The Convention was opened with prayer by Rev. J. M. Powell, member from Harrison.
The minutes of the preceding day were read and adopted.
MR. VAN WINKLE. Mr. President: I submitted last evening the report of the Committee on County Organization, which has just been read in the minutes, and was indebted to the courtesy of a gentleman who moved to adjourn for an opportunity to offer it at that time, and was anxious to do so that it might be printed and in the hands of members before they go to their several homes. I had, however, been requested by members of the committee to say a few words on presenting the report. It would not have been courteous to do so last evening, because it would have delayed the motion for adjournment which had been withdrawn, and I would ask the liberty of the Convention to say them now. They shall be very few.
The reason why these gentlemen deemed it necessary that anything should be said at this time - although it is not unusual for the chairman of a committee to make an explanation of a report - was because to many the system which they propose to inaugurate for the different counties is novel. They may have heard and knew, of course, that similar systems are in vogue elsewhere, but many have had no practical experience of it; and it is rather to ask members, as it were, to suspend their opinions until they have heard what is to be said in its favor than for any other purpose that these remarks are deemed necessary.
I suppose it is generally understood in this Convention that the county courts are damned and have been for twenty or thirty years. I apprehend there is a very general feeling in that part of the State which will constitute the new State against the existence of those institutions. There are many objections against them as judicial bodies but I think there are far more as administrative bodies or as bodies which attempt to administer the county affairs; because it seems, in the first place an anomaly and is really forbidden by our bill of rights to mix up or interpose in a judicial body the functions of a legislature. And such is the county court. It is a judicial body; and when they are administering the affairs of the county it is acting as a legislature. Even since we have elected justices, while their functions as justices were deemed by many as important, yet they had to vote for the same men to do these two different acts and consequently no fair test of the wishes of the people in reference to the election of these men could be had. Some would favor him on account of the administration of county matters and some on account of judicial functions. The difficulties arising out of this are partly in the mode of administration; but partly in the way the county court are elected. The citizens might well prefer one man for the judicial part and another for the administrative part, and yet he is compelled to take the same man who administers both. However, sir, it is not the time now, nor did I intend to say what these difficulties were. Suffice it to say that I consider and I presume the Convention considers - because I understand that the committee who more particularly have that matter in charge will report against county courts - and I think that is some indication of the opinions of the Convention - that county courts are to cease; and the question comes up what is to be substituted for them and almost certainly whatever is submitted must be to some extent a novelty.
The plan here proposed by the committee divides the counties into townships, giving each a representative, and will confide to them a great deal of business which no other township is interested in, the whole body together administering the business pertaining to the whole county. So that the counties will have legislatures of their own. That I presume is not too big a word. We call them a board of supervisors. They meet as a board, and when sitting as a board, every matter that comes before them is open to discussion. They do not do this in the county court but have lawyers to come before them and argue; but instead of that the members of this board will discuss questions themselves. Their constituents will make known to them their wishes before they go into the board; and in that way something more just and reasonable with reference to the county matters will be arrived at. The change unquestionably is a great one, but we are not instituting it - trying a new experiment. It is not an untried matter; and I will conclude these few remarks, if the Convention will pardon me, by reading a word or two from Mr. Jefferson. Mr. Jefferson died in 1826; and these letters from which are taken the extracts which I have before me were written at the time when they began to agitate for a new constitution for Virginia. The first does not refer directly to this mode of organizing counties but there is a good deal of wisdom in it. I apprehend every one, no matter what may have been his political associations or general convictions as to the politics of the day when Jefferson was in the ascendency, all will concede to him a mind of a very practical and enlarged character. And secondly, that the very faults that are charged against him are that he favored too much popular government. That was the question between his party and the Federalists. While the one wanted a strong central government, as was alleged, the other wanted to confide all the power to the people. In that latter part I am with Jefferson. I believe he was a remarkably single minded man; that his motives were good, however men may have looked on his doctrines.
Mr. Van Winkle proceeded to read:
"Some men look upon constitutions with sanctimonious reverence and deem them like the ark of the covenant too sacred to be touched. They ascribe to the men of the preceding age a wisdom more than human and suppose what they did to be beyond amendment. I knew that age well; I belonged to it and labored with it. It deserved well of its country. It was very like the present but without the experience of the present; and forty years experience in government is worth a century of book reading; and this they would say themselves were they to rise from the dead." (From Jefferson's letter to Mr. Kercheval.)
I do not wish to detain the Convention by reading the whole extracts but that which is the main sentiment.
Now in reference to the effect of these townships on the preservation of the public liberty and upon giving men their rights as citizens of the country. In these letters Mr. Jefferson proposed to divide the counties as we propose, but he called the divisions "wards," and what we call "supervisors" he called "wardens". But the committee having considered that the name ward is applied to the subdivisions of cities chose the name of townships.
"These wards, called townships in New England are the vital principle of their governments, and have proved themselves the wisest invention ever devised by the wit of man for the perfect exercise of self-government and for its preservation. We should thus marshal our government into:
"1 - the general Federal republic, for all concerns foreign and Federal;
"2 - that of the State, for what relates to our own citizens exclusively;
"3 - the county republics, for the duties and concerns of the counties;
"4 - the ward republics, for the small and yet numerous and interesting concerns of the neighborhood.
"And in government, as well as in every other business in life, it is by division and subdivision of duties alone that all matters great and small can be managed to perfection. And the whole is consummated by giving to every citizen, personally, a part in the administration of public affairs." (Ibid.)
Now, sir, reversing this very much, and what he distinctly intimates is this: to the townships is given the administration of all affairs which concern no other township and which are in their nature capable of being managed in the township; to the counties all that pertain to the county exclusively and which the county also is capable of managing; to the State all that belongs exclusively to the State; and lastly, to the general government those matters in which all the states are interested. Here, then, is the great principle of a representative republic founded on democracy. If the people could retain in their hands the actual administration of their affairs, that would be a pure democracy; but as this is impossible, their convenience and the necessity of the case demands that they should be confided to representatives. Now it is evident that I will confide to an agent no more than is necessary. What I can do more conveniently, I will do myself and only give to the agent the power to do what I cannot do so well myself.
There is another extract from a letter written to another person about the same time, in which Mr. Jefferson, after repeating the advice to divide the counties in this way, he used almost the same expression:
"Each ward would thus be a small republic within itself, and every man in the State would thus become an acting member of the common government, transacting in person a great portion of its rights and duties, subordinate, indeed, yet important, and entirely within his competence. The wit of man cannot devise a more solid basis for a free durable and well administered republic." (Letter from Mr. Jefferson to Maj. Cartwright in reference to a proposed call for a convention to amend the constitution of Virginia.)
After all, then, this is no new idea, although it may be a new principle in Virginia. Jefferson had died before the convention of 1830 met. When it did meet. Judge Lewis Summers, of Kanawha county, the brother of the present Judge Summers, a good deal his senior in years, then an active man in public life - and I may say from an intimate personal acquaintance with him as pure a man as I ever knew and one who was certainly solicitous for the prosperity of this western country and who did as much as any other man to promote it, and who certainly had occasion to know what was the operation of county courts - he in the convention of 1830 introduced a plan precisely or very nearly that of Jefferson. He offered these resolutions:
"RESOLVED, That each county ought to be divided into wards, so that there shall be not less than three nor more than seven in any one county; and that there ought to be elected in each ward by the voters qualified to vote for members of the house of delegates one commissioner; and that the commissioners elected in the several wards ought to form a board of police for their respective counties.
"RESOLVED, That the boards of police ought to be charged with the superintendence and direction of the fiscal concerns of their respective counties, with power to assess, levy and cause to be collected all local, county or ward taxes, and to direct the disbursement of the same; to superintend all provisions and expenditures for the support of the poor; and the opening, preserving and improving of the public roads and other highways, with the erection of bridges and other public structures, ought to be confided to the boards of police."
The Convention will find that we have in part adopted Judge Summers' language and have more or less adopted his plan and Jefferson's. And again I remark that this thing is no novelty as an idea although it has not yet been tried. What I ask is that every member will examine this plan closely, and without prejudice if he can, and see whether we have it in the details all right or not. That may be questionable; but it is in reference to the principal thing, the division of our counties into these subdivisions that I wish to call the attention of the Convention.
I have, sir, while I am up, a proposition to offer, to be laid on the table and printed. I had some doubts about what committee it should go to, but as the benefit will go to the school fund, I have thought of referring it to the Committee on Education. It is intended to meet that great difficulty which exists in this section of the State of our land titles. It proposes, I think, a remedy that was in operation from 1838 to 1844 or 1848, and which did a great deal of good in that time. It is a similar proposition to one that was drawn up by Henry A. Wise, Benjamin H. Smith and some others of the best lawyers that were in the convention of 1850. It is elaborated a little more, and contains a good deal more than the committee expect to be adopted; but we present it in this shape in order that the whole subject may be before the Convention for consideration.
MR. BATTELLE. I would ask, if the Convention please, that it be read for information now before printing.
By direction of the Chair, the Clerk read the document as follows:
The right to enter upon or to bring actions for the recovery of lands lying within this State, shall, for the term of twenty- one years next after this Constitution goes into operation, be limited to seven years next after the time when such right accrues or shall accrue; saving to persons of unsound mind or under the age of twenty-one years, the right to make such entry or bring such actions within one year after the removal of their respective disabilities, and not afterwards, notwithstanding the said seven years shall have expired; but no such action instituted previously to the time this Constitution goes into operation shall be affected by any of the provisions of this section. After the expiration of the said term of twenty-one years the limitation of such entries and actions shall be prescribed by law.
All lands lying within this State which have not been entered for taxation, or upon which taxes have not been paid to the State of Virginia or this State for more than five years, shall be deemed and declared forfeited and forever irredeemable, and such forfeiture shall not be released. No grant or patent for forfeited, waste or unappropriated lands, shall issue after this Constitution goes into operation, except upon surveys made according to law and duly returned to the land office previously thereto; but all such lands shall be publicly sold under decrees rendered by the circuit court for the county in which the same, or the greater part thereof, may lie, upon proceedings in the nature of proceedings in rem therein instituted, in such manner as shall be prescribed by law.
The money received for lands sold under the preceding section, after deducting the costs and expenses of the proceedings and sale, shall be deposited in the treasury of the State. When forfeited lands are so sold, the excess of the proceeds thereof deposited in the treasury as aforesaid, over the taxes and damages charged and chargeable thereto under the laws of the State of Virginia and of this State shall be paid to the respective former owners thereof, who shall prove themselves entitled to such excess before the circuit court which decreed the sale of the same, by proceedings instituted in such court within five years next after such sale, in such manner as shall be prescribed by law. Appeals from the decisions of the circuit courts in such cases to the court of appeals shall be allowed if applied for within one year next after the decree of sale by or for any person claiming an interest in the land sold as owner of any part thereof; but the proceedings of the circuit courts leading to the sale of such lands shall not be otherwise re-examined or drawn in question in any court of the State unless fraud or collusion or the actual payment of all taxes and damages, charged and chargeable to the land sold, previously to the institution of the proceedings against the same, be alleged and proved by the claimant, and then only in the court where such proceedings were had.
All money being the proceeds of forfeited waste and unappropriated lands deposited in the treasury and not reclaimed by the former owner as aforesaid, shall be carried to the credit of a separate fund to be called the school fund; and invested in the bonds or other securities of the United States or this State; and the annual increase thereof shall under such regulations as may be prescribed by law be sacredly devoted and applied to the support of primary education in common schools throughout the State, and to no other purpose whatever.
MR. VAN WINKLE. I would just add that the system, being the system of 1830, has been through the court of appeals several times, and the result is that where sales were properly conducted, unless of lands proved to come within the exceptions of the act, they have been sustained by the court and that those who purchased under those sales are now holding as good titles as there are in the State. In my own county, flourishing farms are on lands which as commissioner I sold for sixty or seventy cents an acre - lands which would bring any day ten dollars an acre.
MR. HALL of Marion. I desire to offer a resolution this morning in offering which I trust it will not be thought that I am influenced by any feeling of disappointment or defeat, but as a matter to prevent any misunderstanding and as one of sheer justice and propriety. I ask that it be read and acted on this morning.
The Secretary read the paper as follows:
WHEREAS, This Convention have adopted a resolution that when it adjourns on the twentieth instant, it will do so to meet again on the seventh of January, 1862, therefore
RESOLVED, That the members and officers of the Convention shall not receive any per diem or other compensation for any part of the time of such recess.
MR. STUART of Doddridge. Let me say, sir, that it was the distinct understanding that we were not to receive anything when we passed the resolution.
MR. LAMB. I believe that matter was fully understood when the Convention resolved to take a recess, but there is no objection at all to putting it on the record.
MR. HALL of Marion. I think it is necessary to put it on the record. Because I know there is a difference of opinion about it. In looking to the matter absolute, I think they might; and I think it important to make it absolute.
MR. VAN WINKLE. I stated when the resolution providing for adjournment was under consideration, that we would not have any pay during that time. I was not aware that the legislature were in the habit of paying themselves during recess. And I think economy, like charity, should begin at home. Be that as it may, sir, this, however, from the time that is taken ought not to be considered a recess precisely, if we adjourn here one, two or three days that might be considered a recess during which we would receive our pay; but I apprehend the principle of the resolution offered by the gentleman from Marion is correct in making it as it were an adjournment, and holding as it were an adjourned session and that during the interval we should not be paid.
THE PRESIDENT. I would suggest that if the resolution is unanimously adopted it be so stated in the journal.
The question was then taken and the resolution unanimously adopted.
MR. LAMB. Mr. President, when the Convention adjourned yesterday evening, it had under consideration the report of the Legislative Committee. I wish members to turn to the eleventh page. The population of the proposed seventh senatorial district should be 34,478, instead of 33,478, as printed. There is an error of figures on the next page, too, in the sum which is given as the aggregate column of fractions. That is a matter of no practical importance, however, the sum should be 138,983. If gentlemen will make those corrections in the printed report, I think I can assure them that all the balance of the figures are right.
As the Convention has passed by so much of this report as relates to the apportionment and numbers of the senate and house of delegates the next section in order will be the ninth. It is the section in regard to new counties.
MR. STUART of Doddridge. I would suggest that the question was on the second section when we adjourned. All the reports - including the minority - are now in and why not take up that section.
MR. LAMB. I understand in regard to the matter of apportionment, the Convention prefer taking the report with them in order to examine it deliberately and act upon it when the recess is over, and I understand they made an order to that effect, to pass by so much of this report as relates to the number and apportionment of the senate and house of delegates and go on with the balance of it.
A motion by Mr. Lamb to pass by so much of the report as relates to the numbers and apportionment for the two houses of the legislature and take up the other part of the report was put and agreed to.
MR. POMEROY. The understanding I had, Mr. President, was that when we adjourned we were still considering the second section of this report; and the first clause of this second section has never been acted on; nor neither has the last clause. The first clause is that "the senate shall be composed of eighteen and the house of delegates of forty-six members." That clause has never been acted on if I recollect right.
THE PRESIDENT. The Chair would remark that he is satisfied the remark of the gentleman from Hancock is correct. The first clause was passed by on account of the absence of Mr. Brown.
MR. POMEROY. If it is in order, I would move that this first clause of this second section be taken up. I understand there is a gentleman who wishes to offer an amendment to that first clause, and I cannot conceive a better time to consider it than now.
MR. LAMB. Mr. President, I think I was correct in my understanding of what had been the orders of the Convention. Those orders, of course, should be rescinded whenever the Convention please. There was an understanding that so much as related to the fixing of the numbers and the apportionment of the senate and house of delegates, should not be taken up at present. That was my understanding most distinctly. I think it evident that the Convention is not ready to act on this subject. Members will want time to prepare amendments in regard to these matters. The clause which the gentleman wants taken up and acted on involves the whole question, and we cannot decide on that without considering the whole matter of apportionment. You must fix on your plan of apportionment and see how it will work out before you can intelligently say what shall be the number of the house or senate.
I would move as an amendment that so much of the report as relates to the apportionment of the senate and house of delegates, and the numbers of the two houses, be laid on the table for the present, with the understanding that it will continue there until we return.
MR. VAN WINKLE. Mr. President, I concur with the remarks of the gentleman from Ohio. I wish myself to offer to increase the number of the house of delegates. It is evidently too small, and I wish to show reasons why. But would it be treating this Convention right for me to get up and move to increase the number of the house of delegates and not accompany it with an apportionment to show how it would work. It is almost impossible to make amendments in this unless you amend the whole.
One gentleman may think his county is not treated well and may move to alter that, and you will throw the whole into confusion. Gentlemen will find we will have to adopt a principle in reference to this apportionment and then we will have to abide by it. But as I said, I think I can show that this number is so small as to make a divisor which does not adapt itself to the counties. You take a divisor that is greater than the population of one-half of the counties and you will necessarily have a large fraction over and the representation must be unequal.
Whenever this comes up, I mean to make another move to amend that the representation in the house of delegates be equally divided among the senatorial districts, and for this purpose you construct your senatorial districts on the basis of the white population, giving to each a very nearly equal number, as is done in the report of the committee. Members will see that the fractions are small and that it makes a very equitable apportionment. Now, sir, these districts - as has been stated in reference to both the minority and majority reports - are constructed according to the principles I indicated in some remarks yesterday, that each district may, to a great extent be supposed to have an identity of interest. Now, if you divide the numbers equally between the senatorial districts, you reach the question of population certainly as to the districts. Then if you take the number of delegates assigned to a district and divide it as equally as possible among the population of the district, you get very much nearer to an equitable districting. Now, sir, as this report stands it condemns itself. Here are nine senatorial districts and forty-six delegates; one, of course, has one more than any other. The unfairness of this is manifest by merely stating the question. If an opportunity is afforded - and I would move to amend the motion of the gentleman by passing this subject over until after the recess - then we may have an apportionment that will do justice to the whole. We must fix a just principle and then carry it out strictly; and I hope we shall adopt such a principle confining the legislative body making the apportionment to some principle and not permit an iniquitous "gerrymander".
I therefore move to pass by everything that relates to the apportionment in the two houses of the legislature until after the recess.
MR. BROWN of Kanawha. We are under no obligation to take the census of the United States as the basis of our action; and if we know that is manifestly wrong, it would be very unwise to adopt it. What shall we adopt? I say the truth. The certificate of the officer of the Census Bureau is no more than any other certificate of any other individual. He only certifies what these deputy marshals report. He no doubt certified what he believed correct. I do not know as to that. But the fact is, I will say, the error exists in the county and in apportioning the population. That error should be corrected by us and not be carried into our report. We show a rule by which the truth is arrived at. It answers every demand.
MR. VAN WINKLE. I would like to call the attention of the Convention to one fact. In these double districts in the minority report, leaving out Pendleton, etc., there is a difference of nearly 8000 between the lowest number of inhabitants in one district and the greatest number in another. There is an advantage of 8000 given to one district over another. In the report of the majority, the difference between the highest and lowest does not exceed 2500. Now, there are considerations of that kind by which we ought to be governed and which we ought to have an opportunity to examine; and I therefore trust the amendment as amended will prevail.
I deem it still important to call the attention of the Convention to errors which strike my mind with greater force than that suggested by the gentleman from Wood. In the report of the majority it will be found that the first district falls short, and the second district falls short, and, I believe the third does; that there is a succession of falling short all in one end of the State and a succession of excesses all in the other end which makes a very manifest error in the balance of the powers of the two. If your errors were equally compensated on one side and the other, then a little variation would not be so important.
MR. SINSEL. I would like to direct the attention of the Convention to one thing in the first minority report. I see here he connects the counties of Monongalia and Taylor together with a population of over 20,000, and gives them one representative, while the county of Kanawha, with a population of but a little over 13,000, has one, making a difference of some 7,000 in the single senatorial district. Now, the committee treat this by separate districts. Myself, I prefer separate ones if we could get them on anything like equality. Here is the city of Wheeling with one representative with a population of some 20,000, and here are Harrison and Kanawha with about 18,000, each having one. Now if you will compare the fractions in the arrangement made by the majority of the committee, you will find in the districts it is very small and I think we have arranged it remarkably well.
MR. LAMB. The motion, I believe, before the house is to lay so much of this report on the table as relates to the apportionment and the numbers of which the senate and house of delegates are to consist. The motion is to pass it by. If on a question of this kind we are to go into an investigation of the comparative merits of the two reports, we might as well take the question fair and square. I do not think the discussion on this subject is in order at present and am not disposed to engage in it myself. I shall, of course, have an opportunity to vindicate whatever is in this report at the proper time, and I am willing to put it off until then. I think it must be very evident that the best course we can take at present is to lay that matter over to give us all an opportunity to examine these calculations and to make up our minds. Try our hands. I hope members will do that - those who are disposed to object to the report should try their hands at carrying a better apportionment through. I know what sort of a job it is, and how easy it is to object to a detail here and there; when if you correct that very error and carry it through your apportionment you will find it necessarily leads to much greater objections in other parts of the same operation.
I hope the Convention will consent to let the report lie over so far as it relates to those two points for the present.
MR. STEVENSON of Wood. It seems to me, sir, very evident that the Convention is not prepared to act either speedily or intelligently on this part of the report; and I hope, sir, for one, it will be deferred until we meet after the recess.
MR. STUART of Doddridge. In addition to what the chairman of the committee said, I desire every member of this body, before they find fault with the majority report, to carry out in detail any alteration you make before you take exceptions to it.
MR. POMEROY. As I made this motion to take up, I very willingly and cheerfully withdraw it. as the members on the committee do not seem to be agreed themselves, and it will perhaps bring something more intelligible before us when we reassemble. I have my own opinion about the difficulties that will arise afterwards; but we will have more time to meet them, I will withdraw my motion to take up.
MR. LAMB. The gentleman from Hancock made a motion. I moved to amend. He consents to withdraw his motion, and mine is the only one before the house as an original motion, not as an amendment, for the original motion is withdrawn.
MR. VAN WINKLE. Do you accept my amendment to defer until after the recess.
MR. LAMB. Yes, sir, I accept that amendment to defer so much consideration of this report as relates to the numbers of the two branches until after the recess. If we are to adjourn Friday - and this is Thursday - we certainly can not go through this matter if we were to go to work instanter and work until the recess will be upon us.
Mr. Lamb's motion to lay on the table so much of the report as relates to the numbers and apportionment of the two branches of the legislature was then agreed to.
MR. LAMB. I presume this brings us to the consideration of the ninth section in regard to new counties. The Committee on County Organization have reported a provision on this subject, and they prefer, I understand, that the action of the Convention upon it should be delayed until their report comes up for consideration. Their report is not yet printed or in the hands of the members. I move, therefore, to pass that by and proceed to the next.
MR. DILLE. I propose to make an amendment to that, as I see we are liable to meet with difficulties all the way through, and there is a report in the hands of the members of the Convention that we can take up and act upon. J would move to amend the motion by passing by the whole and taking up the report of the executive committee. It strikes me as better calculated to expedite business.
MR. LAMB. I do not see that there would be any difficulty after we get that far in this report in taking up the report seriatim and decide the matter all the way through. We will have got over the sticking point, and I think we could just take up the balance of this report and act upon it straight through. It would expedite business when we are at a thing to go through with it as far as we can. This continual changing from one matter to another without finishing any of them necessarily must confuse the daily business. But I am perfectly willing to assent to the other course if the members prefer it.
MR. HERVEY. As this report has been in the hands of the Convention for a day or two, and as this latter part of it does not seem to conflict with the other part of the report, it seems to me it would be well enough just to take it up and go along with it. If we take up another report about which the members know nothing they will have difficulty about coming to conclusions just now. I hope we will proceed with this report.
The Chair stated the question to be on motion of Mr. Dille to pass by the whole report for the present and take up the report of the executive committee, and on the question thus stated the motion was not agreed to.
MR. LAMB. The question recurs upon my motion to pass by the ninth section until the report of the Committee on County Organization shall come up.
And the question being put, this motion was agreed to.
MR. SOPER. If it be in order, sir, I propose an amendment to the second section as follows:
Insert after the word "years," in the eighth line, the words, "and after the first election, the senators of each district shall be divided by lot into two classes; the first class shall hold office for one year, and in the second class for two years, so that one-half thereof shall be chosen annually thereafter."
THE CHAIR. The Chair would inform the gentleman that the Convention has just passed by that portion of the report.
MR. SOPER. I was not aware of that, sir.
MR. LAMB. I would suggest that the proposition of the gentleman from Tyler be laid on the table and printed. It will, of course, come up and must be considered and disposed of when these other questions come up.
THE CHAIR (addressing Mr. Soper). Let the amendment go to the press and come up in its proper time.
MR. SOPER. Very well, sir.
MR. BROWN of Kanawha. If in order, I will move the adoption of the tenth section.
The tenth section was reported as follows:
10. Additional territory may be admitted into and become part of this State, with the consent of the legislature thereof. And in such case, the legislature shall provide by law for the representation of the white inhabitants thereof in the senate and house of delegates, in conformity with the principles set forth in this Constitution. And the number of members of which each branch of the legislature is to consist, shall thereafter be increased by the representation assigned to such additional territory.
MR. LAMB. The Convention of course will understand the object of this. It is to put such a provision in the Constitution as may enable us to provide for the counties which are to be conditionally admitted into the State. If the condition is complied with they come in; and this provides for representation, etc., on the same principles, whatever they may be, that the Convention may determine on.
MR. HALL of Marion. I wish to ask whether this section has reference to those counties that are to come in on conditions, or whether it refers to other portions of adjacent and surrounding territory. If it has reference to these to come in on conditions, we need nothing - or at least we do not need so much as is provided in this section; that if it is proposed to take in additional territory, regarding our line as fixed, exclusive of the counties that are to come in on condition, by that very position we place ourselves under the necessity of having not only the consent of the legislature of West Virginia but the consent of Virginia and of Congress afterwards. If we recognize the fact that we have the State of West Virginia bounded by the county lines excluding these additional counties, we then admit a right to exist on a people from which we will never receive any favors as long as we live. I object to that feature of it; and I maintain that our limits include all these additional counties. They are only out on condition that they vote against coming in. I think there is a necessity for regarding them as in, and I think we have a perfect right now to so regard them; and to regard it any other way will place us under the necessity of asking consent of a legislature under the jurisdiction of Letcher & Co.
MR. LAMB. I do not recognize that as a legislature at all.
MR. HALL of Marion. Neither do I. But they may set up a pretense of legislative authority over all. I have no doubt they will and that they do. So that whilst I have not prepared any amendment of my own to it so a man would understand what was contemplated, I think the section ought to be modified in that respect, unless it is construed; and if it is to be so construed, it ought to be definitely stated. There would be no particular necessity for saying: and also the consent of the State in which the additional territory may be included, because that will arise as a matter of course outside and independent of our constitutional provision. But I am opposed to the tenth section if we are to recognize these additional counties as being outside of our line. I maintain they are included.
MR. IRVINE. Mr. President, I am opposed to the tenth section as it exists at present. If it is intended to apply to the seven counties that we have included conditionally, I am then in favor of using some words that would restrict the application of the tenth section to the seven counties. There is nothing here to restrict it to that seven counties that we have included conditionally. If we intend to give the legislature power to include other counties, then let it be so expressed; we remove all ambiguity; and then if the legislature is to include other counties, it must be with the consent of the State of Virginia and with the consent of the counties, and with the consent of Congress. I am not disposed to confer upon the legislature the power to include absolutely any additional counties. There is nothing in this tenth section to limit it to the seven counties that we have included conditionally. I wish this tenth section to be so framed as to show exactly what is intended, so that members will know exactly what they are doing, when they vote on this subject.
MR. BROWN of Kanawha. I confess I understand this differently from the gentlemen who have spoken. I understand this Convention has determined for itself what shall and what shall not be part of the State; and that far as the counties of Hampshire, Hardy, Pendleton, Berkeley and those counties the other side of the Alleghany are concerned, there is no question for the legislature. I understand this Convention, in the resolution already adopted, has prescribed a fixed boundary; that if there is any State that boundary will be named; and then that they have prescribed a certain other boundary which may be an additional boundary of the State as the people may choose to determine. But if in the submission of this Constitution to these people and in the expression of their determination upon it, if they vote for it they become a part of the State beyond the power of the legislature to exclude them when it assembles under the new State as any other body in the country; that the question whether those additional counties, become a part of the State or not I understand this Convention has determined shall not depend on the legislature of West Virginia when it assembles under this Constitution, but shall depend on the vote of the people of these counties; and if they vote to come in they are a part and parcel of the State. They do not come in asking to be admitted as an integral portion of another territory but they send their delegates to the legislature and elect the officers of the state government in every department; and, therefore, have nothing to do with this tenth section.
I understand this section as applying exclusively to a power which this legislature will unquestionably have, unless it is taken away by the Constitution, whether this is adopted or not. Every state has a right to adopt territory. The only question I ever knew raised was in the case of Alexandria county, which was ceded back to Virginia. The legislature undertook to give to that county and city a representation in the legislature; incorporate it into the state, without any amendment to the constitution and without any reference to the people, to admit a delegate upon the floor of the legislature for it. Well, I never doubted the propriety and power of the legislature to do it, with the consent of Congress. The legislature represented the power of Virginia. Yet the question was raised whether the legislature had such authority. Now this section clearly provides for any such case. Suppose Shenandoah should consider that her interests are connected with the people of Hampshire, Hardy and Pendleton; that they cannot get to Baltimore except through Frederick; that they want to come into this new State. The legislature of Virginia says you may go and welcome; we want nothing more to do with you. Then the question comes up would the legislature of West Virginia under this provision, have a right to admit them? Unquestionably. They would have a right to, if the State saw proper. Then instead of being under the necessity of amending the Constitution to suit the case, this would provide that the legislature should go on and extend to them the right of representation as is prescribed here in every other case. It was never proposed to admit the county to representation in the house and senate without reference back to Virginia. And that would have a great benefit. It would require no amendment to the Constitution. It seems to me this is a wise and proper mode, necessary to provide for, if the power does not exist in the provision on the subject. I believe such a power would exist without any such provision, and I give the precedent on which the State has heretofore acted. But it is certainly more satisfactory to put it down in writing now, when you are defining so there may be no controversy on the subject.
MR. VAN WINKLE. I do not think this tenth section meets the case. Seven valley counties go together in any case whatever. The legislature has nothing to say about their admission. If they ordain what we have already fixed in the Constitution, the simple fact that a majority of them are in favor of coming will include them all in the new State without any consent of the legislature; and I think it is necessary that the legislature, in giving its assent to the formation of a new State under the Constitution, assent to those seven counties., should they vote to come in, as much as to any other part of the territory included. That matter may be reached very much better by the form in which it is done by explaining it and letting in the minority report. The minority report says that "If the following counties become part of this State then - the counties of Pendleton" and so on "shall constitute another district." By inserting a provision like that following these provisions for apportionment, and if the counties should come in according to the terms adopted by the boundary committee, then these counties would come in; and I should propose, at all events, that the Convention would consider the tenth section apart from the seven valley counties. I do not think they should be affected by it, unless you maintain that this section would override the one that the Convention has deliberately adopted in reference to these counties. That would present to us the naked question whether the legislature shall have the power to admit additional territory into the State without the action of the people of the State. Certainly there is some question in that. I do not say that they might not under their joint legislation powers have sufficient power; but as we are now about to limit this power, should not we place a limitation on them? The balance of the section I do not see needs any amendment but it can be construed as governing the seven valley counties. As it has been agreed to pass by everything that relates to the apportionment of members, that would seem to pass by this so far as it relates, to the seven counties; though if my view of it is taken as not applying to these seven counties, yet the Convention can vote understandingly on it and know what they are doing.
MR. LAMB. Mr. President, I had supposed that the object and purpose of the tenth section and its operation would be a very plain matter; but it seems it is not. Considering that section in connection with the others, the following state of affairs is presented: The former sections of the report propose a senate of eighteen and a house of forty-six for the forty-four counties. We have resolved that under certain conditions, seven additional counties should be admitted. It is necessary to provide in some shape that upon their being admitted they should have representation upon precisely the same principles and according to the same rules upon which representation in the two branches of the legislature is given to the forty-four counties. I intended to move that the words "the consent of the legislature," in the second line of this tenth section should be stricken out; but perhaps a better amendment in regard to the tenth section would be to strike out the first two lines and the words "and in such case" in the next line, and make the section read:
"10. If additional territory be admitted into and become part of this State, the legislature shall provide for the representation of the white inhabitants there in the senate and house of delegates in conformity with the principles set forth in this Constitution."
We have adopted a fixed boundary including forty-four counties. There are seven other counties which do not as yet constitute a part of the State. They are not included within the State at present. We intended to provide in the report that is before you for the representation of the forty-four counties, the number of which each house should consist; but so far as refers to these counties in the valley, if those additional counties should come in, representation should be given to them, upon the same principles and the same rules; and for that purpose the number of each branch might be increased.
But to state the matter fully. There is no doubt that the section was intended to include a case such as that presented to the Convention by the gentleman from Kanawha; to put it in the Constitution, so that the difficulties that did arise in regard to the re-annexation of Alexandria, etc., should not arise in the future. So that the Constitution would appear upon its face to make provision for such an emergency; but it strikes me there ought to be in our Constitution some provision for an emergency of the kind. Constitutions are intended for perpetuity - intended to provide not merely for the past or the events of the day; and if we expect our Constitution to be permanent we must have in it provisions adequate to any emergencies that may reasonably, at least, be expected to occur hereafter. No doubt that under this provision if it became in future desirable to admit an additional county or part of a county, in order to gain a defensible position or for anything else; then the legislative power would have power to admit them; and I submit to the Convention whether they ought not to have such authority. Nor does the provision attempt to go further or to prescribe that their consent may be necessary. We may leave that matter as we find it. If, in fact, the consent of Congress may be necessary in such a case, we cannot dispense with it. But we do not pretend to. If the consent of another legislature may be necessary we cannot and do not pretend to. We must leave that matter as we find it. We should provide, however, that if the consent necessary - that of Virginia be obtained and the emergency does occur in the future, the legislature may have the power to act wisely and prudently in such an emergency. The provision which is here reported therefore applies directly I think to the seven counties, and it also would include a case if it should occur such as was referred to by the gentleman from Kanawha. But I think it would be still an improvement on the section and perhaps relieved of some of the difficulties in regard to it if the amendment which I have indicated should be adopted. It is certainly not intended by this Convention that the consent of the legislature of the new State should be necessary to the admission of these seven counties; and if the amendment which I suggest is adopted all impropriety in the language in that respect would be done away with. Should the section read "If additional territory should be admitted into and become part of this State, the legislature shall provide for the representation, etc." I move that amendment to the section: strike out lines 98 and 99 and in line 100 the words "and in such case," and insert "If additional territory be admitted into and become part of this State."
MR. BROWN of Kanawha. I find myself compelled to oppose the amendment of the gentleman. The section is complete in itself, perfect in every part, wanting nothing. The amendment proposed only destroys its harmony and will attempt to make it applicable to two things that are totally inconsistent in themselves. Under the action of this Convention - unless it is the purpose to change that action for secondary considerations - after much discussion we have determined upon a certain boundary for the State, in a certain event and including the counties east of the Alleghanies. Now you certainly can never insert into the Constitution at the same time authorizing and permitting the legislature to determine the question whether they shall come in or not. We have determined that they shall be a part of the State if they vote to come into it. We are going to submit this Constitution to them to vote on just as to the rest of the people.
And here it should be borne in mind that we have no new State. The very vote that determines whether these portions will be a part determines whether there will be any new State or not. It is the absolutely essential step. If the Constitution is ratified by the people of the forty-four counties and by these seven counties, then there is a new State so far as they are concerned; the boundaries are fixed and determined; and no legislative action can change them, because these people will be as much a part of the State - will have their representatives in the legislature that will determine this very question. And the only question then will be whether the legislature will have power to exclude from the boundaries those people whom we have permitted to determine by their own act that they would be a part of the State. So that you cannot make any amendment to authorize the legislature to determine the question, or to make the fate of those people contingent on the votes that have adopted this Constitution. Their adoption of it makes them part of the State and this Convention must provide for representation as it provides for every other district; and that provision must be conditional, as proposed in the minority report, that if they come in then their representation shall be so and so, fixed and definite. If they stay out by their vote then the Constitution requires no later action; it will be complete in itself. The same thing will be in the judiciary. The same difficulties arise, and some provision will have to be made by the committee on that subject, providing that if those counties come in then there will be so many judicial districts, etc.
Now it may be urged that we ought then to fix a limitation to prevent the legislature from admitting any other territory than this coming in. Of course, no other can be admitted into the State without the consent of the legislature - any other counties than those named. It is highly proper that there should be nothing of the kind; and if anything should arise to render it necessary and proper that the legislature should have undoubted authority to do it without any constitutional prohibition. That is necessary; and that is all that this tenth section contemplates, in my understanding of it; and every attempt to make it apply to everything else bearing on this subject only complicates the question, instead of making it plain only makes it obscure. Now, if the section is stricken out altogether, what would be the effect? I have no doubt, sir, that the legislature of the State could admit adjacent territory whenever they in their wisdom saw proper; but to avoid the constitutional doubt on the subject entertained by some, this section is introduced.
MR. HALL of Marion. I only design to say that with the explanation I am satisfied that the section is not subject to the objection that I suggested in the onset; and I, like the gentleman from Kanawha, am opposed to the amendment and think the provision is right as it stands.
MR. PARKER. It seems to me the only question here is whether this Convention shall submit the question of the acquisition of territory by the State of West Virginia after it shall have been organized; whether the Convention here shall confide to that State the power of admitting additional territory after the new State shall have become organized; and whether then it shall embrace the seven counties which I understand have nothing to do with this question so far as the first clause is concerned, or whether they shall be excluded by their act in failing to comply with the conditions.
It seems to me that, of course, this power of acquiring new territory must reside either in the people or else in the legislature. Well, now, the single question is whether there is any difficulty, or hazard, or risk in the Convention which now represents the people conferring this power on their legislature. It seems by the Federal Constitution that in the wisdom of the framers of that instrument the legislature of a state is a fit and safe repository of the power to which to intrust the erection of new states. I refer to the provision that says that new states may be erected out of any pre-existing state or parts of any other states; provided the consent of the legislatures of the states interested and the consent of the Congress shall be first acquired. It would seem, therefore, Mr. President, that the framers of the Federal Constitution thought the legislatures of the states were a safe depository of this power, and for between seventy and eighty years that power has been held by the legislatures without any complaint of abuse, so far as has come to my knowledge.
That seems to be, in fact, the whole question here. Whether the people shall retain this power or whether it shall be confided to the legislature. In the present state of our country and of public affairs, it certainly is not improbable that before a great while some other counties that we may be very glad to receive will knock on our door to come in. Well, now, the question is shall we clothe our legislature with the power to admit them? They must, of course, get the consent, as was well remarked by the gentleman from Wood, of the other parties interested, to-wit: the State they are to leave, if it be Virginia, and also the consent of Congress, because I suppose the boundaries of a state cannot be changed even by the consent of the state directly concerned, without the consent of Congress. And really it strikes me, that in the particular situation we are in, there can be no reason against it and it would be well to confide, this power to the legislature, rather than be to the trouble of having to get the people together in convention and to all the expense we would be subjected to. It seems to me the experience of the last seventy-five or eighty years the wisdom of the framers of our Federal Constitution warrant us in conferring this power on the legislature.
MR. VAN WINKLE. I contemplate, sir, when we get back to that part of this report, in accordance with what I said a few minutes ago, to offer an amendment something like the following: If the counties of Pendleton, etc., shall adopt this Constitution as provided in article, and become part of this State, then the senate shall be composed of and the house of members, and the counties of Pendleton, etc., shall constitute the tenth senatorial district; and Jefferson, etc., the eleventh. The delegates shall be apportioned to them as follows, etc., etc. It strikes me that such a provision ought to be introduced, and therefore that the section now under consideration as proposed to be amended should necessarily be construed as not referring to the seven counties. And there is. an additional reason for this which I think the Convention will appreciate. If a clause like that included in the minority report, which I have endeavored to make a little more full to correspond with the language and form of the majority report, shall be embraced in this Constitution, there is nothing to hinder us from asking the consent of the legislature and of Congress without waiting to hear from these seven counties. I have considered that matter maturely, and my opinion is, there will be no obstacle, the legislature giving its consent to the forty-four (44) counties positively and the seven conditionally; and of Congress giving its consent in the same way.
I therefore think, sir, that as we have passed by this question of apportionment, that this section should be considered without reference to the seven counties; and the question that would arise here simply would be as to any future acquisition of territory that might be made. As to that, sir, the section is, I think, comprehensive enough and sufficient for the purpose; and I agree with the gentleman from Kanawha, that while territory might be taken in by the legislature, so far as I am concerned if it was taken from another state, we would want the consent of that state. But we have nothing to do with that. We have got simply to give our legislature the power to act upon it; and if they act upon it under circumstances which would not be lawful - if they take the territory without the consent of Congress, their action would amount to nothing; and, therefore, we need not provide for it in this, Constitution. I have no objection to the verbal amendment offered by the gentleman from Ohio; but I think we had better construe, and if necessary so alter it that it can refer to the seven valley counties.
MR. LAMB. I wish to make one remark. The gentleman from Wood will recollect that in a conversation with myself, the gentleman contemplated that that section which contained a conditional provision would have one attached to it something similar to this.
MR. VAN WINKLE. The gentleman will remember that the matter of boundary was referred back to the boundary committee. That will come in properly at some other place.
MR. LAMB. The representation section in regard to boundary, that boundary would be conditional, necessarily ought to be taken into consideration at the same time that this is. Something of that nature ought to be in the Constitution somewhere, but from the conversation that I had in regard to the matter, I did not think it would be proper for me then to insert it in the report of the Committee on the Legislative Department.
While up, I may mention that I find provisions, incidentally, in regard to the extension of boundaries inserted in one or two constitutions. One also contains this:
"The legislature shall have power to extend this Constitution and the jurisdiction of this authority over any territory acquired by compact with any State or with the United States, the same being done by the consent of the United States."
It was unnecessary to insert the last clause, because if the consent of the United States is necessary we can neither provide for it one way or the other. If additional territory is to be admitted, in any case, it must, of course be with the consent of the necessary parties. That is necessarily implied, and it is not necessary to incumber the provision with the verbiage.
MR. PAXTON. What is the position of the question now before the house?
THE PRESIDENT. The gentleman from Kanawha moved the adoption of the tenth section. The gentleman from Ohio moves to amend. I will ask the clerk to report the amendment.
The secretary reported the amendment as follows: Strike out the 98th and 99th lines and the words "and in such case" in the 100th line and insert: "If additional territory be admitted into and become part of this State."
MR. PAXTON. Then a motion to amend the amendment would be in order. It appears to be conceded that this section has no reference to the seven counties that we take conditionally. Such being the case, and it having reference to the acquisition of additional territory hereafter, I am not disposed to give the legislature that power of acquiring additional territory. I think it would be safer for the people themselves to retain that power; and if there is a necessity at all for such a provision in the Constitution - of which I have very serious doubts - I should prefer it to be amended to read this way, by striking out of the 99th line "with the consent of the legislature," and insert instead: "only with the consent of the qualified voters," so that the section would not commit the power to the legislature, but the people themselves should reserve this right and that it could only be exercised by the consent of the people.
MR. HERVEY. It seems to me the amendment as proposed by the gentleman from Ohio is eminently proper; but I cannot see the force of the objection of the gentleman who was last on the floor. If the provision as amended by the gentleman from Ohio is inserted, the legislature must conform to the will and wish of the people. And I must say that I am opposed to the section as it stands. Do those first two lines state a fact, that additional territory may be acquired and become a part of this State with the consent of the legislature thereof? Is that true? Would it be true if adopted? I humbly conceive that is not the way by which States acquire additional territory. Consequently the propriety of striking out is to my mind, eminently proper; and that the amendment of the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Lamb) would place the section in proper shape and meet the case fully. I cannot conceive that the amendment to the amendment as suggested by Mr. Paxton will meet the case any more fully than the other.
MR. BROWN of Kanawha. In the amendment proposed by the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Paxton) it seems to me there is introduced a very cumbrous mode of ascertaining the consent. It seems to me that whenever the question is propounded to the State by any territory, or persons inhabiting it, and the consent of Congress and of the other state from which the territory is to be obtained - when all those conditions are complied with and the simple question is then submitted to the people of West Virginia whether they desire to have it incorporated with them, it seems to me that the legislature is the proper tribunal to determine the propriety and judge and decide in the case. The legislature represent the perpetual will of the people. They are better competent; they have a better opportunity of deciding. You can never submit anything to the people in the same definite form, and it has to go through the legislature at last, and the people can only express an assent upon some prescribed proposition. Well, while it would be possible I will admit, it is adding a fifth wheel to the wagon. It is inconvenient to express by the people, to have them vote on a topic like this, when the legislature have acted on it in one sense and are the proper body to act upon it. It seems to me that the assent of the people by the legislators is as complete in that case as it would be in any case, and ought to be. There is nothing in it that would take it out of the ordinary resolutions - that it does not stand upon that high consideration that should attach to adoption of a constitution by the people. In other words, if you were to admit a county from Virginia circumstances might so happen, that it would be the desire and policy of West Virginia to add an adjacent county, every year for ten years. If the legislature of Virginia should assent, if the Congress of the United States raise no objection and consent; yet in every case you would have to take a popular vote and the whole matter be discussed and investigated by the people, while their legislature could examine the subject, determine the propriety of action proposed and express the popular will.
I therefore must vote against the amendment to the amendment.
MR. LAMB. That is, I understand, the amendment offered by my colleague from Ohio.
The vote was then taken on the amendment offered by Mr. Paxton to the pending amendment, and it was rejected.
The question recurring on the amendment offered by Mr. Lamb, to strike out the 98th and 99th lines and the words "and in such case" in the 100th line, and insert "If additional territory be admitted into and become part of the State," it was not agreed to.
MR. HERVEY. The first part of this tenth section being an attempt, as I conceive, to re-enact a portion of the Constitution of the United States, declaring who are the parties to the division or partition of states, and it failing to re-enact in full, I move to amend by inserting after the word "thereof" in the 99th line, the words: "and of the Congress of the United States." It will then read: "Additional territory may be admitted into and become part of this State, with the consent of the legislature thereof and of the Congress of the United States."
I conceive that as merely reciting the Constitution of the United States in part. It is not competent for the legislature to take additional territory from other states without the consent of Congress as well as of the other states concerned. It therefore seems to me it would be perfectly right and proper that if we enact a portion of the Constitution of the United States in this case that we should enact the balance of it.
MR. BROWN of Kanawha. If the consent of Congress is really necessary, then it is not necessary to insert it in this clause, because the legislature could do nothing that is against the Constitution, for we have already adopted a fundamental provision that the Constitution of the United States is to be the fundamental law of this State, and we have therefore enacted it in all its power; and whether we adopt it or not here, that provision of the Constitution is the fundamental law. But this kind of a question might arise. Suppose in running the boundary the line of some county falls a half mile from the top of the ridge, and you want to make the ridge the boundary, you send a commissioner to Virginia and she sends one, and they agree upon this line upon the top of the mountain instead of at the foot of it, would it be politic to include in this Constitution that that should not be done with the consent of the legislatures of the two states until you went to Washington and got the consent of Congress to a matter which they had no care about, and by the Constitution could not arrange it without the consent of Congress? When Congress might say, "settle it among yourselves; this is a matter of no interest to us." We know a case of this kind occurred between the States of Tennessee and Virginia. The former set up a claim for some fifty odd miles of territory when Tennessee belonged to North Carolina. Tennessee set up a claim for that territory when she belonged to North Carolina. She sent a commissioner to Virginia; and they partitioned it out among themselves, and there was no application to Congress. The very same kind of a case occurred in the State of Kentucky. A territory that lies between the two Sandy rivers was transferred to the State of Kentucky by a compact between the States of Virginia and Kentucky: and yet they never asked the consent of Congress. The same kind of difficulties may arise in settling the boundary between Virginia and the new State; and if you insert this provision requiring the consent of the Congress of the United States, you only trammel yourselves where it is wholly unnecessary.
MR. LAMB. If I read the Constitution of the United States aright, the consent of Congress is not required to change the boundary between two states. The whole provision which is contained in the Constitution of the United States is in the third section, fourth article. It requires the consent of the legislatures of the states concerned as well as of Congress, in certain cases that are here specified. The first is that of the admission of a new state by Congress into the Union. The change of boundary between two states is not the admission of a new state. Then, again, the formation or erection of a new state within the jurisdiction of another state. A simple change of boundary between two states is not included within that. Then again, it prohibits, without such consent that any state should be formed by any two or more states without the consent of the legislatures and of Congress; "nor any state be formed by the union of any two states or parts of states." In all these cases the consent of the legislatures and of Congress is necessary. There is no case specified here unless a different state is to be formed; a new state is to be taken into the Union; a state formed within the jurisdiction of another; and where a state is to be composed of two adjoining states or parts of states; and in such cases only does the Constitution of the United States require the consent of Congress.
But independent of any question of this kind, why is it necessary to encumber the clause by reciting all the consents which must be had before additional territory can be brought into the State? We all know that additional territory can not be brought from an adjoining state without the consent of the legislature of that state. If the consent of Congress is also necessary, of course it must be had whether we put it in here or not. If we specify one we should specify all. The section of itself carries the necessary inference that the consent of all parties is to be had which is necessary to the admission of the new territory; and it is not necessary, it seems to me that we should go to work and specify what parties should consent.
MR. VAN WINKLE. Neither this amendment nor the discussion of it is pertinent. This section has already been amended, on motion of the gentleman from Ohio so that this clause reads: "If additional territory be admitted into and become part of this State, the legislature shall provide by law, etc."
A MEMBER. That has not been adopted.
MR. VAN WINKLE. I beg pardon.
The question was taken on the amendment proposed by Mr. Hervey and it was rejected; and the question recurred on the adoption of the section.
MR. BROWN of Preston. I was under the impression that the tenth section here was intended to provide for the territory lying along the Potomac river which was to come into the State conditionally. I had no other understanding of the section, and in that view of the subject I propose to offer this amendment, or rather substitute for the whole section:
"10. If the counties of Pendleton, Hampshire, Hardy, Morgan, Berkeley, Jefferson and Frederick shall become part of this State, in the manner provided for in this. Constitution, the legislature may provide by law for the representation of the white inhabitants thereof in the senate and house of delegates, in conformity with the principles set forth in this Constitution; and the number of members of which each branch of the legislature is to consist shall thereafter be increased by the representation assigned to such additional territory."
MR. HALL of Marion. Mr. President, that is all provided for elsewhere in other reports. The effect of it would be just simply to strike out the tenth section. In lieu of striking out, if the section can be rejected it will be stricken out; and I should much prefer that the matter would be decided on the simple motion to strike out; or vote down the section which would strike it out, because the matter proposed by this substitute relates to another matter entirely.
THE PRESIDENT. The Chair would express this doubt to the gentleman from Preston. It strikes the Chair that the subject introduced in this amendment is precisely the same passed over. The provision is made in the latter part of this report, which is passed by, for the representation of the counties of Hardy, Hampshire, Pendleton, etc. Therefore the Chair will have strong doubts whether the amendment would be in order. Indeed, the Chair is of opinion that it would not be. If the gentleman from Preston will turn back to the report as to senatorial districts, etc., he will find that that part of the report passed over relates to this subject.
MR. BROWN of Preston. I withdraw the amendment, sir. The question recurring on the tenth section, it was adopted.
The Convention then, at 12:30 P. M. took a recess, and reassembled at 3:30 P. M.
In the absence of the President, Mr. Soper, on motion of Mr. Lamb, was called to the Chair.
MR. LAMB. When the Convention adjourned at half past twelve, they had just adopted the tenth section. The matter under consideration, I take it, is the eleventh section. In reference to that section I would beg members, in the first place, to note a correction. The word "votes," in the second line should have been printed "voters."
The section was reported as follows:
II. The legislature shall have power to provide for a registry of voters, and to prescribe the manner of conducting and making returns of elections, and of determining contested elections. They shall have power to pass all laws necessary or proper to prevent intimidation, disorder or violence at elections, or corruption or fraud in voting.
MR. LAMB. In explanation of this section, I would merely say that our present Constitution prescribes that the general assembly shall provide for the periodical registration in the several counties, cities and towns of the voters therein. The alteration made by the committee is in the words "have power," not making it imperative. As to the subsequent clause of the section it is substantially the same as the thirty-eighth section of the fourth article of our present Constitution, which provides the manner of conducting the registration, and that any cases not specially provided for should be prescribed by law. I presume there will be no objection to that section.
MR. DILLE. I move the adoption of the eleventh section.
The motion was agreed to.
The twelfth section was reported as follows:
12. No person shall be a senator who shall not have attained to the age of twenty-five years; or who was not, at the time of his election, entitled to vote in the senatorial district for which he was chosen. And no person shall be a delegate who was not, at the time of his election, entitled to vote in the delegate district or county for which he was chosen.
Nor shall any person holding an office of profit under this State or the United States; any minister or priest, of a religious denomination; any salaried officer of a banking corporation or company; or any attorney for the State, be a member of either branch of the legislature.
No person who may have collected, or been entrusted with public money, whether State, county, township or municipal, shall be eligible to the legislature, or to any office of honor, trust or profit, under this State, until he shall have duly accounted for and paid over such money.
If a senator or delegate remove from the district or county, for which he was chosen, his office shall be thereby vacated.
MR. LAMB. I would ask that it be considered by clauses. It is divided into paragraphs in printing.
The first paragraph was reported as follows:
12. No person shall be a senator who shall not have attained to the age of twenty-five years; or who was not, at the time of his election, entitled to vote in the senatorial district for which he was chosen. And no person shall be a delegate who was not, at the time of his election, entitled to vote in the delegate district or county for which he was chosen.
MR. CALDWELL. I ask the Convention to remember, sir, that in establishing the right of suffrage, it declares that a citizen of the State one year and a residence in the county thirty days constitutes the right of suffrage. Now, from the argument had yesterday by the very distinguished gentleman from Wood and other members of the Convention, I am satisfied in my own mind that something more than a thirty day man should be selected as a senator. Under this clause, any one who has been in a county or who has resided in the State, or who has, in fact resided in the State anywhere, and happens to have come into the senatorial district - thirty days previous to the election, is made eligible as a senator - I think, sir, the period should be longer; and, in order to test the sense of the Convention on the subject, I propose an amendment: In the second line of the paragraph after "who," strike out all to the end of the sentence in the fourth line, and substitute: "shall not have resided within the senatorial district for which he was chosen two (2) years next preceding his election."
MR. LAMB. It may be recollected by the Convention that when the report of the Committee on General and Fundamental Provisions was under consideration, the ninth section of that report was passed over - I believe at my suggestion - until the report of the Committee on the Legislative Department should be considered. The ninth section of that report fixes the age of a senator at twenty- five years, and requires them to have been citizens of the State for five years next preceding or at the time of the adoption of this Constitution. It did not require at all any residence in the senatorial district. It required the age of twenty-five years, that the party should have been a citizen of the State for five years next preceding the adoption of this Constitution. In selecting between the two plans, I have no doubt you will require some to be residents at least vnthin the senatorial district. The question then would recur between the two plans, whether you would require in addition to this a prolonged residence in the State. This requires five years; the amendment offered requires two years. I find different provisions in different state constitutions on this subject, some of them like our own. Some state constitutions like ours require only that the senators should be voters within the district. Some of them require a residence of three years in the state and one year in the district; others two years in the state and one in the district, and others five years in the state and one year in the district. I do not know that for myself I should have any objection to seeing a prolonged residence in the State required for the senator if it is not extended to the house of delegates, though I think the provision would answer very well as it is. I wish merely to state to the Convention the different forms in which this provision in different constitutions have usually been presented in order that they may make their own selection in regard to these different plans.
MR. POMEROY. Mr. President, I cannot conceive of any benefit that would arise to the people from the proposed amendment of the gentleman from Marshall. The person becomes a voter - we have all settled that - by a residence of one year in the State and thirty days. in the district in which he proposes to vote. The thirty days is three times as long as required in some other States of the Union. Now, in regard to a man being a senator, whether we adopt double or single senatorial districts, is it to be supposed for a moment that the people will select a man that has not resided within the bounds of the senatorial district for thirty days preceding the election? If the suggestion of my friend from Doddridge be true that people are accustomed to attend these military musters preceding an election to show their love for the dear people and influence their votes, they would have to be moving around more than thirty days before the election; and I think it reflects on the intelligence of the people in these districts to say that they would fall into such an error as to select a man over all their own prominent citizens,, those that had resided for years in their district, that had appeared among them within the short period of thirty days. I do not think the people would do so. I do not think there need be any apprehensions on that subject. I am in favor of giving the greatest liberty to the people and let them select their own officers and be the judge of who is the best man to represent them. I do not think it would require a man to be in a senatorial district two years to fit him to discharge the duties. I am very well satisfied with this the way the committee have left it. As far as the particular portion of the section we propose now to amend is concerned, it is very well the way it is. I have no idea the people will in one case in ten thousand select a man as senator who has not resided more than that time in the district - and I question if a case of that kind ever occurred in the history of the government. Our senatorial districts will be different to what they are in many other States. They will be extended districts. Would it be likely that a man who had resided there no longer than thirty days would be so acquainted with the people and know the particular way to reach every particular man so as to influence him in casting his vote that he would run the risk of offering himself against a well acquainted citizen? Would not a man who knew all the crooks and turns, and who knew the different ways of approaching the people have a decided advantage over a man of that kind? And would a man risk his reputation before the people on so short an acquaintance with them? I think there will be no difficulty on that point at all. I think the people will select the best men, and they will select them on account of past services rendered in other positions of profit and trust; and I think there may be no apprehension on that subject at all. I merely speak on this point because I conceive there can be no difficulty on this point and therefore I must oppose the amendment of my friend from Marshall.
MR. HALL of Marion. I must differ with my friend from Hancock and say that while I have all confidence in and would always trust the people, yet I would always shield them. And I do not know whether that suggested the matter to my friend from Marshall, but I know that Marshall county furnished us with an aspirant who did not wait two weeks until he was laying his plans to fill the offices in the county because he had been born in Marshall. I have no idea of holding out any inducement or making it even possible for a man who has been so short a time as this would allow in a community to ask the people for their confidence or any position whatever beyond the privileges of a citizen. I know, sir, that we have had in times past - I trust it may not be so in the future; but we must judge the future by the past - I know the time has been when men moved from place to place for the express purpose of holding their votes, from one place to another and undetermined where they would go to; and if they had only had the facilities this proposes the offices would all have been disposed and arranged at Richmond, and the men would have come up and accomplished this, that or the other particular purpose. I am very much in favor of the amendment, and I would even favor a longer time had it been so made. I think people ought to know long, well and thoroughly the men they entrust their interests to in any of these public capacities. We know that in the very nature of the people of the country, every honest man thinks because he is honest everybody else is honest. A man approaches him, is plausible, loves him and loves his children, kisses them all - and the wife too perhaps - palavers, and reaches them by a means that no man who is fit for a position would resort to. Yet that is the common machinery by which men attain positions or office. Now, sir, I want to be rid of it. I wish we could incorporate a clause that no man who ever seeks an office should have it; and let offices seek men, and not men seek offices. I want to put a barrier up to these traveling politicians, and this is the very thing that will do it. Many a man can run very well for thirty days or for one year who could not stand the test of two years acquaintance to save him; and I want every man to be tried and to be known; and I want that he shall remain in the community, district or whatever he proposes to represent so long that he will not only have an interest, not only know something of what are the interests and wishes of that people, but that he will have an identity of interests with them: that he may represent himself as well as them. And I do think, sir, that two years is a short enough time. I do not believe I would vote for a man for constable until he would have a two years residence. I do not think any man ought to be elected short of that. If these traveling office seekers are so hungry that they cannot live among the people two years, let them go to some other state or stay where they are. I trust, I think, that we shall suffer nothing by this restriction; because I trust we shall always have men enough who have been residents to fill all the offices and positions; and I trust that unless and until we can find we are at a loss for men, residents whose interests are ours and whom we know thoroughly, that we will insist upon this restriction. I wish my friend from Marshall had made it longer. I am something of a "know nothing" in this respect. I would not put a man in a position of trust on an acquaintance of a few months.
MR. STUART of Doddridge. I as one of the members of this Convention am for the most liberal Constitution we can get up; and it appears to me the position of the gentleman from Marion would be a reflection on the intelligence of the people. Now, sir, he seems to want to stop these peddling politicians. I am perfectly willing to say to my constituents, if my friend from the county of Marion comes over there and I happen to be a candidate, that if they like him better than me they can take him. It would be much more liberal and republican to leave the people to decide as to this question of the merits and demerits of candidates. That may be left before them and not restrict them at all. I want to leave them at perfect liberty to select whom they may if they come within the constitutional provisions - one year in the State and thirty days in the district. I believe we have adopted that section in the chapter on fundamental provisions. Well, sir, why deviate from it? If that was our sentiment then, why deviate from it now, unless you want to cast a reflection on the intelligence of your constituents whom you expect to cut off into senatorial districts.
I merely got up to say that I would vote against the amendment, and ask the Clerk to read the amendment again. It seems to me there is an inaccuracy in it.
The amendment was reported by the secretary:
In section 12 strike out from "who" in the second line to the end of the sentence and substitute: "shall not have resided within the senatorial district for which he was chosen two years next preceding his election."
MR. STEVENSON of Wood. Mr. President, I wish to amend the amendment of the gentleman from Marshall by striking out "two years" and substituting "one year." Seems to me that would be better. I think the argument a good one, sir, which requires persons aspiring to either the house or senate to have resided a year or six months in the district from which they are elected. I do not think, sir, that the argument which will extend the right of suffrage to persons in a district thirty days after they have become citizens of the State will apply with equal force in favor of aspirants to office. I think it is not likely that many persons can be properly qualified to represent all the interests of a district who have resided in it only thirty days; and I think it well enough to provide against the advantage which might be taken (though very rarely) of this provision as it stands. I do not suppose that such things would occur often; but they might occur. Things not unlike them have occurred in my recollection and I think will occur again if this provision is not changed. I favor, however, a shorter rather than a longer term. Six months would suit me; but if it would please the Convention better, or the friends who wish to prolong the time, I will offer the amendment for one year.
MR. BATTELLE. It seems to me the principle involved is this: shall the people have the perfect liberty to select from among the citizens of their community, and from among all of them the men whom they prefer to represent them or not. For one, sir, I am disposed to answer that question all the time in the affirmative, without any lets or hindrances whatever. It might be a matter of not very good taste, certainly, for a gentleman who went into a senatorial district within thirty days before an election to offer himself as a candidate; but whether it is proper for him to be elected or not is a matter for the people to determine. I do not understand exactly the argument of one gentleman on the other side. He would seem to represent that all the injurious electioneering that takes place is on the part of those who have been in the district only thirty days. If that be carried to an injurious extent in the country. I have no evidence that it is more apt to occur on the part of such persons than of those who have been in the district two years or twenty years. In a single word, sir, it seems to me the very fundamental principle, and one that ought not to be invaded, is that if a man is a citizen the people shall have a right to vote for him or not for him, as they please. I might think a great many things requisite as a qualification ought to be required in a senator. I might think it was very injudicious for people to vote for an incompetent man, or a neglectful man, or an unfaithful man; and, no doubt, abstractly considered, it is wrong to do all these things; but the question is: have we or anybody else the right to hinder them if they choose? As I said before, there is but one answer to that question. They have the right if he is a citizen to vote for him if they please to.
MR. HALL of Marion. Allow me to say that I do not understand this question, perhaps, or I cannot understand what we have done or are doing. The people must have a right without restriction to vote for whom they please. And yet you say in this very section that they may not vote for a man who, forsooth, has not had the good fortune to be born twenty-five years ago! If you are going to trust people, why not trust them? It is a qualification we are requiring here. Now, I ask what man can know the interests and be identified with the interests of the people with whom he has only lived thirty days? It is not the privilege of the citizen that is to be abridged but it is the right and interest of the citizen that is to be protected. Why have anything? Why not provide that you may vote for a man in Jericho? Have not I a right to vote that Letcher shall represent us? I am the people, and he is another one of them. If you carry out that course of argument, it simply argues too much. It proves so much that it becomes an absurdity. The gentleman from Ohio says he cannot understand the remark that this class of persons are particularly obnoxious to the charge against electioneering. It was suggested that however short the time was the candidate could stir around, meet them at our musters, etc., and that people would have an opportunity of knowing him. I suppose they would stir about, and they are the very class that do stir about; and that is the very means that I am opposed to encouraging. I do not want, in the first place, that the people shall be annoyed, or that they shall be humbugged and deceived. It is no use to shut our eyes against facts. We know that people are ready to lay hold of a man who is plausible and who will put himself to a great deal of trouble to say this nice thing to them and that. We may say they ought not to be influenced by it; but when we bring it home, we are bound to say they are honest. Now, are we sent here to provide guaranties for the protection of their interest, and in what way do they suffer?
MR. BATTELLE. The point that I raised in reference to the gentleman's remarks was this: How does this proposed amendment tend to cure the alleged evil of electioneering? That is the point.
MR. HALL of Marion. It dispenses to a very considerable extent with the necessity of it. It is not necessary for them to go around and announce themselves as a candidate, etc. He is an old citizen; we know who he is. And the chances are at least as great in this case as the other that if he is a candidate they will know it, because they have had some interest in having him to be such. But if we are to be so democratic, so very careful about abridging the rights and privileges of the people; if we are to throw away every guaranty, and say that a man is to be a man with all the privileges, ignoring qualifications; and because we have reduced the time within which we require him to exercise the privileges of a citizen - that is, to vote - that therefore he may move in and possess himself! That is the idea. Now, I don't want to hold out any such encouragement. I do not want that we shall encourage men who are not qualified. Now, I say they are not qualified until they have lived longer with the people and have identified themselves with them by interest; and I repeat it that this is an invitation to that class of persons - and I suppose we will never be free from them - to establish a sort of wandering band of experimenting politicians. A man is defeated here; he makes his effort in one county, and he does something or takes some position and he finds that he never can set himself right before that people. Well, I am determined to have an office; I am just going over into this other county; I will be there thirty days before the next election, and I shall have it all right! I don't want the people to have these things inflicted on them. I want some regular rule, and if this be obnoxious abridging the rights and privileges of the people let us blot all these things out; let us not require a man to live in his district at all; let us not require him to be twenty-five years old; because, we can say, will be presumed that the people will do so foolish a thing as to vote for a candidate who is not twenty-five years old? Let us not require anything of him, because we must trust the judgment of the people. That is throwing away every qualification. Now, I don't think that is our purpose or duty; I do not think that is policy, or that there is any propriety in it. I trust the motion of the gentleman from Wood county will not be offered as an amendment to this; but if this should be rejected, he can then offer it, because it is the rule, and it is the only fair method of testing the sentiments of the Convention fairly, to try first the longest term. But if this means we are bound to try, first the shorter term, I may be led to vote against that and thus defeat that; and then there may be enough others to vote against the two years and defeat that, and leave it clear out, when if we would first vote on the longer term, and that were defeated, in that event I would vote for the time suggested by the gentleman from Wood. So I trust he will not offer it as an amendment to the amendment. He might indicate that if this amendment is rejected he would offer that as an amendment. I do think it is a matter of great importance to have a rule prescribing this qualification; and I trust the time may be not short of two years. I do not believe we are going to be so hard run in any community as to have to import men to fill the offices; and it is a very safe method of filling them. I do not see why men who move into a community should not be willing to wait two years. Let them tarry in Jericho until their beard grows a little bit. And so far, then, as the people are concerned, I do not think they will feel that they are very badly off, if they have all the rest of the regular community to select from - that they cannot select an outsider. I see no good in throwing open this thing, but to my mind there is great evil to grow out of it. If it be argued there is no evil, there will be evidently no great annoyance to the people.
MR. POMEROY. Is it the amendment to the amendment that is before the house?
MR. STEVENSON of Wood. Yes, sir; I insist on it. The Secretary reported the amendment, being Mr. Stevenson's motion to amend the amendment by striking out "two years" and substituting "one year."
MR. STUART of Doddridge. Seems to me the gentleman from Marion is a little dizzy on this subject; and I am inclined to think he was hurt by that fellow from Marshall.
MR. CALDWELL. From Doddridge.
MR. STUART of Doddridge. I think we never sent any from Doddridge.
Now, sir, he asks the gentlemen who have been opposing this amendment why it is they make any restrictions at all. So far as I am concerned, simply because I oppose this amendment I am not advocating the twenty-five years at all. Do not understand me so. I would be willing to go down to the fundamental principles adopted: every freeman who is entitled to the right of suffrage should also enjoy every other privilege as a citizen. There are reasons why we require thirty days residence in the county, and those reason do not apply in favor of the motion to amend. The reasons were, I believe - and they perhaps should influence every member to adopt the thirty days - to prevent the citizens of one county from being deported into another. I would be willing that one hour should entitle a man to the right of suffrage in the county if he went there with the intention of remaining and being a citizen. But it was to preserve the purity of elections, I understand that the thirty days was adopted. The same policy applies to a residence in the State one year. But it does not apply to a district of country who propose to elect a senator; because, sir, I hold that the people who are called upon to cast their suffrages are better qualified to say who they want to represent them than we would be. If they should elect a gentleman who has not been a resident more than thirty days, it would be for some peculiar reasons, some motive - some object in it they wanted to carry out; from the fact that they had no man in the district as well qualified to represent them. And if they had no man, let us not curtail their privileges. Let them be the judges; and if they are citizens and remain, they have a right to judge this matter and I am willing to be governed by their judgment.
Now, I hope the fellow that went up from the county of Marshall did not hurt the gentleman so very badly; because, I apprehend he did not get his office.
Another reason the gentleman assigned was, because he did not want the good citizens to be annoyed by these office hunters. Why, sir, they could only be annoyed by them for thirty days while the other way they might be annoyed for a year; and it will avoid that great annoyance the gentleman seeks to avoid; it will reduce that evil.
MR. HALL of Marion. Allow me to say I feel some interest in this question; and if I am capable only of personal considerations I will not vindicate myself here. I trust we will act on this matter with reference to a principle; and I do not think it is any joke. Allow me to say for the information of my friend from Doddridge that I never was a candidate for any office in my life; so he could not have hurt me in that respect. I have had the honor to fill honorable positions, but they came to me unsolicited. I alluded before to an instance in point - to a party who started from this city, sought office here; went to Marshall, sought office there and was defeated; came to Marion, sought office daily and continually almost immediately upon his coming among us and so long as he remained, was defeated always; and what was the result? Has been the source, sir, out of his chagrin, of more trouble in our county than any man in it for more than four years - has been the origin of more than twenty-five indictments for felony in that county. It is against that peddling class that I want to be protected; and I do not want to invite them. We have had enough of them imported. Yes, sir; our people had the discretion not to entrust them with office, but it has not freed us from the annoyance, or pestilence, of that class of persons. I trust I am influenced in this matter by motives that are of a higher consideration than any pique; for in anything that I may have felt in this, that or the other particular instance, fortunately I have never been in a position to be hurt; and I will not be ungenerous enough to say that anybody who is opposed to this restriction will be influenced by the motive that they want to flatter the whole people. I shall not be influenced by any such thing, and will not be ungenerous enough to suppose that anybody will. But I trust we will act on this matter as a sober matter. I do not think it a matter of jest or of no importance.
MR. POMEROY. I do not think there is any person disposed to treat it as a matter of jest.
MR. SINSEL. I would like to hear the fifth rule read.
MR. POMEROY. Very well, sir; I will wait on you. The secretary read the rule as follows:
"5. No member shall speak more than twice to the same question without leave, nor more than once until every other member intending to speak shall have spoken."
MR. POMEROY. Very well, sir, that does not apply to me for I have not spoken on this question at all. The gentleman from Wood moves an amendment to make the time one year. Of course, I would favor that in preference to two years. But I will restate what I stated before that I believe that when a committee appointed by this body has made a report, while that report is open to amendment, there ought to be some good, weighty and practical reasons why they offer that amendment. I do not say that there cannot be such a reason at this time, but say I do not perceive there has been any reason of that kind offered. I think it was fully answered by the gentleman from Doddridge that a man cannot annoy the people as much electioneering in thirty days as in one year. The new candidate who has come into the field has a large district to traverse, has names to learn, and labors under many little disadvantages; and he cannot annoy the people of the district as much in thirty days as the man who has been on the ground. He begins to lay wires a year beforehand and greatly annoys and disturbs the peace and quietness of the people. And therefore the argument will not hold good, that a man that has thirty days can annoy the people as much as a man with 365 days, unless his capability is much greater.
The great principle that I contend is at stake here is that you reflect on the intelligence of the people. You say they have not sense enough to know whom to elect; that in preference to a man who has resided in their midst twenty years, they will, if you allow them, elect a man who came in only thirty days before; that they will be so carried away with this new man, that any district, (or double districts, comprising some 32,000 people, and single ones somewhere from 16,000 to 20,000, down I believe as 15,000) - that a majority of the voters out of such a population are so ignorant of what they ought to do in selecting a man to represent their interests that they will not know what their interests are in the senate of the new State; that they would select a man who had just come among them. If you say they will not do so - and the gentleman assumes to, says he knows of no case where they ever did do so; says they failed up in Marion county and doesn't want the idea to go forth that they have not intelligence enough to select one of their own residents - why then what is the objection? Why simply that you will be "annoyed." Well, now I do not know that Mr. A. will annoy a man any more than Mr. B. will. They seem to take the ground that there is something very annoying about this new man. Well, now, it is generally the reverse of that. A man is called to stop his team to talk to him for years, and of course his talk is as "tedious as a twice told tale"; but here is a new man comes up. Well, although I may not wish to stop here, I want to see what this new man has to say. And he takes it as a favor rather than as an annoyance. It is one of those real office seekers, that is always laying the wires for the election that is to come off, that annoys, and he is more likely to be an old resident than a new one. It is not the new man at all. He is not acquainted with the people. He doesn't know, what kind of influence to use on this man or that; he does not know like this old resident. The latter says, Now Mr. A., I want you to go to the polls and vote for me; and as you have a great deal of influence I want you to get a lot of other fellows to go too. The new man doesn't approach Mr. A. in that way and therefore does not annoy him. And now if there is no case in which one of these "peddling" office seekers was ever elected senator, when there was no such limit required, why does the gentleman offer this amendment? I have no doubt he does it in good faith. I know that my friend from Marshall will understand that I do not mean anything unkind. But I am in favor of the people having liberty to choose their own officers; and then if they make a bad choice, they will be very likely to rectify it next time. I do not want to say to them you shall vote for certain men who have lived in the district a certain time. If a man is qualified for office he will be likely to remain, and if unsuccessful, he would not be likely to run the hazard of moving. As has been said by my friend from Doddridge, I believe in the greatest liberty in letting the people select their own officers. As for the provision requiring the age of twenty-five years, we have never voted for it and I do not intend to. If the people see proper to elect a man of twenty-one years, let them elect him. As Henry Clay said to John Randolph when he went to the United States Senate: they asked him if he was old enough, and he said they could ask his constituents!
One of the arguments used here is that if we do not adopt this we might as well not have any restrictions. Why have any if we do not have others? Well there may be too much restriction. Certain restrictions may be safe and wise, and certain other restrictions may be radically wrong. You may pass a point where it will not be right to restrict, and I think that is true in regard to the qualifications of men. First, let me refer to another argument. Suppose they make as is proposed, one senatorial district of Brooke and Hancock. Now, when any of the prominent men from the county of Ohio that have been in the legislature and in the Convention - we are just as familiar with them as with our own men - suppose one of those men should move into Hancock from Wheeling. When we vote for him, are we voting for a stranger? No, we will vote for this man because he has had more legislative experience. So he is a better man than any we have, more intelligent, has had far more experience as a member of the legislature, because he knows our wants and will carry out our wishes better than any of our own men. Why have not we a right to select that man? Yet under the proposed restriction we must take an inferior man and be deprived of the services of the better man merely because there is a line drawn over which he cannot pass and he must come up to the requirements of this requisition. The gentleman from Marion says there is a principle at stake. I believe there is too; and I believe the sound principle is on our side of the question. I do not say anything against the belief of those who differ with me. Of course, they believe the correct principle is in their side. Very well. It is before the Convention. It is for them to say. If they want to pass this restriction, very well; but I believe we ought not to do it. I believe the committee made this report because they had good reasons for doing so; and unless there is a more weighty and powerful reason otherwise than any I have heard yet, I would be in favor of adopting that portion of the report, and I am opposed to striking out.
Mr. President, I have spoken once on the amendment. I want that distinctly understood, so that if I should have to speak again I would not be precluded.
MR. CALDWELL. My friend from Hancock has not had any sufficient reason assigned on behalf of this amendment. I fear anything I may say will not warrant him, perhaps, in voting for it. However, I will say, sir, as I said when I first offered it, that my object was mainly to maintain some distinction between these two houses. I want it kept up to some extent, not only as to the age of the individuals who are qualified for office but also as to their other qualifications, and it was for that reason, and that chiefly, that I offered this amendment. However, in answer to my friend from Hancock: if he were to go down to my district, with the acquaintance I have had with him, and with his knowledge and efficiency in legislative bodies, I might not incline to oppose him, although he had been there but thirty days; but I fear very much, sir, if I were to move up into his district, being myself an entire stranger, I think I -would be treated as rather a pestiferous knave, a very embarrassing politician because after a residence of about thirty days I aspired to the office of senator from his district; and notwithstanding the views held by him and his particular friends, the people having the right to select their representative, I might through my endeavor and skill in electioneering, prevail and secure my seat. I think, sir, the reasons and arguments assigned by the gentleman from Marion are sufficient to induce (at least I hope so) a majority of this Convention to vote for the amendment. I think this distinction should be kept up. Let us say not only that a senator must be twenty-five years of age, but this other qualification shall also attach to him that he shall be a resident at least two years in the district before he can offer himself as a senator. Now, sir, if this distinction is not preserved and carried out to this extent, the argument of the gentleman on the other side leads to a conclusion that we need have but the one house: dispense with the senate entirely. Sir, in answer also, I would say this to my friend: this opposition to restricting the people - for that is your privilege, sir - if you are to strike out, he himself says he is not in favor of the qualification of twenty-five years. If you strike that out, you may as well dispense with the whole section entirely, and leave it to the sovereigns who shall elect the house of delegates. If you go so far as the people of Marshall county (which I have the honor in part to represent) did in the election of delegates to this Convention. A gentleman who had been but six or seven months in our county; under the Constitution you remember, was entitled to sit in the legislature only where he had been a resident of the State two years and one in the county. Yet the people of Marshall chose to elect a delegate to this Convention who had been in the county but six or seven months; and he is here as a member of this Convention. Well, sir, if this is a grand principle that candidates are not to be restricted I do not see any necessity for this section at all and let the people have unlimited choice for those who are to represent them in the senate and house of delegates.
MR. BROWN of Kanawha. I beg leave to make a remark or two. The argument of the gentleman is to the effect that this requirement of two years for the senate before he shall be competent to hold office, by a residence for that time in the senatorial district is a restriction on the larger liberties of the people in that it is a diminution of the number of the persons from whom the people are to select their candidates, and rather therefore a limitation on the people than on the candidates. Now, sir, I think the argument is fallacious; wholly so, and while it is specious, it is calculated to delude. I am one that feels a good deal of aversion towards restricting the people of their liberties in any case which is not necessary. But I maintain this is not a restriction of the liberties of the people. The people always choose from candidates that are before them. The instances are very rare of their choosing a candidate. Candidates generally put themselves forward, either directly or indirectly through their friends; and it is a very rare occurrence that you find men running against their will for any office. Some such cases do occur, and men may then defer to the wishes of the people. But these cases are very rare. I take it for granted that in the great mass of cases, whoever is voted for by the people is a candidate before the people for their suffrages, and they have to choose between the one or the other; and that it is no limitation, therefore, to require that these candidates who do present themselves shall be men who do come up to the standard the people have prescribed. Now your principal object in regard to candidates coming before the people is to prescribe some rule that secure to the people a good set of candidates out of whom they shall choose one. Now, sir, we have resorted to the system of the caucus - which has had the denunciation of almost all good men because of the iniquities it often works in presenting inefficient and bad men, to the people, and then they have no alternative. The great object is to get some plan by which you can secure the presentation of the best men in the community for the office. The people will exercise their choice between the one, two, three, four or five, or a dozen, if you have so many. Now by prescribing a residence of two years, you are much more apt to have candidates who are competent and good men elected than if we prescribe a residence of but thirty days. You are not going to have any more candidates under the one system than under the other. You will always have, perhaps, five candidates for one office. Now, if you say thirty days, you are not as likely to have competent men to choose from, who by residence have shown common interest and community of feeling with the people who elect them to office, as if you require a residence of two years. I, therefore, think the recent rule in prescribing these qualifications is a good one, a sound one; and I shall vote for the term of two years.
MR. STEVENSON of Wood. I scarcely ever speak twice on the same subject; but now I only wish to add one thought more in explanation of what I said before than anything else. There is a good deal of truth in all that has been said about the evils which attend this system of electioneering, but I do not think it amounts to much on either the one side or the other; because I think this system of electioneering, as it is called is very desirable when properly conducted, as I believe it is in a majority of cases. I think it very desirable the people should know the men who are seeking office - that they should have personal conversation with them, and become acquainted with them so to learn as far as possible their ability to discharge the duties of the office which they seek. I do not care whether it is thirty days or two years. Probably one year or two years would not be too long to discover the true character of a man who is aspiring for public position. But the argument which I wish to present is this: and I think it an unanswerable one; because I believe that in this thirty day provision there will be advantages taken of it. It is a comparatively new thing, so far as my information goes. I think there are very few, even late, constitutions that make so short a time as thirty days residence to qualify a man to be elected to one of the most important positions in the State. In the late constitutions I think generally they have it from six months to two years, as the time required not only for the person to be a citizen of the State but an actual resident in the district. Now, sir, the reason I suppose is this: that the man who is to make laws to govern a district, or participate in making them, cannot do so properly or intelligently unless he is acquainted with the interests which he pretends to represent. Now, sir, taking one of the large districts marked out in the report of this committee, can any man become acquainted with the interests of these people in thirty days? In any one of these districts? Here is the agricultural interest; there are the commercial interests, banking interests, educational interests, the moral and other interests of that district; and they should be comprehended, at least to some extent by any man who is to represent that people in the law-making department of the State. Now, it is impossible that a man can do it in so short a period of time. But I do think, sir, that two years is too long. I think one year probably would be better; and that is the reason why I have offered that as an amendment to the original motion of the gentleman from Marshall. But as some of its friends think that amendment would be endangered or weakened, or at least that they cannot get a fair expression of the Convention upon it while my amendment is pending, I propose to withdraw it for the present, with the understanding that I shall renew it if the two years amendment is voted down.
The question was then taken on the amendment offered by Mr. Caldwell, requiring a residence of two years in the senatorial district, and it was rejected.
The President resumed the Chair, which had been occupied by Mr. Soper.
MR. STEVENSON of Wood. I propose now an amendment in the same form as that offered by the gentleman from Marshall, only making it read one year instead of two years.
The Secretary reported it:
In section 12 strike out from "who" in the second line to the end of the sentence and substitute: "shall not have resided within the senatorial district for which he was chosen one year next preceding his election."
MR. HERVEY. I must say that if I had known that was the course to be adopted I should have voted for "two years." I move to amend by inserting "one year."
MR. STEVENSON of Wood. This is one year.
MR. HERVEY. O, well - then -
The question was taken on the amendment proposed by Mr. Stevenson and it was agreed to.
MR. LAMB. If there is no further amendment to the first clause, I move its adoption.
The motion was agreed to.
The second clause was reported as follows:
"Nor shall any person holding an office of profit under this State or the United States; any minister or priest of a religious denomination; any salaried officer of a banking corporation or company; or any attorney for the State, be a member of either branch of the legislature."
MR. LAMB. Mr. President, I will read the provision in the present constitution on that subject.
MR. CALDWELL. Is the second clause of this twelfth section adopted?
MR. LAMB. The whole six lines were treated as one clause. If there is any misunderstanding in the house in regard to the matter, perhaps that had better be re-read; but it was distinctly stated in the commencement what was under consideration.
THE CHAIR. Is there any desire to reconsider the vote? There is none.
MR. LAMB. In reference to the second paragraph, I will read the provision in the present Constitution:
"No person holding a lucrative office; no minister of the gospel or priest of any religious denomination; no salaried officer of any banking corporation or company, and no attorney for the Commonwealth, shall be capable of being elected a member of either house of the assembly."
A similar provision will be found in a great many constitutions contained in this book. We have reported it to the Convention as we found it. I move its adoption, sir.
MR. VAN WINKLE. I move to strike out "any minister or priest of a religious denomination; any salaried officer of a banking corporation or company."
MR. STUART of Doddridge. I move to strike out the words "minister or priest."
MR. VAN WINKLE. That is to divide the question?
Mr. Hervey rose.
MR. VAN WINKLE. The effect of the gentleman's motion is simply to divide the question.
MR. STUART of Doddridge. I desire the question divided - that is all. I want to vote against one and in favor of the other.
MR. VAN WINKLE. I moved to strike out the two clauses, and I understand the gentleman from Doddridge to desire a division of the question. One relates to ministers and priests; the other relates to cashiers of banks, to salaried officers of banks.
MR. STEVENSON of Wood. If I thought, sir, this clause would be stricken out without any discussion, I would not say anything. I am not so certain about that. I will, however, say as briefly as I can, I hope it will be stricken out; and for the reason that I think it is founded upon a wrong principle. It makes a distinction that I should regret very much to see made in a constitution that I had anything to do with. I think that ministers, if they think they can be of any benefit to the people have a right to offer themselves, just as any other man who contributes to the support of the government under which he lives.
If the people think that he can be of benefit to them I think they should not be debarred from the right of selecting him, and if they do not want him, of course they will reject him. But I do not think either the ministers or their calling will suffer, nor do I think the people themselves are likely to suffer from their selection at least occasionally. It seems to me a relict that belongs to the past; and I must say that it seems to have the odor of the "flesh pots" as my friend here (Mr. Van Winkle) would say attached to it.
Another consideration, sir, in favor of striking it out is this: that where such prohibiting provisions have found their way into constitutions they have been a dead-letter; and anything in a constitution or on a statute book that is a dead letter had better be out altogether. These are considerations that strike me just now as some at least that may be adduced in favor of making this change.
MR. STUART of Doddridge. I always have been ashamed of our constitution in this respect. Whenever I have been asked as a lawyer why it was ministers of the gospel were prohibited constitutionally, from exercising any office the people might call them to, I never could answer - never in the world. I can see no good reasons for it at all. None; and I am like the gentleman from Wood, if I thought the Convention would have stricken it out without any remarks, I should not have said a word, because I do not think there ought to be any discussion at all on this subject in an enlightened body, as we profess to be, sir. Why draw a distinction between your fellow citizens? Is it necessary to protect ourselves against our ministers? I have always looked upon them as the salt of the earth; and they were really necessary, they were our best men. I presume it will be very seldom they will be called upon or even offer their services courteously. But let us draw no distinctions between classes in our community. Let every man stand on his own bottom; and if he has merits and his people want him, why let them appoint him to the office: not say that you were not permitted to vote for a man merely because he is a preacher. That is certainly drawing a distinction and inculcating the doctrine that these are dangerous men, are to be guarded against, when they are the very men we ought to take to our bosoms and be counseled by in many instances. I am for extending the hand of fellowship to all men, equally, alike, and go back to our fundamental principles.
MR. DERING. There is no man who holds the ministry in higher repute than I do, and it is for that very reason that I am opposed to striking that clause out. I do not think, sir, that the high and holy offices of ministry should be prostituted by the ministry entering into our political deliberative bodies. If a minister is called from on high to preach the gospel, let him fill that commission and he will have his hands full. Let it be one work: and I, sir, am opposed to opening the political arena and permitting them to hunt for votes through the country and accept any political offices in our political and legislative bodies. Sir, the most of them do not do so, and I wish to make a prohibition and place a barrier so that none of them can do so. If the ministry want to enter into the political arena and become members of our political bodies, they can resign their ministry, they can abandon that high calling which they have conferred upon them and enter into the political field.
I am in favor, sir, of holding on to that clause.
MR. PAXTON. Mr. President, it appears to me this provision that it has just been moved to strike out has a very il-liberal and unrepublican appearance. It certainly has to me. It is nothing less than a direct proscription in our fundamental law of a particular occupation or pursuit, and forbidding those who follow that occupation or pursuit from all participation in the legislation of the country and, as a consequence, from the honors and emoluments of the government. Now, without regarding it in the light of expediency at all, I wish to ask what right has government to proscribe any particular occupation or pursuit? What right to discriminate for or against the pursuits or occupations of its citizens? Clearly in my judgment, none. It is a positive wrong and oppression. If any pursuit or occupation is in itself hurtful to the best interests of society, detrimental to the public good, forbid it. That certainly it is competent for legislation to do. But if a pursuit is not so but is purely legitimate, I cannot see, sir, by what right we undertake to proscribe it and deny to it the privileges and rights that pertain to every other pursuit and occupation.
Besides that, I presume it will be conceded, that ministers of the gospel and officers of banks are as well qualified by education, by intelligence and by integrity to fill positions in the halls of legislation, as lawyers, doctors, farmers or any other class in the community; and I do hope we shall not do violence to correct principle now by retaining this provision in the Constitution. I am aware it is in the present constitution and in many others; but I do contend it is a violation of correct principles. I hope it will be stricken out.
MR. LAMB. To put the committee in the right position before the Convention in this matter: The committee found this provision in the constitution (of Virginia) and they thought it proper, at all events, that the matter should be presented to the Convention. They find the same provision repeated in many other constitutions now enforced throughout the country. While they were perfectly willing to concede at once that in every nation great occasions may arise in which it is the right of the people to demand the services of the purest men and the ablest men, in whatever rank of life they may be found - as for instance when conventions are assembled for the salvation of the country or for the reconstruction of its government - yet there may be a very justly drawn or proper distinction between occasions of this kind and the ordinary occasions of legislation. Yet the Convention might very properly think that men who are devoted to the service of their maker should not interfere in ordinary electioneering matters or be in ordinary legislatures. I cannot say, however, that this is my opinion, or that any harm to the people would ever result from striking out this provision. As to the reason which is assigned for it, I find it assigned in one of the constitutions and will read:
"WHEREAS, Ministers of the gospel are by their profession dedicated to God and the care of souls and ought not to be diverted from the great duties of their profession, therefore, no minister, etc., etc., etc."
MR. VAN WINKLE. I hope, Mr. President, most certainly, that this Convention is not going to set up and place itself between the conscience of the preacher and his God. If those objections are valid and the preacher is wrong in becoming a member of a political body, it must arise that he is violating his duty to his Maker or his duty to his congregation, and I cannot see how we are to stand between him in either relation. I cannot see, sir, that he is any more bound not to neglect his duty, than the rest of us not to neglect ours. Every man has a duty to his family which is hardly less sacred than his duty to his Maker. I might turn round and say to my friend, you ought to be at home attending to your duties to your family and not be here looking after the affairs of the public. If we had, as in England, a church supported and a clergy paid by the State, it would be a different case. The pensioners of the State would not, of course, be the persons to represent a free and independent people; but here the minister owes no mere duty to the State than to any other class of the community; and the fact that they may have a great duty to perform elsewhere ought not to exclude them from participation in whatever their fellow citizens may participate in. Sir, I believe that this would exclude positively the best class of the community. For, say what you will - and I feel free to say anything I have to say on this subject here - I defy any man to take from any community whatever any class of persons who are so influential in their daily walk and conversation as this class of persons, I do not and never could see - like the gentleman from Doddridge - I never could assign a reason to my own mind why there should be any such exclusion, and no knowledge of the way to begin to justify it in the constitutions where it has been inserted. There may be a disposition to exclude as many people as possible to make more places for the others; but I do not see any reason why if a man is permitted to exercise the right of suffrage he should not be permitted also to be a representative. We may lay our restrictions as to age or other things of that kind, because you may want that maturity and experience that can only come with age; and you can justify that because it applies to all alike; but when you single out a class of citizens on account of their occupation, you are certainly violating the very fundamental principles of free government. Equality is certainly destroyed, and that is one of the fundamental principles. Citizenship is taken away for a clearly imaginary reason.
MR. BROWN of Kanawha. I confess, sir, that I do not occupy the unfortunate position of the gentleman who has not been able to satisfy himself of any sufficient reason for this exclusion. I have a very decided opinion on it, sir. I think it is based upon good reasons. I desire, however, in commencing to say in reference to the remarks of gentlemen professing their high regard for the ministry, that I stand here and acknowledge myself second to none in my respect, admiration and devotion to the ministry. A portion of my labors are contributed annually to sustain them, and I believe the liberties of the country depend in no small degree upon the purity and integrity of the ministry. They have a high and holy calling, a sacred and separate calling; they mould the infant mind; they mould the mother that moulds the child in all its thoughts and education. They control, they regulate, all the moral conduct to a very great extent, of the father and the family. I say there is no class of men in the country that exercises the influence that they do, and deservedly. Without that control, sir, I am one that believes that American liberty would take its flight. Turn away from us the influence of the Christian religion, kept up and sustained by the ministry of the gospel and your republican institutions would be things that were. The future would be dark and dismal. I believe, therefore, that the highest policy is to preserve the ministry in its integrity and purity. And I believe, sir, further, that the ministers themselves, of all other men in the community, would be the last to vote for that proposition; for the reason as I will endeavor to show that its tendency is to degrade and debase that ministry; that it is to draggle it, sir, in the dirty mire of the political arena; to put them on a level with every politician in the county that is seeking at the hands of the community office and emolument. That is withdrawing them from the sacred desk and from a congregation that looks to them for guidance in almost everything that is sacred. This is the very reason why I shall vote to sustain this proposition and shall expect every minister in this body to do the same.
Here, sir, I beg to notice that there is a very marked and striking distinction between the position gentlemen occupy here as ministers in this body and in the legislature we are prescribing in the Constitution. Conventions assembled by the people to form the organic law are not things of every day occurrence. They are things that arise out of extraordinary emergencies. They are occasions that occur but seldom in men's life-times and seldom in states' lifetimes. And then it is of all others, the people should exercise the unlimited control of selecting whom and when and where they please, that they may obtain the qualifications necessary to sustain and perpetuate their rights. And therefore it is that here we find ourselves, individuals called by the voice of the people without regard to office or calling or any prescribed limits upon the selection made by the people; and a man may be here though he were a citizen of the State but yesterday. That sovereignty selects the agents to come here to fix and ordain the organic law for them. Our duty is to do it wisely and well for the government and security of the people, and of our institutions hereafter, in the ordinary mutation of parties that we know every country is subject to.
And now, sir, in regard to making the ministry the subjects of the county nominations, and candidates for all the offices, political offices, legislature and senate. I would put it to any gentleman, to test the question by putting it to his own feelings to say how willing he would be to see the minister under whose ministrations he worships on the Sabbath day and in the conduct of all the beginnings of his operations, whom he consults, revering him, his office, its duties and labors - to see him descend from that high position on the election of a political party, gotten up by loafers round the town and court house, and take up the dirty work of carrying out the party prejudices of those that put him in nomination. I would like to see how long that minister could retain in that congregation, which was divided in its party feelings but all having a common respect for their minister - how long he could retain in his office, the respect, admiration, confidence and love of that congregation and community, if they saw him mounted on his horse riding around the country making electioneering speeches to secure the success of the party that had given him a nomination.
MR. VAN WINKLE. Do you advise this Convention to interfere between preachers and their congregations? That is the effect of your argument. Let the preachers and their congregations alone to determine that matter.
MR. BROWN of Kanawha. I deny that this is the scope of it. That is the inevitable result of your argument. I am conducting a question now for the benefit of the community: I am speaking of this question as a question of public policy without any reference to individual cases. I think the gentleman must feel the effect of it or he would not be so easily moved by it.
Another question, sir; I have seen parties arise in churches; and I know the minister who only pursues the even tenor of his way and knows only in the calling he has taken on himself to profess Christ and Him crucified, chooses the only way that he can keep himself from being involved in the various controversies that take place in the congregation. It is impossible that it should be otherwise and upon that harmony of these congregations depends the order and peace of society. I would not hold out any inducement, therefore, to destroy it.
Another consideration, Mr. President. We have in this country the Christian denominations of various names. Many of these called orthodox agree in the substantials of their religion; and yet they are diversified on different subjects and between them there exists strong prejudices. You, sir, start the ministry into the contest in political elections, and you will soon have a Methodist preacher running on one side and Presbyterian on the other side, and Episcopal on another, a Baptist for another side, a Catholic priest for another side; and it will not be long before you will have all these congregations by the ears. And each preacher will have all his congregation nearly when it becomes a question of denominational influence and prejudice. The question will be, which is the strongest congregation, and religion will be stricken out. The strongest prejudices that human nature can know or feel may be brought into the contest, and the fury and violence of feeling that exists between the Secession and Union parties, or that ordinarily involved between Whig, Democrat and Republican, will be as nothing compared to the violence that this religious fanaticism may soon involve. Again, sir, you will soon have the successful ones, of one denomination or another, in your legislative halls, and there the same spirit will begin to be felt, and the churches of our whole country will soon be arrayed one against the other; and you will soon find that religious sentiment, which we have been providing for will be stricken out and some religion will seek to impress its views on the government, for religion has ever sought to do that. There has never been a religious party that obtained political power that did not straightway forget the fact that religion should be addressed only to the reason and conscience of the individual, and they will seek by legislation to enforce it upon the mind. I fully believe that to be as one of the springs of human nature. It grows naturally out of power; because men hold to their religion with more tenacity than anything else; and whenever a contest arises between them and some other religion they forget all bounds. I therefore, sir, am in favor, for this reason of keeping this out of the constitution. I also have a high respect and some admiration for the system of our forefathers. I am not one of those who believe - while I have a very high respect for the intelligence and integrity of this Convention that this is the only body that obtains or possesses wisdom in the world. I believe there have been wise men and bodies before this; and what has proved itself to be wise in the eyes of others, and has come down through years, comes addressed to me with some reason in its behalf until I hear something better against it.
Now in regard to bank officers. It is true that no one questions the intelligence of these men or imputes any lack of integrity: because all accord to them the highest degree of intelligence and the most unimpeachable integrity; and the very great object here is to keep it so. Bank officers are the most respectable, intelligent men in the country so far as my experience goes in the dealings I have had with the world. But, sir, banks have their influence; and money - for banks contain money - always wields an influence. I have known in the Commonwealth of Virginia when the representatives of the banks assembled at Richmond, and I have never known legislation to be carried over the banks when they combined to effect a thing in this State. And today only remove all the restrictions that govern them and let the banks be united on one policy and there is not power in this Commonwealth to override it. Put your bank officers, then, with their influence, intelligence and money power in the State in the legislature and give them a direct vote, and you commit the whole policy of legislation into their hands irretrievably. For I maintain - while it is no reflection at all on the officers but an acknowledgment of their ability and integrity - that they are but new, like all other men, and they have these peculiar influences that always will direct them to seek the benefits and welfare of their banks; and these interests often run counter to the best policy of the rest of the community. At least, you have the one holding to one side and the other to the other; and it is bad to put the power and votes in the hands of that one side. And I say that same provision, in my humble opinion is, as respects them, well founded and wisely placed in the constitution of the State and has stood there for years, and no bad effect has resulted from it; and I am for following in the case, as well as the reason of the thing, the light of experience. I have not been able to find or listen to any argument on the other side that has struck me at all as having any weight that overbalanced the high considerations that require the officers of your new State to be outside of the control or influence of these corporations. I, therefore, sir, will feel myself forced to vote for it if no one else does.
MR. STUART of Doddridge. I believe the question is on striking out. MR. VAN WINKLE. The debate will be now, sir. The argument all comes on now.
MR. STUART of Doddridge. Well, I expect to vote twice, anyhow. I want to reply to one or two of the arguments of the gentleman from Kanawha, for the fact that they appear to be presented with considerable force for fear they may have some effect. He desires very much to keep ministers of the gospel out of the mire and dirt of politics in the seeking of office. Why? I reckon from the fact that he wants to keep in the mire and dirt himself for seeking office is dirty work - work not fit for a minister to be in. It must be for the reason that he desires to keep it himself, a dirty business (Laughter). Well, now, I will assume that this political office seeking has become a very dirty business; and I believe the whole people of the country have become disgusted with politicians and desire to see them laid aside and not to be governed and controlled any more by old fogy politicians that we have been governed by and ruled and led by the nose by politicians; but I want to see it lifted from out the mire, and honest and pure, upright men go into office, if the people desire it.
Another reason he assigned why ministers should not be capable of holding office is that there are various religions and sects, and you will array one sect against another. Now, sir, if this doctrine is true you ought to insert a provision here that no member of the Methodist church, or of the Presbyterian church, or of the Catholic church, should be eligible to hold an office, because that will apply to them. If I am a Methodist, why according to the argument of the gentleman I would array a Methodist feeling in my favor. Well, sir, you are to exclude all the Christian religions and people belonging to the Christian churches: because if the gentleman's argument would apply to the minister it would be to the members. If I am a Methodist, hold to the doctrine, belong to the church, support the minister, why the probability is, according to the doctrine of the gentleman, that if I am a candidate it will array that denomination in my favor and other religions will be arrayed against me. But such is not the fact. People do not look at these things. They look at the candidate, the person for whom they are called on to vote. Is he qualified? Is he honest? I believe that is the interrogation propounded by the Father of his Country - is he honest? Is he qualified? Now, that is all I want to ask of any man that comes before me asking for my suffrages, and it is all I feel disposed to ask of any other man when he comes. Not "Are you a Methodist - a Methodist preacher? Are you a Presbyterian - a Presbyterian preacher?" Now, sir, to be consistent, the principle will have to be carried out; and if we exclude one class we must exclude the whole.
MR. CARSKADON. I feel some interest in this question. I was absent when it originated. I must say I am opposed to the striking out of this clause; not, sir, because I have a lower opinion than some other gentlemen of this house with regard to the ministry. I, with the gentleman from Kanawha, hold myself second to none with regard to their occupation and their calling; and, sir, I do not pretend as the gentleman from Wood would say, to judge between their congregations and them; but I say we have a right to say what kind of people shall be representatives and legislators, and the argument of the gentleman from Doddridge I do not consider of effect upon this subject. He says he would not look at it whether he was a Methodist or Presbyterian or not. He may not do it, sir; but I say the world will do it and has done it from the foundation of the world to this time. They do look at it. Such prejudices as those do occupy the minds of men and have done it, and we are not beyond that period yet when that thing is done. I say their calling is a high and holy calling, and for that reason I say let them follow their calling. That is their proper sphere, and it is not in the political arena. We have seen in the history of the world that when you array church against church such a prejudice then as the gentleman from Kanawha says takes place as does not take place with regard to other subjects; and the greatest persecution that has ever been has originated from this prejudice in what were called religious denominations. I say it is because of the high estimation in which I hold the ministry that I am opposed to their meddling, belittling themselves to peddle in politics. If they are "called" to the ministry - which they should be, and are, no doubt - then they profess to be so, that is their legitimate calling, and I do not think providence intends them to occupy two at the same time - one that of politician, the other that of minister. Therefore, I am opposed to striking out the clause.
MR. LAMB. I want to say a word or two in regard to this matter. I shall vote for striking out, but not exactly for the reasons which have been alleged. I concur entirely in the position which has been taken that as a general thing it will be most decidedly improper for ministers to turn politicians and expose that sacred office in so polluted a sphere as politics have become. But I am disposed, with the high respect which I entertain for them, to leave that to themselves. There may be great emergencies in which it may be necessary for the people to call upon them in order that we may have our purest and best men at our command. If they turn themselves into the political arena unless it is an emergency of the kind, they will lose not only the confidence of their congregations as ministers of the gospel but they will not be elected by the people. If in a great emergency they are presented by their people as candidates for their suffrages, and the emergency justifies it, it is difficult enough, even in such circumstances, to induce them to serve; but in such a case they ought to be prepared to meet the call of the people they ought to be prepared to take a position which perhaps the welfare of the country may demand them to take.
In any case, whatever may be the disposition that may be made of this clause of the report, I hope that in regard to salaried officers of banks will be retained. It should be an emergency, indeed, that would justify an officer of a bank from having any part in political matters. In the ordinary sphere of legislation he ought not to intermeddle; or if he should be called upon to do so, he should resign his office.
I was very sorry to hear an intimation given by the gentleman from Wood, on my right, that looked something like an insinuation that the committee might have reported this provision with a view to keep as many candidates out of the field of office as possible, or that any member of the Convention was acting or could act on any such principle. I can only say that I certainly disclaim it, and I would never dream that any member of this Convention was acting on any such motive.
MR. BRUMFIELD. I move that we adjourn.
MR. STUART of Doddridge. Let us settle this question.
MR. BRUMFIELD. I would prefer it not to be settled tonight.
The motion to adjourn was put to vote and it was lost by a tie vote.
MR. HERVEY. On this question I call for the yeas and nays.
The question was then taken on the motion to strike out "ministers or priest of a religious denomination," and the motion was carried by the following vote:
YEAS - Messrs. Brown of Preston, Brooks, Battelle, Chapman, Dolly, Hansley, Haymond, Hervey, Hagar, Irvine, Lamb, Mahon, Parsons, Powell, Parker, Paxton, Pomeroy, Stevenson of Wood, Stuart of Doddridge, Taylor, Van Winkle - 21.
NAYS - Messrs. John Hall (President), Brown of Kanawha, Brumfield, Caldwell, Carskadon, Dering, Dille, E. B. Hall, Harrison, Hubbs, Montague, O'Brien, Sinsel, Sheets, Soper, Warder, Wilson - 17.
The question recurred on the motion to strike out "any salaried officer of a banking corporation or company."
Mr. Taylor renewed the motion to adjourn, but not being heard by the Chair.
MR. DERING. I move, Mr. President, that we do now adjourn.
The motion was agreed to, and the Convention adjourned.
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Chapter Eleven: First Constitutional Convention of West Virginia