Extracted from the Congressional Globe
Mr. WADE. I move to take up the bill for the admission of Western Virginia into the Union as a State, and I shall ask for its consideration now.
The motion was agreed to; and the bill (S. No. 365) providing for the admission of the State of West Virginia into the Union, was read a second time, and considered as in Committee of the Whole. By an act of the State of Virginia, passed May 13, 1862, entitled "An act giving the consent of the Legislature of Virginia to the formation and erection of a new State within the jurisdiction of this State," the people of that part of the State of Virginia including the counties of Hancock, Brooke, Ohio, Marshall, Wetzel, Marion, Monongalia, Preston, Taylor, Tyler, Pleasants, Ritchie, Doddridge, Harrison, Wood, Jackson, Wirt, Roane, Calhoun, Gilmer, Barbour, Tucker, Lewis, Braxton, Upshur, Randolph, Mason, Putnam, Kanawha, Clay, Nicholas, Cabell, Wayne, Boone, Logan, Wyoming, Mercer, McDowell, Webster, Pocahontas, Fayette, Raleigh, Greenbrier, Monroe, Pendleton, Hardy, Hampshire, and Morgan, did, with the consent of the Legislature of the State of Virginia, form themselves into an independent state, and did establish a constitution for the government of the same. The bill therefore proposes to admit the State of West Virginia into the Union on an equal footing with the original States in all respects whatever, upon the following conditions: that there shall be included within the State of West Virginia, in addition to the counties already enumerated in the preamble, the following counties, as laid off and defined by the Legislature of the State of Virginia: Berkeley, Jefferson, Clark, Frederick, Warren, Page, Shenandoah, Rockingham, Augusta, Highland, Bath, Rockbridge, Botetourt, Craig, and Alleghany; that the convention thereinafter provided for shall, in the constitution to be framed by it, make provision that from and after the 4th day of July, 1863, the children of all slaves born within the limits of the State shall be free.
The second section authorizes and empowers the people of the counties thereinbefore enumerated, qualified under the constitution of Virginia as electors, to vote for and choose representatives to form a convention for framing and adopting a constitution for a State by the name of West Virginia, or any other name the convention may adopt, in accordance with the provisions of this act; and all persons qualified for representatives to the Legislature of Virginia under the constitution thereof are to be qualified to be elected to the convention. The election for the representatives is to be held at such time at the usual places of voting in the several counties as the Governor of Virginia may direct and prescribe, and as soon as may be after the people thereof shall be relieved from the presence of armed insurgents; and the representatives to the convention are to be apportioned among the several counties as follows: Hancock, 1; Brooke, 1; Ohio, 3; Marshall, 2; Wetzel, 1; Marion, 2; Monongalia, 2; Preston, 2; Taylor, 1; Tyler, 1; Pleasants, 1; Ritchie, 1; Doddridge, 1; Harrison, 2; Wood, 2; Jackson, 1; Wirt, 1; Roane, 1; Calhoun, 1; Gilmer, 1; Barbour, 1; Tucker, 1; Lewis, 1; Braxton, 1; Upshur, 1; Randolph, 1; Mason, 1; Putnam, 1; Kanawha, 2; Clay, 1; Nicholas, 1; Cabell, 1; Wayne, 1; Boone, 1; Logan, 1; Wyoming, 1; Mercer, 1; McDowell, 1; Webster, 1; Pocahontas, 1; Fayette, 1; Raleigh, 1; Greenbrier, 2; Monroe, 2; Pendleton, 1; Hardy, 1; Hampshire, 2; Morgan, 1; Berkeley, 2; Jefferson, 2; Clark, 1; Frederick, 2; Warren, 1; Page, 1; Shenandoah, 2; Rockingham, 3; Augusta, 3; Highland, 1; Bath, 1; Rockbridge, 2; Botetourt, 1; Craig, 1; Alleghany, 1.
The third section enacts that the members of the convention elected under the provisions of this act shall meet at such place as the Governor of the State of Virginia shall designate, at as early a day after their election as may be practicable, and shall have power and authority to form a constitution and State government upon the conditions prescribed in this act, and not repugnant to the Constitution of the United States, which constitution so adopted by the convention shall be submitted to the people of the State of West Virginia for their adoption and ratification.
The fourth section enacts that upon the ratification of the constitution framed by the convention, and the public declaration by the Legislature of the State of Virginia assenting to the formation of the State of West Virginia under the provisions and conditions imposed by this act, it shall be the duty of the Governor thereof to transmit official evidence of the same to the President of the United States on or before the _____ day of ____ next, upon receipt whereof the President, by proclamation, shall announce the fact; whereupon, and without any further proceeding on the part of Congress, the admission of the State into the Union shall be considered as complete.
The fifth section declares that the State of West Virginia shall be entitled, until the next general census, to as many Representatives in the House of Representatives as the population thereof will authorize under the present apportionment.
Mr. SUMNER. The following is among the conditions on which West Virginia is to be admitted into the Union as a new State, viz: "the convention shall make provision that from and after the 4th day of July, 1863, the children of all slaves born within the limits of said State shall be free." Here is a condition; you undertake to impose a condition. This is clear. But, sir, be good enough to observe that this condition proposes to recognize the existence of slavery during the present generation. Short as life may be it is too long for slavery. If this condition be adopted, and the bill becomes a law, a new slave State will take its place in our Union; it may be but a few slaves only, and for the present generation only, but nevertheless a new slave State. That is enough. Sir, we all know that it takes but very little slavery to make a slave State with all the virus of slavery. Now, by my vote no new State shall come into this Union, and send Senators into this body with this virus. Enough have our public affairs been disturbed, and enough has the Constitution been poisoned. The time has come for the medicine. It will be found in the policy of Mr. Jefferson, originally applied to the great Territory of the Northwest. Its application to a portion of his own Virginia seeking to become a new State will be politic, just, and conservative.
I shall now move the honored Jeffersonian ordinance. On page 2, lines sixteen and seventeen of the bill, I move to strike out the words, "the children of all slaves born within the limits of said State shall be free," and insert in lieu thereof, "within the limits of the said State there shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, otherwise than in punishment of crime whereof the party shall be duly convicted;" so that the whole clause will read as follows:
That the convention hereinafter provided for, in the constitution framed by it, make provision that from and after the 4th day of July, 1863, within the limits of the said State there shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, otherwise than in the punishment of crimes whereof the party shall be duly convicted.
And on this question I ask for the yeas and nays.
The yeas and nays were ordered.
Mr. WILLEY. If it is in order, I offer an amendment to that amendment, striking out all after line two in the first section, and all of the bill except the fifth section, and inserting the following -
The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Chair will suggest that the amendment proposed by the Senator from Virginia is an amendment to the bill and not directly to the amendment proposed by the Senator from Massachusetts. Whether the amendment of the Senator from Massachusetts shall be adopted or rejected, it will then be in order to consider and act upon the amendment proposed by the Senator from Virginia. If the amendment of the Senator from Massachusetts shall be adopted, it will be in order to strike out the whole section embracing that amendment.
Mr. HALE. Having been upon the committee that reported this bill, and meaning to sustain the action of the committee, I shall vote against the amendment proposed by the honorable Senator from Massachusetts; and it may be proper even for so humble an individual as myself to make a brief explanation of the motives that operate on me in the vote I shall give -
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