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Debates and Proceedings
of the
First Constitutional Convention
of West Virginia

February 18, 1863

The Convention was opened with prayer by Rev. Joseph S. Pomeroy, member from Hancock.

Following the reading of the journal, Mr. Dering moved that $500 worth of the Amended Constitution be printed by the Executive Committee for distribution among the people. This was agreed to when

MR. VAN WINKLE reminded the Convention that the Constitution, as amended, had not yet been adopted by the Convention. He said:

We have voted on the amendment, and the question recurs now, according to parliamentary usage, on the adoption of the Constitution as amended. I therefore move it.

MR. BROWN of Kanawha. There is one thing that strikes me. It will be borne in mind that there are several provisions about the legislative department, the senate and the judiciary which embrace counties that have not come into the State. Therefore, there are clauses standing in those sections that have reference to counties under the apprehension that they would come in, and if they did the number of the house of delegates would be so much (42, 45 and soon). It occurs to me we ought to leave out those parts which really are no portion of the Constitution, just as the gentleman from Marion has suggested in regard to the 7th section for which we have substituted the Congressional section. We are not now adopting, as I understand, those clauses that relate to those counties that did not choose to come in with us, and to our people when they read it in its present shape it will create confusion. To those of us who understand it it does not. I should like to see it go out perfect, free from mistakes of matter.

MR. VAN WINKLE. I should think, Mr. President, it is still open for those counties to come in if they take a vote under the late act of the legislature, and as to those words remaining in the Constitution, it can do no harm, and if we take them out it might be said to be an alteration in the Constitution; and I think the matter had better remain as it is.

I would like to say my motion to adopt the Constitution as amended must not be understood to include the schedule. It is necessary that portions of that schedule be engrossed. It is only an ordinance. The motion is that the Constitution as amended be adopted, it being understood that the schedule is to be no part of the Constitution.

MR. LAMB. The gentleman from Kanawha will see in attempting to reduce his suggestion to practice that it will be impracticable. Let him look, for instance, at the last clause of the 14th section, page 10: "The number of the house of delegates shall be in the first case 57 and in the last 52." So if he will look at any other of the provisions he will see the alterations could not be introduced without a long explanation, which would tend to confuse the matter more than the Constitution as it is.

MR. BROWN of Kanawha. I must be content to take it as it is. I suppose the new schedule will be printed with the Constitution, as the one that puts it into operation.

MR. STEVENSON of Wood. I understand the motion to be that the printing committee be instructed to print as many copies as $500 will pay for.

MR. VAN WINKLE. That was passed.

THE PRESIDENT. The question is on the motion of the gentleman from Wood, to adopt the Constitution as amended by the substitution of a new section 7 of article XI for the old one.

Mr. Lamb asked for the yeas and nays; and the roll being called the votes on the motion to adopt resulted as follows:

YEAS - Messrs. Soper (President), Brown of Kanawha, Brown of Preston, Boggs, Brumfield, Chapman, Caldwell, Carskadon, Cook, Dering, Dille, Dolly, Griffith, Gibson, Hall, Harrison, Hervey, Hubbs, Hagar, Irvine, Lamb, Lauck, Montague, Mahon, McCutchen, Mann, O'Brien, Paxton, Parsons, Powell, Parker, Pomeroy, Pinnell, Ruffner, Ryan, Ross, Sinsel, Simmons, Stevenson of Wood, Stephenson of Clay, Stewart of Wirt, Stuart of Doddridge, Sheets, Smith, Taylor, Tichenell, Trainer, Van Winkle, Walker, Warder, Wilson, and Wheat - 52.

NAYS - None.

So the Amended Constitution was unanimously adopted.

MR. PARSONS. I move that this Convention adjourn Friday, 20th.

MR. STEVENSON of Wood. I was going to suggest that the absent members have liberty to record their votes at any time during the session.

MR. POWELL. I would like to take until Friday. I move to lay the resolution on the table for the present. We had better get through and then adjourn, whenever that may be.

The motion to lay on the table was agreed to.

MR. LAMB. Mr. President, a resolution was passed by the Convention instructing the Committee on Revision to report an address on behalf of the Convention to the people of West Virginia explaining the principal measures adopted and the reasons for the same and examining the objections made to the new State. The committee are ready to comply with the resolution. They have an address here which I will request Mr. Van Winkle to read. The address was accordingly read by Mr. Van Winkle as follows:

(See Appendix for Address Issued by the Convention)

MR. STEVENSON of Wood. I would offer a resolution in regard to the address and ask the Secretary to read it. The Secretary read as follows:

"RESOLVED, that the address reported by the Committee on Revision be adopted by the Convention and signed by the President and Secretary and ten thousand copies printed for distribution among the people of West Virginia."

The resolution was adopted.

Mr. Dering offered the following. I trust, he said, it will be considered a peace offering by our friends from the southwestern part of the State and will be unanimous:

"RESOLVED, That this Convention respectfully ask the Congress of the United States to appropriate two millions of dollars to aid West Virginia in emancipating her slaves."

MR. DERING. It seems to me, Mr. President, that resolution contemplates all that our friends from the Kanawha country could reasonably ask for. It instantly recognizes the doctrine that the State is bound to see her slaveholders compensated for the loss of property taken for public uses. It seems to me it is a fair compromise and one which gentlemen from all sections can properly and justly to their constituents and themselves adopt. It comes in and asks Congress to do what they are proposing to do in other directions. It obviates any difficulty on their part then that we might make a proposition of our own to provide compensation for our slaves; it asks Congress to do so. If the resolution before the Convention yesterday had been passed Congress, in my opinion, would not have given us any aid. They would have said this Convention has provided a mode by which the slaveholders of West Virginia can get aid from her own citizens. Then in justice, we ask Congress to do for us just what she will do for Maryland, Kentucky and Missouri. It seems to me it is a reasonable request. Our representatives can meet it and do all they can to promote its object. I trust therefore this Convention will take this resolution, offered as a compromise and that it will be unanimously adopted by the whole Convention.

MR. CALDWELL. I trust, sir, with my friend we will adopt the suggestion; that he will strike out the sum designated and substitute something like this; request Congress to appropriate a sum adequate for the purpose without designating the sum. Some of the members of the Convention think the sum is too high, and there may be others who think it too small; and I think in the form I have suggested there is not a member but what would vote for it.

MR. DERING. I would suggest a modification. I do not know whether the word "aid" is in there; but it recognizes the doctrine that we are bound to see that they have compensation for their slaves. I acknowledged that in my few remarks the other day and every member of the Convention almost acknowledged it; and we understandingly put that fact in the resolution. It seems to me it is a proposition the gentleman from Marshall would very justly approbate. Gentlemen may vary the sum if they see proper. I have no objection to that; but it seems to me that is the proper form for the resolution. You may leave the sum blank if you see proper.

MR. CALDWELL. I change my suggestion then, sir, that the sum be stricken out and leave the amount blank, to be filled as Congress may please.

MR. WHEAT. On that question, I wish to make a few remarks.

MR. SINSEL. I would ask now that the former rules of this Convention be enforced in this discussion - only ten and five minutes speeches.

MR. STEVENSON of Wood. With the gentleman's permission, just a moment, I wish to suggest to the mover of the resolution whether it would not be better to alter the phraseology or language a little by instead of saying "...........dollars to aid West Virginia" say "to make an appropriation to aid West Virginia in providing compensation for the slaves," etc.

MR. SMITH. That will be better.

MR. DERING. I will accept the modification. Let it read "request Congress to make an appropriation to aid West Virginia in compensating the owners of slaves emancipated, etc."

MR. SMITH. I understand this to be offered as a peace offering, something for the southwestern portion of West Virginia. Now the suggestion made by the gentleman from Wood is much more acceptable to me than the original proposition: "to aid West Virginia in making compensation for the slaves emancipated."

MR. HERVEY. Let me appeal to the gentleman from Morgan to let the vote be taken on this question.

MR. POMEROY. He has not made a speech. He desires to do so.

MR. STUART of Doddridge. I want to inquire of the chairman of the committee whether he is prepared to report the ordinance in reference to the schedule? If so, I would be very glad if this Convention would take that up.

MR. LAMB. The committee have not acted on that subject. I intended to propose that when the Convention adjourns; they adjourn until tomorrow morning at eleven o'clock; that if the committee agreed upon an ordinance they should have authority to have it printed and laid on the members' seats tomorrow morning.

MR. WHEAT. I had the floor before this question was called.

MR. STEVENSON of Wood. I was under the impression the suggestion I was about to make would simply alter the phraseology and probably make it more acceptable. I do not know whether it will satisfy all parties, but I have fixed it so that I think the Clerk can read it as I would have it modified.

The Secretary read the modified resolution as follows:

"RESOLVED, That this Convention respectfully ask the Congress of the United States to make an appropriation to aid West Virginia in emancipating her slaves."

MR. DERING. I accept the modification.

MR. RYAN. It seems to me something ought to be said about whose slaves are to be compensated.

SEVERAL MEMBERS. No difficulty about that.

MR. TICHENELL. I hope you will put "loyal" in that resolution. I want to vote for it, and I don't want to vote anything to traitors.

MR. LAMB. I would suggest with that view that the expression in the resolution be altered in this way: "To aid West Virginia in making compensation to the owners of slaves who have not forfeited their rights to compensation by disloyal acts."

MR. IRVINE. I object to that.

MR. WHEAT. I move an amendment - that is, that it read "compensation for slaves emancipated under the operation of this Constitution." (Cries, No, No, No!); and upon that I intend to make a five minutes speech.

MR. SMITH. The mover accepts the amendment and suggests he be allowed to re-write the resolution.

The resolution, as perfected, was then read as follows:

"RESOLVED, That this Convention respectfully ask the Congress of the United States to make an appropriation to aid West Virginia in making compensation to the owners of slaves who have not forfeited their rights by disloyal acts."

MR. WHEAT. I have the floor, but I will forego it.

MR. SINSEL. We do not know about emancipating slaves. The word is left out.

MR. STUART of Doddridge. It strikes me the previous question ought not to be called on that resolution at present. I do not want to be captious, but I would like gentlemen to say whether they can possibly mature it. I suggest that the resolution lie upon the table.

MR. DERING. The Convention is drawing to its close. I think if we hold the resolution over, whenever you open Pandora's box and let the negro out, we will always have discussion. I desire to see this Convention come to a close. I must call the gentleman down. It is not debatable.

MR. STEVENSON of Wood. I would ask the gentleman from Doddridge whether it would not be better to make it a special order for some hour today. Say two o'clock.

MR. STUART of Doddridge. I have no objections in the world.

MR. LAMB. I beg leave, in reply to the suggestion to say it will be just postponing the adjournment of this Convention. We can never get through unless we have an opportunity of reconvening the Committee on Revision and deliberately considering the ordinance to be reported to this Convention. If I had full, unlimited power on the subject, I would not undertake to report it here on my responsibility without the deliberate examination of the committee.

MR. POMEROY. If the committee wants to meet, let us go on until the regular hour of recess without laying it on the table; and then let the committee have this afternoon.

MR. STUART of Doddridge. I must call the gentleman down.

MR. DERING. I withdraw the motion.

MR. HERVEY. Will the gentleman suspend his motion half a minute.

MR. DERING. Yes, sir.

MR. HERVEY. I propose this:

"RESOLVED, That the Congress of the United States be and hereby is respectfully asked to pass a bill to compensate loyal citizens of West Virginia for slaves owned by them, for the purpose of emancipating such slaves, etc."

MR. DERING. A very different resolution, sir.

MR. HERVEY. Would not the first part: "Resolved that the Congress of the United States be and hereby is respectfully requested to pass a bill to compensate loyal citizens for slaves owned by them, for the purpose of emancipating such slaves."

MR. DERING. No, sir, I do not accept it; it is a complicated resolution, and harder to understand than the simple form of my own.

MR. VAN WINKLE. I would suggest that the matter be referred to a special committee on the subject to report a proper form of resolution for the action of the Convention.

MR. POMEROY. Say a special committee of seven to be appointed by the Chair.

MR. TICHENELL. I move to lay the motion for a committee on the table.

The motion of Mr. Tichenell was rejected, and the motion of Mr. Van Winkle for a committee was agreed to.

Mr. Stevenson of Wood offered a resolution to go to the committee.

Mr. Brown of Kanawha said he supposed the resolution previously offered by him on the subject would also be considered by the committee.

Mr. Brown of Preston submitted the following:

"RESOLVED, That there be printed with the Amended Constitution the schedule adopted at the present session of this Convention providing for the election on the ratification of the said Amended Constitution, as well as such ordinances as may be adopted."

MR. VAN WINKLE. The committee has already directed the printing of a sufficient number of the ordinance already passed and the ordinance to accompany the poll-books is to come up tomorrow here. That will give them a thorough distribution throughout the State.

MR. BROWN of Preston. With that understanding, I withdraw the resolution.

The President announced the special committee to prepare a resolution addressed to Congress as follows: Dering, Stuart of Doddridge, Caldwell, Irvine and Ryan.

MR. SMITH. I merely remark that the parties most interested in this compromise are entirely ignored in that committee.

THE PRESIDENT. I thought of taking one of the gentlemen; but I had formed the impression that those gentlemen did not wish to take any active part in it.

MR. LAMB. I move that when the Convention adjourn, it adjourn to meet tomorrow morning at eleven o'clock.

The motion was agreed to.

Mr. Stuart of Doddridge offered the following:

"RESOLVED, That Joseph S. Wheat be allowed mileage from the county of Morgan for the last session of the Convention held on the 26th day of November, 1861, in the city of Wheeling."

MR. HERVEY. Other members of the Convention who attended here did not get, did not claim, any mileage; and further the Convention has no power to grant it.

MR. LAMB. There is another trouble about it. There is no appropriation made by the legislature for any such purpose. There is an appropriation for mileage for the present session but no appropriation to cover mileage for the former one.

THE PRESIDENT. I would like if some gentlemen would move that the special committee just appointed be increased in number.

Mr. Powell moved it be increased to seven. The motion was agreed to and the Chair added Messrs. McCutchen and Brown of Kanawha to the committee.

MR. SINSEL. I would remark in reference to that motion to allow mileage to the member from Morgan that no convention ever got mileage before, and the member from Morgan never appeared to my knowledge.

MR. STUART of Doddridge. It seems to strike the members with astonishment. It was not my motion. Some friends desired me to offer it. I had not specially looked into the correctness and propriety of the thing. There is, however, a reason for offering that resolution, that would strike every member of this body if they will reflect upon and consider it. The gentleman did appear here and asked a seat in this body. He was delegated here by citizens of Morgan county. For some cause or other his papers were mislaid and he could not get them before the committee. He was here in attendance several days - a considerable length of time, and aided very much in the business before the Convention; but since that time his papers have come to light; and I will say had his papers been before the committee at the former session there would have been no dissenting voice in the Convention to refuse him a seat. He attended here in good faith, and his papers show he was regularly delegated a member of this body. He incurred all the expense of coming here and was not able to draw one cent's per diem. I thought it nothing but a matter of right and justice he should receive at least his mileage. Now, if he had been received as a member he would have received the same pay as other members received. I say his papers prove conclusively they were mailed through the postoffice and did not reach here until after he had left. Had they got before the committee and before the Convention there would not have been a solitary scruple in receiving him as a member of this body. That is the motive and reason for offering this resolution. The papers are in my possession and subject to the investigation of any member.

MR. HALL. Was he not here as a member of the legislature at that time?

MR. STUART of Doddridge. No, sir; not until this winter. I have simply stated the facts.

Mr. Stuart's resolution was rejected.

MR. VAN WINKLE. I have been trying to get up for an hour. It has come to my knowledge, sir, that Mr. Hall, reporter at the table there has taken notes in short-hand of all the proceedings of this Convention - all the debates of this Convention, since the beginning. Of course, nobody else could write them out. It seems to me it would be interesting to every member of the Convention and to a great many of our constituents if those were to be preserved. At the beginning of the first session, I think I proposed, or somebody did, that there should be a regular report of the debates, taken with a view of publication; but the uncertainty we were then placed in as to what funds would be accorded us, and the several monitions to economy we were daily receiving from the general assembly, I suppose induced members to forego it. It has been usual in all bodies of this kind that the debates should be preserved. They may serve as that "contemporaneous exposition" of which my friend from Logan spoke the other day, as the true spirit of our Constitution. It will be gratifying and hereafter when questions may arise in reference to constitutional provisions it will be useful to have these debates for reference. The proposition I have to offer is that the Executive Committee should be authorized to contract for the purchase of the manuscript when it is written out and that they be authorized to publish it if they deem it expedient. I presume this second branch of the proposition will depend on the fact that until their functions are about closed it will not be known whether there is money for the purpose or not; but I think if there is a balance sufficient, if it is only to purchase the manuscript, every member would think it would be making a good application of the money. It is certainly no unusual thing; on the contrary, I have never known a constitutional convention assembled that did not provide for the publishing of its debates. The debates of the convention of 1850 were lost by the failure of the publishers, and there is not a copy extant except in abridged form. That Convention sat eight months, and there was a corps of eight reporters constantly on duty. They took turns of note-taking of fifteen minutes each; and it would take about an hour to write out what was spoken in fifteen minutes.

This, of course, must be considered for reporting and writing out. The question for the Convention is whether they desire to have it. This resolution has been drawn up and I think is perhaps in proper form. I will send it to the table. The question may be divided between the publishing and simply preparing the matter.

The resolution was read by the Secretary as follows:

RESOLVED, That the Executive Committee be authorized to contract with Granville D. Hall, who has reported all the debates and proceedings of this Convention, for the transcribing of the same, with a view to publication hereafter; and that said committee be also authorized to publish the same if they deem it expedient at this time or at any subsequent period.

MR. STUART of Doddridge. That question was considered fully before us in our last sitting, and I reckon was argued in extenso and was voted down; and I hope it will be voted down again. If Mr. Hall is entitled to compensation from this body for taking down the speeches, I am willing to pay him for it. But I see nothing to be gained by transcribing this thing and then having it printed which will cost several thousand dollars more. Every member of this body will subscribe to one copy, which would be only a drop in the bucket towards the expense incurred. We have a journal, sir, which gives every motion, every resolution and every vote; and now I don't believe we are going to be very much enlightened by printing what we said on those things. I believe it will be an expense, sir, that will not be compensated by any advantages that will accrue from it. It will require an expense of several thousand dollars, and it will be only for the advantage perhaps of bestowing on the members of this Convention, sir, part of these copies. I talked a good deal in that Convention, and I have not the least disposition to look at it. I am satisfied with it. It may be as a dead letter. I succeeded in getting some of my views incorporated in that Constitution, it is true, and I am willing to accept it; but I have no disposition to refer back to anything I have said; and I don't believe there has been very much said on the subject that will be of any great interest to future generations. Well, the gentleman from Monongalia suggested that there may have been something said that I would not want to see, or want anybody else to see. I am rather inclined to that opinion. But in all deliberative bodies, when the discussions are to be published it has been the practice, invariably the practice that the parties who addressed the Convention have the privilege of revising their speeches. Let me say to the gentlemen of this Convention there has been very few speeches made here in a situation to be published. And in all other bodies - I recollect in the convention which met in Richmond, and of which my friend from Wood was a member, the debates were published; but those debates were never published until revised by the parties who made them. Now, sir, here is a promiscuous bundle - some worth publishing, some that never ought to be. Some might be worth paying for while the majority is not worth it; and I hope it will not be the pleasure of this Convention to incur an expense of several thousand dollars here for a purpose that would result in no good.

MR. SMITH. I do not propose that any action should be taken now towards printing these debates; but the preservation of the debates I think is of the last importance. The only publication we have of the debates of the Convention that formed the Constitution of the United States is the short notes of Mr. Madison. But they have been ever eagerly sought for, and there has been much regret that the notes are so brief as they are. They have been sought for with avidity, and afterwards published by Congress. Now, you preserve these debates, lodge them in the archives of the State; at some future time when the legislature have more means they may permit a publication of them. But if they are not published, they are lodged in. the archives for reference. They give us the body and character of the Convention there. It is a portion of the history of the country and as such it is of some importance. I would like to see them in the archives of the State; and if hereafter the legislature should deem them of sufficient importance to publish them, it can be done. They are there ready for publication. The cost of transcribing is small compared to the value they will be hereafter to the State. I hope, therefore, it will be the pleasure of the Convention at least to contract with the reporter for writing out from his shorthand notes the discussions of the Convention. We will all be benefited by it. We will all know on what motions we acted and the reasons; and although gentlemen may laugh at it, it is of great value to them. The cotemporaneous view of those who form a constitution - 1 know it is the fashion of the people to laugh at it, although the supreme court don't. The supreme court do look to cotemporaneous construction of anything done by the legislature or Convention. The Federalist was the cotemporaneous construction given by the distinguished men and it is now a work of the very highest authority. It is quoted in discussion before courts, and it is referred to as the highest exposition, given by Hamilton, Jay and Madison. And Madison's short notes are referred to by the courts as giving a history of the times and circumstances that existed, which induced the adoption of the particular provision; and although it is not law it is a species of authority that has been respected by the courts and by legislatures, by all deliberative bodies. I think we would be wanting in duty to ourselves to pass this by and not make provision to have this record preserved. It may not be worth much; it may exhibit a poor debate; I do not undertake to say whether that is true or not; but whether it is meager and poor, and a great deal of it worthless and trashy, but get it all together and you get the sense of the Convention and the reasons for the provisions in the Constitution and its adoption. It will aid very much when questions of difficulty in giving it interpretation arise.

I hope it will be the pleasure of the house to adopt the proposition - at least the first branch of it, as far as it relates to the transcribing of it, and then vote down the other if you choose; and the resolution directing when prepared to be delivered to the legislature to be lodged among the archives of the State.

MR. VAN WINKLE. I will in the proper time take a division of the question.

MR. BROWN of Kanawha. I would make one remark. Mr. President, I voted against the proposition to publish when the question was up before. But I never knew until day before yesterday that Mr. Hall had continued to take down the debates. I suppose they had all gone to the winds. Now, I learn that he had kept a complete short-hand record of them. I fully concur in the remarks of the gentleman from Logan in the importance of preserving all that has been done as part of the self-digested Constitution we are forming; and I would instance another idea. I suppose in the State of West Virginia, if we live any time - and I hope we shall live forever - we will have in this State, like every other state in the Union, a historical society. Of all things the historical society more in each of the states to get back to our foundation and preserve the facts and records that are of a character that people generally don't read and therefore are lost. Even the Legislature of Virginia have sent historical agents to London to there root around among old colonial records to find anything that might throw light on our colonial history. Well, here is origin of a great state that has just commenced to make its political history; and it does seem to me when it is now within our power, contrary to our expectations, to preserve this record of our first State body, which has been for months framing our fundamental law, that we should make provision here while we have it in our power to prevent this record from going to destruction. I am confident any historical society that may be formed to gather and preserve a knowledge of our history would regard it as the first step to secure these very notes. But where more justly could it be done than by the State itself? I am sure the State of West Virginia would take pride and pleasure in publishing these debates, although they may not do it now. Not for the purpose of seeing what good or what poor speeches any gentleman made, for I confess I would rather not be obliged to see mine - but that is not the object. It is a record of part of the facts and incidents transpiring in the very origin and construction of your organic law. There it is, and it is important. And as this gentleman has labored faithfully and assiduously, it seems to me an act of justice to him and at the same time a wise provision for those to come after us that we secure this record and copyright that it may be published hereafter if you have occasion. A hundred years hence - a thousand years hence - the citizens of this State may recur to this first organic law and see what was said and done when it was constructed. I hope therefore it will be the pleasure of the Convention, and I shall vote for it, although I voted very decidedly against the publication in the beginning, to preserve the record that has been made without our expectation.

MR. HALL. I would say, in addition to the remarks last made, I, too, voted against the publication of the proceedings; but I did so because I was under the impression that if it was understood all the remarks made here were to be published it would very much prolong the session by set speeches; that it would favor the idea of gentlemen making a record for themselves - a thing which I had no disposition to contribute to. It is, however, a matter of the greatest interest and of the first importance that we should have this record; and whether this Convention will take the necessary steps to preserve it or not, I know that the country and posterity will say to him who has preserved it that he is a public benefactor; and if we refuse to compensate, I know that posterity will compensate. That is a long credit. They will not have to wait, however, for it to be done by posterity.

In addition to the remark made that the beginning of every state is a period of historical interest, there never has been a state that has started under just the circumstances that we have; and the very movement in the reorganization of this government - with which this is indispensably connected - is a matter not only of state but of national interest. There is no page in the history of the times - however rapidly we have made interesting history in the last few years - there is no part of that history of more interest to the statesmen throughout the whole world than will be the history of the peculiar movement of our people here in the reorganization of the government and the formation of the State of West Virginia. I know that was the sentiment expressed by those with whom I mingled at Washington. It was the universal expression. There was an interest felt in this, and you will find it is so throughout the whole country. And whilst that is a fact, it has been looked to as an example; and in history you will find that notwithstanding that this is the interest manifested throughout the country, there is a general ignorance of what were our operations and movements in this matter. It may be said that a great deal of this matter would not appear necessarily in the proceedings of this Convention, yet I believe without the proceedings of this Convention you will be at a loss to get a correct history of a great part of this movement that will be of the highest interest. I am not disposed to lavish the public funds unnecessarily. We should economize. But there may be economy that is extravagance we all know; and I think that we should take such steps, such measures as will secure and make this a public property that we may have the benefit of it.

MR. POMEROY. When this matter was up before I advocated printing these debates, not because the gentleman from Doddridge wanted to see in print any remarks he had made in this Convention; but because I believed it would be a matter of great interest not only to ourselves but to the people of the State; not only to those now on the stage of action but to those that would come after. I believe also it had been customary for the debates of every constitutional convention with which I was at all conversant to publish their debates. Now, as the President very well knows, the debates of the convention which amended the Constitution of the State of New York, were published, and so also the State of Pennsylvania and the State of Ohio. There are very important provisions made in this Constitution that I do claim the honor of having some feeble part in advocating placed in there that J think will be an honor to us all in after days. Now, I could not see any great propriety or benefit if it was well ascertained that no subsequent body, the legislature, would publish these debates of simply preserving them written out. They might be of some benefit in that form, but I would not feel very much like supporting that if we should fail in the other. I would vote to compensate this gentleman, who with so much care and labor has taken down these debates and preserving them, but I do hope we will also leave it discretionary with our Executive Committee to publish. If they find there are not funds enough to publish they can join in a request to the first legislature that will assemble that these debates be published, and it may influence us some in getting good men into the first legislature to go for publishing these debates.

MR. PINNELL. I am inclined, with due deference to the opinion of the gentlemen who have spoken on this resolution, to oppose it. I cannot see any particular practical good that is to grow out of this expenditure. It was not my pleasure to hear the debates that have gone before in the preceding sittings of this Convention; but I have paid some attention to the debates that have taken place here in the last few days. But I can see nothing at all, I have heard nothing that warrants me in the belief that my constituents would desire to have as a part of their library the debates of this Convention. They have the sittings of the debates in the form of a constitution. Each delegate has the journal of the proceedings of this Convention to take home to look at and peruse at his leisure; but, sir, the project now on foot to impose a tax on this infant new State of West Virginia and burden it to print the debates of this Convention, I conceive impolitic. I do not think it is warranted either on the principle of present or future expediency. I cannot conceive, sir, that there is any cotemporaneous circumstances connected with the occasion to warrant it. I know there is a common and prevailing sentiment that there is too much expenditure at the city of Wheeling in reference to this new State; that there is a strong effort to glean from the hard earnings of the taxes that are collected by the officers of West Virginia from individuals whose only crop, whose only means of support have buckled on their arms and are now standing defending the frontier. Here, sir, we have very necessarily made an appropriation to distribute among the people the Constitution. That is wise. The people want to know what has been the result of our debate; but in addition to that, there is a disposition, with due respect to entail another burden on our constituents by publishing to the world a heterogeneous mass of controversies, of impulsive debate, which sifted down amounts, with due respect to all - not the most important volume that has ever been published. There is great propriety sometimes in individuals taking a retrospective of their defects. That had better be done in a spirit of solemn meditation. But to make their defects a matter of public record, and let the children see the defects of the parent. I know there is something sad here. A man would hate very much for his children to read and say: Father delivered that speech in the Convention of West Virginia (Laughter). Let us do something that he at least will not be ashamed of: pass over the consideration of the expense of publishing these debates for the present. I am glad I have had the privilege at least to vote against that, or hope I will.

MR. MAHON. The time for recess has arrived.

MR. ROSS. I desire to say a few words. I do not presume any gentleman who advocates this resolution is influenced by any kind of sentiment of vanity on the subject whatever. I had not the pleasure and privilege to participate in any of the debates of this Convention in its preceding session. I do not know what their merits may be one way or the other. I presume they are very much like the debates of all similar bodies. You may find the enunciation and advocacy and elucidation of great principles embodied in these debates. Yet there is a great deal connected with it that in that point of view has no very especial interest or value. But I advocate the passage of this resolution on other and far different grounds. These are acts connected with the origin of a state. They are acts connected with the origin of a state under very peculiar circumstances. Mr. President, in the act connected with the origin of this State we have performed what may probably with great propriety be called a revolution. These acts we have to vindicate before the world; and whatever will show the animus of the Convention that formed that Constitution; whatever will show the spirit with which all this has been conducted; whatever will tend to vindicate our action before the world - ought to be preserved. It is in that point of view that I was pleased this morning to vote for the publication of ten thousand copies of the address which is to accompany our Constitution. I believe it to be a vindication of the efforts of the people of West Virginia in establishing for themselves a government and in securing for themselves a new State. And precisely for a like reason I shall vote for the present resolution, because no matter how worthless these speeches may be as specimens of forensic eloquence, how little they may contain of principle either in politics or morality - and I do not judge them so, especially after what I have heard in the debates in this session - they will show the spirit of this Convention; they will record the spirit of this people in the action which they have taken; they will prove a vindication of the action of the people of West Virginia in all the movements they have taken. And let me tell you likewise, they will be no worthless body of witness as to the meaning and interpretation of that Constitution which you have formed. I believe in cotemporaneous interpretation; and I believe that those debates should be written out and preserved, as advocated by the gentleman from Logan.

(Cries of "Question! Question! Question!".)

The question was put on the first branch of the resolution authorizing the committee to contract for the transcription of the debates, and it was agreed to.

The question was then taken on the second branch, to authorize the committee to have the debates published in their discretion, and it was rejected.

Mr. Mahon moved to adjourn.

MR. LAMB. I understand this hall will be appropriated this afternoon to another committee. I would request the Committee on Revision, if agreeable to them, to meet at my house this afternoon at half past two.

And thereupon, Mr. Mahon's motion was put and adopted and the Convention adjourned to 11 A. M. tomorrow.

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Chapter Eleven: First Constitutional Convention of West Virginia

A State of Convenience

West Virginia Archives and History