer was apprehensive that there was to be a separation of the states; and his conduct in reference to the new State was avowedly dictated by that consideration: that we should hurry on and make a boundary by which the grand line of separation between the North and South should be drawn. Well, sir, as I never had an idea of the separation of the North and South, it is an argument that weighs nothing whatever upon my mind.
In reference to this matter, sir, we are to do as in reference to all other matters of human action men ought to do, what we think right; and leave the consequences to those who have the disposition of them. If we are satisfied the prosperity of the new State will be promoted by the addition of certain counties; if we are satisfied that circumstances and considerations such as have been frequently mentioned here demand the addition of those counties; that the interests of any portion of the new State is to be promoted; that there is a fitness in the addition of these counties, why, sir, I hope we will go on and add them and not be deterred by any ambiguous giving out from members of Congress, who are only men after all, and who cannot pretend to say, when the question has been agitated formally in Congress, and indeed has not yet been made, that they have any better opportunity of knowing than we have. I believe, sir, that Congress is composed of men pretty much like ourselves. Many of them are men of excellence and good judgment, some average and some rather indifferent. They will be governed by circumstances, by the arguments presented, the fitness of things and such other considerations as operate on all men.
I only wish to say, sir, in addition, that if we are to take any part of these counties and exclude another, there is one consideration which should induce us to retain Pendleton at least. If gentlemen will look at the maps, they will find a ridge of high land, forming the boundary of Highland county; and the rivers in that valley, between the Shenandoah mountains and the Alleghany run north and south through Highland county. Therefore, it seems that Pendleton would be necessarily connected with the counties north of it; and to separate it from them would not do it justice. It is a county that is free from one objection, at least: it has very few slaves. It therefore seems that the people in that county, being somewhat homogeneous with those north of them are more likely to adhere to us than the other section of the State. I should consider there would be no doubt of it. They were left out when the original boundary, including the 39 counties was formed because it made an excrescence from the boundary. It lies east of the Alleghanies; whereas from its interests and its opinions, the character of its population, and many other considerations of that kind, it was thought to resemble very closely the original thirty-nine.
I do not know, sir, in reference to the consideration that this public work, the Central Virginia Road, and the Ohio and Covington Road as it is called, is in Alleghany, and that it passes also through a corner of Bath county - I do not see, besides this - and gentlemen must weigh that for themselves - that there is any good reason why these counties should be left out. There is a mountain range, which includes the Shenandoah mountains - I think they are called - running from the lower point of the Alleghany and following the eastern border of all these counties until it loses itself in Hardy. It would make, therefore, a continuous and very satisfactory mountain border.
These are considerations, of course, on the one hand and on the other; but I think we ought to have reference particularly in grouping these counties, and in taking them in or leaving them out, to their situation in reference to one another; and what I have stated in reference to several rivers seems plainly to indicate that Pendleton belongs to the northern group.
MR. WILLEY. Mr. President, I simply rise to state that as to the counties of Bath and Highland I am perfectly indifferent. I accord fully with the views of the gentleman from Wood as to the propriety of including Pendleton within this proposed territory, if we include any part of it at all. In addition to the reasons which he has already very forcibly presented, if you will only look upon the map you will see that unless it be included there will be but the single county of Hardy connecting the thirty-nine counties with this territory below, which we propose to include; and that by every consideration of geography and convenience and I believe of homogeneousness of population, climate, commerce and industry, Pendleton should be included as much as Hardy, or any of these other counties. At present, I am only interested in excluding Alleghany, from the consideration which is forcible to me, of their being connected with these improvements terminating on the eastern seaboard that their interests would attract them thither and that their inclinations would not be to unite with the new State; and that in the vote which they would give, provided they are included in the proposition to include these counties, it would imperil at least by the number of one the majority of counties, if not of population, required to include those counties.
MR. BROWN of Kanawha. I desire, Mr. President, to explain the vote I shall give. As a new state man I had a very strong desire, indeed, that this State when presented to Congress should be presented in a form that had the appearance of equality and justice to all the people of it. To continue the boundary line a parallel line nearly with the Ohio river carried with it something of that appearance; and if we cross the Alleghany to continue that parallel line all along the southern border of the State, on the eastern slope of the Alleghany; and if - as I desire we should continue that line with the Blue Ridge, I believe, sir, that the character of the State, the wealth of the State, the prosperity of the State and that of the people would all be increased. I regret exceedingly that the report of the committee should have been departed from in any particular. But since it has been the sense of the Convention that we are to make a discrimination between the half of this tier of counties lying along the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and that lying along our southeastern border and since the disposition certainly is not to go to the Blue Ridge, that great natural boundary and defense, but that we shall not even continue that second natural line of mountains that split the Valley of Virginia into nearly two equal parts - when it is proposed to make a distinction between our brothers lying near our borders, I confess, sir, that I feel myself impelled to continue the doctrine and make no discrimination anywhere, and that if we cannot have a whole line homogeneous equal and parallel, we then ought not to take any. But, I believe, sir, that by taking a part and throwing off a part, excluding positively and with a prohibition one section and extending the privilege to the other is such a discrimination as must arouse in the minds of our people that sort of hostility that may tend to imperil the prospects of success of our new State. And with these views, I shall feel myself compelled as I announced in the beginning that unless the whole line is taken we should take none. But in doing this I even hope yet this Convention will see the error of the course pursued, and will when these counties have been one by one voted out return and admit the whole tier.
MR. STUART of Doddridge. I only rise to give my friend on the right here the parting hand and bid him farewell. I have been actuated here and influenced by honest motives. My motto is that of Davy Crockett: -
THE PRESIDENT. I would remind my friend from Doddridge that the question is on the adoption of the resolution.
MR. STUART of Doddridge. We will come to it, sir - "be sure you are right: then go ahead." Now, I have tried to convince my mind that I am right, and I still think I am right; and I am going to hold on to the principle. And I must say to my friend on the right that I have looked upon him as one of the steadfast, firm, immovable members here that was actuated by principle, and that was that we would submit the question to these people, and if they thought their interests identified with us and they desired to come with us we would let them do so. But as I say I can give my friend the parting hand. I suppose we will be found minus but one perhaps on the floor.
Now, sir, as to the argument of the gentleman from Monongalia and the high authority he quotes against this resolution here, I must be permitted to say that for my life I cannot see how it is that submitting this question will militate against our interest. Recollect, sir - I want the gentleman to recollect - that this question, that our mission to Congress, does not go before Congress until it is ratified and adopted by the people. Now is not that the case? Well, sir, if the people vote for this Constitution and the boundary they want and come before Congress asking to be received as a State, is this gentleman of high authority going to oppose it because we included people that are homogeneous with us and want to come with us?
Another argument, gentlemen, in favor of the amendment as proposed by the gentleman from Monongalia was that the old State of Virginia was now greatly in debt; that it was insolvent; that debts were hanging upon the people of eastern Virginia that never would be paid; that they were chained down, hampered. Now, sir, I think sympathy should move these gentlemen to give these people who have always stood by us, stood up with us, advocated our rights, fought side by side with us - sympathy at least would say we should extend to them the privilege of extricating themselves from this bondage and tyranny that seeks to press and weigh them down, as admitted by the gentleman himself. What will you do? Say to your brother situated just like yourself: you shall always be in that situation. Now let us let them come out. They are not to blame for it. They have never incurred any debt of Virginia. They have aided in it; and they are seeking, perhaps, to extricate themselves from it and come with West Virginia.
It does seem to me, sir, that the gentleman's arguments would convince me, if nothing else would, that we ought to let these people come if they want to.
The question was put upon the motion of Mr. Willey, to strike out "Alleghany" and decided affirmatively.
MR. HERVEY. I move to strike out Jefferson, Berkeley, Morgan, Pendleton, Highland, Bath and Frederick. I except what are included in the original ordinance. The sense of the Convention should be tested upon an adherence to the ordinance itself. That appears to have been the principle that has actuated a majority of this Convention heretofore; and I feel disposed to test the sense of the Convention on that question now.
MR. WILLEY. Mr. President, that brings up the whole question, sir, because if this amendment prevails the main design of the resolution is destroyed. We have already stricken out Alleghany and it is now proposed to strike out all the other counties of this section except Hampshire and Hardy.
Mr. President, differing from this Convention, as I do, in regard to its authority and its proper power to include counties outside of the thirty-nine against their will, whether they come in by way of minorities in a section or are included in a map by sections, without giving them the privilege of voting at all, I will yet, sir, bow to the decision of this Convention which has established by its vote the sense of this body as to the right to include counties contrary to their consent; and I shall argue the question, in the few remarks which I propose to submit, with this fact in view, not because, sir, after listening to all the able arguments of gentlemen on the other side, I am any more convinced now than I was in the beginning as to the right of this body to include any county under any circumstances or by any process contrary to the will and to the vote of the people of that county. I had prepared propositions, sir, which under the circumstances would have suited me better; and I do not know that I could better present my views in regard to the proper manner of including these counties, and especially by way of suggestion to the members of this body provided this proposition should fail than by reading the resolutions I had intended to offer. If this proposition does not prevail, I shall offer, sir, if it does not delay, the following resolutions:
"RESOLVED, That the counties of Pendleton, Hardy and Hampshire ought to be included in the proposed State of West Virginia: provided a majority of the votes cast in the said county of Pendleton, and also in the said county of Hardy, and also in the said county of Hampshire, at elections to be held therein, on the day of , 1862, is in favor of the adoption of the Constitution to be submitted by this Convention."
If all these counties then vote in favor of the adoption of the Constitution, we shall have added to our new State the tier of counties composed of Pendleton, Hardy and Hampshire. So far so good.
"RESOLVED, That the county of Highland ought to be included in the said State: provided, a majority of the votes cast therein, on the day aforesaid, is in favor of the adoption of said Constitution; and provided, further, that the said counties of Pendleton, Hardy and Hampshire shall also be included in the said State as aforesaid."
Still obtaining the consent of all these counties and an unbroken territory contiguous to the present boundaries of the thirty-nine.
"RESOLVED, That the the county of Bath ought to be included (I am not particular about this) in the said State: provided, a majority of the votes cast therein, on the day aforesaid, is in favor of the adoption of the Constitution aforesaid, and provided, further, that the said counties of Highland, Pendleton, Hardy and Hampshire shall be included in the said State on the conditions and in the manner aforesaid."
"RESOLVED, That the county of Frederick ought to be included in the said State, provided, a majority of the votes cast therein on the day aforesaid, is in favor of the adoption of said Constitution, and provided, further, that the counties of Pendleton, Hardy, Hampshire, (I do not care whether Bath or Highland is included or not) shall be included in the said State in manner and form aforesaid."
"RESOLVED, That the county of Morgan ought to be included in the said State: provided, a majority of the votes cast therein, on the day aforesaid is in favor of the adoption of said Constitution; and provided, further, that the said counties of Pendleton, Hardy, Hampshire and Frederick should be included therein as aforesaid."
I have resolutions including Berkeley and Jefferson on the same terms and conditions: that is to say, provided this tier of counties vote themselves in regularly by contiguous territory, up as they come to the counties down the Railroad until Jefferson be included.
MR. VAN WINKLE. Why does the gentleman leave Morgan out of that connection?
MR. WILLEY. I do not, sir.
MR. VAN WINKLE. Is not Morgan as much ours as Hampshire or Hardy? There is a continuous range of mountains that forms the boundaries of those three counties.
MR. WILLEY. I have included it, sir. I did not read all the resolutions. I simply remarked that I had other resolutions including Berkeley and Jefferson on the same terms and conditions. I read the resolution for the admission of Morgan.
MR. VAN WINKLE. I understood that, sir, but I wanted Morgan put on the same vehicle as Hardy and Hampshire.
MR. WILLEY. I have no objections to that. The object I have in view is apparent to the Convention, I trust.
MR. POMEROY. If the gentleman would just stop for a moment, I think we would reach this matter much better than by the plan suggested by him, if we offer an amendment to the amendment of the gentlemen from Brooke.
MR. WILLEY. If the gentleman thinks so, I will give way.
MR. POMEROY. I would, then, offer this amendment: that the county of Bath be stricken out: believing that the point will be reached sooner.
MR. HERVEY. That motion is not in order, sir.
MR. WILLEY. I had just remarked that I had not changed my opinion at all in regard to the legal authority of this body to include any county against its will; but at the same time I know the fact that as a member of this body, it is my duty, as it is my pleasure, to bow with perfect submission to the well argued and well expressed opinion of this body, as respects its right to include territory without the consent of the counties. And therefore it is, sir, that I say I had my views of the case, merely by way of argument and suggestion to gentlemen, if they see proper to reconsider their action; but until this Convention has decided that it has not the rightful authority to include counties without consulting them I must regulate my conduct entirely by the decision of the Convention heretofore had in the premises. Therefore, I do not offer these amendments now until the decision of this body is heard upon the resolution before it. It would be bringing up the very question that has already been ably argued and at length, and decided contrary to the right which I claim as the true ground of our action. I must conform to the expressed wish of the Convention heretofore had.
And now, sir, I make this proposition: that we want all the territory to be included in this new State embraced within the counties of Pendleton, Hardy, Hampshire, Morgan, Frederick, Berkeley and Jefferson. I believe the inclusion of this territory is essential to the welfare of this new State. I believe that if we cannot include this territory, our new State enterprise will be crippled in all its future efforts to increase in population, in wealth and in power, as a State. Sir, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad is the great artery that feeds our country. It conveys into our center, or by its ramifications of necessity infuses through the entire body politic of this new State the life-blood of its existence. We cannot do without it. It has been intimated by gentlemen that that Road is made and will exist and still extend its benefits to the new State although we shall not include these counties within the limits of the new State. Sir, it may be true; but I beg gentlemen to remember another fact: that unless this whole line of railroad is included in this new State its operations and its benefits will be embarrassed to the full extent of the power of eastern Virginia legislation; its utility will be crippled; it will be taxed as far as reason and decency - and further than there - will allow; and every influence of eastern Virginia will be arrayed against the successful working of this road. That has been the case hitherto, Mr. President. We have but to advert to the history of the legislation of Virginia to see the fact in time past. Every available artifice has been resorted to to cripple the energies or utility of that railroad. And, sir, when we shall have separated from eastern Virginia, with feelings of hostility intensified by the conflict that is now going on between us, will it be likely that the hostility of the legislation of Virginia towards this road will be any less hereafter than it has been heretofore? Will it not be increased? Have we not reason to apprehend that it will be increased from these considerations?
Again, sir, Baltimore is the competitor of the favorite cities of eastern Virginia. It is the competitor, for the commerce of the Northwest and Southwest, of Richmond, and of Norfolk, and of Alexandria, and of all the ports of trade and commerce within and along the bay, and anywhere in eastern Virginia; and, therefore, for the very purpose of building up their own interests and of crippling the prosperity and overpowering influence of the great competitor in Maryland, Baltimore, they will be induced to interpose all possible impediments on the good working of this road that they can. And we, I think may rest assured that unless we keep this road perfectly within our own borders, and cut it off from all control of their legislation, its great benefits to us as a road and as a means of connection with our past market in the world, will be greatly crippled and diminished.
Sir, it is unnecessary to enlarge on this matter. All I have to do is to make a suggestion to the minds of intelligent members, and they must be compelled to appreciate the force of these suggestions.
Why, sir, what market have we in comparison with Baltimore? Whither do we take "the cattle on" our "thousand hills"? Where do we send our oxen, our horses and our surplus grain? True the Ohio river and Cincinnati would be free to us; and the Southern market, when these states are subdued and brought back to their proper allegiance will be as free as they have been hitherto; but put all these markets together, and for the great proportion of this new State, they do not altogether amount to as available a market as Baltimore itself. This is our only connection with the eastern marts of trade - our only connection at present for all this scope of country with Baltimore and Philadelphia. All our staple productions must be carried over this road - or at least a majority of them - to find a good and a profitable market. Therefore, sir, I think that we should hesitate long before we decline to receive these counties into our embrace.
My friend from Wood sitting nearest me (Mr. Stevenson) made an excellent argument on this question the other day, in which he forcibly urged the necessity of holding out to our neighbors around us who have skill and capital and strong arms and a surplus population, inducements to emigration to come into our midst and build up our new State with their capital and skill - disembowell our mountains, make our rich mines available, or help our native population to do it. Sir, what will our mountains and mines be worth, if we are cut off from a market. Is not the inclusion of this road and all its benefits to us essential in that point of view? Will men of enterprise and skill and capital come and settle in our midst where the productions of their industry and the earnings of their skill can find no convenient market and must be crippled by hostile legislation in. passing to those markets. I beg gentlemen to consider these things.
Moreover, sir, this territory is a very valuable territory to us. The physical formation of the country all tends towards the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. The market of this portion of the State we propose to include is Baltimore. Its streams flow to this road. Its natural connections are all with this road. Its staples here find the readiest and perhaps the only market they have anywhere. Cut them off from us and our friends as they are, and where will they find any market at all. They will never cross our mountains to come down here to the Ohio river. They will feel all the evils of this hostile legislation of eastern Virginia in reference to this road. They will be essentially cut off from all markets on the face of the earth if you refuse to include them in our new State so as to include and open a free course to their natural markets.
And, further: they are homogeneous, not only in commercial and industrial interests; but as much as gentlemen may say of that certain consideration here - it has got the cognomen of "certain consideration" - notwithstanding that certain consideration they are with us in feeling and social habits, as they are with us in interest. Is it not the fact? Look at the past. Look at the record of your experience in the past upon test questions. Have they not been under the ban of eastern Virginia unfriendly legislation? They have received no benefits from appropriations by the Virginia Legislature. They are cut off from all participation in the advantages arising from the large taxation which they have paid into the treasury. What appropriations have been expended in their midst? None at all, sir. Their influence has been mingled with ours in an outcry against this partial legislation of eastern Virginia; and the very reason - and the only true and legitimate reason - upon which we predicate our claims to separation is equally applicable to them. They are not allowed to participate in the large benefits of the appropriations of Virginia. Their leading lines of improvements are in another quarter. There stands Winchester and the county of Frederick, that have been knocking at the door of Virginia legislation ever since I can remember, for a little favor - not for money, but for the small favor of connecting the Winchester and Harpers Ferry railroad with a railroad at Strasburg, the Manassas Gap road. The Virginia Legislature had uniformly refused to enact such a law, not only to make an appropriation for that road, as it does by millions for other roads, but has refused to allow that large and populous and intelligent county the poor pittance of the naked right of way for connecting these two roads that they may get to an eastern market in the direction of Alexandria. And yet will gentlemen say they will not cripple the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad by unfriendly legislation? Why, could we have or ask for any better evidence of their feelings in regard to the interests and welfare of these counties? There are Jefferson and Berkeley and Frederick, three of the richest counties in the State - three of the largest tax-paying counties in the State - and yet such has been the hostility of Virginia legislation and policy to that section that they have absolutely and persistently for years declined to grant to that people the pittance of the right of way from Winchester to Strasburg, to build a railroad at their own expense! They have always been with us, sir. They were with us in solid phalanx in 1851, as the gentleman from Wood (Mr. Van Winkle) well remembers. We had strong men, and strong arguments, and an united voice from every one of these counties. There was Seymour, of Hardy; and there were the strong men all down in these other counties, all uniting with us on the question of the White Basis. Notwithstanding other particular considerations that existed there then, they were with us in this respect; and I believe they are with us today in feeling as they are most inevitably with us in interest.
And now, sir, as to that "other consideration" - we cannot avoid it, Mr. President. I am sorry that gentlemen have seen proper - from the purest sense of duty and conscientious obligation, I am sure - to urge the consideration of the slaves within the limits of these counties as a reason for excluding them. I am sorry the question of slavery must be discussed here; but it has been discussed; and I think from the indications it is the main objection to the inclusion of these counties on the part of some of my friends on this floor. I am sorry to see the question here; but it is here. It is a disturbing element wherever it goes. It breeds discord and distraction wherever it is agitated. Even the strong bonds of church fellowship are snapped by it; and Christian brethren are distracted and driven asunder. The very followers of the Prince of Peace himself, this day maddened by the extraordinary character of this question, and its extraordinary influences on the human heart, are now outstripping the vehemence of strife we see in the political arena itself. I am sorry it is true. And now, sir, this day, when our glorious old Ship of State is rolling and straining on the mountain waves lashed into fury by this question - with part of the crew in mutiny, and another part of those traitorous bandits seeking to lay hold on the helm of the ship itself - I say I am sorry that we are about to invoke another blast of the fiery breath of the very storm king himself of all our agitation, upon the angry elements that are surging around us. Let us rather invoke the spirit of conciliation and concord, remembering that we have enough to do in settling and conciliating the conflicting political elements around us without adding fuel to the flames that are already mountain high in our midst.
But, sir, let us look at the question. I am free to say here and now that while I recognize to the fullest extent my obligations to that oath which I have taken to support the Constitution of the United States, and will respect and defend slavery wherever the Constitution respects it and guarantees, carries and protects it, yet, sir, so help me God, I never will give any passive or active agency of mine, now, henceforth or forever, to make a single human being a slave that is not now a slave or to extend that institution on a foot of soil that is now free. But, sir, we have evils enough without that consideration today. We must take things as they are. Let us look to that evil and see its extent and its operations within the limits of this new State. I have taken the pains to make a little calculation, sir. Now, sir, what is the extent of this slavery objection? In the thirty-nine counties there are 6,894 slaves. In the five counties of Pocahontas, Greenbrier, Monroe, Mercer and McDowell, which were included the other day, there are 3,253. According to the table which we have before us, prepared by the committee there are in the counties now proposed to be included, including therein the county of Alleghany, which has been stricken out, 12,831 - making a total of 22,978 slaves. And that is the extent of the argument or "other consideration" as it is called. Now, sir, what is the white population? The white population in the same territory is as follows: in the thirty-nine counties there are 272,759, according to the table before me - a little different from the Auditor's table. There are in the counties of Pocahontas, Greenbrier, Monroe, McDowell and Mercer, 31,674. In the counties now proposed to be included, including also the county of Alleghany, 76,453 - making a total population of 380,886 white population, 22,978 slaves. Is there anything in that to alarm us? I cannot see anything in it, sir. Is it proposed to increase the number of slaves? Is it proposed to put bondage upon a single human being that is not now a slave? Will it promote freedom in a single degree or slavery in a single degree? Is it not alike indifferent either on one side or on the other? It does not forge a solitary shackle. It does not increase an inch the slave territory. It is slave territory now and it will only be that if it is included; and it will be slave territory if it is not included. Those slaves within the proposed limits now under consideration are slaves at present: they will not be set at liberty if we do not include them, and they can only be slaves if we include them. Their status is not changed.
So far then as we may look at this question in reference to the slave himself, their condition will not be changed. Certainly their condition will be made no worse. But then does it peril the ultimate result that must inevitably take place? I think not. I am free to say here and proclaim it that this State will inevitably be free in due process of time; and if we get our new State that time is not very far distant. Sir, "whom the gods intend to destroy, they first make mad." And this very effort to break up our glorious Government on the consideration of pro-slavery propensity will result under Divine Providence and in the natural course of things, I verily believe, in the total abolition of slavery, in all Virginia and all the United States. That is my opinion. It is doomed; and the friends of the institution have brought the doom upon it by their own conduct. But certainly within the limits of this new State, the period is not very far distant when every slave, except some old body-servant to whom the master is attached, and who is under obligations to protect and cherish and defend him as long as he lives will entirely disappear from our borders.
Why, sir, what is the fact? Take the thirty-nine counties, for instance, during the last decade. Ten years ago, I believe there were about 8,000 slaves in it. Well, sir, where is there a single period in the history of our country where there has been such persistent efforts to propagate this "other consideration" in our midst and elsewhere? You cannot find any; and yet, sir, looking at the census of 1860 you only find six thousand some hundreds slaves on that territory - a decrease of one-fifth, with all these influences in its favor, in ten years. If we get a new State, with the inevitable result apparent to every intelligent mind but a short distance ahead, I demand to know whether slavery will not decrease much more rapidly in all this territory hereafter than it has heretofore. Why, sir, the census of 1860 reports 12,831 slaves in the counties now proposed to be included; but are there that many there now?
Why, sir, it was but the other day we saw an account taken from a southern paper, in which it is alleged that the military authorities had been compelled to prevent slaveholders in Jefferson, Berkeley and Frederick, and other contiguous counties from sending them south. It is alleged that in this tier of counties along there, five or six thousand slaves have been sent south since this war commenced. When our armies pass over that territory will they not before our advancing victorious standard carry their "other considerations" all along with them further south? The result is inevitable, sir; and when this rebellion is subdued, and when the Union is reestablished, and the Constitution resumes its legitimate authority over these counties, as I trust it soon will - I venture to say instead of 12,831 slaves in their limits there will not greatly exceed half that number. I cannot apprehend, then, sir, any difficulty from that quarter.
Mr. President, I had intended to present some other considerations to this Convention; but I find I have already trespassed upon the attention of the Convention longer than I had intended to.
And now, sir, let us look at the matter in its true light, divested of prejudice. Let us place ourselves upon the high and elevated position of statesmen designing to lay the foundation of an enduring, prosperous, homogeneous, convenient State, looking to the welfare of all these sections in its industrial connections, in its commercial connections as well as in its social habits and relations. Look upon the map and look upon the points and places with which we trade, upon the flowing of our rivers and the conformation of our territory, the peculiar necessities by which we are surrounded; and especially look at the fact that if we expect to invite successfully capital and skill to build up our great State, to disembowel our mountains, to make our mines available, and all the abundant natural elements of the wealth and power of a great new State - to make all these available and profitable by the introduction of capital and skill from abroad or by inciting industry and skill in our people - let us look whether we can reasonably expect to accomplish these necessary and high results if we cut off this channel of trade that connects us with the best market to which we hitherto have had access. You might as well sever an artery in the human body as to cripple and cut off this great artery of trade and expect our bodies to live as expect this State to live and flourish unless we include in our boundary this Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.
MR. STEVENSON of Wood. I have endeavored, sir, to make up my mind from the arguments which I have heard in reference to this matter, and also by frequent references to the map; and as far as I have been able to get in the history of this railroad, I am very willing to admit, sir, that a different class of arguments, may be used in favor of the addition of these railroad counties from those which were or may be used in favor of the addition of those valley counties proposed to be included with them or even the counties west of the mountains already included. For that reason, sir, I do not exactly favor the amendment offered by the gentleman, of including all the counties in a single vote. It is possible, sir, some of the counties adjoining the counties through which the railroad runs may be as necessary to give us control of that improvement as those counties themselves. I suppose the county of Hardy is probably as essential as either Hampshire or Morgan or Berkeley or Jefferson. Whether these other counties are or are not I have not exactly made up my mind. I will say this much, sir, that I do think complete possession of that road by the new State is very necessary; and if I was a believer in the doctrine quoted by my friend from Kanawha - and I believe he gave no less authority than that of Vattel - of wresting territory that was absolutely necessary to the existence of a state, I would be in favor of it on this occasion. But I have not declared myself a convert exactly to that doctrine; although I believe Jefferson, as he said, did proceed upon a belief of its correctness in the case of Louisiana: I think, sir, that the possession of as much territory as is necessary to the working of that great improvement is more essential to the prosperity of the new State than the addition of those counties of Pocahontas, Monroe, Mercer, McDowell, and Greenbrier. I do not propose, however, to apply that very severe doctrine in this case unless I was certain it was absolutely necessary. And that brings me to this consideration: is it likely, is it probable, do the facts in reference to these counties that we have at present or may have possessed heretofore justify the belief that a majority of the people in this district will accept this proposition of ours to come into this new State? Now, sir, that is a very important question. I have seen some figures used by gentlemen in private that would seem to indicate almost to a certainty that even if this Convention opens its arms and extends its invitation to the counties embraced in this resolution, or in the amendment offered by the gentleman here that they are almost certain to reject it. Now, sir, that would be a difficulty I would like to make some provision for. But, sir, as has been remarked here this railroad seems to be the natural outlet for all this region of country for the trade of Baltimore and the counties and states that are reached through that great metropolis. I am willing to admit that we have an outlet to South and North and Northwest by the Ohio river; and that same stream with its tributaries will lead us and our trade so that we can reach the cities of Philadelphia and Harrisburg and even Baltimore by that route; because even if we lost the control over this improvement, we are not entirely shut out from that trade. We have the Pennsylvania Central and Alleghany Valley Road. It is true the latter is not completed, but it will be in a few years so as to tap the Central and Erie. But after all these are not so natural and direct an outlet as we can get by having control of and by nourishing and protecting this improvement which it has been the steady object of eastern Virginia to cripple and if possible to destroy.
There is another fact, sir, and that is this: it seems to me our immediate connection with the people in these counties - if we do not think alike or feel alike, or if we have not interests that are not alike in every respect or in many respects - yet our frequent intercourse will be calculated to consolidate these interests and unite them. These arguments seem to strike me as very forcible ones in favor of the annexation or addition of these counties. I confess I do not like the border which it makes. Nor do I like the fact that it leaves us comparatively defenseless after we have got them; and the argument Which I have used and which has been used heretofore in reference to a community of feeling and interest is just as strong in this case, with the exceptions that I have named; but I think they are overcome by other considerations of policy and expediency and interest which would seem to indicate an absolute necessity for having that great improvement entirely disconnected with any foreign government either of loyal eastern Virginia or of eastern Virginia in rebellion; and I shall feel inclined to vote at least for the counties through which this road immediately passes, unless there are stronger arguments used than I have heard against extending our boundary over them.
MR. LAMB. Mr. President, before the question is put on this subject, I desire to submit a few remarks to the Convention; and in the outset I desire to tender my thanks to the gentleman from Monongalia whose argument has so fully covered certain branches of the subject. I am happy to say that my views upon those branches entirely concur with his; and that the argument which he has submitted to the Convention renders unnecessary for me to say much that I otherwise intended to say.
MR. WILLEY. If my friend will allow me, there is another fact I forgot to mention; the slaves of the whole new State including this arbitrary territory and these counties which we are now proposing to include, amount to eighteen per cent of the white population.
MR. LAMB. I shall have to correct the gentleman's statistics there: the slaves of the new State, including the counties that are now proposed to be annexed, will amount to between five and six per cent of the total population - not eighteen per cent.
MR. WILLEY. Did I say eighteen? I meant eight per cent.
MR. LAMB. They amount to rather less than six per cent. I concur in the necessity which has been so well explained why we should have, if it be practicable to obtain them, some of these counties - all in fact which are included in the resolution now under consideration, except probably, Bath and Alleghany. There are reasons for dispensing with these two counties, which do not exist as to the others. The Central Virginia Railroad penetrates part of the territory of Bath and terminates at present in the territory of Alleghany. There is no propriety that the end of that road should be in our territory. It belongs naturally to another district. The people who will depend upon that Central Virginia Railroad for commerce and travel will necessarily be connected with another district. Admitting the remainder of the counties, we have at least a mountainous country throughout - a country that would be easily defensible, and a country which from its trade and all its connections naturally belongs to the west. Even in the valley of the Kanawha, if the improvement is made which ought to be made, connecting this southwestern portion of the State with the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, our vital interests will be dependent on the question to whom this section of territory belongs. But I do not intend to argue this branch of the subject, as it has been already so well explained. Here, however, let me make one remark to correct what I think is not a correct proposition advanced by the gentleman from Monongalia. He represents this Convention as having already decided that they have the power to take territory without the consent of the people. This is not putting the proposition on its proper basis. The Convention did decide that as the Constitution must necessarily be submitted to the people within its limits, it was not necessary to have the consent of the people of each particular county but of each particular district, if a majority should ratify it. This is the extent of the decision; no more. They decided - and it is not a decision; for it is a necessity of the case - that as their action must necessarily be submitted to the action of the whole people, no county, no particular district, no two or three counties lying contiguous have a right to put a veto upon the necessary action of the Convention, if it should receive the approbation of the whole.
One great objection seems to have been ascertained to the measure which is here proposed; but which I think is without any foundation. It has been intimated at least, in various quarters that the proposition of these measures is intended to embarrass the organization of the new State, to defer it; or if not intended to do so that it is the necessary effect. I do not see, I must confess, Mr. President, how it can have any such operation. We propose under certain conditions to annex additional territory. That territory is not yet within our limits. We are to go on therefore and make a Constitution with the best speed we may for the territory which we decide to be within our limits, investing in the legislature which we are to constitute proper authority to meet the question in regard to the additional territory when it shall be decided that that territory is to come in. We do not interpose any obstacle whatever in the way of our presenting a proper Constitution and in the way of our authorizing that legislature, if this territory is hereafter to come in, if the contingency occurs in which it is to be annexed - authorizing the legislature, as a matter for the future, to make proper provisions in that respect. We will go on, I trust, if this hypothetical annexation is to take place, and finish up our Constitution at once without delay or embarrassment from this subject and by a simple provision leave the legislature if this territory is hereafter to come in, to provide for its proper representation in both branches of the legislature and in the judiciary. This can very readily be done; and it can present therefore no difficulties, no delays in regard to organizing our new State.
I have said at the outset of this matter - and I trust I have credit among members of this Convention for having made the declaration honestly - that though I thought this new state movement was premature, I had been elected by my constituents and I had come here for the purpose of honestly endeavoring to organize the new State as speedily as possible, and with the best provisions that we may be able to devise for the purpose of securing the welfare and safety of the people to be included within its limits. I do not think, therefore, that this objection or this apprehension ought to have any weight with members of the Convention. It would put a clog upon our movement in this direction.
Another objection is felt, evidently, if not expressed - the objection which was referred to by the gentleman from Monongalia: that the annexation of this territory may tend to perpetuate slavery in the new State. I concur in the position which the gentleman from Monongalia assumed on that subject, and I need not repeat it for myself. Slavery is doomed in the new State - doomed, gentlemen, without our action; by the natural and inevitable cause of events. The annexation of this new territory will not prevent that result, if gentlemen are so anxious for it. If we include the counties of Pendleton, Hardy, Hampshire, Morgan, Berkeley, Jefferson and Frederick, what will be the result? I will not repeat statistics that have already been given to you; but call your attention to the matter in another shape. Of those seven counties, there is not one in which the number of slaves has not decreased between the census of 1850 and that of 1860 - not a single county. In Pendleton we find a decrease of 78; in Hardy, of 187; in Hampshire, of 220; in Berkeley, of 306; in Jefferson, of 381; in Morgan, 29; and in Frederick, of 35. And how has it been since the census of 1860? Is there anyone here that supposes there is one half the slaves perhaps in that territory now that there was when the census of 1860 was taken? The thing is dying out; and without our interference - without anything of that kind on our part it is doomed and it is dying. We have a perfect right to look at the fact. We have a perfect right to look at matters that we see in actual progress before us. And we have a perfect right to trace that fact and those matters to their necessary results. When New York, the great State of New York that now is, came into the Union, she had a total population of 340,120. The new State will have a total population of about 400,000. New York had then 21,324 slaves. With a less total population she had a larger amount of slave population than the new State now will have. New Jersey, when she came into the Union - or at least by the census of 1790 had a total population of 184,000, and a slave population of 11,000 - a much larger percentage at least than will be presented by the new State. And, gentlemen such statistics have never been presented in regard to any state of the Union that it did not necessarily in the end work out a free state.
I should be glad, in order to obviate an objection that was very forcibly urged to the mode in which this resolution is expressed, to propose at the proper time an amendment. The objection which was urged was this: that it requires a majority of the votes cast, when the question is presented to the people of these counties to decide on the ratification or rejection of the new Constitution; and it was said very properly that within this county or that some half a dozen or a dozen men might assemble at a precinct in the county, cast a dozen votes or so, and then a majority of the votes cast in that county would be in favor of a ratification, or against a ratification, and decide the position of that county, under the resolution. I would be glad, and would rather suggest than offer, that the resolution should include some provision requiring in some way that a substantial vote should be given by the people of these counties. Perhaps it might be in something like this shape "Provided the aggregate vote cast as aforesaid in said district be not less than one-fourth of the aggregate vote cast in the district at the last presidential election." And to obviate another difficulty that I see in the resolution, that the people may not be able to vote fairly and freely on the third Thursday of April next - for I think that in that respect the probabilities are very different in reference to this district from what they are in regard to the district decided upon yesterday - I think it would be well to add words requiring the vote to be on the third Thursday of April next "or at such other time as the Legislature of Virginia may appoint;" so that if a proper expression of the sentiments of the people in this district cannot be had on that particular day, the legislature may provide another day for taking it. We know not, verily, what is to happen between now and the third Thursday of April. There is a decided prospect, I think, that the counties within this district may be cleared of the enemy before that time but if this should not be the case, I would not have the vote confined to a particular day. I would make the provision one that would operate, that would be practicable, in almost any reasonable contingency that may be anticipated.
With these remarks, gentlemen, I submit the question so far as I am concerned.
MR. VAN WINKLE. Mr. President, it is not with a hope of adding anything to the arguments that have already been laid before the Convention by the gentlemen who have preceded me this morning, not with a hope either of adding any new arguments upon the subject, that I rise on this occasion. I rise, sir, rather to gratify my own deep solicitude upon a question which I am convinced is of the utmost - the almost indispensable - importance to the proposed new State. I allude, sir, to this railroad; and I believe, sir, that it is important that the control of that railroad should be in the States of Maryland and West Virginia. There can be no doubt of the fact, sir, that if any part of it continues within the old State of Virginia, the road having neither of the termini within that state, that they will at least fancy that they have a limited and circumscribed interest in it. And if we are to judge the future by the past, we may expect all sorts of crippling legislation, all sorts of restriction; everything they can do to hamper and cripple that road in order to build up those in which they feel some interest for themselves. Such, sir, has been the history of the past; and there are several gentlemen on this floor that with myself can testify to it. My connection, I suppose, with railroads is known to every member, and the circumstance that my attention has been forced to these subjects, that it has been in accordance with my business and interests to make myself familiar with all that relates to this great railroad. I have, sir, since the passage of the charter of the Northwestern Virginia Railroad, which was contemporaneous, with the sitting of the convention of 1850-51 - I have until the last session of the legislature, spent a portion of every winter at Richmond; and my principal business there, sir, besides endeavoring to get some legislation for our company, has been to fight off in the best way I could the attempts that were made in every session of the legislature, without an exception, to place restrictions on this Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. The whole course of legislation towards it has been characterized by a spirit - I hardly know how to characterize it; for it would dignify it to call it by the name of rivalry, competition, or jealousy - or something else that could not bear to see prosperity in a rival city in another state to which that road was contributing.
This has been the history of the past; and if we separate this State by a line that does not include this road, leaving a portion of that public improvement within what will continue to be the State of Virginia, the motives to similar conduct are stronger than they have been heretofore; and the only interest and only influence that can be exerted at Richmond in favor of it will be from these few counties embraced in this resolution. Now, sir, I am satisfied that no gentleman who has spoken, including myself, has overrated the importance of this railroad to all the interests of this new State and of that Ohio valley. That road is now closed owing to the action of the rebels, and what do we see? We have seen the Chambers of Commerce of Cincinnati and other western cities memorializing, and letters from the authorities of various railroads - all praying that this road might be again opened. They have the Pennsylvania road, at Pittsburg, with connections running to their doors, and at Cincinnati have numerous connections with the East, yet the prayer and action has been that this road may be opened, of such importance do they deem it to the Ohio valley.
I should like any gentleman to point out to me the county lying within any proposed limits of the new State that is not directly interested in this improvement; and judge, sir, if it is not likely to be more interested than it is now. Sir, there are numerous counties that under present circumstances, at any rate, cannot have a connection with their proper market unless it is by making use of this great line, lying below Wheeling and Parkersburg, on the Ohio river or back from the river; and every one of them has already felt the benefit of this great line. They send their produce to the river; it conveys it to Parkersburg or Wheeling; and the railroad takes it east.
Sir, I showed by statistics in the convention of 1850 that the relative prices of wheat at Parkersburg and at Wheeling, or on the Ohio river, showed a difference in the proportion of 100 to 60. That is to say, when wheat was worth $1.00 at Richmond, it was worth but 60 cents on the Ohio river. Now, sir, the opening of -that road has diminished this difference one-half. A barrel of flour is now carried from Parkersburg to Baltimore for less than $1.00 per barrel. So that the relative price of the western to the eastern markets has increased 33 1-3 per cent. That has been one consequence; and I mention this not because others might not be mentioned, but because a familiar one, and simply for the purpose of showing that the relative prices of wheat have been increased 33 1-3 per cent by the opening of this road. If I err a little in the figures, gentlemen can correct me; but there is no gentleman familiar with such things who is not aware that the increase has been great - the relative increase; because the price of wheat moves up and down with us as it does in the eastern markets; and our price always has borne, previously to the opening of the railroad, a reference to the eastern price; but now the difference is not as great as it was then by one-half.
There are other circumstances, sir, besides the mere conveyance of our produce to market for which these improvements are valuable; but to mention one item is sufficient to illustrate the whole.
I do not see, sir, in looking around this Convention, a gentleman here who from the location of his county is precluded from a participation in these benefits, or who has been. It is, sir, the great natural route. It is the route fixed upon by General Washington himself as one that must in time be made, although he had no idea then of a railroad. The most he hoped for was something like a water connection by portages and partial canals. He looked, it is true, to the waters of the Monongahela, after he left the Potomac; but we all know the object after getting to Pittsburg was to get down the Ohio river. Owing to this great improvement, we touch the Ohio at a point much lower down a.nd accomplish the purpose had in view in a much better way. It is the shortest line, sir, from the Ohio to the seaboard. It never can have a rival in that respect. Nature has made the country and has adapted it for this purpose; and it is evident that under proper encouragement and favorable legislation it may not only become highly prosperous but may become the greatest highway in the nation. Sir, I look for that, when things shall have resumed their accustomed course in this country; when the Union shall be pacified; when our new State shall have been erected, and when this road shall at length have the favor instead of the disfavor of those who can legislate for it.
I trust, sir, therefore, that there are no considerations - I believe there are no considerations - however important they may be in themselves, that are of sufficient importance to weigh against this great end of promoting our material prosperity. Sir, it is one of the reasons for which we have assembled, and which we place in the very front as justifying us in endeavoring to separate the old commonwealth - that our business interests are diverse from theirs; that they can neither know nor appreciate them that their interests would lead them to oppose ours being in natural opposition to them. And shall we for any temporary considerations throw away this very instrument by which that business is to be fostered to an extent which none of us can now foresee? Sir, I do not look to see this new State simply prosperous on the average. I look, sir, whenever we shall have had time to set it in motion, time to get used to the new institutions erected among us, the legislation, and so on, I do look, sir, for the very highest degree of prosperity to attend our efforts. Sir, remember that our arable lands are nearer to market than the west, and while their production will exceed ours and will regulate the prices, yet we have almost a sufficient profit on ours in the difference of transportation - say on a bushel of wheat from Illinois and from Wheeling - the difference in freight alone makes a profit of it. Well, sir, we have a country, all of which, if it is not adapted to arable purposes, is adapted to the raising of cattle and sheep. We can cover every foot of these mountains with something that will pay; and when we have the inducement to do it I expect to see every foot of these mountains - or as old "Jo" Johnson used to say "the cattle upon a thousand hills; or a thousand cattle on one hill, as you please." But there can be no doubt that if the prosperity of our whole beloved country is restored, the share which this proposed new State will have in it will be by no means among the smallest. Sir, we must have our lines of communication. Then we can control to some extent our channels of trade and business. We must have material prosperity to lay at the base of our intended improvements. No other species of prosperity will suffice if we are to build our country up with schoolhouses and churches. Sir, material prosperity must lie at the bottom for that. We must have the means to make those improvements which we crave or they will not be made. They depend on human exertion and the application of means under human intelligence, with the blessing of God, of course; but sir, I say material prosperity lies at the base of the whole of it. That we must have. That we will have by means of these lines of communication - not because it is this road or that, but because it is so situated as best to promote those material interests. I cannot, therefore, sir, as I have already said conceive an argument that can weigh in the scale against this one in reference to retaining the control of this great road. And, sir, I will merely add the results of the figures stated here by the gentleman from Ohio.
This decrease of the slave population, which he shows, is uniform in every county; that is to say, there has been a decrease within the last decade amounting to five per cent on the whole number of slaves that were in these counties ten years ago. Now, sir, how long will it take an annual decrease at that rate to exterminate the whole thing? We must remember that before we begin to count this decrease the whole natural increase must first be observed. That is to say, the slaves must first be diminished by a number equalling the whole number of slaves born within the ten years and then have the decrease added to it. I apprehend that would make it something like 12 or 15 per cent of decrease on the original number. And you know also that it must decrease in an accelerated ratio; because if the parents are taken away fewer children must be born. Therefore, sir, these figures are very significant; and those gentlemen who have scruples on this subject - which I respect, although I do not always respect the actions to which these scruples sometimes lead - but that these gentlemen may assure themselves that there cannot be anything so formidable, anything objectionable, if it is drawn from the number of slaves within the territory, allowing their views to be the only correct ones on the subject, as to weigh one moment against the great importance of retaining control of the western end of this road for our own ends. Nor do I think, sir, there is anything formidable in the objection in any way or shape, leaving that out of the question. As has been repeatedly stated the thing is decreasing. Natural causes are extirpating it; war is diminishing it; and in every respect the thing is going of itself faster than human laws could make it go, if left alone to human laws. But then the whole number is not sufficient to characterize the State as a slave-state. You may call it a slave-state because there are slaves in it; but what would be the influence of ten thousand or twenty thousand slaves in a white population of 400,000 or upwards. Would it give any tone or character to the legislation of the State? I think, sir, that while that relation does continue, we should see that it is properly protected; but it could not give tone to the legislation of the State, nor to its institutions or the conduct of its affairs.
I think then, sir, there is nothing in this objection to any of the counties even apart from this railroad. But when you bring it into competition with a great interest, when you remember everything is dependent on our material prosperity - and it is greatly dependent, I might say almost wholly dependent on keeping open a suitable avenue of communication - the objection, however formidable it may have appeared in the beginning, vanishes and becomes nothing.
I trust, sir, that gentlemen will look well into this question. We must look, as the saying is, to the "main chance." If we do expect to derive prosperity from this separation; if we do expect by being allowed to form our own institutions and conduct our own business in our own way, and attain that degree of prosperity which we all hope for certainly it would be but a suicidal policy to throw away, cast from us, the very instrument by which all this good is to be effected.
MR. WILLEY. Mr. President, I forgot to mention a fact merely, which is this: high authority has been quoted here against the propriety of adding anything to our territory. By doing this we at once secure in Congress the influence of the city of Baltimore, and the cooperation of the entire Maryland delegation. Don't you see it? The strong and great influence of Baltimore, and the entire united Maryland delegation. If we exclude these counties they will not care anything about the new State.
THE PRESIDENT. The Chair was not aware that an amendment to the amendment was put in.
MR. POMEROY. I offered that amendment, sir; but I did not understand the Chair to consider it in order; and hence I have said nothing on it. I thought I was perhaps mistaken. If that is so, I won't discuss it at all, but will merely say that it was to strike out the county of Bath. A reason is this: according to the original resolution requiring a majority of the counties to vote in favor of coming in, it diminishes, as was stated in the case of the county of Alleghany, by one the number of those counties; and if it was necessary to go into a discussion, I think I can show that there is no probability of any poll being opened in Bath.
MR. LAMB. I would like to understand the position of this matter. A gentleman moves, I believe, to strike out Jefferson.
THE PRESIDENT. The Chair would be of opinion that the motion of the gentleman from Hancock would be out of order on this ground: the motion of the gentleman from Ohio was to strike out all but two counties -
MR. BATTELLE. No, sir; the motion of the gentleman from Brooke county.
THE PRESIDENT. The gentleman from Brooke. The gentleman from Hancock proposes to amend that bystriking out one of the same counties that was stricken out by the original motion. Under those circumstances the opinion of the Chair would be that the motion would not be in order.
MR. POMEROY. I would just say, Mr. President, in accordance with that decision, and perhaps it is a correct one, I would just wish to say this before the vote is taken in order to appear consistent. I cannot vote for the amendment of the gentleman from Brooke, from the fact that it strikes out a number of counties some of which I am in favor of not striking out, if the plan be adopted of letting each county vote by itself in its order. Therefore I cannot vote in favor of the amendment.
MR. BATTELLE. What is the proposition, the precise motion, now before the house, the amendment being withdrawn?
THE PRESIDENT. The question would arise upon the adoption of the amendment alone.
MR. BATTELLE. Then an amendment to that amendment would be in order?
THE PRESIDENT. It would depend on what it was.
MR. BATTELLE. Would the proposition of the gentleman from Monongalia be in order?
THE PRESIDENT. I was not in the Chair when the gentleman made his suggestion; and therefore could not decide on that, either.
MR. HERVEY. Upon this question I call for the yeas and nays.
MR. HALL of Marion. Mr. President, I have not found the question yet.
The Secretary reported the proposition of Mr. Hervey to be, a motion to strike out the counties of Jefferson, Berkeley, Morgan, Pendleton, Highland, Bath, and Frederick.
MR. BROWN of Kanawha. While, as I have stated, I felt a strong indisposition to add this district - from which I understand the Convention have stricken out Alleghany, I confess not only from arguments of gentlemen but from my own knowledge of the case, there are very strong reasons in favor of a few of those counties lying along the railroad. I can see and appreciate the high considerations of securing territory that includes that railroad as the only outlet now left and that more especially when the vote of this Convention seemed to cut off all other outlets. I am willing that those counties should be secured; but as the proposition now presented places an individual in the attitude of having to vote for or against the whole, I suggest to the gentleman who offered the resolution the propriety of submitting the diminution of the district a county at a time so that parties could then vote for diminution as far as they choose, and whenever they got ready could stop.
MR. HERVEY. I believe the Convention is ready for the question. I prefer having a vote upon my amendment; and I call for the yeas and nays upon that amendment.
The yeas and nays were ordered and taken, resulting:
YEAS - Messrs. Brown of Preston, Brumfield, Cassady, Hansley, Hervey, Mahon, Powell, Parker, Paxton, Taylor, Walker - 11.
NAYS - Messrs. Hall of Mason (President), Brown of Kanawha, Brooks, Battelle, Chapman, Caldwell, Carskadon, Dering, Dille, Dolly, Hall of Marion, Haymond, Hubbs, Hagar, Irvine, Lamb, Lauck, Montague, O'Brien, Pomeroy, Ruffner, Sinsel, Simmons, Stevenson of Wood, Stewart of Wirt, Sheets, Soper, Stuart of Doddridge, Trainer, Van Winkle, Willey, Warder, Wilson - 33.
So the amendment was not agreed to.
MR. BROWN of Kanawha. I wish to preserve the opportunity of voting for a few of these counties but not the whole.
MR. POMEROY. My motion would now be in order, and I move to strike out the county of Bath.
Several members. Question! Question!
MR. DERING. Mr. President, I wish to correct the statement of my vote. The Secretary has put it down Aye. I voted No.
MR. IRVINE. I wish the same correction made in reference to mine.
THE PRESIDENT. Such corrections are usually made before the result of a vote is announced.
MR. HALL of Marion. I think it is usual to allow a member to change his vote afterwards. I know they did at Richmond for weeks afterwards - to our very great detriment.
THE PRESIDENT. The Secretary will make the desired corrections.
MR. PARKER. Is it now in order - a motion to strike out Bath?
THE PRESIDENT. That motion has been made. The question is on the adoption of that motion.
MR. PARKER. Mr. President -
Several Members. Question! Question!
The question was put, and the motion agreed to.
MR. STUART of Doddridge. I would suggest that the hour of recess has arrived.
THE PRESIDENT. The Chair will be vacated until half past three o'clock.
The Convention took a recess.
The Convention reassembled.
THE PRESIDENT. It will be recollected that some time ago a resolution was passed, requesting the Chair to procure a copy of the school law of Ohio. Judge Simpson of Ohio was here and has forwarded me this work which embodies it, requesting me to present it to the Convention in his name.
MR. VAN WINKLE. I move that the thanks of the Convention be returned to Judge Simpson for his politeness and kindness.
The motion was agreed to.
MR. HERVEY. I move that this volume be placed in the hands of the chairman of the Committee on Education.
The motion was agreed to.
THE PRESIDENT. When the Chair was vacated, the Convention had under consideration the third resolution, as amended, of the report of the Committee on Boundary. The question is on the adoption of the resolution, as amended.
MR. PARKER. Mr. President, I have a few words to say on that. It is now proposed - if I understand the motion - as it now stands - it is now proposed to ask the Convention to enlarge our boundaries so as to include Highland, Pendleton, Hardy, Hampshire, Morgan, Berkeley, Jefferson and Frederick. The report includes Alleghany and Bath, on which was the debt of raising seven millions; which the new State -
THE PRESIDENT. The counties of Alleghany and Bath have been stricken out.
MR. PARKER. I was a little surprised - it struck me with a good deal of surprise, Mr. President - that the committee should include those counties. Why they should be included with that seven millions indebtment on them, when the new State would have the entire indebtment to pay, and still the improvements -
THE PRESIDENT. The gentleman from Cabell is not in order in impugning the motives of the committee.
MR. PARKER. I disclaim anything of the kind. It must have been - of course I impute nothing of the kind. I disclaim it entirely. It is an error of the head not of the heart; and I think there is a great many of them in the report of this committee.
The counties now proposed contain 68,453 white population and 10,895 slaves - a proportion of almost sixteen per cent black element of the addition that is now proposed to be made. The 44 counties already included contain 304,433 white population and 10,147 slaves. The proportion of black element here is 3 1/4, per cent. That is the way we stand, if we stop where we are now. What we take in addition comes in with that proportion (one-sixth) slave element. Now I look upon every increase of this element as dangerous to our success. If our State fails to go through Congress, it will be on account of slavery. Gentlemen say slavery is all going by the board. The Federal Government, with all its power has pledged itself to restore that Federal Government as it was before the rebellion, and to protect all rights (including rights in slave property) of all Union men. Gentlemen say that down here by Harpers Ferry, on the railroad, they are all Union men. If so, then their slave property is to be perpetual, if it is profitable; and it is to increase, and not decrease. Now, I am unable to see, in that view, how we can calculate any way on how it is going to die out. The valley for the last fifteen years has been growing slaves to sell, and then at a large profit. New York and New Jersey that the gentleman from Ohio alludes to never had that chance. If they had it, they probably would have availed themselves of it as soon as the valley of Virginia. I think they got pretty much rid, according to my recollection, up that way, of slaves before there was any demand; so that there was only profit in growing them to sell, south. That has grown up within the past 20 or 25 years.
Now, in this state of things, to my mind, and I have thought a good deal on this subject; and there has not a subject come up since the Convention convened that has been so difficult for me to come to a satisfactory conclusion concerning - the first question would seem to be, do the people want to come? - because there must be a sufficient consideration for our taking in this addition. Now let us look and see where that consideration is; and if there is a sufficient consideration and we can accommodate the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company, there is no company I would aid more gladly than that corporation. I respect them for their enterprise, their perseverance; have traveled their road from here to Baltimore, and have witnessed the energy and enterprise with which they have carried it through; and its corporation belonging to the city of Baltimore - a city I have reason to remember. When I was shut up in the city of Norfolk in that plague of 1855 - some sixteen or seventeen hundred of us - if it had not been for the helping hand of Baltimore, with the aid of some other cities, but Baltimore in particular, whose steamers were running there free gratis every day with all kinds of provisions to take care of us - if there is any city in the country it is Baltimore and Baltimoreans I would be glad to help, if it can be done consistently with my duties here as a member of this Convention.
That is the question I have been trying to settle in my mind; because if the people over there that is proposed here to be taken in, really do not want to come, why then so far, as I was concerned, I didn't want to spend time talking about them; because they will thank us to just keep still and mind our own business. Now, the evidence is that those people over there do not want to come. That is the evidence, so far as I have any. The invitation is plain - that ordinance which has been published and stood here for the last five months. So it has been with those counties there, with railroads running through them: with no interruption to communication: we know that they have seen that ordinance and read it. Well, now there can be no doubt but what they understand that. Well, now, what response have they given to us? That is the question. What response has Highland, Pendleton, and those counties up there - Berkeley - any of them - ? Not one word, except our friends are here - two or three - three I think - two from Hampshire and one from Hardy. Well how far have those gentlemen got along towards coming up to what we want? Why they said last night they had come up here, but they were not ready to come in. They must have some four or five months more to see if the rest of the adjoining counties would come in with their counties. If they could have that time, and the adjoining counties would come in, they would; if not, as I understood the gentlemen, they would be under the necessity of petitioning Congress to stop our proceedings until they could try the question. Well, that seems to be all the evidence of any sort, on the part of the people that we want to come in here, whether they want to come or not. Well, now, it seems to me, taking the whole evidence, the preponderance of it is that they do not want to come in; that they are identified with the east, however they were twenty years ago. I admit, then they were with the west; but since then the east has covered the whole valley over with internal improvements - with railroads and turnpikes. They have won them to themselves and broken them off from us. They have detached them, whatever may have been their attachment before then. They have completely separated them from the west of the Alleghanies. Their railroads, their trade, their every interest is there beyond; and along there they can go out and step into the cars by going a few miles and in an hour or two they are in Richmond. Get them here! Take it from Highland. Why, how long will it take them to get to your capital here? Two or three days the best way they can come. But still we say those people must come here, because they will suffer a great loss if they do not get here! I know what I should think. I should say, my friends, let me alone. Well, now if they have any produce or anything that they want to carry away, where is the market? Do they want to come over to this Ohio river? Never! Not a pound of freight will come over here. It all goes the other way. Well, then their commerce as well as their travel is all in that direction. No question about it. That is the condition of the people, it strikes me, of that valley. Now, the change within the last twenty years; as far as I can learn - I was not living here then - but I have always understood the west and valley used to go together. The railroads came up, and they were for a while balanced between the east and west. Finally the east, to bring them over, gave them all these improvements, railroads, turnpikes and canals, and united them with her. That is the way they stand now. The gentlemen on the other side admit that there is no other outlet but the Baltimore road. Of course; it is a fact that is known to everybody. Now it seems to me that so far as they are commercially as well as socially affected, they are the other way.
Now, in a military point of view - because that becomes a question of some interest in these days of war, and particularly when John Letcher is looking for us, as I hear he is - the question is whether we have got fifty miles of border or three or four hundred miles of border - whether we have got the mountain that is a complete barrier, or whether the line runs down in the valley. It is a pretty important point. And just as certain and as soon as the Federal troops are withdrawn - whatever may be the result of the rebellion - there is going to be border fighting to some extent here between the old state and the new. Now there is no doubt about that fact. That may be after the rebellion is put down and the Federal troops are withdrawn. Well, suppose we get some three or four hundred miles of frontier and Letcher comes up and drives us back? We will get up on the Alleghany and look down. We have got it on our paper and in our Constitution, but Letcher has got possession.
Well, now, Mr. President, if gentlemen just cast their eyes a moment at the map, they will see that from the southeast corner of Highland, where they propose to come in, up to the Fairfax stone, it is about fifty miles as well as I can estimate. You follow those counties around to Jefferson county, and then take the river and come up the Potomac as the dividing line between us and Maryland. She is a slave-state, and is going to be. It is not going all by the board - not today. Then come up and go down round to the Fairfax stone: it is, I should think, about 400 miles.
Well, there we are: we have got a free-state there; and we have got that point running in there; and 400 miles frontier. Free-state, but slaves all round us. Well, that is - just refer to the maps, gentlemen - that is just the way I make it. But, I do not think I am far out of the way. Well, now, for my part, I do not want my constituents into any such fix. Now, therefore, in a military point of view, it seems to me there can be no question at all; and that is certainly an important matter at this time. For us to go and throw our Constitution over that territory and then have to back out and come up onto the Alleghany - why I should rather not have any Constitution at all. Because I do not like to back out. We could defend the Alleghany, as we have our line now. There are but a few gateways, a few passes that have to be guarded.
Now, the only remaining question, it seems to me, is, is there consideration enough in the Baltimore road to outweigh the social and commercial considerations; for I hold that they are all the other way; the feeling of those people is the other way: they do not want to come. And therefore, there is not advantage enough in the Baltimore road to outweigh these considerations. If I could bring my mind to see otherwise, nothing in the world would give me greater pleasure - and that I say most sincerely - than to go for the Baltimore road. But if I cannot without being untrue to my duty here, then I cannot. What would the leading, sensible, strong men at the head of the Baltimore road think if they should see our Convention instead of taking the proper boundary going out of our way to take in all their railroad? What do you suppose those hard sense men would think of us? I do not believe they would thank us for it. I think they would laugh.
This Baltimore road, as I remarked, is a large corporation, and an old one; and was, and is now, I suppose, as Baltimore was of Richmond, the rival of the roads in Virginia leading to Richmond and Norfolk. That was the question between the Richmond, Petersburg and Norfolk roads and the Baltimore road. They have been in strife for 30 years. There is no doubt Virginia was niggardly towards this road. So she was towards West Virginia. She neither would build any roads for us, nor let us build them for ourselves! Neither would she give the Baltimore road anything but the bare right of way. She was going to get the valley right and keep us till she got ready and see if they could not get a road from Alleghany into western Virginia, so as to draw us to Richmond. Virginia did run up to Winchester. She then had no road in the valley over the Blue Ridge at all. After they got to Winchester, they found out or got an inkling of what Baltimore was at - which was to run up to Winchester and take the trade of the valley. Virginia shut down and has held the road at Winchester ever since.
Well, now, the gentleman from Wood (Mr. Van Winkle) remarks that they built it to Strasburg. Well that carries it into the valley of the Shenandoah. So that if we give all that is asked here, still we would have to get a charter from Richmond to get there - as I understand the map. Could not carry it there.
Now, I am unable to see how we would be of much service to this road if we take it in. Of course, its managers are men of great shrewdness and cautiousness. Now these men of course have a charter from the general assembly of Virginia. Those men would not expend the amount they have expended on the Virginia soil unless they had a perfect assurance in that charter that what they were laying out was to be protected. Never! The gentleman from Wood speaks of hostile legislation, I want all the light I can get; and I will endeavor to do what I think is right on the subject. I should like to hear in what the hostile legislature consists. I do not see. It seems to me every right would be protected by a charter, just as much as it would be any way. It becomes a vested right. If any chartered rights in the country are protected, why that is secure. I certainly should be very slow to believe these road men would put their money in there until they had got their rights secure - until they were certain that Virginia would protect them. Well, if so, why then they must keep within their charter. Now these two systems have been competitors; but that did not amount to hostile legislation. If they legislate to violate their charter, why of course they are amenable to the injured party. I am unable to see how we could go about it. The gentleman from Monongalia remarks that this corporation - if we should extend to them what they ask - why the influence of this corporation at Washington would carry our new State right through there. Well, now, I know something of Washington; I know a little something of the influence that Baltimore gentlemen have there. It has been remarked - I wish no reflection - I have heard it stated - and from my recollection it was some one that I believed at the time - that several of the leaders of the Baltimore road were strong Confederate men. It may not be so. I do not assert it - that some of the leading prominent men were decidedly for the Southern Confederacy. Well, now, if that fact be so, why then of course, they would hurt more than benefit us.
MR. WILLEY. The gentleman will certainly state my argument correctly, if he desires to combat it. I did not mean the influence of the corporation, but simply the delegation of the city of Baltimore and of Maryland in Congress.
MR. PARKER. I understand it so. The city of Baltimore, gentlemen, is carried in connection with this company. But let me say to the gentleman that if the "secesh" element is round that corporation neither the gentlemen that so defend the corporation, nor the gentlemen of Baltimore can wipe it clean in Congress.
MR. WILLEY. The fact that there is a large secession element in the county of Cabell ought not to lessen the influence of the member from that county on this floor who is loyal.
MR. PARKER. I am endeavoring to answer his argument that by accepting this matter, we shall get a power through the Baltimore and Ohio Road and Baltimore to carry this thing through Congress. Well, I cannot understand it to be so. That I understand to be the gentleman's argument. I do not want to go into personalities - nor to Monongalia, nor to Cabell county.
It was remarked that we would have a large territory, and that would help us. Well, now, as I understand our present Congress, I do not believe it is corporations nor individuals, I do not believe it is vast extent of territory - that is going to give us favor there. I believe we should frame our Constitution that we are sent here to frame, so as to place this new government on the side of liberal and just principles. Place it there in our organic law. Show that we are diverse precisely from this old slave oligarchy, which Congress and the Federal Government are now struggling with, with an army of 600,000 or 700,000 armed men in the field. Let us show that we divorce ourselves forever from that, and range ourselves on the other side, and we will meet with favor. If we do not do that, Mr. President, nothing - nothing! - will carry us through, in my humble opinion. If this scheme that has been got up in Congress amounts to anything - proposing to take eastern Virginia to Maryland, to give the eastern shore to Delaware; and to give the two western counties of Maryland to West Virginia - why then of course, when the people are ready and want to come, we could go to the Blue Ridge. We could go there then. The Blue Ridge then would be our boundary. We would not zig-zag, round here with a frontier like a saw, but we would have the Blue Ridge. When that comes, why, it would be a practicable thing. But as it is now, it seems to me, as I remarked yesterday, that the whole work of this committee - 1 do not understand it. It seems to be an impracticability. I should feel, Mr. President, for these reasons, constrained to vote against the resolution.
THE PRESIDENT. The Chair would ask leave to say to the Convention much time might be saved to the Convention if the amendments were followed up and let the final discussion arise on the resolution as amended. The Chair understands there are other amendments to be offered to this resolution; and thinks it would be a great saving of time if they were followed up without intervals of discussion.
MR. TAYLOR. I move to strike out "Highland."
The motion was agreed to.
THE PRESIDENT. The question is on the resolution as amended.
MR. RUFFNER. Mr. Speaker, inasmuch as the Convention has taken this resolution in detail, and has seen proper to strike out three of the counties embraced in it, by way of testing the further opinion of the house, I would move to strike out the county of Pendleton.
MR. VAN WINKLE. Is it strictly in order at this stage? The house has voted this morning against striking out Pendleton and those other counties.
THE PRESIDENT. The Chair is of the opinion that it would hardly be a fair test; but it would be in order.
MR. HALL of Marion. Mr. President, I wish to say very little on this subject, and would prefer to say it on the general question; but as I conceive we are now down to that point that if we do not intend to strike them all out we should stop (Merriment). I have, really, sir, been struck with the course of argument that certain gentlemen are pleased to take upon this question. I may say, in the onset, what perhaps it is unnecessary to say, as a number of those who advocate striking out always preface it by saying that they are in favor of striking out all outside of the line of the 39 counties - well, I have been termed "a filibuster" because I have been voting in the other direction. I said before, however, in reference to certain counties, in behalf of whom I felt myself bound to vote, to give them the privilege to come along with us - said that if they concluded to do so, we would not be banned; but when we come to this point there is more than that to influence us. I freely say, that we have now got to a point where I am again ready for "coercion." I was not for it away down in those other counties, because I knew they were not so necessary to us; nor was it so necessary or important to them that they should be with us. And I must say that my good friend from Cabell seems to be very much like a man who wants that every man of us shall have a loaf, and as soon as he gets his loaf, he says. Stop; we have got enough! I am surprised. I can hardly believe it. He did vote with us; but as soon as he got a little around him there he seems to have deserted us.
Now, sir, it is argued - the matter suggested by my friend from Monongalia, in the question to the gentleman - and the declaration is made that these men have no sentiment in common with us. I ask, why is that declaration made again upon this floor? Where is the evidence of it? I defy any man to bring evidence that will not condemn his own county - if you go outside of his own county - except perhaps Monongalia and Preston.
MR. DILLE. Adjoining the county of Marion!
MR. HALL of Marion. And Pennsylvania on the other side. I object to this course of argument. I maintain that it is unfair and unjust to ourselves and those whose interests we are acting on. Why, I tell you, sir, these very counties which we seek to include are more loyal than a majority of the counties included in the boundary of the 39. I tell you, sir, that I have had opportunity to know about it. In the day when we were struggling against secession in the convention at Richmond, we found many of the counties of the 39 that turned their back upon us; whilst the men from these counties stood up to us like men and patriots. Now, forsooth, because the armies of the country have not relieved these men, it is to be said and repeated that these men are not sound, and that they have no feeling in common with us. I protest against it. I demand the authority. Now I ask you to look at these counties: and we have got to a point. Now so far as Highland was concerned, we had a man who for a time did very well; but he is now in the rebel army - our friend Hale - our ex-friend Hale, I mean. Not a single one of these counties, if we take the evidence of all past action, but what is true and loyal and has always stood with us, not only on the national question - not only should you not reproach them with being secessionists; but they have stood with us in every question affecting the welfare and interests of West Virginia. And why? Because their interests are ours. They never differed from us because they were a part of us. And yet we are called upon to act now, when we see them under the power that we have just crept from under, and to act in haste and say what? Not even that you shall be permitted to come if you can get to and will. If I were down there; if I did not throw a bomb into your machinery it would be because I could not raise it, if you would treat me thus.
Now, the map will disclose the situation of these counties. We have got to that point now that it occurs to me if we intend to take anything but the 39 counties, if we are to take in these railroad counties, it occurs to me it is eminently proper and necessary that we now cease to strike out; that we include the counties of Pendleton and Hardy and Hampshire and Morgan and the rest. You can see that the streams in Pendleton all tend in this direction and that it is naturally connected with us in interest and location, in every particular.
But it is argued that we ought not to be influenced in our action here by any considerations of what a corporation or people may consider or do in reference to our action. Well, now, it does occur to me, sir, that that argument comes with a very bad grace when it is repeated at every turn and corner that we must conform every action with especial reference to what may be done elsewhere in reference to our action. A gentleman asks, what do you mean by unfriendly legislation towards this great artery of trade, this great connection, this great channel and thoroughfare, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company? Why how can they affect it? I will tell you how. The gentleman from Wood tells you he has been something of a railroad man, as we all know he has been; and he has been looking on there at Richmond for the last ten years, and without a single exception it has been a matter of diligent investigation, striving to see by what means to bring to bear every means in their power in order to affect, cripple and destroy that very interest. Well, I believe he was not down there quite so lately as some of us. My friend from Doddridge and my friend from Monongalia could bear testimony with myself of other matters carrying out and evincing that very same principle. Yes, sir, with clenched teeth they cursed themselves there for having been so stupid as to allow the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad to be built. Why, they said, we have gone and given them a charter and the thing has abolitionized that whole country. And Henry A. Wise and others were debating the thing; and if they had not had other matters that engaged them more directly would have urged upon that convention the repeal of the charter of that road, and would have cut it plumb in two. That would be quite unfriendly legislation, it occurs to me. Now, sir, I ask if that is to be left outside of our control. What will be the limit to which they may not go in unfriendly legislation? I confess, sir, that knowing the facilities and the ability of that people to act unfriendly towards us over here, I should just say that road is not worth anything.
MR.PARKER. What did they do?
MR. HALL of Marion. Why they seceded; and we all broke up and scattered off; and they had not time to do anything else.
MR. PARKER. With the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad!
MR. WILLEY. Mr. Wise and his friends declared that the act of secession of itself did repeal that.
MR. HALL of Marion. Yes, that is a fact.
MR. VAN WINKLE. That they had a right to take possession of it!
MR. HALL of Marion. Yes; that by the very act of secession the charter rights cease to be of any validity at all; and since that they have hauled away the cars and piled up the rails upon it; and that is unfriendly legislation and more too.
Now, outside of this thing we know very well, what they can, and what they will and must inevitably, do, if we are to leave it in their power to do it with reference to our interests; because we know they will be looking to their own channels. Yes, Mr. President; you have been down there at Richmond; you know how they operate there upon these questions. It has been the pet policy at Richmond, time out of mind to manage all their monopolies through this medium of internal improvements. They build up and pull down, create and destroy by means of legislation with reference to internal improvements.
Now, how must we be affected if that channel is cut off? What will be the effect of it upon these people that live upon it in these counties that we are now proposing to take along with us? Why, sir, their prosperity to a very considerable extent depends on that channel of our communication through their country. Well, now, if we are to take any of these counties, I beg that the Convention will look to the fact suggested by the gentleman from Monongalia this morning, that if we are to take any beyond the line in this direction at all, you will see unless we take this county you will be connected with those other counties by a mere slender neck. You will have, as it were, but a few miles across there. A line of a few miles will cut off all the counties you include beyond that. That would be injurious in many respects. It would be injurious in substantial respects to narrow down to a mere neck; and unless there was some good reason for it we ought not to place it in any such position. And every reason and consideration is that it shall be included in with these other counties. If you include them and leave out this county of Pendleton, you leave it barred from the other counties, by barrier mountains between it and Highland, cut off in that direction; cut off in another by a chain of mountains I dividing partially the Valley of Virginia; cut off on another side by a line you have already adopted including the 39 counties; on the other side by the line you now propose to establish including the other counties you propose to include. So that you absolutely bound it and cut it off from every people with whom it has any connection whatever. Now that is unjust; and you refuse to let them say whether they will come or not. And it occurs to me that my friend from Cabell, when he declares and repeats that the people do not want to come ought to remember that we only ask them to speak on that question and say whether they do or do not want to come. If they do not want to come, why so be it. But I feel very much inclined to introduce my coercion amendment, and take them nolens volens. I am decidedly in favor of it; though I do not want to introduce an amendment of the sort; but I make the suggestion.
MR. DOLLY. I will second the motion.
MR. HALL of Marion. Now, sir, let us cross this point. Let us extend our line so as to include Pendleton, Highland, and Frederick.
THE PRESIDENT. I would remind the gentleman of the fact that the question is on the motion to strike out the county of Pendleton.
MR. HALL of Marion. Yes, sir; and upon that very question I wish to show why we should not strike it out. I want to show why we should include it, and that we cannot retain it without those other counties proposed to be retained in this resolution. If we do retain any of the others we must retain this; and it necessarily drives usi into the question whether we are to retain any of them. Well I believe this body has decided it would not strike them all out. Whether that has reference to the two represented on this floor alone or not I do not know. But I maintain we must do one of two things: we must take all of the rest of the counties in this resolution or none of them. If we are to take them in detached parcels and proceed to take a county here and leave one there, that will be so situated as that it will be cut off from every section with which it has any community of interest; and there were no other considerations, the very position that Pendleton would be made to occupy would be a sufficient reason to influence our action when we take into consideration the fact that that people are now tied down under the power of the rebel bayonet, unable to speak and unable to act, with a history in all the past showing that if they could act they would, be here asking to be with us. And if they were here, asking to be represented on this floor would you exclude them? I apprehend not. I know considerable latitude was extended in other quarters to persons who came here without the formal authority; and I apprehend these persons with equal favor; because I do not think this body would act differently towards one from what it would towards another. Then if they were here, you would hear them. If there were representatives here, although not formally members of this body asking would you not be ready to give them the privilege? And you know the reason, they are not here; and ought you not the more sacredly look to that interest and give them an opportunity to speak? It occurs to me their very situation appeals to us, to our sense of justice, to our knowledge of their past history, and to our consideration for their future interests and destiny. And what do you propose when you leave them out? Why, sir, it is not out for a day, for a time; but you place them beyond your reach; you cannot open your door any day and say, come in again; we have thought better of this thing; we find you want to and ought to go along with us. We cannot then throw open the door and say, come in! No, sir; when we fix our boundaries, there are our boundaries; because hereafter you will have to have the consent of the legislature that will be composed of this same class of persons who would cripple and destroy your Baltimore Company and every other company and institution that would further the interests of this country. Therefore you need not expect you could get that consent; and you need not expect that Congress on account of the expressed wish of one, two or three counties and the State of West Virginia is going to violate any of her constitutional duties. Congress cannot do it - will not do it; therefore you by excluding them now exclude them forever.
Now, I beg gentlemen to remember that we would not like to be so dealt with. Leaving out of the question of having them for our own interest, I ask gentlemen to consider who of us would like to be so treated. If we were asked - if any single individual were here and were to say, let our people have a chance to speak when the rebels are driven away, would you turn your back on them ? I trust, gentlemen, we will not do so; that we will not take advantage of their misfortunes; that we will allow them at least to speak.
It was said upon this question that this county does not touch the B. & 0. R. R.; but I do not wish to discuss that. I wish to confine myself to the simple question to strike out this county; but I cannot very well reach the real arguments bearing on this case without arguing it as a whole; and, therefore, I suppose I am in order when I argue that you should not strike out this because you should take the whole of them in together.
Now, it was said we have other channels by which we may reach the same or other markets - well, now, I beg gentlemen to remember this one thing; we are not only as my colleague said peculiarly an agricultural people and have a fine grazing country, but we know that our hills - and they are many and large - are full of mineral; and there is no point along this road where they are not mining and making these minerals a source of great prosperity in our country out of an element, that, if we have not this direct means of communication, must lie there as worthless as though they were but common rock. Well, now, why is it that we are not all along this road carrying our coal to market. We do whenever the rate of transportation is at what we call the low figure. I know we do in my county, and I suppose from all the counties along the road. Yet whenever they have on what they call their winter rates, it will not pay to transport it and then the whole work stops. The coal along this road will not bear transportation to market to bring it around in this direction; and therefore the destruction of that road is the destruction, of that interest because if you cannot carry it to market it is worth nothing. I name that in connection with the suggestions and figures given by the gentleman from Wood, showing that not only in our cattle, in our grain, and all products of that sort, but in the very minerals out of which our hills are made we have wealth if we can carry it to market. And yet it is proposed to cut off this only outlet and throw ourselves into the hands of an unfriendly power and destroy this market. Well now, we know that the very business that is transacted by this communication through these counties that we propose to include constitutes a very material part of the prosperity of that people. They have been in constant communication with our people, and their interests are with us, and our very business has created business for them that has made them more prosperous than they would have been; and it must continue to be so in the future.
And not only so, but there I go on to repeat that argument (and it is a potent one made by the gentleman from Monongalia) that the very fact that we take in these counties whose constant communication is with that people beyond, and with the people by whom they are surrounded there all the way on the border, it is securing an interest and will secure the cooperation not of a corporation - and I do not care whether those who compose this company are secessionists or not - 1 do not know how that is, nor do I think it at all material, or how it will be at Baltimore. We know what the fates have decreed with reference to this thing; and whatever secession element has ever been in or about that road or city, they have long since found it would not pay, and I will venture we will hear no more of it. But by those means you secure not only the cooperation of Baltimore but the interest and cooperation of all this whole country. Because the States of Ohio and Pennsylvania, as was stated by the gentleman from Wood, have been so much interested that they have been petitioning that this road be opened. I say this road has a hold on the interest - and, by the way, the nearest way to a man's heart, is to touch his pocket - that it will secure the cooperation of the whole surrounding extent of country, not only Maryland, but of the State of Ohio and every other community with whom we trade. The trade of the country is drifting in that direction. It is the proper and legitimate channel of trade; and every part of the whole people are interested in that thing. It is no use to say we will not be in the hands of an unfriendly power; because that thing will be as inevitable as fate itself if we suffer the thing to fall in that way.
I trust we will act first with reference to our own interests and that we will be just to these people themselves. Seeing their present condition, their necessities, the very fact that they cannot speak for themselves, should make us more careful not to do anything that shall prejudice them, and to remember that when we exclude them now we exclude them forever. We never can repair that injury done by the act of this day if we exclude them; and therefore it becomes us to look after this thing calmly and be careful while we look after our own interests that we be just to this people who ask us to aid them.
I trust we shall not strike out this county, but that the motion to do so will be voted down, and that we shall then act on the resolution. I should indeed be glad to see the resolution modified as to some at least if not all the counties in it, that they should be taken in without referring it to a vote of that people. As I before said, I would not include a people against their will and interest. There is not the same reason for that course of proceeding in this as in the other because I think the chances that they may be enabled to come to the polls at the time proposed are much greater than in the other case; yet there is a possibility they might not be able to, and for that reason I would be in favor of the amendment suggested or something else that would accomplish the same purpose.
MR. SIMMONS. I have not taken the floor to consume time, but I feel it my duty to say something in behalf of the benefit and welfare of the people of Pendleton county. I live in the county of Randolph, which is a sister county; and it seems it has been greatly doubted here among some of this convention whether there is a loyal citizen in the county of Pendleton. From the best information I have, I can say there are a number of citizens in that county who are loyal citizens; and I am informed by the gentleman from Hardy that there is a number of citizens from that county now in the company to which he belongs stationed at Greenland, and he informs me that their cries are daily going up that he might make some effort to save them in this Convention. I think the gentleman from Hancock asked the question, Who had ever heard of a man in the county of Pendleton that had expressed a desire to be with us. I am satisfied there are many that have expressed that desire and their cries are daily going up that we may save them. If we are seeking our own interest and expect a foreign immigration here and men to invade our land with capital, why the counties of Pendleton and Hardy undoubtedly have as great water-power as any in the proposed new State. If we are seeking our own interest, it is greatly our interest to include the counties of Pendleton and Hardy, at least, if we seek no further. As to my part, I am for extending the line as far as possible. As has already been said, we should undoubtedly take in every county that embraces the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad; and as to my part, I must vote for it. I am not like the gentleman from Cabell that wishes the line so near me. It seems to be understood here that he has been often seeking even to make an escape from his own county when he thought that was in danger; and if that was the case with myself, I should want the line as far from me as possible.
I did not take the floor to make a speech, but felt it my duty to speak in behalf of the citizens of this Pendleton county. I think their members were in the convention which met here on the 11th of June. If Randolph had been represented at that time - there could not have been a vote cast in that county; and the gentleman that represented her in that convention (Mr. Crans) came from there with a great deal of difficulty. There is Tucker just adjoining; and about that time an election was held in one corner of that county by the aid of a military force, in order to elect a member of the legislature. The county of Tucker, I understand from good authority, is now becoming more loyal than it was at that time. I saw a petition presented here some days ago signed by those who were secessionists of that county in order to release some prisoners from the Athenaeum here, and they solemnly declare that they will support the Constitution and Union and that they are in favor of the new State and that they will no longer take up arms or aid and abet the Southern Confederacy.
MR. STUART of Doddridge. I feel it a duty on my part to speak in behalf of Pendleton. I understand a portion of these people are now fighting our battles in the cause of the Union against the Southern Confederacy. But there is one little circumstance attached to Pendleton which whenever I think of it, moves the innermost regions of my heart. Last winter, sir, in the Richmond convention, while I considered it necessary for my safety to leave the city as fast as I could, the representative from Pendleton, Henry H. Masters, who had stood side by side with Union men and voted against the ordinance of secession - who fought the battles there with us, took me by the hand, and says he, "Stuart, you are going home" - and it is time I was going home with an illy defined plan to know what course to pursue - "Your people will repudiate the act of this Convention" - and the tears were struggling down his face - "We may be compelled to submit, tied down, because the armies and soldiers will be rushing all over the state"; and says he, "when you are repudiating the action of this convention and forming your new State, do not forget the county of Pendleton. Our interest is yours, and our all is with you; and if you cut loose from us we are lost." This is the sentiment of the representative and that is true, because I now understand they are fighting our battles.
Gentlemen, I do sincerely hope this Convention will not strike out this county from that list.
MR. CARSKADON. I get up merely to make a statement of facts to show that their trade is entirely with the counties of Hampshire and Hardy to the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. I say their trade is there in my county and has been ever since I can recollect. It used to take two men to steer a wagon down their roads, they were so bad. But now they have much better facilities, and now their entire trade, as it regards grain and stock, comes to the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad; and in that respect their interest is identified with us. Therefore, I think it would be extremely unjust and unkind in this Convention not to give them at least an opportunity to come in. Therefore, I feel it my duty as well as desire to vote against the amendment.
The question was put; and Mr. Ruffner's motion to amend by striking out "Pendleton" was rejected.
THE PRESIDENT. The question is on the passage of the resolution as amended.
MR. STUART of Doddridge. Now, Mr. President, as I have not offered an amendment, I feel it, sir, my duty, upon the argument I have heard here and the light that has been thrown upon this subject compelled to offer an amendment to this resolution, and that is to strike out all after the word "State," in the 22nd line, - to strike out the proviso.
MR. WILLEY. The effect of that is to include these counties, nolens volens, as I understand it - arbitrarily as we did the Pocahontas and Greenbrier district, without asking or ascertaining their wishes, or will by a submission of the question at the polls. Of course, sir, as I have so fully and often expressed my views on the propriety of that course of proceeding, I merely wish to say that I cannot vote for any such arbitrary measures.
MR. STUART of Doddridge. Mr. President, I must be permitted to say that it was the argument of the gentleman from Monongalia induced me to offer the amendment; because I was really led to believe that every interest I had in the State of West Virginia was tied up in these counties. If they choose not to come in, or if they are so overrun by the rebel forces that they could not have an opportunity of voting at all, thereby we lose that region of country. For self-protection, self-preservation, and for every interest connected with the State of West Virginia, I think it would be necessary to include them within our bounds.
Now, sir, it is unnecessary for me to reiterate the arguments of the gentleman from Monongalia, showing the vital importance of this country to our State. I believe, Mr. President, that I would be willing to waive the amendment if I could have positive assurance that these people would have an opportunity of voting; but I am not assured of that fact. Therefore, sir, I do not feel willing to stultify my own interest on a mere probability, a probable chance of their having an opportunity to come in.
MR. WILLEY. How would the suggestion of the gentleman from Ohio do? Would not that suit the gentleman from Doddridge?
MR. STUART of Doddridge. Well, if I understood the suggestion of the gentleman from Ohio, it was to insert a provision in our Constitution leaving the question with the state legislature.
MR. LAMB. Excuse me - the gentleman is referring to a different matter altogether from that referred to by the gentleman from Monongalia. The amendment I suggested was to insert after the words, "third Thursday in April, in the year 1862," the words, "or at such later day as the Legislature of Virginia may appoint."
MR. WILLEY. I referred to that.
MR. LAMB. So that if it should be impossible to take a fair expression of the sentiment of the people on the day now mentioned, the legislature might provide for giving them another chance, by appointing a day at which that opinion could be taken.
MR. STUART of Doddridge. I understand the suggestion of the gentleman perfectly well; and if that clause in his report there was adopted by this Convention and had been so modified that the time should be extended, then, sir, that would waive the necessity of my amendment.
MR. CALDWELL. I would suggest to the gentleman that he withdraw his amendment and let the gentleman from Ohio make his proposition, extending the time and leaving the authority to the legislature.
MR. STUART of Doddridge. I am willing to waive anything I have to say, and hear what his proposition is. I withdraw my amendment, for the present, but expect I will renew it very shortly.
MR. LAMB. I will then move to insert after the words "third Thursday of April, in the year 1862" these words: "or at such later day as the Legislature of Virginia may appoint."
SEVERAL MEMBERS. Question! Question!
THE PRESIDENT. The question is. . . .
MR. HERVEY. Mr. President, it strikes me if the legislature should fail to appoint a day, we would be at sea in this matter. I shall therefore vote against the amendment.
MR. POMEROY. Suppose the legislature adjourned before that time, with a fair prospect that the vote could be taken, at the time appointed, how is the legislature to be called together to fix another day? And when are we going to get this matter before Congress? I believe it is a general opinion here that delay is dangerous. When would the legislature appoint the day? We do not know that everything will be cleared off of them. We would get at this matter far better if we would take up the proposition of the gentleman from Monongalia, and then the counties would stand on their own footing.
MR. LAMB. I do not suppose there is the difficulty in the amendment which the gentleman from Brooke seems to think there is; but the objection makes it necessary to explain what I suppose to be the operation of it. The new Constitution would be prepared, and I presume from the tenor of these resolutions it was expected it would be submitted on the third Thursday of April, not merely to the people of these counties but to the people within the fixed boundaries, these other counties having the option to vote on it as they pleased. As soon as it has been submitted to the people for ratification or rejection, the Constitution then comes before the legislature for its consent, if it has been ratified. It is absolutely necessary to assemble the legislature within a week or two after the day that is appointed for submitting the Constitution for ratification. They will be here within a week or two after that period. If these counties which are named in this resolution had been unable to vote on the question, the matter would then, if my amendment is adopted be referred to the legislature to fix some other day which would give them an opportunity of voting. The resolution is proposed in contemplation of that state of things, not to postpone anything; for it is not my intention to postpone anything in regard to the new State - nor of interfering with the organization of the new State at all. I have no such intentions. But because upon the supposition that the legislature is to assemble as soon as it can possibly assemble after the question on ratification has been acted on by the people, they will have the whole matter before them. The matter may then be presented to them why these counties really desire to be a part or parcel of the new State, but incidental circumstances, the presence of armies may have prevented a vote on that subject; and it will be a consideration, if the legislature have the power to do it, properly addressed to them in such a case, shall we appoint another day at which the voice of the counties can be heard? I do not understand how this can be postponing or delaying anything. You form your Constitution, submit it to the people for ratification. It applies within certain boundaries absolutely. It can go to Congress in that shape, and be acted upon by Congress, and without any unnecessary delay. Or, at all events, when the legislature assembles to give its consent to the formation of the new State, to receive the ratified Constitution, and say whether it will assent to it or not, they can have a vote, if a vote be possible, in those counties within a week or ten days afterwards, that is, if the armies are out of them. Then it will be for them to act, at least with a full knowledge of events which we cannot anticipate or foresee.
MR. POMEROY. I am very fully convinced that this amendment ought not to prevail. I am, and I hope always will be opposed to bringing any people in here to submit to a Constitution without a voice in making it. Now if I understand the gentleman from Ohio right, when this vote is submitted to the people on a certain day, and if the people ratify that Constitution and it comes up before the legislature and they gave their assent to it, they would propose to these to vote whether they wished to come in, but would not submit it to a vote on the Constitution at the same time. But suppose you would, and your Constitution had but a small majority of three or four thousand votes, do not you see they could come up and break down that Constitution after all your labor. Here is the county of Jefferson, giving two thousand votes, and Frederick giving nineteen hundred, and others giving large votes: they could vote down the Constitution, and if you would not let them vote, you would be changing all your county as well as state plans and give them no voice whether they approved of it or not. Berkeley has nineteen hundred votes, Morgan six hundred, Pendleton nine hundred. Here is an aggregate vote of six or seven thousand. Well, this Constitution will meet with opposition in our country - men that will come up against the best Constitution that can be made and vote against it. The vote may be a small one, and it may be very close. I would not leave our labor to a contingency of that kind. I did not, I must say in all kindness, intend to intimate that the gentleman from Ohio wished for delay. Not at all. I believe he wishes as I do to proceed with the work of organizing the new State and as rapidly as possible. But I was speaking of the fact that the legislature will not be in session at that time and that it creates delay. And here is the dilemma: You must either let them vote on the Constitution or else they must come in and submit to one they never voted on.
MR. PARKER. As I understand the ordinance of the Convention by whose authority we are assembled it was very carefully prepared to carry this thing through. They therefore proposed the territory that should be included absolutely and separately proposed that which should be included conditionally, and defined when and how those conditions may be complied with. They then provided for the election of a Convention and limited them to the territory of the thirty-nine counties; the proposed State to cover those counties.
MR. HALL of Marion. With the leave of the gentleman, unless the motion is to repeal and reconsider, I submit that this is out of order.
MR. PARKER. I am coming to the gentleman's amendment. That convention fixed how much territory it shall embrace and defines it. That is the new government that convention prescribed, and the duty of this Convention is to make a government, or a constitution over that proposed territory. All this was to be done and on the 28th of December this Convention was to submit its work to the people. That is what they put in the ordinance. Now I object in toto to going outside of the specific duty with which this Convention is specifically charged. Since the ordinance was made, the people have spoken with an unanimity unparalleled, in a voice of thunder "Make the new State! Go and make us a Constitution!" according to the ordinance. That is the voice of the people on the ordinance. Now I object to any mode that shall take this whole matter out of our hands and indefinitely postpone it by placing it in the hands of another power, to wit, the legislature. We move it on out of our hands and say to the legislature, now get this people to vote on this question by the 19th of April if you can. If you cannot, by some other time. Well now, as I understand, that matter has got to be suspended; and as I understand the gentleman from Ohio, suppose he goes on and submits this Constitution to the people of the thirty-nine counties: well we get the vote, and then the Constitution can stand. We have completed the work. If those others then choose to come in and adopt our Constitution as we have made it, or whether their votes are to be counted in determining the question whether a majority is for the Constitution or against it - all these points are material. But this matter, as I understand it, cannot go before Congress until votes have first been taken by these proposed counties. The vote must be taken by those people one way or the other, either adopting or excluding. After that is done it is to go to Congress. That I understand to be the proposition.
Now, I should certainly feel that I was doing wrong, to go and pass out this trust that has been confided to us and hand it over to another power and have them to take charge of it and have this vote taken when it is evident the enemy is driven out. If I would leave it in that way without assuming to be interested in it I should never expect the new State would get through. There would be something or other in the way, and it would necessarily have to be postponed by the legislature over which we have no power, and they could let it lie - a matter which was especially, confidentially entrusted to this body.
MR. VAN WINKLE. I understand the argument of the gentleman from Cabell to be this: that the Convention of June had fixed one set of boundaries and this Convention was about to fix another. I think the latter very likely, sir. But in reply to him and the gentleman from Hancock, I can remove the difficulty they are laboring under in reference to any likelihood of delay to be caused by this proceeding. This being a state erected out of another state must define its boundaries in its Constitution or schedule. That will be necessary because neither the legislature nor Congress can give its assent unless they know what territory is to be included in it; and one reason for pressing this boundary matter at this time is that that matter may appear in the Constitution in its proper place, or in the schedule. The proper disposition of this report will be to refer it to the Committee on the Schedule to report proper provisions under the general head of doing what is necessary to put this Constitution and government in operation. In the schedule which will be put on the last thing, provision in reference to how these additional counties are to be treated will appear; and when that time comes it may be the very difficulties we are anticipating will be removed; or if not, care will be taken I have no doubt in fixing that schedule that this shall produce no delay. It can be so framed unquestionably that both the legislature and Congress can give their assent provided these counties by a certain day signify their assent. Or if not that provision, some other might be devised which would meet the case. I think it better on the whole for us to go through with these resolutions now before us and decide what counties we are willing to admit under any circumstances; and I am well satisfied that provision can be introduced into the schedule, or by the Constitution either, by which all possibility of defeat will be obviated. The members of the legislature have as much at heart the erection of this new State as we have. Although nominally and really the legislature of the whole state, it has turned out under the circumstances that the members who are acting and composing that legislature are wholly from within the bounds of the proposed new State - almost wholly. There are some from Alexandria, Fairfax and so on. But, sir, they can certainly be trusted in reference to the steps they take to see that they do not necessarily defeat this application. They can so provide that when the time comes for them to act under the amendment of the gentleman from Ohio, if they have reason to apprehend that a further delay about taking that vote would defeat the matter in Congress, they would not order a subsequent election; that if these people do not get an opportunity to vote on the day fixed in the resolution, the legislature may, if circumstances seem to open the door for it, fix a later day; and with their regard for the success of the measure, that they will fix such a day as will not tend to defeat it. I think we may rely on that body. We go on now and fix these counties and decide which we will have, and let this report go to the Committee on the Schedule, and at the proper time they will bring up such a provision in reference to it as they think will suit the case, without risking anything on the ground of postponement. I think, sir, this amendment is a very proper one. It has been accepted in lieu of one which I should like to vote for if I felt sure about it; but it stands almost as a compromise, and in that way commends itself to the members of the Convention. I hope, sir, the amendment, therefore, will be passed. The members will be satisfied that the thing will still be in their own power while the Convention remains in session, and that if they trust anything to the legislature, they place it in hands where they know it will be safe as it is here.
MR. WILLEY. If I understand one of the objections of my friend from Hancock, it was in the result of the vote in those counties to be included, that there might be a vote against the Constitution, and added to the vote against it in the thirty-nine counties, it might lead to its rejection entirely. I do not so understand the object of the resolution. The vote in these proposed counties is not to be counted with that vote at all. It is to be ascertained whether they wish to come in or not; and if in a majority of the counties the majority of the votes cast are against coming in, why there is no difficulty. If a majority vote for the Constitution and thereby come in, why of course they but add to the majority in favor of the Constitution - come in with the Constitution and add to the majority in the thirty-nine counties. I understand the object of the resolution to be simply to ascertain the sense of these counties by themselves, as a distinct separate district - to know whether they wish to come in. If a majority are in favor of coming in we get the benefit of it. If there is a majority of votes against the adoption of the Constitution, they cannot be brought in.
MR. STEVENSON of Wood. I would like to hear the amendment.
The Secretary read it as follows: "After the words third Thursday of April, in the year 1862," in the 24th line, insert the words "or such other day as the Legislature of Virginia may appoint."
MR. LAMB. I would like to make a remark or two, to see whether I understand what are the views of the Convention in regard to what may be a material point. We will fix a day - whether it be the third Thursday of April or not - at which the vote upon the ratification or rejection of the Constitution is to take place within the fixed boundaries, at all events; and I have been acting, and still am, under the impression that the vote which is to be taken on that day decides the question of the new Constitution; that if a subsequent vote should be taken in the territory which is conditionally to be annexed, it does not affect the question of the validity of the Constitution within the fixed boundary, at all, and cannot. The gentleman from Hancock, if he had thought a moment would have seen that it certainly could not lead to the rejection of the Constitution, because on the very terms of the resolution if there be, as he seems to think may be the case, a close vote within the forty-four counties on the question of the ratification of the Constitution...
MR. HERVEY. "The gentleman from Hancock" all the time (Laughter).
MR. LAMB. If there be a close vote within the forty-four counties (The speaker evidently meant to speak of the thirty-nine counties - Reporter) and there be an unanimous vote in these counties in favor of rejecting the Constitution, that unanimous vote can have no effect whatever, because by that very vote they are not part of the new State.
Another thing which he urges is that the amendment would propose to subject them to a Constitution which they had no voice in making. That objection lies of all these propositions. Those counties have no voice in making the Constitution; and any plan upon which, upon any vote they may give, they are to be admitted hereafter under the Constitution, is subject to that objection. But we at least do not propose to bring them within our limits without submitting that Constitution to them. We do not propose, as to these counties at least, to say you shall come in under a Constitution which you do not approve. We submit that very Constitution to them for approval. But whether the third Thursday in April be or be not the most proper day for taking the vote on the ratification of the Constitution, I have not yet made up my own mind. But the resolution is within the control of the Convention from the beginning to the end of it. On the last day of the session we may alter, and probably may find occasion to alter, a great many things we adopt during the progress of the Convention.
MR. POMEROY. I really do not understand yet what the gentleman wishes to do. Now he says he would submit the Constitution to these people and if they vote for it, very well; but if they vote against it, he is not going to count that in the vote. Now would men come up and vote if you told them that? If you vote exactly right we will count your vote; but if you vote wrong, we will not count it. And is it the Constitution they are going to vote on or are they going to say, for the new State, or against it. Are they going to be permitted to vote both on the Constitution and whether they want to come in the new State or not.
MR. LAMB. The resolution, of course, will speak for itself. The vote in form here, the member from Hancock will observe is a vote on the adoption of the Constitution. Really and practically, it is simply a vote to allow these people to decide whether they will come in as part of the new State under the Constitution we adopt for the balance of the State. And as to the vote counting in one case and not counting in the other, the simple question for them to decide will be. Will you come in under the Constitution which we adopt for the balance of the new State? If they are satisfied with that Constitution - satisfied to join us under the Constitution which we deem proper for ourselves, they can say so. But it really cannot affect the question if it is not taken on the third Thursday of April, of whether the Constitution shall operate over themselves but whether it shall operate over us. That will be decided by the vote taken on whatever day is fixed for taking it, by those who constitute the new State.
MR. POMEROY. I would like to say by way of explanation - no desire to make a speech at all - that, in my opinion, kills the whole thing before the people; and these gentlemen that have advocated the matter so strenuously will find if I am any prophet, from the vote that is recorded in these counties if we give them the privilege to vote down the Constitution, that the ground on which they will do so is that the decision on the Constitution itself is confined to the other counties of the State.
MR. VAN WINKLE. The matter of what effect that vote is to have can be fixed in the schedule.
MR. STUART of Doddridge. I think my friend from Hancock is a little in the fog (Laughter). I want to dispel from the mind of the gentleman from Wood a misapprehension, that I receive this amendment as a compromise in lieu of my own amendment.
MR. VAN WINKLE. You withdrew your own, sir.
MR. STUART of Doddridge. I withdrew it for the purpose of permitting him to offer it, it is true. I cannot vote for any amendment that proposes to extend the time of the submission of this question beyond the present Congress; because then I would be traveling out of the line of my duty to what is the will of my constituents. Now you cannot but see I am a pretty considerable new state man. I am not going to do anything that is going to cripple the matter.
Now even the gentleman from Wood himself has not seemed willing to give this discretionary power to the legislature; because he is for coming in with a kind of a schedule, saying this thing shall not be so and so, this thing shall not be extended beyond a certain period of time. That will not make it answer for me, let the Convention vote on this question as they may. Notwithstanding the intimation of the gentleman from Wood for me to offer my amendment, I do not do it at present; but I have to vote against he amendment of the gentleman from Ohio.
MR. HERVEY. If the gentleman from Ohio could satisfy my mind upon one point, I might vote for it. The regular session of the legislature is ninety days, but by a certain vote it may be extended to one hundred and twenty days. That time expires before the time proposed in this resolution - April. If the legislature acts on it at all there must necessarily be an extra session of the legislature. There is another contingency in the case. That will extend it to one hundred and fifty days, thirty days beyond what this resolution can go.
MR. O'BRIEN. I ask for the yeas and nays.
The vote was taken by yeas and nays, resulting:
YEAS - Messrs. Brown of Kanawha, Battelle, Caldwell, Cars- kadon, Cassady, Dering, Dille, Dolly, Hubbs, Lamb, Powell, Ruffner, Sinsel, Simmons, Stevenson of Wood, Sheets, Taylor, Trainer, Van Winkle, Willey, Walker, Warder - 22.
NAYS - Messrs. John Hall (President), Brown of Preston, Brumfield, Chapman, Hansley, E. B. Hall, Haymond, Hervey, Hagar, Irvine, Lauck, Montague, Mahan, O'Brien, Parsons, Parker, Paxton, Pomeroy, B. F. Stewart, Soper, C. J. Stuart, Wilson - 22.
So the amendment was rejected.
THE PRESIDENT. The Chair does not recollect as to any provision in the rules for this case.
MR. VAN WINKLE. Well, sir, it requires a majority to pass, and failing to get that, of course it is lost.
MR. SIMMONS. I move to adjourn.
SEVERAL MEMBERS. Oh, let us finish this.
MR. SIMMONS. I withdraw it.
MR. STUART of Doddridge. Then, Mr. President, I have to now submit my amendment, to strike out all after the word "State," in the 22nd line.
MR. SIMMONS. I now renew the motion to adjourn.
MR. STEVENSON of Wood. If there is to be no discussion on this amendment it would be better to take a vote.
MR. SIMMONS. I withdraw the motion.
MR. BRUMFIELD. What is the question?
THE PRESIDENT. It is on striking out after "State," in the 22nd line.
MR. STUART of Doddridge. I do not propose to discuss my amendment at all, sir. I only ask for the yeas and nays.
MR. IRVINE. I would like to present my views on this question before it is finally decided.
MR. STUART of Doddridge. Mr. President, I move we adjourn.
The motion was agreed to and the Convention adjourned.
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Chapter Eleven: First Constitutional Convention of West Virginia