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Reorganized Government
General Assembly of Virginia

July 17, 1861

House of Delegates met at 10 A. M.

Prayer by Rev. Mr. Kelly, of the M. E. Church.

The following message of the Governor, with the accompanying letter, was received, read and ordered to be printed:

WHEELING, July 17th, 1861.

To the General Assembly of Virginia:

GENTLEMEN: I herewith enclose you a circular letter from His Excellency, Gov. Randall, of Wisconsin. I commend to your favorable consideration; the suggestions of the circular. Our laws make no provisions for the purposes contemplated in the letter. Would it not accord with the principles of humanity, as therein suggested, to pass an act authorizing the Executive to appoint such commissioners as he may deem necessary, with such pay as you shall fix upon, per month, or otherwise; also, authorizing the payment of such expenses as may be necessary to carry out the humane object named in the letter.


MADISON, WIS., July 4th, 1861.

To His Excellency the Governor of Virginia:

DEAR SIR: It seems to be assumed that the moment one of our citizens enlists as a soldier in the service of the United States, he loses to a certain extent his citizenship, and that he is entitled to but little further consideration. This has been at all times an inhuman error, but at this time it is doubly so. The men who have enlisted as soldiers in the present war have not done so for the pay of the soldier, nor because they were out of employment. The men who fill the armies of the United States today enlisted with the patriotic purpose of putting down a wicked rebellion, and maintaining the integrity of the Federal Government. They are our neighbors and fellow citizens, who, braver than we, go to endure the privations of camp; and to brave the dangers of the battle field, not only for themselves but for us. From Wisconsin - and I doubt not the same may be said of all the loyal States - all classes and conditions of men, men of all professions and avocations and employments of life, swell the ranks of our Regiments. There is scarcely a soldier but leaves behind him a family or social circle broken by his absence. In every conceivable way they make great sacrifices. They carry the honor of their respective States with them., and are pledged to uphold that honor, as well as to punish rebellion.. They are entitled to our greatest consideration and care. Whoever defrauds a patriotic, liberty-loving, government-loving soldier, is a thief. So far as possible, the several States should do and are doing all in their power to send their Regiments forward well uniformed and provided for the service in which they are to engage. I feel impelled to submit that the duties of the authorities of the several States toward the stalwart-hearted men who go to do our battles for us, do not and cannot end here. The history of all wars tells us that both during their continuance and after their close, thousands of soldiers sick and diseased and maimed, go wandering homeward, suffering with privation and want, begging their weary way, and meeting that curious public gaze, which has no sympathy or kindness in it. Each State has a reversionary interest in the citizen soldiers who represent it, and each States owes to itself and to every soldier, obligation to take care of that interest.

I have determined, in behalf of Wisconsin, to send with each Regiment, men whose sole business it shall be to stay with the Regiment, look after its welfare, and to see that every man who, from sickness or the casualties of war, becomes so far disabled that he can no longer endure the fatigues or perform the duties of the camp or field, shall be safely and comfortably returned to this State, and to his family or friends. In health or sickness, in triumph or defeat, these men are our's and our country's, and our obligations and hopes equally go with them. May I invite you to co-operate in this movement? The agents appointed by and for the several States, for these purposes, can, to a very large extent, act in concert, and aid each other. I cannot doubt but that by a proper effort, all Railroad and Steamboat Companies, touched by the humanity of the object, can be induced to pass all disabled persons free, upon a certificate from the proper responsible authority, that as such they were honorably discharged from service. The expenses will be comparatively light, and the good to result, incalculable.

Very Respectfully,

Senate bill No. 2, to amend the 1st section of chapter 150 of the code, so as to extend the jurisdiction of civil magistrates to cases involving sums of $100, was taken up.

Mr. DAVIS renewed the motion he had made when the bill was first introduced to postpone it indefinitely.

A discussion of considerable length ensued, in which Messrs. Davis, Smith, Arnold and Porter favored, and Messrs. Boreman, West, Hooton and Snyder opposed the postponement.

The question being taken on the postponement by yeas and nays, resulted, yeas 12, nays 19.

So the motion to postpone was lost.

Mr. SMITH moved that the bill lie upon the table until morning, which was agreed to.

Senate bill No. 4, re-arranging the 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st Judicial Circuits, and the 9th and 20th Judicial Districts, was read and referred to the Committee on Courts of Justice.

Senate bill No. 3, to amend and re-enact the 2d and 9th sections of the 42d chapter of the code was also read and committed.

A message was received from the Senate transmitting the following resolution:

Resolved, With the consent of the House of Delegates that when the Senate adjourn on Saturday, the 20th inst., it adjourn sine die.

Mr. PORTER moved to proceed to the consideration of the resolution.

Mr. WEST. - Thought the resolution entirely unnecessary, in thus restricting them to a limited time for the performance of their duties. It seemed to express a distrust of the members. He supposed not a member present but was desirous of getting the business closed at as early a day as possible but why should they be limited in time. He moved to lay the resolution on the table, but afterwards withdrew the motion, and moved to amend by substituting Wednesday next.

Mr. SMITH, like the gentleman from Wetzel, thought it unnecessary to prescribe a limit to the time the Legislature should have to finish its business. He was as desirous as any one of going home, but he was more desirous that their business should be first properly finished up. He suggested that two day of next week would be sufficient.

Mr. HOOTON said no member was more desirous than he of going home. The rebel army was in his county, had been in his village, and perhaps, in his house. Nevertheless, he was anxious that they should not adjourn until the business for which they were there, was finished. There was one question, an all absorbing one to his constituents, not yet attended to, and that was the taking of the initiatory steps for a division of the State. That question alone would require several days consideration. He regarded that as one of the most important questions they would have to act upon. The whole country was looking to them for action on that subject and he thought an adjournment without its consideration must meet with strong condemnation.

Mr. PORTER thought they could do anything that ought to be done, by Saturday night. He had come to the conclusion long ago, that, as some one had said, "the world is governed entirely too much." He thought they were not now doing very much; they were here at a considerable expense to the State; and he thought there was no necessity of staying here on expense, with nothing to do but to talk. They had elected Senators, who had been recognized, and that was glory enough for one short session. The appropriation bill was ready, and he had no doubt they could get through by Saturday night.

Mr. VANCE fully concurred in the remarks of the gentleman from Hancock. He believed there was, in general, too much legislation. He had discovered that the longer they stayed here, the more business there was before them, and if they waited until it was finished, they would never get away. He was just returned from an absence among his constituents, and he knew they wanted the Legislature to adjourn. He thought they had done enough, and a little too much, already.

Mr. FARNSWORTH said it was true he was in favor of taking steps for the formation of a new State, perhaps as much so as any member of the Legislature, but he was also in favor of an early adjournment. He thought even if they adjourned on Saturday, the could take into consideration the propriety of going into the formation of a new State, without conflicting with the arrangement of an adjournment. He heartily concurred with his friend from Hancock, that there was a great deal too much legislation, and he was in favor of adjourning and going home. The world had not been created in a day, neither could they do all the legislating for the State in this short extra session. It was presumable that this was not to be the last time the Virginia Legislature would assemble, and he wanted to leave something to be done at the regular session next winter.

The question on the amendment substituting Wednesday instead of Saturday being taken, the amendment was adopted.

The resolution as amended was adopted, and the Senate ordered to be notified.

Mr. PORTER, from the Finance Committee, to whom was referred a resolution instructing the Committee to inquire into the expediency of reporting a bill to refund to the Sheriff of Brooke county money overpaid by him, into the Auditors office for 1860, returned the same with the report that they deem it inexpedient to legislate on the subject.

He, also, from the same Committee, reported a bill authorizing the Treasurer of the Commonwealth to sell uncurrent bank notes, and authorizing the Governor to direct what bank notes shall be receivable in payment to the State.

Also a bill appropriating the public revenue for the fiscal years of 1860-1, and part of 1861-2.

The bills were both read by their titles, and ordered to be printed.

Mr. KRAMAR, from the Committee on Military affairs, reported a bill altering the compensation of the Adjutant General.

Also a bill authorizing the County Court of Brooke county to make an appropriation sufficient to reimburse private citizens for sums advanced to Volunteer Companies.

Also, from the same committee to whom it was referred, a resolution to inquire into the expediency of increasing the pay of privates in the Government service of the State to $16 per month, with a resolution that it is inexpedient to legislate on the subject at the present time.

Mr. Parsons offered the following resolution, which was adopted:

Resolved, That the Committee on Courts of Justice be instructed to inquire into the expediency of reporting a bill requesting the Governor to issue his proclamation requiring all citizens of the Commonwealth who have voluntarily joined the rebel army to disband within thirty days and return to their allegiance, and enacting that all who refuse to comply with the demand shall be considered aliens, their property confiscated and they compelled to leave the State.

Mr. PARSONS said the bill No. 5, authorizing the organization of patrols had lain upon the table a long time, and he was afraid it would be entirely passed by. The rebel forces were now driven out of the country but the federal forces were also gone in pursuit of them. The secessionists who had stayed at home now that they were relieved from the wholesome fear of the federal troops would soon become more mischievous and dangerous than at first, unless some measures were adopted to keep them in check. This was especially the case in his own county, and indeed, in all those surrounding. Since the rout of the secession army many of the secession troops had returned to their homes, and unless something should be done Union men would be in a worse condition than before.

The CHAIR said that when the House adjourned yesterday afternoon the bill providing for a stay law was pending, and that bill now came up as unfinished business.

Mr. ARNOLD moved that the unfinished business be postponed for the purpose of considering the bill regulating the salaries of the officers of the branch of the Exchange Bank at Weston. Lost.

The hour of twelve having arrived the consideration of the unfinished business was passed by, and the House adjourned.


The House resumed the consideration of the substitute for the Senate bill enacting a stay law, and after a protracted discussion it was ordered to be laid on the table until morning, and the amendment printed.

Mr. BOREMAN moved that the bill authorizing the appointment of patrols be made the order of the day for to-morrow at two o'clock, which motion was adopted.

Mr. ARNOLD moved that the bill regulating the salaries of the officers of the Exchange Bank at Weston be put upon its passage.

The bill was taken up, read a third time and passed. It provides that the President's salary shall not exceed $500; the cashier's, $1,500; the first clerk's $600, and the second clerk's $300.

The House then adjourned.


On motion of Mr. Flesher, the substitute for the joint resolution, in relation to the $27,000 taken from Weston, was laid on the table ordered to be printed and made the special order for to-morrow.

A communication from the Governor, alluded to elsewhere, in the House proceedings, was read and referred to the Committee on Courts of Justice and General Laws.

Mr. STEWART offered a resolution that when the Senate adjourn on Saturday, the 20th, it adjourn sine die. Adopted.

[This resolution was sent to the house and amended by the insertion of Wednesday next, and the Senate concurred in the amendment.]

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Chapter Eight: Legislature of the Reorganized Government of Virginia

West Virginia Archives and History