*The Convention met at the usual hour, and after prayer by the Rev. Mr. Simmons, the journal of yesterday was read and approved.
*See note Vol. II, page 219.
Mr. Stuart of Doddridge, from the Committee on the Boundary, submitted the following report, which was laid on the table:
The Committee on the Boundary to whom were referred certain resolutions relating to the boundaries of the proposed new State, with instructions to report a provision to be inserted in the Constitution, embracing the substance of the said resolutions, and fully defining the said boundaries, respectfully submit the following for the consideration of the Convention.
By order of the Committee, C. J. STUART, chairman.
The following counties, formerly parts of the State of Virginia, as the same have been heretofore laid off and established by authority thereof, namely: the counties of Hancock, Brooke, Ohio, Marshall, Wetzel, Marion, Monongalia, Preston, Taylor, Pleasants, Tyler, 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 and Monroe, shall be included in and form part of the State of West Virginia. And if a majority of the voters of the district composed of the counties of Pendleton, Hardy, Hampshire, Morgan, Berkley, Jefferson and Frederick, voting at an election or elections held as provided in the schedule hereof, and a majority of the voters of each of any four of the said seven counties, voting as aforesaid, shall vote for the adoption of this Constitution, then all the said counties shall also be included in and form part of the State of West Virginia; but if the result of said election or elections is otherwise, and a majority of the voters of the district composed of the said counties of Pendleton, Hardy, Hampshire and Morgan voting at the said election or elections, and a majority of the voters of any three of the four counties last named; shall nevertheless vote for the adoption of this Constitution then only the said counties of Pendleton, Hardy, Hampshire and Morgan shall also be included in and form part of the State of West Virginia. The said State shall also include so much of the bed, banks and shores of the Ohio river as heretofore appertained to the State of Virginia; and the territorial right and property in, and the jurisdiction, of whatever nature, over the said bed, banks and shores heretofore reserved by and vested in the State of Virginia, shall vest in and be hereafter exercised by the State of West Virginia."
Mr. Van Winkle then moved to take up the resolutions submitted by him on yesterday, which was agreed to.
Mr. Ruffner moved to amend the 1st resolution by striking out all after the word "Virginia," in the 5th line, to the end of the 9th line, and also the words "upon the issuing of the said proclamation," which was adopted.
And the question being upon the adoption of the 1st resolution, as amended, the yeas and nays were demanded, and the demand being sustained, the motion was decided in the affirmative - yeas 39, nays 7.
And on motion of Mr. Brown of Kanawha, the vote was recorded as follows:
YEAS - Messrs. John Hall (President), Brown of Preston, Brumfield, Battelle, Caldwell, Carskadon, Cook, Dering, Dille, Dolly, Hansley, Hall of Marion, Haymond, Hubbs, Hervey, Hagar, Hoback, Irvine, Lamb, Lauck, Mahon, O'Brien, Parsons, Powell, Pomeroy, Ruffner, Ryan, Sinsel, Simmons, Stevenson of Wood, Stewart of Wirt, Sheets, Stuart of Doddridge, Soper, Smith, Taylor, Van Winkle, Warder, Wilson - 39.
NAYS - Messrs. Brown of Kanawha, Harrison, Montague, McCutchen, Parker, Stephenson of Clay, Walker - 7.
Mr. Van Winkle moved to amend the 2nd resolution by striking out the words "within days thereafter," and insert the words "as soon as the result is ascertained," which motion was adopted.
Mr. Stuart of Doddridge, moved to strike out all after the words "set forth," in the 7th line.
Mr. Ruffner moved to strike out all after the word "State," in the 3rd line, to the word "at," in the 4th line, and all after the word "session" to the end of the resolution, and the amendment to the amendment was rejected, after which,
The motion of Mr. Stuart of Doddridge was disagreed to.
And the second resolution adopted as amended. The 3rd, 4th and 5th resolutions were then read and respectively adopted.
The question then being upon the adoption of the report of the Committee on Fundamental and General Provisions as amended,
Mr. Hall of Marion, moved further to amend the same by striking out the word "five," in the 66th line, which was disagreed to.
On motion of Mr. Van Winkle, the following words, accidentally omitted in printing, were inserted after the word "comfort," in the 64th line: "No person shall be convicted of treason, unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or confession in open court."
Mr. Van Winkle moved to amend the 79th line by adding at the end thereof, the words "and of all township officers, on the 4th Thursday of May."
Mr. Pomeroy moved to amend the amendment by inserting "first Thursday of April."
And the question being upon the amendment to the amendment, it was decided in the negative. Mr. Van Winkle's amendment was then rejected. Mr. Van Winkle moved to amend the 84th line by striking out the words "and appointment," which was agreed to.
By general consent, the words "in elective offices," in the 85th line, were stricken out.
Mr. Lamb moved to insert after the word "officers," in the 78th line the following: "and of the members of both houses of the legislature," which was agreed to.
Mr. Brown of Kanawha, moved to amend the 78th line by inserting after the word "county" the words "and townships," which was rejected.
Mr. Caldwell moved to amend the 95th line by inserting after the word "contract" the words "or remedies," and the question was put and decided in the negative.
On motion of Mr. Van Winkle, the words "or instituted in" were inserted in the 130th line, after the word "to."
On motion of Mr. Brown of Kanawha, the 23rd section was amended by striking out the first sentence.
Mr. Stuart of Doddridge, moved to amend the 139th line by striking out all after the word "true" to the word "the," in the 140th line.
Mr. Sinsel moved to amend the amendment by striking out the whole of the 23rd section, which was disagreed to.
The motion of Mr. Stuart was then decided in the negative.
On motion of Mr. Van Winkle the Committee on Printing and Expenditures were granted leave to make a verbal report. Whereupon,
Mr. Stevenson of Wood, chairman of said committee, reported, that the committee had had under consideration, the resolution referred to them on yesterday, and that no further appropriation will be required to accomplish the purposes named in said resolution.
The hour of 12:30 o'clock having arrived, the Convention took a recess.
The Convention re-assembled.
Mr. Van Winkle moved to rescind the 4th resolution and so much of the 5th resolution as relates to the estimate of the Committee on Printing and Expenditures, which were adopted this morning, and the motion was agreed to.
On motion of Mr. Van Winkle the following clause was inserted in the report of the Committee on Fundamental and General Provisions at the end of the 69th line. "All private rights and interests in lands within this State, derived from the laws of Virginia prior to the time this Constitution goes into operation, shall remain valid and secure under the laws of this State, and shall be determined by the laws then existing in the State of Virginia."
Mr. Van Winkle moved to amend the 28th section by striking out all after the word "taxes," in the 178th line, to the word "or," in the 180th line, and all after the word "taxes," in the 181st line, to the words "as well," in the 182nd line, which was agreed to.
Mr. Van Winkle moved to take up the report of the Committee on the Boundary on its second reading, which was agreed to.
Mr. Van Winkle then moved that said report be adopted, and inserted as the 2nd section of the report of the Committee on Fundamental and General Provisions.
Mr. Hall of Marion moved to amend the same by striking out all the second sentence and inserting the following:
"And if a majority of the votes cast at an election or elections held as provided in the schedule hereof in the district composed of the counties of Pendleton, Hardy, Hampshire and Morgan, shall be in favor of the adoption of this Constitution, then the said four counties shall also be included in and form part of the State of West Virginia, and if the same shall be so included, and a majority of the votes cast at the said election or elections in the district composed of the counties of Berkeley, Jefferson and Frederick, shall be in favor of the adoption of this Constitution then the said counties shall also be included in and form part of the State of West Virginia."
And the question being upon the adoption of this amendment it was decided in the affirmative.
Mr. Brown of Kanawha, moved further to amend the same by inserting, at the end of the second sentence, the following: "The counties of Lee, Scott, Wise, Russell, Buchanan, Tazewell, Bland, Giles, Craig, Allegheny, Bath, Highland, London, Alexandria, Fairfax, Northampton and Accomac shall constitute part of the State of West Virginia, if a majority of the votes cast at the election for the purpose and a majority of the said counties be in favor of the adoption of this Constitution."
MR. HAYMOND. I am opposed to taking in any more territory. I was opposed to going beyond the Allegheny mountains; and I never can and never will vote to add another inch of territory to our State. If they take in those counties, West Virginia will be gone. I am satisfied no friend of West Virginia will give one vote for the resolution. Take in those counties, and West Virginia is gone and our labors here are at an end, and I, for one, would be ready to go home.
MR. DERING. I am exceedingly sorry, sir, that this boundary question has been opened up and made subject to the amendments which gentlemen have sought to make in it. But I must oppose with all my might and main the amendment of the gentleman from Kanawha. I concur most heartily, sir, in the view taken by my friend from Marion, that it is one of the most fatal measures to the creation of a new state in western Virginia that could be introduced into this Convention. What, sir, take in a tier of counties in old Virginia that would at once control us again; take in a tier of counties that would legislate in behalf of their own interests and whose interests would be in entire contradistinction to ours? Sir, for one, I will never consent to it. I am sorry, sir, that I did not let this report stand as it came from the hands of the committee. I do not want to reiterate the argument that we have used before in this Convention. I do not want to see that contest all gone over again. But I desire to say now that I believe firmly that if you pass this resolution to include the counties indicated by the motion of the gentleman from Kanawha, you sound the death knell of the new State of West Virginia; and I as firmly believe as that we are standing here that if you include those counties we may all as well go home and let this whole thing go. I do verily believe it is the most fatal measure to the creation of a new State that could be introduced into this Convention. I do trust, sir, that it will be the pleasure of this Convention to adhere to the report; that they do not move the boundaries one single inch farther than they have been moved, and that we will remain with the report just as it is. With our prospects somewhat beclouded and dimmed already in reference to a new State, this would be capping the climax and fixing it unalterably against us. By that we could get no new State at all in my opinion. I trust, sir, we will leave it as it is without any annexation of additional territory.
MR. BATTELLE. I was going to suggest to the gentleman from Kanawha that he was entirely too modest in his request. You just ought to take in the whole State.
MR. BROWN of Kanawha. I am a modest man. I do not know whether I can accord it though to the gentleman as indicated by his remark. I do not propose to take even the half of Virginia, but I hold, sir, it is our duty to do it. The true division line of the State of Virginia is the Blue Ridge; and this amendment does not contemplate only half the valley. You, sir, I presume, have voted - I do not know - for the tier of counties from Winchester to Bath. I only keep on down to the Tennessee line. And, sir, if it was any lack of modesty to take this lower half, what was it to take the upper which is twice as big? I would say to the gentleman from Monongalia who seems to be so very zealous on the subject - who tells us it is his opinion if we permit those counties to come in the new State will be lost - 1 do not take them. I hope the Convention will understand that we do not propose to take them. We only say to them, like we have said to other counties, if they are willing to come in, likely they may have the privilege of doing it. There is no harm done to anybody, and I am satisfied they will never harm us. If they don't wish to come in they will not do it. I wish to say to the gentleman, whose honest opinion as he tells us, is that if they do vote in, or if we extend to them the privilege to vote in, they will destroy the prospects of the new State, that I hope the opinion of one gentleman may be worth as much as that of any other, and it is my opinion that it will not only not destroy the new State but would add to its prospects of success. I feel, sir, as deep an interest in this State as you or any other man. I have done as much, said as much, besought for it as long and faithfully, and expect to do it to the end. I yield to none. Gentlemen may make their professions to the world but I care not a fig for their professions - not intending any disrespect; but I wish to be understood that there are other men who have something at stake in this new State as well as they; that we in the south have some interest in it, and some friendly feeling for our natural relatives and brethren; and that when we are standing up for the privilege that they may stand by us and be with us, we do not think it comes in good taste for gentlemen to keep telling us we are the enemies of the new State and indicating it and that they are par excellence its friends. Why, sir, if we expect to get a state, we must expect to do it by doing it fairly and justly and honestly before the world; and if we assemble here in one little corner to form a new State, it ought to be done by even-handed justice that will commend itself not only to the approval of those to whom we extend the opportunity but also to the approval of the world. We ought not to act on any narrow-minded and contracted and selfish motive. We should look to the interests of those other people who are similarly situated; who are bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh; West Virginians as much as we, as true as we are; who have stood by us and battled for the right and that we have battled for; and when we choose to adopt and appropriate that name to ourselves, it don't become us to say at the same time that we will exclude one-half of those who have always worn it with us in common. Now, sir, where are the interests of those people? Is it not in forming a new state that you wish to be a respectable state, equal at least in quality with the residue of the State; that we shall have one in wealth, numbers and population - in everything that constitutes a noble and energetic new state, equal to that which remains of the old ? The Blue Ridge, sir, has been the boundary line between us; and here it is proposed that we shall cut off one-half of those and refuse to give them the privilege of joining with us. I do not ask a single man to enter this State that does not want to do it; but I do say if there is a loyal man within the boundaries of West Virginia, I want to take him by the right hand and say, "Sir, you are my brother, I am willing to stand or fall by you against the world." I have no better friends than these people who will desire to come with us. If they do not, I hope we shall ever continue friends still and neighbors, too.
MR. HERVEY. I apprehend the representatives from Northampton and Accomac will hardly thank the gentleman from Kanawha for his zeal. I do not think they want to remain with us or with Virginia at all. I was in the senate today and there was a proposition introduced there by the senator of that district asking the Legislature of Virginia to authorize a vote to be taken in those two counties, Accomac and Northhampton, with a view to annexing themselves to Maryland. Now, that is their wish; their representatives have spoken on that subject, and I have no objections. I know the gentleman from Kanawha has none in allowing them to choose their own destiny. If they want to go to Maryland, I would say: "Go, gentlemen, and peace go with you." But under these circumstances I have no disposition at all apart from the question of extending to them such an invitation as is here proposed. They are disconnected from us. This Convention has adopted a proposition saying that the counties of Frederick, Jefferson, etc., shall not become a part of this State, unless the intervening counties are included. Now, here is a proposition to take in territory laying away out east on the other side of the whole state - even beyond the Chesapeake Bay, bordering the Atlantic Ocean on one side and extending south farther than the city of Richmond; farther even than the ancient capital of Williamsburg; farther east than any other part of the territory of Virginia, and disconnected by some two hundred miles of the territory and waters of Maryland and Virginia from Fairfax county, the county farthest east named in the proposition lying this side the Chesapeake Bay. That disconnection, of course, would make it impossible, if it were not made so by every other reasonable consideration. If motives of philanthropy alone are to control, let the bird of philanthropy take its full flight and extend an invitation to the whole State of Virginia to come in if they choose. An invitation of this kind was extended in 1861 when we were about to reorganize the Virginia government. You know how it was responded to. But let the gentleman propose to extend an invitation to every county in the state, and then he will be consistent.
MR. BATTELLE. I regret that the gentleman from Kanawaha took my pleasantry so seriously.
MR. BROWN of Kanawha. Not at all, sir.
MR. BATTELLE. I can scarcely regret it, either, since it brought out such a fine burst of eloquence. But the suggestion was based on the incongruity of the thing, attaching us to Lee, Scott, Wise, Russell, Buchanan, Tazewell, Bland, Giles, Craig, Allegheny, Bath, Highland, London, Alexandria, Fairfax, Northampton and Accomac, and seeing what a figure the new State would make on the map suggested a rather comical idea to my mind and led me to make the remark I did. I had supposed it was an indispensable and very desirable characteristic of the boundaries of a state that there should be compactness of territory.
MR. BROWN. I contemplated that Accomac and Northampton will seek a connection with the State of Maryland. Unless we take them in, they will have no opportunity of accomplishing their objects; and I contemplate that the western counties of Maryland - Washington, Allegheny, etc., will seek connection with us, and by the interchange a mutual benefit may be obtained.
MR. BATTELLE. That was the idea - that it would present a very singular figure on the map. I certainly did not question the devotion of the gentleman to the new State that we are creating here. But I will suggest to the) gentleman that if - to use his own language - "equal and exact justice" is to characterize our measures here, it does seem to me a little doubtful about the justice, while the Old Dominion is in duress, of stretching our arms across her territory and across her great bay to take a part of her territory in no way connected with us or necessary to us, over which at present she has no control.
MR. DERING. I desire to reiterate my opinion again, and that, sir, every gentleman has a right to do on this floor - to give us his opinion and the effect of any amendment or proposition that is made by any gentleman here, and I claim that in that respect I am the peer of any gentleman here so far as my rights are concerned on this floor.
MR. BROWN. I hope my friend will not suppose I either questioned or doubted the fact.
MR. DERING. I do verily believe that it will be the effect of this amendment if adopted that it will cast forever in gloom, and defeat forever, the creation of a State in West Virginia. Take in Wayne and Russell and Wise and Buchanan, Northampton and Accomac, and you take in an element with them that would produce destruction and distraction for all time to come, if that territory were embraced in the same organization with the territory we now propose to incorporate in this State. Why, sir, I would sooner go back to old Virginia again and be together as we were before. What was the vote of those counties on the ordinance of secession. Why, sir, it was overwhelmingly in favor of the ordinance. Do you wish to embrace an element of discord, that will forever keep us in hot water? An element that cannot if it would always but be bitter against us in legislation. Do you wish to embrace an element that looks upon us in the west as a set of , who know very little, like wild men of the forest, out here in West Virginia? There is no similarity of taste, feelings or ideas existing between us; no homogeneity whatever. We are distinct in everything - in commerce, in ideas, in feelings, in territory and everything else; and we ought to be, and we must be, I hope, too, a separate and distinct people. Sir, I trust we never shall be allied again with old Virginia, and this is a large part of it that the gentleman's amendment endeavors to bring in, as I think, not arbitrarily but by the vote of that people.
The vote by yeas and nays was demanded by Mr. Brown, and being taken the amendment was rejected by the following vote:
YEAS - Messrs. John Hall (President), Brown of Kanawha, Chapman, Garskadon, Dolly, Hubbs, Montague, McCutchen, Simmons, Stephenson of Clay, Sheets, Smith, Taylor - 13.
NAYS - Messrs. Brown of Preston, Brumfield, Battelle, Caldwell, Dering, Dille, Hansley, Hall of Marion, Haymond, Harrison, Hervey, Irvine, Lamb, O'Brien, Parsons, Powell, Paxton, Pomeroy, Robinson, Ryan, Sinsel, Stevenson of Wood, Stewart of Wirt, Soper, Trainer, Van Winkle, Warder, Wilson - 28.
*On motion of Mr. Powell, the Convention adjourned.
*See note Vol. II, page 219.
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Chapter Eleven: First Constitutional Convention of West Virginia