July 24, 1861
The Debate in the Legislature Yesterday.
Yesterday, as all know who were present, there was quite a lively discussion in the House of Delegates, on the subject of a division of the State. Several gentlemen spoke at length, and we understand others are preparing to speak to the question to-morrow. Messrs. Zinn and Hooton of Preston, and Mr. Snyder of Monongalia, made very forcible speeches in favor of immediately taking the initiatory steps to secure a division. Mr. Miner, of Alexandria, was equally forcible in his opposition to such measures.
From what shows itself on the surface of the discussions in the House, we judge that no steps will be taken at this time for an immediate division. The Senate have expressed their opinion in a resolution declaring the division of the State desirable and ultimately inevitable, but at present inexpedient. There is probably a majority of the House in the same category, though many of the members are in favor of immediate action. It is true the House refused yesterday to indefinitely postpone, but that, we think, was to allow members to give expression to their views; and when they have all sufficiently layed themselves out before the country, we would not be surprised if some such a move kills off, for the present, the measure now before the House. The bill reported by the majority of the Committee on a Division of the State proposes to give its consent in advance to the Convention soon to re-assemble here, to any measures it may adopt to erect a new State. We suppose this would do just as well as to let the Convention first act and then get the consent of the Legislature afterwards, though it looks a little irregular – rather, cart-before-the-horse fashion. It is certainly a very speedy way of doing things, though, and shows that the advocates of immediate division are in earnest and that they mean business. If the Legislature should take a notion to pass the bill now before the House, and the Convention immediately on re-assembling should take action accordingly, and if the session of Congress should be prolonged sufficiently and other things conspire favorably, a new State government might be erected here in a very short time – almost before people could get ready for the happy change. The difficulty is, however, that it is exceedingly uncertain about the recognition, and doubtful in consequence of this whether the convention will be disposed to take any action on the subject. It is still further, apparent that the Legislature is not going to initiate the movement at all at this session, which of course, kills up the whole thing for the time being. We may be mistaken in the last remark, but think not.
Quite a number of spectators were in the lobby of the House yesterday – among them a number of ladies, all of whom showed a deep interest in the discussions. The debate comes up again to-day, and will probably be more interesting than yesterday. If the House do not adjourn to-day,(and we think it can not) we may expect this subject of a division of the State to receive a pretty extended ventillation [sic] before the end of the session.
Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: July 1861