Prayer by Rev. Dr. Drummond, of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
MR. DERING. I hold in my hand the report of the Special Committee to whom were referred the several resolutions on the subject of slave compensation. I do not desire to discuss at all the resolution recommended by the committee; will only say to the Convention that I hope the resolution will be received in the same kind and conciliatory spirit in which it is offered by the committee.
The Secretary read the report as follows:
"The special committee to whom was referred the several resolutions upon the subject of slave compensation, respectfully submit the following resolution for the adoption of this Convention:
"RESOLVED, That this Convention respectfully ask the Congress of the United States to appropriate the sum of two million of dollars to aid the new State of West Virginia emancipating her slaves under the Act of Congress, approved on the 31st day of December, 1862: Provided, however, that none but loyal slaveholders shall be so compensated.
By order of the committee. H. Dering, chairman."
MR. VAN WINKLE. I understand the two millions is asked for to emancipate slaves only under the act. I ask if I understand it correctly? You ask Congress to appropriate that sum to compensate for slaves emancipated under the act of December last, which we have accepted?
MR. DERING. Under that amendment.
MR. VAN WINKLE. It will not take a half million.
MR. DERING. I can only say our members of Congress can regulate that matter as the exigencies of the case may demand. It is only asking for an appropriation.
MR. BROWN of Kanawha. The committee found this difficulty. It was desirable we might ask for a sum that would enable us to settle this question completely. On the other hand some of the committee desired in the language asking not to go outside of the resolution of Congress, the action of Congress; but that if Congress shall make an appropriation large enough to enable the legislature hereafter to dispose of the subject as they shall think proper; and if they do not choose to do that and the sum is in excess, then the bonds will be in the hands of the Governor subject to the order of Congress, and we may get them appropriated for educational purposes, or any other, as we have no idea Congress will withdraw or take back the appropriation if it is made. The legislature will provide for the compensation of each individual as the case may arise under some judicial proceeding to ascertain the amount to each individual. If that sum should be in excess it would be either appropriated by the legislature for the manumission of the whole body of slaves in the State, as Congress may prescribe; or if they do not prescribe it, it may be appropriated to discretional purposes. The object, in the language of the request is to keep within the language of Congress itself; to ask a sum which will enable us to accomplish the whole object by leaving to our members in the House to satisfy Congress in all difficulties which may arise.
MR. VAN WINKLE. I would rather the amount would not be specified, if it is confined to the slaves emancipated under the act. I supposed the object was a general emancipation.
MR. BROWN of Kanawha. Yes, sir, that is one object.
MR. VAN WINKLE. I have not understood the resolution correctly. I would be obliged to the Clerk to read it again.
The Secretary complied with the request.
MR. VAN WINKLE. Well, sir, it seems to me that amount ought to be reduced or left blank. If Congress is expected to make an appropriation for a general emancipation, the resolution ought to be enlarged. If you should add "including those emancipated under the act of December last," it would cover the whole case. Now two million dollars is a sum sufficient to emancipate all the slaves in the State. I am willing to vote for the resolution in the form submitted if they reduce the amount or simply say they shall appropriate a sum sufficient for that purpose. I cannot join in wanting two millions to pay for a half a million slaves.
MR. WHEAT. Any objections I may have urged against this resolution heretofore, if the gentleman's suggestion is the wish of this house, I shall have no objection to vote for the subject of this resolution; not otherwise.
MR. STEVENSON of Wood. I would like just to ask a question of any member of the committee for my own information: whether striking out the amount in the report of the committee and simply asking for an appropriation sufficient for the purpose would not be acceptable to members of the committee. I prefer it in that shape. I do not know whether it would meet the views of the committee or not.
MR. SMITH. I move to amend the resolution by inserting after the words "1862" the words: "as well as those not thereby emancipated." That would cover the whole difficulty.
MR. BROWN of Kanawha. If that meets the approbation of the gentleman from Wood, I have no objection, so far as I am concerned.
MR. DERING. I move the yeas and nays be called on this question.
MR. DILLE. Let us act on the amendment first.
MR. SMITH. The committee has accepted it.
The amendment was agreed to; and on the adoption of the resolution the roll was called, and the resolution as amended was adopted by the following vote.
YEAS - Messrs. Soper (President), Brown of Preston, Brown of Kanawha, Boggs, Brumfield, Chapman, Caldwell, Carskadon, Cook, Dering, Dille, Dolly, Griffith, Gibson, Hall, Harrison, Hubbs, Hervey, Hagar, Irvine, Lamb, Lauck, Montague, Mahon, McCutchen, Mann, O'Brien, Parsons, Powell, Parker, Pomeroy, Ruffner, Ryan, Ross, Sinsel, Simmons, Stevenson of Wood, Stephenson of Clay, Stewart of Wirt, Sheets, Smith, Tichenell, Trainer, Van Winkle, Walker, Warder and Wilson - 47.
NAYS - Mr. Wheat - 1.
MR. LAMB. Mr. President, I have a report to make on behalf of the Committee on Revision. Other printed copies will be handed in and distributed, I understand, in a few minutes.
The Secretary reported the paper as follows:
The Committee on Revision, who were instructed to report an Ordinance regulating the first election under the Amended Constitution for members of the legislature and state and county offices, and fixing the time when said election shall be held, and when the legislature shall assemble, respectfully report -
Sec. 1. When the President of the United States issues his proclamation under the Act of Congress, approved December 31, 1862 entitled "An Act for the admission of the State of West Virginia into the Union and for other purposes," then an election shall be held on the Thursday next succeeding the thirty-fifth day from the date of said proclamation, at the several places of voting in the forty-eight counties to be included in the said State, for the election, under the Amended Constitution thereof, of senators and delegates, a governor, secretary of the state, treasurer, auditor and attorney general, three judges of the supreme court of appeals, a judge for each circuit, and the following officers for each county, that is to say, a clerk of the circuit court, sheriff, prosecuting attorney, surveyor of lands, and recorder.
Sec. 2. The terms of office of the persons then to be elected shall commence on, and include the sixty-first day from the date of said proclamation; but shall continue and be computed as if the same had begun on the first day of January, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three; except that the terms of the governor, secretary of the state, treasurer, and auditor, shall continue and be computed as if the same had begun on the fourth day of March, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three.
Sec. 3. As soon as possible after the President of the United States issues his said Proclamation, the Executive Committee of this Convention shall by their proclamation give notice of the election to be held as aforesaid, stating the time when the same is to be held, and the different offices to be filled. And the said Executive Committee after the issuing of the said proclamation by the President of the United States, shall have authority to take such measures and do all such things, not inconsistent with the Amended Constitution or with this Ordinance, as may be requisite to cause the said election to be fairly and impartially held and returned in every part of the said forty-eight counties, and to carry into operation the said Amended Constitution. But the authority hereby granted to the said Executive Committee shall cease and determine as soon as the Legislature of West Virginia is assembled and organized.
Sec. 4. The said election shall be held, and the results thereof ascertained, certified and returned according to the following regulations, that is to say:
I. Poll books, with the proper forms of oaths and returns, shall be prepared under the direction of the Executive Committee of this Convention for every place of voting in the said forty-eight counties.
II. The said Executive Committee as soon as possible after the President of the United States issues his said Proclamation, shall appoint three persons in each of said counties as superintendents of the election for the county, and furnish them with the proper poll books and forms. Any two of the superintendents for a county may act, and they may fill vacancies in their own body. The superintendents for each county shall for every place of voting in their county appoint three commissioners, any two of whom may act, and a conductor, to superintend and conduct the elections at the place for which they are appointed, and shall furnish them with the proper ballot boxes, poll books and forms.
III. In default of such appointment for any county or place of voting, the officers who may superintend and conduct the polls to be taken on the twenty-sixth day of March next, on the question of the ratification of the Amended Constitution, at any place of voting in the said forty-eight counties, shall procure proper ballot boxes, poll books and forms, and attend -therewith at such place, and superintend and conduct the election and make due return thereof.
IV. If at any place of voting there be, at the time the polls should be opened, but one commissioner willing to act, he shall associate with himself as commissioner some free-holder of the county then present; and if there be no commissioner present willing to act, any two freeholders of the county present and willing to act, shall be commissioners.
V. The commissioners at any place of voting are hereby authorized to administer the proper oaths to each other, and to the conductor and clerks. If there be no conductor present willing to act, they may appoint one. They may also appoint clerks to record the names of the voters, assist in counting the ballots and ascertaining the result, and making proper return thereof. They shall admit all persons to vote entitled to do so under the first section of the third article of the Amended Constitution, and shall reject the votes of all not so entitled and in all respects have the said election fairly and impartially held and returned according to law. They may swear any person to answer questions in relation to any right to vote which is claimed; and the name of every person offering to vote who is rejected by them, shall, if required by such person, be entered on a separate list on the poll books, under the heading, REJECTED VOTES; and in such case the ballot offered shall be sealed up and endorsed on the envelope or cover as follows: - "The ballot of A. B. rejected this...............day of...................., 1863," and returned along with the other ballots.
VI. The polls shall not be opened sooner than sunrise, and shall be closed at sunset. But if it appear to the commissioners at any place of voting, that the persons present entitled to vote at such place cannot all be polled before sunset, or that many were prevented from attending by rain, rise of water-courses, or just apprehension of personal danger, they may keep the polls open for three days, including the first.
VII. Every superintendent, commissioner, conductor and clerk, shall before entering on the discharge of his duties take the following oath or affirmation: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that in the polls about to be taken, I will faithfully, impartially and fairly discharge the duties pertaining to my office, according to law; and that I will support the Constitution of the United States, and the laws made in pursuance thereof, as the supreme law of the land, anything in the Constitution and laws of the State of Virginia, or in the Ordinances of the Convention which assembled at Richmond on the thirteenth day of February, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-one, to the contrary notwithstanding."
VIII. The superintendents of the election for each county shall cause to be delivered to the commissioners for every place of voting in said county a proper ballot-box, with an aperture in the lid thereof for the purpose of receiving the ballots of those entitled to vote; which ballot box, while the polls are open, shall be kept by the commissioners in a place where it may be seen by the voters. Every person desiring to vote shall offer to the conductor a single ballot or piece of paper, on which there is printed or written the names of all the persons for whom he wishes to vote, with a proper designation of the office each is intended to fill. The ballot shall be rolled up or folded so that the contents may not be seen. The conductor shall then proclaim the name of the person offering to vote, and deliver the ballot to one of the commissioners. The commissioners may inspect such ballot so far only as to ascertain if it be single, but without opening or unrolling it, and if satisfied it is single, and that the person offering the same is entitled to vote at the said polls, one of them shall put the ballot into the ballot box through the aperture in the lid, and the name of the voter shall be entered on the poll books under the following heading: - "Names of the voters at................................., in the county of.................................., on the ...................................day of................................., 1863."
IX. As soon as the polls at any place of voting are closed, the names of the voters entered on the poll books shall be counted, and the number thereof set down in words at length, at the foot of the list which shall then be signed by the commissioners and conductor, and countersigned by the clerk or clerks who kept such list. The ballot box shall then be opened by the commissioners, and one of them shall take out the ballots, one at a time, and read therefrom distinctly the names of the persons voted for, and the designation of the office each is intended to fill, and deliver the same to the other commissioner or commissioners, who, having examined it and being satisfied that the vote was correctly announced, shall pass it to the conductor to be strung by him upon a thread and carefully preserved. The ballots, as they are announced, shall be entered by the clerks, under the direction and supervision of the commissioners, in such a manner as to show the number of votes received by each person for any office to be filled; and the said Executive Committee may prescribe proper forms and regulations for the purpose.
X. Whenever two or more ballots are found folded or rolled together, they shall be rejected; and if a ballot be found to contain more than the proper number of names for any office, it shall not be counted as to said office.
XI. When the result is ascertained, the commissioners and conductor shall immediately make and subscribe two certificates to the following effect, viz: "We A B and C D, commissioners, and E F, conductor of the election held at................................, in the county of.................................., this................day of.........................., 1863, do hereby certify that we have fairly and impartially held the said election according to law, and the result thereof is as follows, that is to say: For senator, G H received....votes, and J K....votes; For delegate, L M received....votes, and N O..........votes; For governor, P Q received.....votes, and R S.....votes;" and so on throughout according to the truth, stating the name of every person voted for, and the number of votes received by each person for any office. The ballots shall then be delivered up to the commissioners, who shall seal up the same in an envelope or cover, writing their names across the seals and endorsing on the envelope or cover, "Ballots at the election held at......................, in the county of...........................on the ..........................day of.............................., 1863." The ballots so sealed up, the poll books and one of the certificates signed as aforesaid, shall be delivered by the commissioners and conductor, or one of them, within six days after the polls are closed, to the superintendents of the election for the county, or one of them, and the conductor shall retain and carefully preserve the other certificate subject to the order of the superintendents of the election for the county.
XII. The superintendents of the election for each county shall, as soon as the returns are received by them as aforesaid, carefully and impartially ascertain therefrom the result of the election in their county as to all the offices to be filled; for which purpose they may, if found necessary, open and examine the sealed packages of ballots delivered to them, but in such case they shall carefully seal up the same in another envelope or cover, enclosing the original envelope or cover, and write their names across the seals, and endorse on the outside "Ballots at the election held at.......... ............ in the county of........................on the........... ...day of................ 1863, opened by A B and C D, superintendents, this.....day of ............1863."
XIII. The said superintendents shall, as soon as possible thereafter, cause to be delivered to each of the persons who shall appear to have received, within the county, the highest number of votes as delegate, clerk of the circuit court, sheriff, prosecuting attorney, surveyor of lands, or recorder, a certificate, signed by the said superintendents, to the following effect, viz: "We A B and C D superintendents of the election held in the county of........................ on the.......... ............... day of................... 1863, having carefully and impartially examined the returns made to us of the said election, do hereby certify that for the office of delegate for said county, (or clerk of the circuit court for said county, sheriff of said county, or otherwise as the case may be), E F received, at the said election ......votes, G H............votes, and I K...votes, and that the said E F having received the highest number of votes, is therefore duly elected to the said office. Given under our hands, this....................... day of................................. 1863."
XIV. But where two or more counties are included in a district for the election of delegates to the legislature, under the tenth section of the fourth article of the Amended Constitution, the result of the election for delegates in such district shall be ascertained and certified as follows: One or more of the superintendents of the election for each county in the delegate district, shall meet together on the tenth day after the election, as follows, viz: The superintendents for Pleasants and Wood counties shall meet at the court house of Wood county; those of Calhoun and Gilmer at the court house of Gilmer county; those of Clay and Nicholas at the court house of Nicholas county; those of Webster and Pocahontas at the court house of Webster county; those of Tucker and Randolph at the court house of Randolph county; and those of McDowell, Wyoming and Raleigh at the court house of Wyoming county, or at such other convenient place as they may have previously agreed upon among themselves; and shall there together carefully and impartially examine the returns received by them of the election in their respective counties for delegate or delegates of the district, and give to the person, who shall appear to have received the highest number of votes in the district for that office, a certificate, signed by them, to the following effect, viz: "We, A B and C D superintendents for the county of................... and E F and G H superintendents for the county of.....................of the elections held on the....................day of-...................... .1863, having together carefully and impartially examined the returns made to us of the election for delegates of the district composed of the said counties, do hereby certify that for the office of delegate of said district I K received .....votes, and L M...votes, and that the said I K having received the highest number of votes, is therefore duly elected to the said office. Given under our hands, this................day of ...............1863."
XV. If for any cause the superintendents of the election for the counties included in a delegate district fail to meet as aforesaid, then it shall be the duty of the superintendents of each of the said counties immediately to transmit their certificate of the result within their county, of the election for delegate of the district, to the Executive Committee of this Convention, observing, as far as possible, the regulations specified in the said next succeeding paragraph of this Ordinance.
XVI. The superintendents of the election for each of the said forty-eight counties shall, as soon as possible after the returns of their county are received by them, carefully and impartially ascertain therefrom the result, within their county, of the election for senator, governor, secretary of the state, treasurer, auditor, attorney general, judges of the court of appeals, and judge for the circuit; and forthwith make and sign two certificates thereof to the following effect, viz: "We, A B and C D superintendents of the election held in the county of...................this.................................day of ...............................1863, having carefully and impartially examined the returns made to us of the said election, do hereby certify that in our said county, for senator of this district, E F received...........votes, and G H..........votes; for judge for this circuit, I K received.......votes, and L M..........votes; for governor of the State, N O received............ votes, and R S......votes; and so on throughout according to the truth;" and concluding the certificate as follows ......................"Given under our hands this........................day of-.............................1863." And the said superintendents shall then, without delay, seal up one of their said certificates in an envelope addressed "To the Executive Committee, Wheeling, West Virginia," and write their names across the seals, and transmit the same by some speedy and safe conveyance to the Executive Committee of this Convention; and shall retain and carefully preserve the other certificate, subject to the order of the said Excutive Committee, or of the Legislature of West Virginia.
XVII. In all the certificates hereinbefore required to be made, wherever the number of votes for any person is stated, such number shall be written out in words at length, and also stated in figures.
XVIII. The Executive Committee shall carefully and impartially examine the returns made to them as aforesaid, and may, if necessary or proper, send for the poll books, ballots and duplicate certificates of any one or more counties. They shall give notice of their election to the persons respectively they believe to be elected; but shall submit all the returns and evidences of the election in their hands to the Legislature of West Virginia as soon as it is organized; who shall, by joint resolution, declare the result, except that as to members of the legislature; each branch, pursuant to the Amended Constitution, shall be the judge of the elections, qualifications and returns of its own members.
XIX. The ballot boxes, poll books and ballots for each county shall be returned to and carefully preserved by the clerk of the county court for such county, to be transferred to the recorder of the county when elected and qualified.
XX. If two or more persons have an equal and the highest number of votes, the persons authorized to give the certificate or notice of election, shall decide by lot to whom the certificate or notice shall be given.
XXI. Any person in the service of the United States as a volunteer soldier, or officer of the Virginia militia, who has been a resident of the State of West Virginia for one year, and of the county in which he offers to vote, for thirty days before he entered such service, and is otherwise qualified, may send his ballot, under seal, to the superintendents of the election for the county in which he resided and if a majority of the superintendents are satisfied that the person so transmitting his ballot is a citizen of the United States, and was, at the time he entered such service a resident as aforesaid of the State and county, qualified to vote, they shall deposit his ballot in the ballot box at some place of voting in the county on the day of the election, and the name of the person so voting shall be entered on the poll books, to have the same effect as if the ballot had been given by the voter in person.
Sec. 5. The senators and delegates shall assemble at the city of Wheeling on the sixty-first day after the President of the United States shall have issued his said proclamation, at eleven o'clock in the forenoon, and proceed to organize themselves, in their respective branches, as the Legislature of West Virginia. It shall be the duty of the said Executive Committee to provide suitable rooms and accommodations for each branch.
Sec. 6. All officers acting within the said forty eight counties by the authority of the laws of Virginia, at the time the Amended Constitution of West Virginia goes into operation, shall continue to exercise the powers and perform the duties of their respective offices, in the name and under the authority of the State of West Virginia, until the officers elected or appointed under the Amended Constitution for the discharge of similar duties be qualified.
MR. LAMB. I ask that the ordinance take the usual course - be taken up section by section.
The first section was read.
MR. LAMB. The first question which would occur naturally under this section is, whether this election can take place before the act of Congress is in full effect. That act of Congress will not go into effect until sixty days after the issuing of the proclamation. We propose the election shall take place on the Thursday succeeding the 35th day. That will be necessary within from 36 to 41 days after the President's proclamation is issued. I cannot say that I have very carefully considered that subject, but with my colleagues on the committee I had no particular reason to doubt that it would be fully competent to hold the election while the sixty days were running. I believe, and if I am mistaken in the facts I will ask to be corrected by gentlemen who are better informed, that in the cases of Kentucky and Maine and Vermont, states were formed, like we are about forming, within the limits of another state; their constitution was adopted and their officers elected before they were formally admitted.
As to the time we have selected, supposing it is proper to hold the election before the expiration of the 60 days, it will require an election to take place within 36 to 41 days before the expiration of the 60 days succeeding the President's proclamation, when the act of Congress goes into effect. It will leave us, then, 20 days for getting in the returns of the election and having the parties who are elected assembled here in the city of Wheeling, preparatory to the legislature getting into full operation on the 61st day after the proclamation.
There is another explanation that is necessary to make in regard to this section. The 5th section of the 7th article of the Constitution already adopted by the people, prescribes that the voters of their county shall elect a sheriff, prosecuting attorney, surveyor of lands, recorder, one or more assessors, and such other county officers as the legislature from time to time authorize or direct. It does not prescribe the number of assessors or their duties; it requires the election of officers by that name without prescribing their number or duties. We did not think it would be proper to go into that subject in this Ordinance. The legislature will meet on the 61st day after the election is to be held.
MR. VAN WINKLE. After the proclamation.
MR. LAMB. If these officers are necessary, if the assessors of the State are necessary, to be appointed immediately, the legislature can forthwith provide for their appointment, prescribing the proper number to be elected in every county. I believe, however, that with this single exception of the assessors, we have in this first article of the Ordinance which we report every officer specified in the Amended Constitution to be elected by the people for State and county purposes. I will move the adoption of the first section.
MR. PARKER. Mr. President, I move to strike out in the 6th line "thirty-fifth" and insert "sixtieth"; so it will read the sixtieth day from the date of the proclamation.
My object in that is that it strikes me very clear that the legal election cannot be held here until the new State comes into being. I was surprised last night when I heard the gentlemen of the committee were anticipating to report an election to be held within the sixty days. By the term of the act of Congress - no gentleman here, of course, none of us, can doubt for a moment, and it is conceded, I believe, by the chairman of the committee, that the new State does not come into being until sixty days after the date of the President's proclamation. If you will refer to the last section of that act - of course, in the previous part of the act Congress by that act gives its consent to the formation of the new State. I suppose it will be conceded, Mr. President, by every one present that the consent of the legislature of the mother state and the consent of Congress is absolutely necessary in order to be recognized as a new State. Therefore, before West Virginia can have any legal or constitutional being these two facts must concur. When we get the consent of the legislature of the mother state, that is one fact. But West Virginia is no more a state than she was ten or fifteen years ago; nor is she in being, in law, in the eye of the law, or in the eye of the Constitution, she has no being until the last moment of the sixty days from the date of the President's proclamation - until the last moment of the sixty days has expired has she any being whatever, either known to the law or to the Constitution of Virginia or the Constitution of the United States; she has no more being than West Virginia had twenty years ago. One moment, one day before that 59 days have expired. West Virginia, such a legal and constitutional entity, has no more existence in view of the law and Constitution than it had twenty years ago, or fifty years ago. And it struck me last night we might with equal propriety, when the convention of 1830 had made provision to elect officers, the Governor and all the officers under the new Constitution might with just as much propriety have been elected at the same election when the people voted on the ratification of the Constitution - because we would have the State sometime and be sure to have them already. Well, now, it struck me with great force. I may be mistaken but it seems to me that it is clear. Well, now, the election is a thing in a republican government where all power emanates from the people. Why, it is the election that gives life to the officers; it is not his going in on the 61st day and taking the oath. That is not what gives life and power. Now, I ask what power have we, at this city here, to come together on the 35th day after the proclamation? We might have done it ten years ago. They may get together in Ohio next week and undertake to elect a governor in Gov. Todd's place with the same propriety, it seems to me. We are a legal something or nothing. We are nothing until everything Congress has laid down in this act, in every particular, is complied with; and when the sixty days expires, why of course West Virginia rises then to a legal and constitutional being. We agree as to that. The vote we give, it strikes me, before that election that we hold is a nullity. It is either something or nothing. Now suppose it should turn out to be a nullity, what would be the consequence? Why, we have got enemies all around to take every possible exception, to make every difficulty they can in inaugurating our government the first year. Therefore, it behooves us to keep it clear; to have all the certainty that is possible. As we have gone on so far, carefully taken all our steps legally, let us continue to do so. But suppose we should make this mistake and undertake to start our State machinery, and if it should turn out to be a nullity when carried to the Supreme Court, of course we have got enemies here that will push it. Then what? Why, great litigation. Every act the governor did would be void - be no government at all. All our sheriffs, courts, executive officers would be a nullity. Everything they had done of course would be void. We would have our courts and the mother courts would still remain with us; and the old officers would continue until the new ones were qualified to take their places. Well, now, Mr. President, it is an alarming future, of great confusion. The human mind cannot conceive what would be the result. How should we stand then with our enemies present around us on all sides, with our "bogus government?" We should make it a "bogus" government. In the last finishing act of our long, hard labors we would crown it with its "bogus" character. It seems to me perfectly clear. The preamble to the act of Congress says "Congress doth hereby consent that the said forty-eight counties may be formed into a separate and independent State." In the first section it says: "That the State of West Virginia be, and is hereby, declared to be one of the United States of America, and admitted into the Union on an equal footing with the original States in all respects whatever." Congress must first assent to the division, and then she must admit. Now, here is the last section:
"That whenever the people of West Virginia shall, through their said Convention, and by a vote to be taken at an election to be held within the limits of the said State, at such time as their convenience may provide, make and ratify the change aforesaid, and properly certify the same under the hand of the President of the Convention, it shall be lawful for the President of the United States to issue his proclamation stating the fact, and thereupon this act shall take effect and be in force from and after sixty days from the date of said proclamation."
MR. SINSEL. I rise to a point of order. The gentleman's time has expired.
MR. LAMB. O, let him go on.
MR. PARKER. I thought, and those around me so understood, those rules were in abeyance. If the rules are in force, I abide by them. If they are not, I want other gentlemen to be governed by them.
THE PRESIDENT, (to Mr. Sinsel) Do you insist on your point of order?
MR. SINSEL. I do.
MR. LAMB. The rule certainly was adopted for a special purpose it seems to me, according to my recollection.
MR. PARKER. I am pretty near done. I want to know how the rules are?
SEVERAL MEMBERS. "Go on."
MR. RYAN. The rule has been totally disregarded for several days. ("Go on!" "Go on!")
MR. PARKER. I don't know that I have much more to say. I want the rule understood. But it seems to me, Mr. President, out of abundant caution, even if there were no more than a doubt, we should have no doubt at all because it is so important.
MR. ROSS. On the admission of states into the Union, in anticipation of an act of Congress admitting a state into the Union, I believe I am right in stating that it has frequently been the case and is probably a general rule, that the territory making the application has elected its officers so as to be able to put the machinery of the state in operation promptly at the time the state comes into actual being. Therefore I do not see the force of the objection of the gentleman from Cabell. The section of the act of Congress quoted by him indicates that the election may be held to suit the convenience of the people concerned and our convenience is certainly promoted by holding it in the manner provided for in this ordinance. I believe it to be important to us that these officers be elected as soon as possible; and I do not see with the practice of the country before me in regard to the admission of new states - the almost uniform practice of electing their State officers in anticipation of an act of Congress admitting them - that there is any force whatever in the objections of the gentleman from Cabell.
MR. PARKER. Permit me to ask a question.
MR. ROSS. Certainly.
MR. PARKER. What states similarly situated as West Virginia, formed out of other states elected their state officers before the consent of Congress?
MR. ROSS. I do not know that I could recite any state that has been exactly situated as West Virginia is at the present time that has elected officers in anticipation of being admitted by Congress; nor do I presume it is at all necessary that we should have an exactly analagous case. The general principle, I believe, has been recognized throughout the country that states in anticipation of an act of admission have elected their state officers. The great fact is all that we want. I refer the gentleman to the instance of Kansas being admitted into the Union; and I think if the gentleman will recur to the various instances of the admission of states he will find it has been the almost universal practice that they have elected their officers in anticipation of an act of admission. I cannot see anything at all in the circumstances of the case that would invalidate in any matter whatever the commissions of officers chosen at such election as we propose. These officers do not come into being, perform any legal act until after the State is fully admitted into the Union. They are only officers in future; and there is nothing, to my mind, in the case at all that need in any manner operate to delay the election. Under this interpretation of our powers, the election for officers of the State of West Virginia could not take place until some time in July. I deem it important the election should take place as soon as possible, and therefore I shall vote for the section as it stands.
MR. VAN WINKLE. It appears to me there ought not to be even a doubt on this subject. If gentlemen will only examine one moment the effect of this amendment as it passed, they must see that any supposition of that kind, is, with all respect, preposterous. Now, can it be supposed that law, legislation or anything else ever intended there should be a perfect interregnum for twenty or thirty days - no government whatever for West Virginia? Now, such contention, I think must be preposterous. You may say we have provided that the officers of the old state may act; but that is not the authority of the new State. There will be, no doubt, the geographical State, but there will be no such State as West Virginia as a political entity until there is a government; and this ordinance is so framed that the legislature will take their seats, examine the returns for the election of governor and other state officers; and the government will be in operation in perhaps an hour after that body meets. There will be no interregnum except from twelve o'clock midnight until about noon.
The cases of other states have been spoken of, and the gentleman who spoke last was called upon to state a precisely similar case to this, of where a state had been formed out of another state. I suppose, sir, everybody knows that it is the uniform practice, at least for many years past, that the moment any of these states created out of public territory, that in three minutes after the admission was complete their senators and delegates appeared on the floors of their respective houses and were sworn in. In every case of late years, the senators and representatives in Congress have been elected before the bill was passed. That required the prior election and organization of a legislature and of the members of the House of Representatives.
MR. PARKER. I would ask whether under all these cases, created out of territories, there have not been enabling acts, either of Congress or territorial legislative acts?
MR. VAN WINKLE. I am coming right to that. It used to be the practice when a new state was to be formed Congress passed an enabling act authorizing the state to prepare a constitution and submit it, and it was this that gave them authority to elect a legislature and state officers previous to their acts of admission into the Union. Now, I should doubt very much whether in the case of any state that was formed, without knowing what the precise circumstances were, that in the case of any state erected within the jurisdiction of another state - as were Kentucky, Vermont and Maine, that they needed any enabling act of Congress. Their enabling act would perhaps come from the legislature of the state from which they were about to separate, as ours did. We have had an enabling act from the legislature of the State of Virginia to go on and form this new State with its government and everything else pertaining to a state. But, sir, I contend the act of Congress is an enabling act; and the sixty days, I apprehend, was interposed between the issue of the President's proclamation and the date for our becoming a state for the express purpose of enabling us to organize. If that was not the object in delaying sixty days after the amendment was accepted and the President satisfied, I am utterly unable to imagine what purpose it might have been for; but I apprehend no gentleman will be able to enlighten me on that subject. No one will be able to say, I think, if that is not the reason, why we have been compelled to wait sixty days after the requirement of Congress had been complied with and the President could be satisfied the preliminaries had all been conducted correctly, if it was not to give us the necessary time to organize the new State so that there should be no interregnum. Although I have not seen the debates enough to know whether that matter was publicly stated on the floor of Congress, I should hesitate little in expressing my belief that the very purpose was to enable us to organize.
But, sir, it will be remembered there is something peculiar in this. The President, when he is satisfied that the returns of the election to be made to him by the President of this Convention, when he receives the returns from the President of the Convention and finds them satisfactory, he issues his proclamation stating the facts of the case and that West Virginia is to be one of the United States sixty days from that date. Well, sir, it is what we always would call "immediately." On the issue of that proclamation, the State inchoate - it is an embryo State - the legal gentlemen here know that there is enough legislation on the subject of embryo existence - is a state in everything but organization, waiting merely for the time when it would spring into active being as a state. It would have a geographical existence without the election of these members and officers. If you call a state what is merely a piece of territory, it would be a state. But a state in the correct definition of the term is the organization which gives it life. It is not a state in fact until that organization takes place; until then it is not alive. Now, we are by the terms of the proclamation to be a state sixty days after the date of that proclamation. How then can we be a state at that time unless we are provided with an organization? It appears to me there can be no doubt about this.
But then we hear the denouement: this matter is to go into the courts. Yet gentlemen know this legislature is to be the judge itself whether its election is right or wrong. It, and nobody else in the world, is to judge whether the election and returns of its members are correct. And when the gentleman talks about this coming before the Supreme Court, he forgets the decision in the Rhode Island case. The Supreme Court said in that case they have nothing to do but to go and count the votes and examine the returns; that it is a matter for the political authorities, not the courts. They would not go and see who had voted for this or that legislature, as they insisted in Rhode Island. They had nothing to do with that. They put it on the express ground that the Constitution of the United States requires a republican form of government and obligates the United States to defend the state in case of invasion or insurrection; that if rival state governments are set up, the Congress, if it is in session, or the President if it is not, shall decide between them, and that all the courts are bound by such act of the President or of Congress. The Supreme Court expressly refused to take any cognizance whatever of how this legislature came to be elected. It found them acting as the legislature, and that is all they know about it. The question in the Rhode Island case and the other which arose out of the immigration (?) law of the war of 1812 - in all these cases they decided it is not a judicial matter. Now, sir, who is to call it in question? Will this body, elected under this ordinance, when they come here decide their election is informal and illegal and go home? Will they not decide, if they had no other reason for it, whatever then, that it was necessary to prevent an interregnum, a cessation of all government over this territory - most probably they will decide the election was legal, and that they are properly returned and are the proper legislature of the State. Then as to the governor and other officers - who is to decide as to them? The legislature; the same legislature; and whenever they do decide, the question is closed. Has anybody the least idea the United States would refuse to acknowledge this as the legitimate government of West Virginia because the members were elected twenty days before the expiration of the time named in the President's proclamation? When territories are constantly coming into the Union with all their officers elected long before the state is admitted? Why, sir, the case has been as strong as this: that Senators were standing just outside of the bar; and when the state was admitted, in five minutes they were there and sworn in as Senators, elected months and months before. They had come with certificates of election granted to those Senators before the state had been admitted and were received by that body, and admitted to seats on the floor, ten minutes perhaps after the vote had been announced on the bill admitting the state those Senators were voting on questions before the Senate.
Sir, I come back to the first position. I say if there is not another argument to be presented here that is sufficient to settle the question, it is sufficient to say this is done to prevent the cessation of all government. I think, sir, there is force enough in that one consideration to justify all we propose to do by this ordinance.
MR. PARKER. The gentleman from Ohio seems to think this is justifiable for practice. I ask him, for I wish light if I am wrong to instance any case. I have been unable to find any case, that is either in forming new states out of old states or forming states out of Federal territory. I have been unable to find any instance. We have had a great many troubles in this country, and I do want to get along without any more. If I am wrong, I want to be set right. If there is any authority in point, I certainly do not know what; and unless there is such a precedent I submit, Mr. President, they have not answered my argument. The gentleman from Ohio speaks of this practice. I put the question to him: can he or any other gentleman say where a state was born out of old territory, such as the State of Maine or Kentucky, such a state standing as we stand here. I undertake to say there was no election in either of those states, or any of them, until the state had become consummated - until it had a legal being, not an embryo being. A state is a state.
MR. ROSS. I would ask whether the gentleman states that as a fact or simply upon hypothesis.
MR. ROSS. That Tennessee, Kentucky and the State of Maine, for instance, did not have their election previous, and Vermont?
MR. PARKER. Well, I examined the proceedings of Kentucky in the case of her admission. On that point I cannot speak from an absolute certainty; but from a very strong impression I have now that there was no election until after the state was consummated. In regard to the State of Maine, I have the same impression. Now, when we come to form states out of Federal territory, that is another thing. Of course, the people of the United States are living upon the territory. They have no mother states to consult. Well, now, the gentleman from Wood. In all these cases, and if there is an instance, I ask any gentleman to state it. In every case in forming new states out of Federal territory where the people are citizens of the United States living within that territory. Well, now, in every case where they have undertaken to organize a government - because you cannot organize in our case here where our officers had committed treason and abdicated, as our friend argued very lucidly and understandingly yesterday - but unless in such case, can a people get together in general town meeting, without an authority from some source, emanating from some organized body?
I heard the argument of Mr. Webster in the Rhode Island case. You talk about the Dorr case; but I know the very foundation he took in that argument was that Dorr undertook to get together without any authority or warrant emanating from any established authority - that was the way - undertook to get up his government against the old charter government of Rhode Island. Mr. Webster starting from that claimed all the way through his argument that Dorr's was a mere mob, a mere gathering of people coming together and organizing themselves without emanating from any organized body. Hence it is, when we have a convention amending our Constitution here, it has to be authorized. The convention in Richmond which passed the ordinance of secession emanated from our legislature. You never hear of the getting together of a body unless it is by warrant or authority from some regular existing body. This case of ours is the only case that affords an exception.
The hour having arrived the Convention took a recess.
The Convention re-assembled.
MR. BROWN of Preston. Before the regular business of the Convention is taken up, I desire to ask - and I think it will be done by common consent - to change the phraseology of the resolution submitted this morning by the Committee on Revision. The change is very slight and does not alter at all the sense and construction that is intended to be placed upon this resolution by the Convention by the vote this morning adopting it. But the language is more specific. To enable the Convention to understand the change I suggest, I will read the resolution as we propose it should read:
"RESOLVED, That this Convention respectfully ask the Congress of the United States to appropriate the sum of Two Million Dollars to aid the new State of West Virginia in paying for her slaves emancipated under the act of Congress approved December 31, 1862, as well as those not thereby emancipated: Provided, however, that none but loyal slaveholders shall be compensated."
The resolution which was adopted was to appropriate the sum of two million dollars to aid the State of West Virginia in emancipating her slaves. Now the money is appropriated to pay for the slaves emancipated and not at all for emancipating the slaves; but to pay for those emancipated by the act of Congress as well as those not embraced in the act. I think, sir, there can be no objection whatever to the verbal amendment suggested in the resolution I now offer. I ask that the verbal amendment be made by the Convention so that there may be no misconstruction of the resolution.
MR. DERING. As it does not alter the sense of the resolution in any respect I for one will freely consent the alteration shall be made. But in connection therewith, I move you a copy of the resolution, signed by the President of this Convention, the Secretary of the Convention and the commissioners of this Convention be authorized to transmit it to our Representatives in Congress.
MR. POWELL. Will it not require a reconsideration of the vote by which the resolution was adopted?
THE PRESIDENT. It can be done by unanimous consent.
MR. BROWN of Kanawha. I fully concur with the gentleman in regard to transmitting this resolution to Congress, and I think it ought to be done at once so our representatives may have the benefit of it there. The time is short.
MR. STUART of Doddridge. I hope before any action is taken it will rest there.
THE PRESIDENT. Is there any objection to the amendment proposed to the resolution?
MR. SINSEL. Read the resolution as adopted. It is a material difference.
MR. IRVINE. I think it alters the sense very materially.
MR. SINSEL. It reads to me like there is a material difference. The one passed this morning looks to the emancipation of all the slaves; and that is a very desirable object.
MR. DILLE. Well, so does this one.
MR. SINSEL. Well not so much so. I don't think myself Congress has passed an act emancipating any slaves here.
MR. DILLE. Creating the State of West Virginia.
MR. ROSS. The difference between the two resolutions is simply this that we alter the expression to accomplish what was the real intent of the resolution as passed, while that resolution as adopted does not express it. The one expresses the intention in clear language. The other leaves it open to misconstruction and misconception likewise.
MR. LAMB. It seems to me that is the only difference between the two forms of the resolution. As I understand the resolution it is just as express and positive in regard to the general emancipation as the other.
THE PRESIDENT. Any objections to the amendment proposed? If not it will be so amended by unanimous consent.
MR. STUART of Doddridge. I would rather, Mr. President, it should rest a few moments.
THE PRESIDENT. Very well, sir.
MR. BROWN of Kanawha. Would it be in order, then, Mr. President, to let the President sign this resolution and let it be transmitted to the Senate?
MR. LAMB. The whole had better lie on the table together.
THE PRESIDENT. The question is on the amendment proposed to the ordinance under consideration.
MR. RYAN. I confess that resolution is not just exactly what I would like to have it.
THE PRESIDENT. It is laid over for consideration.
MR. PARKER. I was alluding to the authorities and what has been the practice hitherto. As suggested by my friend from Wood, the matter can be considered again when the whole report comes up for adoption. I am just as desirous of hastening the matter as any gentleman in the Convention; but I want to be sure it is right. I therefore simply remark that the effect of the peculiar language of the act of Congress precludes any idea that this new State can have any being previous to the expiration of the 60 days. The very language itself is so clear it seems to me it precludes any such idea. "And thereupon this act shall take effect and be in force from and after sixty days from the date of said proclamation." That then by implication carries with it the conclusion that the act shall have no force and effect prior to that time. Well, now, if it has not, then we are citizens of Virginia until the consent of Congress is consummated and completed. Now, can we as such elect a governor, sheriff and all the officers for the State of West Virginia? I should be glad to see what the practice is. Certainly the difficulty is in my mind. I cannot give it up. I shall say no more now if the Convention pass upon it; and in the meantime before it comes up on the whole report, why I shall examine the documents. If we can get the organization, get it ready to step in when the 60 days shall have expired, why - but still that is going to have an illegal government - why, sir better wait thirty days longer and have a legal government.
MR. LAMB. I had not time to make much examination in regard to the subject but the examination which I did make since the Convention adjourned this morning has satisfied me that Vermont and Maine were admitted into the Union, if I may so express myself, full-fledged - not merely with their constitutions but with their legislators and officers all in operation. That was not the case, however, as to Kentucky. She I think formed her constitution after the act passed Congress admitting her into the Union. I have not been able to see much difficulty in this question; and even on the construction which the gentleman has given the act of Congress, I see but very little difficulty. We must construe the whole act together. It is true one section says it shall take effect and be enforced from and after the 60 days from the date of the proclamation. But, if this is to govern, as the gentleman contends, let us see what would of necessity follow: It follows that the act of Congress relating to our admission is not in force and cannot be until some undetermined date in the future - sixty days after the issue of a proclamation by the President. That proclamation cannot issue until the President has received proper evidence that an amendment to our Constitution to be proposed by this act of Congress when it becomes operative at some future time has been ratified by Convention and people. But how can such ratification take place or be certified until such amendment has been legally proposed by an act of Congress in force? Until such certification, how can the President issue his proclamation? Until he does how can the act of Congress become operative? It follows that the recalling of this Convention and everything it has done since has been without authority. We could not ratify an amendment that has not yet been legally proposed; nor can we ask the people to confirm an illegal ratification by this Convention. We cannot certify to the President what has not been and cannot be done. He cannot issue any proclamation. No proclamation being issued, the act of Congress never becomes operative at all; and everything since our application to Congress in May, 1862, falls to the ground. These are some of the absurdities that we must face if we accept the construction put upon this act of Congress by the gentleman from Cabell. Clearly the intention of the last clause in the last section of the act was to say that the admission of the State would not be complete until 60 days after the date of the proclamation. That meaning makes the whole act consistent and workable. The other makes it a mere jumble of impossibilities. Therefore we must construe the act as a whole; and thus construed its meaning and intent are entirely clear. That last section is a singular piece of drafting; but it is apparent, taking the whole act together, that it was in the contemplation of Congress, at least, that this Convention should be reassembled; that this Convention should act on the amendment which is here proposed and accepted; that that amendment after acceptance by the Convention should be submitted to the people for their ratification or rejection; and that in all these particulars the act should have effect, though the last section says it is not to have effect until the expiration of these 60 days. There is certainly nothing in the construction of the act, taking the whole of it together, I say, that would militate against our action in this particular. This is a matter which the people, according to all our recognized principles always have in their hands. We cannot be admitted as a state into the Union, it is true, until after the sixty days; but in all other respects, I take it we are competent to do what is necessary to prepare for that event - competent, if the good people of West Virginia decide we shall do so, to act as a State before or after that date under their authority.
I think there is no difficulty in accepting the proposition as it has been reported by the committee. Though I have no very great objection if the Convention should prefer it to put this first election off some twenty days longer, I think it would be better - it would be an important thing gained, to avoid the interregnum; to avoid having West Virginia even for three weeks without a government - even for three weeks after this act shall have gone into effect according to the last clause of it.
MR. SMITH. Mr. President, in order to form a just opinion of the powers of this body and their right to hold this election we must look at the condition in which we are and at the power of the respective parties who operate on this subject. It is the Convention representing the people that is one party; the Legislature of Virginia represents another party; the Congress represents the United States. There are the three parties. All the power that Congress has is to give assent. All the power which the Legislature have is to give assent. All the balance of the power belongs to the Convention.
MR. LAMB. And the people.
MR. SMITH. To the people of this State. This is the division of power between the three bodies who are to act upon this matter. Congress gives her assent, and in her own form; and all that we do up to the time that assent is given is done by the power of the people acting for themselves. Now Congress has only said our assent shall be given by the President; the assent shall be indicated by the proclamation of the President; that assent, although indicated and given sixty days beforehand, it shall not take effect until the end of sixty days after the date of the proclamation. Therefore, under that assent, we are not authorized to form the government, to act as a government; but the people say we have a right to prepare for giving effect to that assent when the time arrives. Now, that is a power belonging to the people, to make provision to coincide with the consent of Congress. That is all the power she has. She has no other control over this subject but to give her consent; and we have all the balance of the organization in our own hands, and the only limitation on that power is that you shall not organize your government; the legislature shall not meet; your governor shall not be sworn in and your other officers shall not be sworn in before that time. But it don't prohibit us from preparing those officers and getting ready to give effect to it when the time arrives.
MR. PARKER. I should like to suggest to the gentleman the question whether the citizens of Virginia can elect the officers for the state of West Virginia.
MR. SMITH. Certainly. They are the people acting here, and it is confined to the people, who through their legislature have given assent to the erection of this separate state; who through their Convention in the summer of 1861 authorized us, citizens of Virginia, to come here and make an organic law for that state. Their assent to the creation of the State has passed beyond control; it cannot be taken back. The citizens of Virginia living within the boundaries drawn for the new State have been empowered to do what is necessary to set their state government in motion when the assent of Congress becomes operative. It is the people who live within the bounds of the State who are to elect the officers; and when the consent of Congress takes effect those officers will be ready to act and thus prevent any interregnum in the government of this territory. But, sir, if we do not do it, the old governor cannot act in this territory; the legislature cannot act here; we have no state officers at all, and we are entirely without any authority whatever except the judges below. I suppose they might act and the magistrates might act. But we have no governor in case of emergency; if there is an invasion or anything of that sort our hands are tied. We cannot do anything. I say it seems to me that we who have said the people should be cut off and make a new state should have the power to say the people thus separated have a right to vote. We, the people, regulate this matter ourselves. Congress has no right or power over this subject nor has the Legislature of Virginia any right to intermeddle. We are acting for the people and with the people so this may be done. The only thing is that although we do it, we cannot act as a state until the time elapses; but we will be ready to act the very moment it does elapse and we people say we will make that preparation. Now, when you look at the different powers that operate here and separate them and see the authority which each one has, they act harmoniously and there is no conflict at all. It is the people that regulate this whole matter, not Congress, not the legislature; but the people who make the State. What right have we to make a state? We have to make that preparatory to getting the assent, and we have to elect the officers preparatory to going into operation. All this must be done by the Convention; all these provisions must be made by the Convention. Another thing, suppose we happen to be wrong - it is a political question; the legislature adopts it; all the officers of the government adopt it; and who can gainsay it? The courts have no jurisdiction over a political question at all. It is to be settled by the legislature, it is true, if there is any question; but I imagine if the legislature is elected very few will want to go home and say, this is all nonsense and you have no power and you got here without authority. There is nobody that can call it in question when they meet together. I say there is a good deal of force in what the gentleman says but I think there is more force in sustaining the proposition of the committee.
The question was taken on Mr. Parker's amendment, and it was rejected.
MR. LAMB. If there is no other amendment, to suggest, Mr. President, I move the adoption of the first section.
The motion was agreed to, the section adopted and the second section reported by the Secretary.
MR. LAMB. I merely remark by the Constitution already adopted, the terms of the governor, secretary of state, treasurer and auditor are required to begin on the 4th of March; and the terms of all the other state officers and county officers on the first day of January. It is necessary to fix in the ordinance the year. The date when these terms commence is fixed by the Constitution. I move the adoption of the second section.
MR. HARRISON. I move to amend this second section by inserting in the 19th line, after the words "except that" the words "the term of the senators shall continue and be computed as if the same had begun on the first day of January, 1864." I suggest this amendment for this reason, that the members who will be elected to this legislature will probably be as good men as we can get at any time for the legislature during this year. They will probably not commence their work before the first of July, and it is equally probable not before the first of August. As the Constitution now stands, we will have to elect another set of delegates in October following. Now, I apprehend that the first legislature assembled under this provision will scarcely more than get to work by the time another set of delegates are to be elected. It is admitted we need experienced legislators. We may expect we will have men in here who have no experience and it will take them some time to learn. If we hold another election and it should turn out that these men should be removed from office by that election, which they would be by the first of January succeeding, within six months, after they first commence their work, we will have another set of no more experience than those when they first begun. It seems to me, so far as this class of officers is concerned, it would be best to retain them until the succeeding October election.
MR. SINSEL. Will the gentleman permit me a suggestion: instead of making the term commence at that time would it not be better to make it end at the first of January, 1865? You would have them in office really before their term was beginning.
MR. HARRISON. The idea would be to make it continue till 1865.
MR. SINSEL. I know what your idea is.
MR. LAMB. Mr. President, the gentleman is aware, I suppose, - supposing the first legislature to assemble on the first of August, that its term would last until the first of January next afterward, notwithstanding the election for their successors would be held in October it would not terminate their office. They would continue in office as a legislature from the first of August to the first of January, some five months, and they could be in session all that time. I do not know but what even the first legislature will be able to get through in five months. I hope they will. But I have no particular objections to the amendment suggested by the gentleman from Harrison.
MR. VAN WINKLE. With a view of fixing the clause in the schedule so if they lost but a few months of their term - that is to say if they were elected within a few months after the regular term commenced why they should lose it but if over six months had expired when they occupied their seats, they should hold the next year also, I am rather inclined to favor the amendment so far as members of the legislature are concerned; and I suppose there is no great objection to having it also as to others. Now, they would take their seats, in my opinion, before the first of July and on the first of July the first six months would be up. They would then only hold their offices for six months. There would then be another election in October; and the amendment of the gentleman would avoid the election in October. It would be hardly more than fair towards these gentlemen that having made their arrangements that they should not go out of office at the end of six months. I am inclined to vote for the amendment proposed. I am only trying, in doing so, to do what would be fair and just both to the persons so elected and to the public interests; and I think that dispensing with an election next October, postponing the second election until October, 1864, would perhaps be better than to have another election so soon.
MR. TICHENELL. I think the member from Harrison as well as the member from Marion ought to be especially in favor of a short term. We have tried one experiment at electing delegates under the new term, and if they had been for six months instead of a year, it would be infinitely to our advantage, as we have to try new men again. I hope it will be a short term, not a long one. And I don't know it may be so again. If it does require but a short term I prefer the amendment of the gentleman carry. I hope the amendment will not prevail; be glad if the gentleman would withdraw it.
MR. DILLE. I desire to make a remark or two in reference to this amendment. I am decidedly in favor of the report as it stands. My impression is the time given here for the first session of the legislature is quite enough. It cannot be less than five months, and it may be near six months. A longer session of the legislature at the first term I deem unnecessary. I have no idea we shall have a revision of our code during the first session, and it may be the task of that legislature to elect commissioners to take charge of the revision of the Code, and regulate it so that it could be adapted to the Constitution we are about to put in operation. It strikes me that six months is ample time. Five months is ample time to put the machinery of this government in operation. Yet if they have not time to revise the Code, why that can be done, as it is uniformly done, I believe, not only in this State but in all other states through commissioners - men selected to prepare a code and submit it to a subsequent session of the legislature. I think the better plan, as we are about to commence under this thing is to select good men, and I think good men will not wish to stay here longer than the time authorized by this provision. I think if you modified it as intimated by the gentleman from Harrison that instead of a session of five months we would in all probability have a session commencing in July and ending in January a year afterwards. I think this would be an inducement held out to that body to continue that length of time. I am decidedly opposed to such sessions. I uniformly when this subject was up was opposed to it, and I shall ever be opposed to long sessions, because I think it is the fruitful source of injury to the people.
MR. POMEROY. I concur with the gentleman who has last taken his seat. I think from the action this body is about to take there will be a legislature elected early in the month of June. They may be elected perhaps before the month of May and be able to meet in June. From that day till the first of January will be over six months. They can certainly transact all the business that will be necessary for the legislature to transact during that time. The legislature that will be elected in the month of October are required to meet on the third Tuesday of January. There will be a short recess between the adjournment of one body and the meeting of the other; and I think not more than the people will likely demand. I think if there is any one thing that has been the curse of this country it has been too much legislation; legislative bodies spending too much time unprofitably. I voted I believe when all these provisions were up to make the sessions short and the pay low. Well I will not use the word "low". The pay is about right.
MR. VAN WINKLE. You don't destroy the lengthy session by what you propose. If this legislature that is to be now elected sits till the first of January there will be another ready to go right on and begin their session. You gain nothing on the question of too much session, for they may sit right on until the next fall.
MR. POMEROY. If there is any honor, the first legislature will have that honor. It will be the first legislature of the new State. Let them have abundance of time to do all the business of the legislature that might be performed. Now, if they meet - as it is very evident they will from the provisions we are about to make in the month of June, they have all the time until the first of January. Then they can retire if they are not re-elected. Another legislature, which will perhaps be equally as competent to do business is required to meet on the third Tuesday of January; and if they are found to be good men, faithful and competent, it will be an easy matter for the people to re-elect them. If they are not good men, every man on this floor will say the six months they will consume will be too long. Suppose the people make a mistake and elect bad men, the sooner we get rid of them the better. But if they are good men, they will very likely be returned to the legislature. At least they can be if it is the desire of the people. Let them have the opportunity of electing these men over again if they wish to. And how would you make the arrangement in regard to senators without making the alteration? They go out one class in one year, the other class in two years. I think, as my friend from Preston remarks, if you elect these men giving them this inducement, there may be some men in the body that would be disposed to continue the session from the day on which they met in June until January, 1865. There is nothing to throw them out. If you extend the time over beyond the first of January what is to prevent them from sitting until the next January. They will say, it is our only chance; we will never be members of the legislature again; let us make a good thing here now when we have it. It is a good rule, I think, not to place temptation in the way of men. There can be no evil result from this. I have no idea there is going to be a code made by the legislature. There will be a commission appointed to make that; and therefore I think there is sound reason in the argument of the gentleman from Preston, that we ought not to hold out any inducement to sit longer than five months.
MR. BROWN of Kanawha. I understand the amendment proposes to lengthen the term of the senators and delegates. I confess, sir, I prefer it as it stands. From the time this legislature will assemble the eyes of the people will be on them; and from June till October will be time enough to understand what they are doing and whether they may show the cloven foot or not it is well to have a rod over them, that if they don't behave themselves in October we can get a better. As I understand there will be a general election in October, they may as well elect all these, and if they are good men, re-elect them.
MR. STUART of Doddridge. It strikes me if the members of the Convention look at this thing right - all predicated their arguments on the fact that this new legislature is certain to go into power in June. We have no positive assurance of that fact; but suppose it does not convene before October. It may very easily so happen; and it will be recollected that under our Constitution the first legislature is not limited in length of time; and it is very well known to every member who is acquainted with the business, and the necessary business, the first legislature will have to go through, it will take a considerable time to do it. It might be, sir, they would have a very few days to do it in if the section be adopted as reported by the committee. It did not occur to me at the time, and I am satisfied it did not occur to the committee. I do not know of any necessity, Mr. President, of holding an election in October if we hold an election any time in August or September. But even that is provided for in this ordinance. It may be in October or afterwards. It may be in November. We know not what may happen, and it would be much better, it seems to me, to adopt the amendment of the gentleman from the county of Harrison. It is understood, Mr. President, to be incumbent on the people to get if possible their very best men that come to our legislature. I look forward, I hope for that. It is necessary, and if we get them there I would hate to see their business curtailed in a month or two and the other legislature that meets thereafter limited in time. It might be an impossibility to do the business that would be necessary to be done and we would be in a confused state for years perhaps before we could have our code modified to suit the present Constitution. It is not going to be a day's work, or a month's work, in arranging our laws adapted to the present Constitution. I am in favor of short sessions. I voted for them in the Convention that framed the Constitution; but knowing the necessary business that will devolve on the first legislature, I fear the ordinance we propose to adopt must undoubtedly - might, at least and in all probability will curtail their labors when we don't desire it to be done. I will vote for the amendment cheerfully, and hope it will be the pleasure of this body to do so. If you don't do it, gentlemen, you may get into trouble hereafter.
MR. LAMB. Mr. President, I do not see that any trouble can be involved in the section as it stands, or that we are not sure the legislature first to be elected would not have ample time to perform their duties. But I wish to say, in general, that the reason why the committee inserted 1863 and 1864 was that as the first election must necessarily take place in the very disturbed state of the country in many of the districts of the State, many of the districts of the State will not be represented probably in the first legislature. Their inhabitants will not have an opportunity of casting their votes for these high offices; and it was therefore considered improper that we should put their terms at the earlier period in order that as soon as possible the whole of West Virginia might have an opportunity, in peace and quiet, of electing the officers to whom their destinies were to be entrusted; and I must confess the consideration which was urged by the gentleman from Marion has always had a great influence with me. I have seen so many instances in which since the terms of State officers have been extended we have had men in office that the very salvation of the country almost depended on our getting rid of them somehow or other; and I have therefore, in opposition to an almost fixed opinion I formerly entertained - I have therefore since Secession and Rebellion took place, been in favor of shortening the terms of office as much as possible. I do think that the section as it stands will afford ample time, and that for the considerations mentioned - though I am not tenacious in that respect - it would perhaps be better that it should remain as it is.
MR. STUART of Doddridge. Pardon me for asking what time they will have? You say ample time: what length of time will they have?
MR. LAMB. I do not see how it can possibly be extended beyond the first of August.
MR. VAN WINKLE. Then they will not have a half a term.
MR. LAMB. That gives them until the first of January, 1864, to continue in session if they see proper to do so. Their term does not expire when the election takes place in October. It continues until the first of January succeeding the election. And if a new legislature is elected in October and is assembled here on the third Tuesday of January, that second legislature is convened by the Constitution, for a term of 45 days; and we cannot therefore in any state of the case have a legislature sitting for eighteen months at a stretch.
MR. HERVEY. One remark, Mr. President. The question of time is not the largest matter before the Convention. Suppose they do run on till the third Tuesday of January, the time the other session should commence to take effect, that subsequent legislature could just take up the business and proceed with it; and if the members who have been getting the laws of the State reformed have been doing their duty they will be returned. The question of time has nothing whatever to do with it. It seems to me the argument is overwhelmingly in favor of continuing it just as it is.
MR. STEVENSON of Wood. I merely want to call the attention of members to a fact that has not been referred to that the session of this second legislature is not necessarily confined to 45 days. If it is found that the business is so exceedingly important that the public interests require an extension of the term, 46 of the members elected to both branches can extend the term I suppose as long as they please.
MR. VAN WINKLE. If it is in order to say a word or two more, this question whether these terms shall begin in 1863 or 1864, or be computed from '63 or '64, is certainly one on which there may be a very fair difference of opinion. But I certainly cannot permit to go by in silence some of the reasons alleged in favor of shortening these terms and decreasing them by more than one-half. Now, sir, there has been a great outcry against this legislature which has been sitting in this room most of the time it has been in session; and there have been insinuations that the legislature elected by the people of this State and sent up here to do their business, for the sake of a pitiful three dollars a day have prolonged their sessions beyond the time demanded by the public interests. Perhaps it may be meant to implicate this body; but it applies to all future legislatures that are to be elected in this new State. I don't believe that out of fifty men sent here by the people of this State for any purpose whatever, you can find a dozen that would be actuated by such motives; and I take pleasure and pride in saying in reference to this late legislature that was here, although so much outcry has been made against them for protracting their sessions it seemed on the very face of the proceedings of those who made the outcry that they were endeavoring to make place for themselves, allowing I say for the inexperience of those who composed this legislature.
MR. DERING. Do you mean to say persons who oppose these resolutions were endeavoring to make place for themselves?
MR. VAN WINKLE. I say it seemed so in reading them. It looked so on the face of it.
MR. DERING. Such is not the fact, sir.
MR. VAN WINKLE. I saw several disclaimers of the kind in the papers afterwards. I say allowing for the inexperience of the gentlemen composing that legislature, and who necessarily did not get along so smoothly at first, I believe there has never been a legislature of the State of Virginia that dispatched more business in the same time. I had occasion to be in this city during a good deal of the time of both its sessions - or three sessions, I think there were, and I feel very well satisfied business was dispatched about as promptly as ever I saw it dispatched in the Richmond body. I do not remember any subject that occupied it more than a day. There may have been one or two. I think all this talk about how long these sessions of the legislature are to last are aside from the proper considerations before us. The Constitution fixes the terms of members of the House at one year. You say if this election cannot take place till the first of August, we consequently instead of electing for one year elect for five months. The provision in the old schedule was this, that if they were elected within six months after the time fixed for commencing the term they should have held for the residue of that year; if they were elected after the expiration of six months, they should hold for the unexpired time of that year and for an additional year. That is simply the question - what would be right or just in reference to this? The governor is elected for two years. You cut off seven months of the governor and leave him a term of 17 months. The question is whether you shall lengthen or shorten that term in order to give him as near as possible the constitutional term. That is all the question, in my opinion.
I will say, Mr. President, before sitting down, I did not intend to say anything offensive to anybody. Of course, I do not suppose every body who attended those meetings had any such views, and some I suppose were active in getting them up. But really, according to my own view of things and the observations of other people in reference to this legislature, they were not justly liable to censure. We came together in this Convention - when we first came together - there were but three or four persons on the floor who had had any legislative experience. We were some time in learning the rules and adapting ourselves to the business. I suppose it was about the same thing in the legislature. It took some time to get warm in the harness. After that I don't see but the business progressed as fast and well as in any legislature with which I have had any acquaintance.
MR. DERING. I rise to a question as personal to myself. I happened to be in one of the meetings that originated in Monongalia that complained of the long sessions of the legislature. I can say for myself I did not vote, get up or advocate the resolutions that did so complain of the legislature. But I desire to defend my friends from Monongalia who did get up those resolutions; who were acting and voting for those resolutions and who were active in getting up the meeting. They are high-minded, honorable men who are as far from seeking a seat in the legislature perhaps as the gentleman from Wood; and so far as those gentlemen are concerned I desire, as they are my constituents, to do justice to them before this body and say they were actuated by no such motives. It is due to those gentlemen I should say so.
The question on the amendment was taken, and it was rejected.
The section was adopted and the second section read.
MR. BROWN of Kanawha. I do not like this phrase "the 48 counties". I think we may now assume the word "state." I move to insert the word "state" in lieu of "48 counties."
MR. LAMB. This is a question of style, possibly of propriety. Throughout this the attempt is made, before they have become a state, to call them "the 48 counties;" and after they become a state, to call it a "state."
Mr. Brown expressed his acquiescence and withdrew the motion.
MR. HERVEY. I would inquire whether or not Berkeley county would be included.
MR. LAMB. No, sir; Berkeley county cannot be included in the new State until the whole thing is in operation.
The third section was adopted and the 4th reported.
MR. DILLE. I would suggest that we read through, if there be no objection, stop at each paragraph, and put the whole together.
MR. VAN WINKLE. No objection or amendment it will be considered adopted.
Upon reading of paragraph VI of section 4,
MR. POMEROY. Why say "sooner than sunrise" and closed "at sunset"?
MR. LAMB. It is the present law, and if it is wrong I do not know any better. I have endeavored to follow the present law throughout wherever I supposed it was proper, wherever there was not an obvious impropriety in applying it to the present case. The first sentence there I think is exactly in the words of the present law. If there should be any difficulty - if the commissioners should not be willing to open the polls at the proper time, any two freeholders present can take the job in their hands.
MR. DILLE. I desire to ask the chairman what is meant by this expression, that if the persons present cannot "all be polled." I would inquire whether the persons are "polled"?
MR. LAMB. I believe the expression is perfectly correct. You "poll" the voters. But I am not responsible for that, gentlemen, correct or incorrect. I found it in the law, and I put it here. I think the meaning of it anyhow is very obvious.
MR. BROWN of Kanawha. I believe we have an expression in the courts when a verdict is brought in and some gentlemen of the jury may entertain a different opinion, the court asks that the "jury be polled," and the clerk immediately calls the names and takes the vote. It is taking the vote and is I think the most brief expression we can get.
MR. SINSEL. Go on! Go on!
THE SECRETARY. Are you in a very great hurry? (Laughter.) Upon the reading of paragraph IX,
Mr. Harrison asked if these commissioners were immediately on the close of the polls to commence to count the ballots?
MR. SMITH. No, No; they may if they choose.
MR. LAMB. That was my idea, that as soon as the polls closed they should go to work; should not be allowed to take the poll books away; should go right to work and count the votes, if it took all night. I take it if you adopt the mode of voting by ballot, it is essential that the counting should be done immediately after the polls are closed, so there may be no opportunity of tampering with the ballot box.
MR. VAN WINKLE. It does not say here, as I perceive, who is to count these votes. I would therefore move to transfer the words "commissioners and conductor," and say as soon as the polls at any place of voting are closed "the commissioners and conductor shall proceed to count the names of the voters entered on the poll books and the number thereof set down at length at the foot of the list, which shall then be signed by them and countersigned by the clerk or clerks who kept said list." The idea is the commissioners and conductor shall count the names on the poll list. It does not say here who shall do it.
MR. LAMB. What follows, in the same sentence and in the succeeding sentences, if the gentlemen will observe, shows very plainly by whom all these things are to be done.
MR. VAN WINKLE. O, well, then, sir, I withdraw the amendment.
MR. STEVENSON of Wood. Some gentlemen were speaking about counting the votes as soon as the polls are closed. I suppose it is understood, but it seems to me it ought to be, if the polls are kept open three days, or more than one day, that no count of the vote should be taken.
MR. LAMB. The last day is the closing of the polls.
MR. STEVENSON of Wood. Well, I would like that to be understood, because the counting the first day might operate very unfavorably on some of the candidates.
MR. LAMB. They could not be counted at the end of the first day because the polls are not closed until the night of the last day.
Upon the reading of paragraph XI,
MR. LAMB. It was agreed by the committee to omit the initials "A B and G D" and simply say "We, commissioners and conductor."
MR. BROWN of Kanawha. What is the reason?
MR. LAMB. To obviate the necessity of so many blanks in the certificates you issue.
MR. BROWN. Then, Mr. President, as "A B and C D" are always entitled to lead, if you strike them off there you will have to substitute them for "E F and G H" below.
MR. VAN WINKLE. Well, let that be done by the Committee on Revision.
MR. LAMB. An amendment has been suggested to me: instead of "within six days after the polls are closed" to say "within six days after the commencement of the polls." The polls may continue six days, and it postpones too long the ascertaining of the vote.
MR. HARRISON. Substitute the word "commenced" for "closed".
MR. VAN WINKLE. Say on the 2nd of April.
MR. BROWN of Kanawha. The objection to that is that the very contingency that may superinduce the continuing of the polls will generally be the same that will delay the commissioners in the various portions of the county from arriving with their county. You may have impassable waters; and if you limit the time and they are not in by that time you have to cut them all off, and you have taken the trouble of holding an election and have then thrown it away.
MR. DERING. I concur in the remarks of the gentleman from Kanawha. In my county many precincts are very distant from the courthouse and they don't get the poll books for a week.
MR. SINSEL. Take Monongalia. There are ten places of voting. Nine may close their polls on the first day of election. One may keep it open. Now, these nine places will meet within the six days to compare the returns. Those other places will absolutely be left out under this arrangement. This dating it from the beginning overcomes that difficulty.
MR. LAMB. I understand that the present regulations for elections within Virginia require the returns to be made within six days after the polls are commenced. That is my understanding of the law. I have not the code here to refer to, and we have had no difficulty in operating under it. Another thing in regard to this, and it is a general principle that will apply, I take it, and ought to be understood if it is a correct one, will apply to all these minute and particular provisions - that they are what the lawyers call directory merely. The failure to comply with them, if there is no fraud, and actual malpractice in the matter, does not invalidate the proceedings. The distinction which I believe is pretty well established between what are called directory and mandatory laws. In regard to all these minute and particular provisions fixing days, etc., if there be no fraud or malpractice, I take it the elections and their returns may and will still be valid according to the settled rules that govern elections although they may not have been precisely complied with. They are put there for the direction of the officers, to be complied with if possible; but if they have acted in good faith and it be impossible to comply with them, people do not lose their votes. I would, with a view of carrying out that idea, in line 40 ask to put in the word "directions" instead of "regulations," in the first sentence of section 4.
MR. VAN WINKLE. I hope that will be done by general consent. It has been suggested here, in reference to an objection made by my colleague about which there might be some misunderstanding, as soon as the polls are closed, to insert the word "final." Then there can be no misunderstanding about it. It may be even important to instruct the commissioners and others conducting the election that they are not to open the boxes before the polls are finally closed.
THE PRESIDENT. There being no objection, the Secretary will make the insertion. Has the chairman any more amendments to make?
MR. LAMB. Yes, sir, in lines 173 and 174, instead of "within six days after the polls are closed" insert "within six days after the commencement of the polls."
MR. TICHENELL. I want to make an inquiry. I know many of these townships are very large, and if there be natural obstructions, such as high waters, etc., it would be impossible for them to get in within the six days after the commencement. Is there any provision by which that could be overcome? I am satisfied there are precincts that at certain times it would be impossible for a messenger with safety to his life to get to the court house within that time. I would not like to vote to exclude if Providence should hedge up the way of getting in.
MR. VAN WINKLE. Does that state of things often last six days?
MR. TICHENELL. Often lasts long enough to prevent them coming. The very thing that would protract the election three days might be in existence six days. We have broad streams to cross and no bridges, and difficulties to overcome; and there will without doubt polls be lost if that is the law and no extension of time for distance.
MR. HERVEY. It seems to me the time is ample to get the vote from any county in the proposed State. I have traveled from Minnesota to Brooke in two days and a half.
MR. BROWN of Kanawha. You didn't travel in West Virginia.
MR. HERVEY. Came 250 miles of that distance by water.
THE SECRETARY. It is amended so as to read: "The ballots so sealed up, the poll books and one of the certificates signed as aforesaid, shall be delivered by the commissioners and conductor, or one of them, within six days after the commencement of the polls."
The amendment was rejected.
MR. McCUTCHEN. In the XIVth section I would move, in line 218, where it requires the commissioners to meet at the court house of Webster county, to strike out Webster and insert Pocahontas.
The alteration was agreed to.
MR. STUART of Doddridge. Seems to me in the 210th line we ought to strike out the words "or more". What is the use of two or three commissioners going along to an adjoining county; expense for nothing in the world.
MR. HALL. I think it had better remain as it is. One may be sufficient as it is. If there is no necessity more than one should go, let one go. There are times and circumstances when the parties interested in the certificates might not agree upon what one should go, and I should like it so left. While it is very uncertain, it will not hurt to send one to watch the other, and let the other watch the one. I think it would be the best as it is.
MR. STUART. I don't think any of the commissioners would suffer themselves to be candidates. It would be very singular to see two or three commissioners going to carry these poll books. I am one of those men who have confidence in man. I expect they would be honest men and one could do it just as well as two or three of them.
MR. HALL. I have confidence in man, Mr. President, but that confidence has been very often misplaced. And whilst it is not that I suppose these commissioners are not honest men, we know that men are not always honest. When we legislate or make legal provision, whether it has reference to government or what not, we do so with reference to the possibility of the dishonesty of men, and it will not then be in the way of honest men. As I suggested before, I apprehend, being honest men, unless there is reason for it only one of them will go; so that there will be no unnecessary expense; but if there is reason for more than one going, then I would prefer to leave it as it is. I would prefer to trust their honesty that they would not go unnecessarily than to bar them from the right to go when it might be necessary in order to render satisfaction and in order to secure justice that more than one should go.
The motion was agreed to.
MR. VAN WINKLE. I would suggest, Mr. President, in the 299th line to transfer the word "volunteer" so as to bring it in after "Virginia" in the same line. The "Virginia Volunteer Militia" is the official title given to troops now in the field in the service of the United States from this State, and as this is confined to them, it will be shown more plainly.
MR. ROSS. This article does not provide for the vote of persons in the military hospitals.
MR. VAN WINKLE. They are in the "soldiers and officers of the Virginia Volunteer Militia." I think they are included.
MR. ROSS. I regard this as a very important part of this ordinance that we are about to pass, and I would particularly draw the attention of members to its importance and especially to the importance of having it so perfected that no advantage can be taken of this article by those who are opposed to the soldiers voting. I believe, Mr. President, that upon principle the volunteer soldier in the service of his country should have a vote. If there is any individual belonging to the country whose claims on the country to the exercise of this privilege of citizenship is stronger than another it is the individual whose patriotism has arisen to the standard that he is willing to go forward and fight for his country; and I believe it would be doing a great wrong and be a discouragement to the volunteer soldiers of the country if in this exigency of the country's history they should be denied the privilege of voting - that privilege which all freemen value so highly and prize so dearly. I believe, Mr. President, that upon general principles the right of the volunteer soldier in the service of his country to vote is clearly recognized. I would call attention to one of the articles of this Constitution where I think the principle of the right of the volunteer soldier in the service of his country to vote is clearly recognized. I refer to the third section of the third article. "No voter, during the continuance of an election . . . shall be liable . . . except in time of war or public danger, to render military service." Here, Mr. President, the soldier, or the voter, is not required to perform military service except in time of war or public danger. Then this may be required of him; but he is still recognized as a voter by the Constitution and by the law. And I take it, therefore, we are not going beyond the Constitution at all in giving the soldier in the service of his country the privilege to vote; and I take it on general principles, on principles of justice - sheer justice to the soldier - he should be permitted to vote. There can be no possible objection to this that can be valid in the minds of any individual. If it be possible for this Convention to devise a plan by which the voting of the soldier should be properly guarded from fraud or from improper influences. And that this is precisely the business of this Convention at the present time; that is, to devise a plan by which the vote of the volunteer soldier in the armies of the United States can be taken, it will be entirely free from all suspicion of fraud and it will be surrounded by the proper guaranties. Thus it will give confidence to the community in the vote that is thus taken. Now, Mr. President, you will observe here that the principle that is adopted in this provision is one that entirely gets rid of the objections; it provides that the ballot of the voter shall be recorded in the county of which he is a resident. There was the difficulty that met the members of the committee at once in devising any plan. The Constitution requires the voter to vote in the county of which he is a resident. The great question was to devise some plan by which we might get rid of that difficulty, permit the soldier to vote and still keep within the spirit of the Constitution. We do that simply in this way: we permit the soldier to enclose his ballot in an envelope securely sealed and transmitted by mail or some other secure method of conveyance to the superintendent of election at the court house of the county in which he is a resident. If the majority of the superintendents at the court house are satisfied this individual is really entitled to vote at this election precinct they are allowed to cast that vote for him at the ballot box; and here then the soldier is voting in the county and precinct of which he is a resident.
I think the section is scarcely guarded enough; that it has not been perfected as it might be in order to afford the requisite security to individuals for the vote, and there can be amendments made to that section which will make it altogether unobjectionable. I do not know what may occur to the minds of other gentlemen in thinking over the subject but I would suggest one or two things which I think would secure this vote and prevent all fraud and all objection to the measure. I propose, Mr. President, that the section be so altered that it shall require, in the first place, the voter to enclose his ballot in a securely sealed envelope; that he shall endorse upon the back of this envelope some endorsement like the following: "I vote the endorsed ballot at the fall election of 1863" or whatever it may be, signed by the name of the soldier; that this shall be done in the presence of his commanding officer, the captain of the company, and that the captain shall certify below on the back of the envelope enclosing his ballot a certificate to the following effect: "I hereby certify that the above named (John Doe) is a soldier of my company and that he endorsed the ticket and signed his name thereto before me this (12th day of September, 1863)." Signed by the captain or other proper officer of the company. I then propose, Mr. President, that this envelope be enclosed in another directed to the superintendent of election in the county where the soldier resides, and that upon the day of election the name be called out by the conductor in order to give opportunity for challenge if any is made. Then let the name be entered on the poll book, and then let the conductor open the envelope and deposit the ballot in the ballot box without opening the same, and then it will be counted as the other ballots.
Something like this, Mr. President, I deem to be necessary in order that this poll be properly guarded, divested of all appearance of fraud, and that it may be perfected as a general standing rule or measure by which the volunteer soldier in the service of the state of West Virginia during the continuance of the war may be still secured in the enjoyment of his political rights. I deem, this, Mr. President, a matter due to the soldier, due to the whole country, that the individual who will volunteer to fight for his country shall not thereupon lose his civil privileges and find that while he is fighting the enemy in front there is a fire in the rear which he has probably more reason to dread than the foe that is before him.
I conceive, Mr. President, we shall not be at all singular in making this arrangement. I believe the attention of the whole country has been drawn with so much force to this subject that a regulation similar to this will be made in probably almost every State in the Union. I take the suggestion of this method from regulations which are now being made in the legislature of Ohio. They are now, as I understand, attempting to perfect a system of voting for the soldier of which this method that you propose here contains the radical idea. I would therefore ask the members of the Convention to turn their very serious attention to the consideration of this subject.
MR. STUART of Doddridge. I hope the gentleman will submit his amendment. Let it be stated and we will know what we are discussing and what we are proposing to adopt. Nobody is disputing the right to vote; and if he submits any proposition, let it be in writing.
MR. ROSS. I was very well aware that I was not speaking to any amendment that had been offered here; but I wanted to throw out some general suggestions in regard to the importance of the subject and regulations which might result in recommitting this section so we shall be enabled to perfect it in a way that would render it acceptable to all.
THE PRESIDENT. Would the gentleman make a motion?
MR. ROSS. I could not on the spur of the moment prepare such a provision as I would like to see; but if any gentleman will move to recommit this section I would try to do so.
MR. STUART of Doddridge. I have an amendment I want to offer. In the 308th line, before the word "qualified" I want to insert the words "and if at the time qualified to vote." The way this reads it would make the soldier vote who was at the time he was enlisted qualified to vote. But since their enlistment many of these soldiers have arrived at the age of twenty-one and would not be entitled to vote when they enlisted.
MR. LAMB. Just put it: "at the time of the election qualified to vote."
MR. STUART. Yes, sir; I suppose it can be done by general consent.
THE PRESIDENT. There being no objection, it will be done.
MR. POMEROY. Would it not be better if the word "volunteer" in the 209th line should be stricken out? It is well known Congress is passing a bill by which there will be a great many drafted men. They will not be in the service by the -
MR. VAN WINKLE. They are all called volunteers.
MR. BROWN of Kanawha. I imagine the drafted men would not be volunteer militia. That is their discrimination on the books of the Adjutant General. That cannot be corrected because a man that is compelled to go is not a volunteer.
MR. VAN WINKLE. That is the way they got most of their volunteers in the South I understand.
MR. POMEROY. It would do no injury and make the section far better. They are not volunteers certainly. There is a difference in the pay.
MR. BROWN of Kanawha. It seems to me under the head of Virginia militia, a broader term.
MR. LAMB. Mr. President, this section was very carefully considered in the committee, whether we have got it right or wrong; and I must confess, with the best consideration I have been able to give the proposition made here by my colleague, I do not think it would be at all an improvement upon it.
THE PRESIDENT. It is not before the house now.
MR. LAMB. The proposition is to recommit the section, and I speak as to that. We have very carefully guarded the matter as will be seen by an attentive consideration of the section as it now stands. But with all the professions, all the directions, all the forms that could be gone through with under this proposition, it is breaking the word of promise that we seem to hold out entirely, it appears to me. The soldier could scarcely get up his vote if we complicate the matter with all these forms, and the officers would scarcely be willing - many of them would be unwilling - to take the necessary pains which would be required under such a regulation to send in the vote according to our law. I beg leave to remark while I am speaking on this question further that it was the intention of the committee to submit nothing here that they did not consider in precise conformity to the Constitution of the State of West Virginia as we have already adopted it and as the people have ratified it. We think we have done this. We think the mode of voting here prescribed is in conformity with all the requisitions of our Constitution, and that the vote when deposited in the ballot box will be a strictly legal vote under that Constitution. It is true the Constitution prescribes the mode of voting shall be by ballot; but it does not say how that ballot shall be transmitted. If it is the ballot of the voter, it is perfectly within the power of this Convention, as it would be in the power of the legislature assembled under this Constitution, to prescribe the mode by which that ballot may be transmitted to be deposited in the ballot box; and this provision is virtually nothing more than that. It is the true construction, I take it, of the preceding section of the Constitution that the party must have been for thirty days before the election a resident of the county in which the vote is to be given. We do know that it is the established law that a soldier of the United States, a resident of another state, may be here fifty years without losing his residence in that other state and without acquiring one here. The reverse is equally true. The man who is a resident of the State of Virginia and enters into the service of the United States as a volunteer may be taken off to Vicksburg or to any other part of the country and remain there for years; yet he does not lose his rights as a resident of Virginia. He is still in the eyes of the law, according to all the well establishing principles that govern that branch of the subject, a resident of the State and county which he left. A vote that is given under this section transmitted to the ballot box, in full compliance with the regulations of law being the ballot of an actual voter, that voter retaining his residence in the county and State, is a vote given lawfully under the Constitution of the State. I take it, Mr. President, therefore, that we have accomplished the two objects we aimed at. This Constitution having been ratified by the people of West Virginia, this Convention are not at liberty to change it, without submitting their action again to the ratification of the people; and on the other hand, to give to parties who are actual legal residents the right to vote in the county where they reside.
MR. ROSS. I would explain why I regard some of these formalities that have been indicated in the course I had spoken of before as necessary; why they should be introduced. In the first place, it will be necessary that the name of the soldier should be endorsed on the outside of the envelope which encloses his ballot. That is the first form to be gone through with; that he shall endorse his name on the outside so that it may be known whose vote is inside. Suppose it were to go to the superintendent of the election with no other endorsement on it than that, we have no kind of assurance that some one of his comrades might not have undertaken to transmit his ballot for him.
MR. LAMB. Will the gentleman excuse me one moment. The provision of this is that the ballots shall be transmitted "under seal to the superintendents of the election for the county in which he resided; and if a majority of the superintendents are satisfied that the person so transmitting his ballot is a citizen of the United States and was at the time he entered such service a resident as aforesaid of the State and county qualified to vote, they shall deposit his ballot in the box, etc." The superintendents must be satisfied.
MR. ROSS. They must be satisfied as to the person. There might be a fraud put upon them here; and we want this guaranty to prevent them from being imposed upon by any such fraud; and in order to prevent that we require the certificate of his commander or of some other officer, that he saw him, this identical person whose name is written above, enclose that ballot and seal it up and write his name on the back of the envelope. This I would regard as a very necessary precaution to prevent fraud. I should like to see it incorporated in the system which we shall introduce. And when this ballot arrives in the county where he proposes to vote, I think there ought to be some safeguards likewise there in order that it may be certainly ascertained whether the individual has the right to vote in the county in which he proposes to vote. It is to be sure. The superintendents must be satisfied of that but can we not go a little further and require the name to be called out when he proposes to enter the vote that there may be opportunity for challenge; that if there is no challenge the vote may be deposited. I do not think any of these are superfluous regulations. But all that I want, Mr. President, is to have secured to the soldier that he shall have his vote and security to the community that that vote shall not be the subject of fraud in any way; that it shall express the opinion of the soldier.
MR. SMITH. Mr. President, I fully appreciate the remarks made by the gentleman from Ohio, and if it were a permanent system the regulations he suggests would be very proper.
MR. STUART of Doddridge. I know the gentleman from Logan will pardon my asking what is the section ?
THE PRESIDENT. The motion is to recommit.
MR. ROSS. The motion has not been formally submitted.
MR. VAN WINKLE. The motion is on the adoption of the section.
MR. STUART of Doddridge. I understand if there is no amendment to be suggested, why, there is no right of discussion. We are going over making amendments.
THE PRESIDENT. The gentleman from Ohio said he wished some gentleman would make the motion.
MR. GRIFFITH. I move it be recommitted.
MR. SMITH. I say I appreciate the object of the gentleman. If we were inaugurating a system for perpetuity, it would be very proper to guard it as he proposes. I look upon the authority here given, to send tickets, as stretching the Constitution pretty considerably, and rather a tight fit to let it pass; but I am willing to let it go without any objections. I will say to the gentleman it is only applicable to a single election; and although the human mind has a great deal of ingenuity and will resort to a great many practices to perpetrate fraud, yet the mind is not so very active as to do it at the first election, and it may be trusted without any serious damage at this single election that is to take place; but if the principle is to be adopted as intimated by the gentleman, why, then, it would be equivalent of the right of voting to the soldier because if these preparations of the certificate of the colonel and endorsements on the letter and everything of that sort is to be gone through with, it is so complex, no soldier would undertake the labor of sending on his vote under the difiiculties presented to him. I think it is hardly worth while to send this to the committee again; because the proposition now here is sufficient for the single time so as to last for but one election. That requires that the ballot should be sealed up in a letter and of course the name of the man signed to the letter and addressed to the commissioners of election. It must have all the appearances of fairness. It must be brought by a messenger or by mail; and the commissioners are only to allow it in the event that under all its aspects they believe it to be fair and just and proper to be received. I don't think there is any necessity for any change of it at present. Let us try it once; and when the legislature comes to regulate this right of voting by sending the ballot - which I hope they will never do - they will guard that properly themselves. But we need not go to legislating about that in this Convention for one single election.
MR. ROSS. I think the difiiculties are greatly magnified in the minds of gentlemen who have objected to this. The system has been represented as an exceedingly intricate one. It has been so represented as though there were a great many formalities to be gone through with and a great deal of work to be done previous to the soldier getting his vote. Now what is it? Why, he shall simply enclose his vote in an envelope and write his name on the back of it and get the certificate of his commanding officer that it was he, the veritable soldier that enclosed that vote and transmitted it to the superintendent of election. Now, where is the great intricacy of this system? Where is the inextricable formality that has to be gone through with? It does seem to me that in order to produce confidence in the minds of the community we should have some of this kind of guaranties. I do not like the very fact which my friend intimated here that we were trenching very closely on the bounds of the Constitution in giving this right at all. That is the very fact, Mr. President, that incites me to guard this matter with all the guaranties I can throw around it, so that no advantage can be taken of it by our enemies.
MR. PAXTON. I suggest to my colleague that probably I could offer an amendment that might obviate the necessity of recommitting this to meet his views. I wish merely to suggest it. It is this, that in the 303rd line after the words "under seal" insert the words "endorsed by himself and certified by the officer in command of his company."
MR. ROSS. I will accept that amendment.
MR. GRIFFITH. I withdraw the motion to recommit.
MR. STUART of Doddridge. I am opposed to the amendment.
MR. BROWN of Kanawha. I confess I feel a little perplexed. I am with the gentleman from Ohio on my left. While I feel disposed to accord to every voter the right to vote as far as possible consistent with our right and duty, it is equally a very high duty on us to guard against fraudulent votes in order that those who are entitled to vote may not have their votes counteracted by illegal votes. The one is as high a duty as the other. Now, when these votes come in as proposed in this section as it is now by mail or otherwise, how are these commissioners to be satisfied? Because a man's name is written on a paper can that satisfy the commissioner; and if it does not he must of necessity cast that vote away. Unless they have evidence, they cannot be satisfied by the mere impress or the mere appearance of a paper that comes from they know not whom and where. The very object in voting, the very right secured to every voter shall be he who professes to be the judge must have some evidence to satisfy him of that fact. And how are you providing for this? Unless the amendment of the gentleman from Ohio on my right be adopted and even that is a defective one. It is a question whether we had not better send a commissioner to these regiments as we propose in the case of voting upon the Constitution at once and receive the votes and bring them here and let them be considered in the proper place. No, with some such provision as that the result would be if they send their votes they will be thrown away, for there will be no evidence to satisfy any intelligent mind that they are proper votes. And you cannot take this on negative evidence if it is not otherwise proved. The positive fact that each man who sends a letter and has a right to vote must be proved; and if you take the paper as the evidence, the whole army of the United States can send in their names to vote. Because the commissioners cannot know the names of these soldiers. It would be better to send a commissioner at once to take the votes.
MR. DILLE. They cannot vote out of the county.
MR. BROWN of Kanawha. If he cannot go down there and receive the votes, what is the difference between sending them by mail? If one is voting in the county, the other is. Can it be any more voting out of the county for the commissioner to go to the regiment, and he can testify who they are, than to send them by mail or by some unknown hand, and call that voting in the county? The ground then that it is voting out of the county cannot avail because if one is, the other is voting out of the county.
MR. STUART of Doddridge. Would the Clerk please report the amendment proposed?
The Secretary having complied,
MR. STUART. I would like to strike out there "certified to by the officer of the company."
MR. HERVEY. I propose -
MR. STUART of Doddridge. Well, hold on (Laughter).
MR. HERVEY. I offer an amendment to the amendment.
MR. STUART of Doddridge. Mine is an amendment to the amendment.
Mr. President, if these soldiers are permitted to vote, I want them to be free from any control of their officers; that his vote shall not depend on the action of the officer at all. If you do not do that thing I do not want you to poll that vote at all, because it will not be the soldiers voting. It will be the officers voting. In military matters, gentlemen, you know very little about the power and influence the officers presume to exercise over the soldiers, and I want these men to send their ballots endorsed by themselves; and it goes to the county where this party would be entitled to vote if at home. The commissioners are acquainted with him; and if he sends his vote there - it is presumed all these soldiers will send their votes - well, sir, how can it be counterfeited? If there comes two ballots for one man, it will of course show that one is a fraud, and if the commissioners do not know the handwriting of the party, they will not count the vote at all. I have no fears that any fraud can be practiced. But I don't want it felt that the officers can have any control over it at all, and thereby deny the soldiers' right to vote as they please. These officers, Mr. President, will have friends they desire to elevate to office. Some of these officers will want office themselves. They will hold this matter over the soldiers and control their vote; and if they do not vote for a friend, they will throw some impedient in the way so that he cannot vote at all. For that reason, I much prefer the provision as it is now, and I hope the amendment of the gentleman from Ohio will not be adopted. I am a soldier and the friend of the soldiers, and I know something about them.
MR. WHEAT. I am extremely anxious to have the soldiers vote; but I do not see any plan that they can vote, with all I have heard. I am satisfied if it was so that a vote could be taken legally, as represented by the gentleman by letter, it would be embarrassing to the voter and not one-tenth of them would be able to vote. I have my eye especially on three hundred now lying at North Mountain who have pressed me since I have been here to have them allowed the privilege of voting. I could readily have that vote taken; but I have since heard the question being sprung that there are some soldiers (?) at Vicksburg for them; and I do not see much probability. This single letter writing would be pretty difficult getting their letters here in time if they had already heard of it. I could obviate the difficulty with these 300 by some special commissioners to go down there and take the votes, and instead of sending them singly let him take the list of names and put the entire polls in one envelope and let him come up and testify that these men voted that package. But I see no probable way to manage it other than that, and that would be partial. Some companies you know where they lie and you can provide for them; but they are scattered all over Dixie and you could not get commissioners to meet all the exigencies; and I am at a loss to know unless something of the kind partially might be adopted by the Convention -
MR. STUART of Doddridge. The gentleman should confine himself to the motion before this body.
MR. WHEAT. I make these remarks -
MR. STUART. Too many general remarks.
MR. WHEAT. I desire to substitute, where it can be done, special commissioners in lieu of the plan proposed.
MR. DERING. I desire to say I am very well satisfied with this section as reported by the committee. I am entirely opposed to recommitting and opposed to any of the amendments offered. In reference to the last amendment offered by the gentleman from Doddridge, I do not anticipate any difficulty on that score; and even if the gentleman from Doddridge had the direction of the vote in his regiment I have so much confidence in his judgment and honesty I would be very willing to see him have his direction and give it to the soldiers in reference to their vote. I think we need anticipate no difficulty on this score; because the soldiers are generally independent in the expression of their principles and votes and there is no necessity of any such amendment as he offers. I would much prefer the Convention would adopt the section as it stands instead of throwing around it these complications. I trust the amendments will fail and we will adopt the section as it stands.
MR. SINSEL. We have the additional guaranty against frauds that all the voters of the county are registered at each election day; a list of the voters is furnished to those conductors of elections, and they can see by that list whether they are voters of the county, and those soldiers who had arrived at the age of 21 before their names were registered will be known by our citizens. We know our soldiers. I know nearly all the soldiers that went from Taylor county.
MR. PAXTON. I am very well satisfied with this section as reported by the committee. I should have no objection to see it amended so as to provide that the soldier should endorse the envelope in which he mails his ballot.
MR. VAN WINKLE. Most certainly, put his name somewhere.
MR. PAXTON. It is in the inside, for he is to write a letter and that is enclosed with the ballot in the sealed envelope; but it would be very well that his name should be also on the outside of the envelope.
MR. VAN WINKLE. His name will be called and everybody will have an opportunity to challenge the vote. The commissioners are bound to be satisfied that he is qualified to vote or they cannot receive it.
MR. STUART of Doddridge. I have not the least objection to the gentleman's amendment as modified. I withdraw my amendment and accept his. It may appear as his amendment if the Clerk pleases.
MR. LAMB. I do not see that anything at all is accomplished by the amendment as it stands. The ballot is to be enclosed in the letter from the soldier, that letter being signed, of course. What additional security is given by having his name on the ballot itself or on the envelope that encloses the ballot, I cannot see.
MR. ROSS. Is it in contemplation of the section as it is worded there that the soldier would simply enclose his ballot in the letter?
MR. LAMB. His ballot certainly must be in such a condition that the conductors cannot read it. It ought to be sealed up.
MR. ROSS. A simple endorsement -
MR. LAMB. It will not do any harm that I see.
MR. SINSEL. This is the way I understand it. That I will write out my ballot and enclose it in the envelope, and on the back of this envelope I will write my name. Then I will write a letter enclosing this envelope in it and direct it with my name signed to it to the conductors of the election. (A voice: "No need of a letter at all.") They will open this envelope, take out the ballot and cry out who has voted and drop the ballot in the box and record my name.
MR. VAN WINKLE. I do not see that it adds to it at all.
MR. LAMB. I would suggest as the only way of ending this matter that we recommit the section. The gentleman from Ohio then will be able to submit to the committee any provisions that may be wanted to be inserted and we can possibly strike out with something better than this. I do not know. It is the only way in which all the suggestions can be fairly considered. I make that motion.
MR. STUART of Doddridge. I must vote against this thing. We gave this great consideration last evening in the committee, and if any amendment is proposed let us fix it up now.
MR. HALL. If it is to recommit, I will say nothing further on that motion.
The motion to recommit was not agreed to.
MR. HALL. The language is that "he has been a resident of the State of West Virginia for one year." We have not in other parts of the ordinance regarded the State of West Virginia as in existence. Whether that had not better be modified in some form. It would be difficult for him to have been a resident of the State a year before the State had an existence.
MR. LAMB. The gentleman from Marion will see that same difficulty applies to every voter in the commonwealth. If he will look at article III, section I, of our Constitution, he will find it expressly provides that no person shall vote who has not been a resident of the State for one year. Now, in that connection, and in this connection, the necessary construction of that clause is: who has not been a resident of the territory that is to be included in this State for one year. But at any rate the same objection applies in the one case that applies to the other - applies to every voter in the State. You must construe the word state to mean a designation of certain territory.
MR. HALL. I did not observe the fact that was the same language applying to others; and if it were different it occurred to me it might raise a question which I wish to avoid. If that is the case, I would not desire to change this.
MR. VAN WINKLE. I ask indulgence to make one remark. It says "may send his ballot under seal." That is now "endorsed by himself." Well, that makes it on the ballot, not on the enclosure. That defeats the object of a secret ballot; for then the officers reading the ballots for tally could identify every vote with the voter. I would propose to correct that in this way: "may send his ballot with his name written on another piece of paper."
MR. PAXTON. What is "under seal" ?
MR. VAN WINKLE. In a sealed envelope.
MR. PAXTON. It says he shall send his ballot "under seal endorsed by himself." Of course, that is on the envelope.
MR. LAMB. Much better to recommit.
MR. BROWN of Kanawha. I move to add the word "envelope" there.
MR. HARRISON. I fear we have committed an error in striking out "volunteer". The Virginia militia is a different thing from a "Virginia volunteer," and therefore we ought to have the word "volunteer" in.
MR. VAN WINKLE. I suggested it in the beginning; but when the drafted men were alluded to I withdrew it. They are militia; so ranked in our ordinance and in the act of the legislature.
MR. LAMB. I would ask to change the expression so as to read: "may send his ballot in a sealed envelope endorsed by himself."
MR. PAXTON. I was going to suggest: "name endorsed thereon."
MR. STUART of Doddridge. I was going to suggest he might not be able to endorse it himself.
MR. RYAN. So much confusion, I move to recommit.
MR. STUART of Doddridge. We know more about it now than we will tomorrow.
The motion to recommit was rejected.
The Secretary read the two concluding sections.
MR. LAMB. There being no objection to that clause, I want to propose an additional one. This ordinance and the one formerly adopted by the Convention completely supercedes the schedule. The schedule properly belonging to the original constitution, at any rate, it did not belong to the Amended Constitution; but to obviate any difficulty of construction in regard to a matter of that kind, I propose the following section;
"The schedule attached to the Constitution is hereby repealed; but such repeal shall not affect the validity of any act done in pursuance of said schedule."
Mr. Lamb immediately re-stated the section in the following form:
"The schedule annexed to the original Constitution is hereby repealed; but such repeal shall not affect any act done in pursuance of the same."
MR. LAMB. Mr. President, I rise to suggest a matter of cotemporaneous construction. We have appointed certain days - six days, etc., after a certain event, in several cases through this ordinance; and I presume without any declaration about it, the rule of law will require that where the day falls on Sunday, the next is the day. There need be no difference of opinion, it is clear, about that.
MR. BROWN of Kanawha. How is the case of a protested bill?
MR. SMITH. The law provides for it.
MR. LAMB. That law, I take it, applies to this case.
MR. BROWN of Kanawha. I wish to inquire whether the committee considered the question of making provision for the election of Congressmen?
MR. LAMB. We cannot do it, sir. The Constitution requires that to be done by the legislature. The legislature have to lay off the districts. The districts that are laid off in the 48 counties for the State of Virginia have expired, as a matter of course; and the new legislature has to lay districts for West Virginia and provide for election of members of Congress.
MR. STEVENSON of Wood. I would like to suggest to the gentlemen whether it would be better to let the vote be taken in the morning. I do not suppose there would be any material change, but something might occur on further consideration.
MR. HALL. I simply wish to ask if any of the members have seen a copy of the United States census of 1860? I lost one off my table yesterday, and I suppose some of the gentlemen may have seen it (Laughter).
MR. DERING. In order that the Convention may hear the resolution they adopted this morning with the small amendment added to it, and that motion which I made that the Executive Committee of this body shall have transcribed that resolution over the signatures of the President and Secretary and transmit it speedily to our representatives in Congress, I would like to have the chairman state -
MR. LAMB. Just direct that the President and Secretary transmit it.
MR. DERING. To be certified by the President and Secretary.
MR. RYAN. I move to adjourn.
MR. POWELL. I would like to hear the amendment that is proposed.
The Secretary read the resolution.
MR. PAXTON. I was not on the floor yesterday when the vote on the Amended Constitution was taken. I desire to record my vote if it is in order.
THE PRESIDENT. The Chair will dispose of the motion of the gentleman from Monongalia.
MR. VAN WINKLE. I would suggest to the gentleman it might be passed by until morning.
MR. SMITH. It only lacked to give it universal consent, that of Mr. Stuart. He has given his consent.
MR. STUART of Doddridge. I gave my consent after it was modified; and as it has been modified, I have no objections to it.
MR. VAN WINKLE. Suppose we pass it by.
MR. DERING. It is very important it should go on to Congress. I would like the Secretary to transcribe it and have the President sign and send it on.
MR. VAN WINKLE. I understand it is too late for the mail tonight, and as Sunday is near, it could not be got to Congress before Monday morning.
MR. DERING. Not material, sir.
THE PRESIDENT. The gentleman from Ohio wishes his name placed in the affirmative.
MR. VAN WINKLE. I would like to say the poll books - or several of them - will be ready in the morning; and I hope each gentleman will see to getting those for his county before he goes. I will go and see the Provost Marshal and get him to station troops at every outlet, and not let any member of the Convention pass until he shows his poll books. (Laughter.)
Mr. Pomeroy gave notice that he wanted all the new State men to attend a meeting tonight.
On motion of Mr. Ryan, the Convention adjourned to ten A. M. tomorrow.
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Chapter Eleven: First Constitutional Convention of West Virginia