July 5, 1861
House of Delegates assembled at ten A. M.
Prayer by Rev. R. A. Arthur, of Ohio University.
The CHAIR presented a communication from the Senate expressing concurrence in the action of the House in postponing the election of U. S. Senators till Tuesday next.
Also a communication from the Auditor in response to the resolution offered by Mr. Crothers on Wednesday in relation to tables of population.
On motion of Mr. WEST the latter was laid on the table and ordered to be printed.
The CLERK then read out the Standing Committees as follows:
Committee on Finance. - Porter, Logan, Zinn, Farnsworth, Downey, Ruffner, Kramer, Vance and Trout.
Committee on Ranks. - Wilson, Moss, Crothers, Davis, West, Hooton, and Williamson of Wirt.
Committee for Courts of Justice. - Smith, Hooton, Boreman, Farnsworth, Davidson, Vance and Fast.
Committee on Military Affairs. - Moss, Kramer, Porter, Radcliffe, Crothers, Williamson of Pleasants, and Swan.
Committees on Privileges and Election. - Hooton, Snyder, Downey, Logan, and Myers.
Committee on Propositions and Grievances. - Ruffner, Smith, Zinn, Trout, Parsons, Snyder and Wetzel.
Committee on Roads and Internal Navigation. - West, Davis, Fast, Wetzel, Wilson, Parsons and Radcliffe.
Committee on Claims. - Zinn, Williamson of Wirt, Snyder, Trout and Farnsworth.
Committee on Agriculture and Manufactures. - Logan, Myers, Radcliffe, Swan and Ruffner.
Committee to Examine the Bonds of Public Officers. - Davis, Downey and Davidson.
Committee on Executive Expenditures. - Boreman, Porter and Wilson.
Committee to Examine Auditor's Office. - Crothers, Zinn and West.
Committee to Examine Treasurer's Office. - Vance, Hooton and Ruffner.
Mr. LOGAN offered the following which was adopted.
Resolved, That the Sergeant-at-arms be instructed to procure a copy of the Code of Virginia for the use of this body.
Mr. WILSON offered the following:
Resolved, By the General Assembly of Virginia, that the Treasurer of this Commonwealth be instructed to demand and receive of the Government of the United States, the sum of $41,569, which, by an act of Congress approved 4th Sept., 1841, is the sum arising to Virginia from the sales of the public domain.
Mr. MOSS wished to inquire where that money is. He believed it had been placed in one of the banks of the State to the credit of the Commonwealth.
Mr. WILSON believed the State had never accepted her portion of this fund. He thought it had never been placed in any bank of the State.
Mr. SMITH, of Marion, remembered distinctly of the Richmond Enquirer, some years ago, denying in an acquainted manner, that a single dollar arising from the sale of the public domain, had ever been placed in a bank in Richmond, to the credit of the United States. He was aware that it had been affirmed that the $45,000 had been so deposited, but the Enquirer had unqualifiedly denied it. He though it would be best to ascertain where this money now is before passing such a resolution. He moved that the resolution lie on the table.
Mr. WEST would just say before the question was taken that this subject had been a matter of legislation for a number of years - he believed since the year 1842. As often as this question had been considered the Legislature ad deferred it and refused to receive the money. However there were propositions, and he had once made such a one himself, to vote for the State's receiving that money upon the condition that it should be appropriated to the literary fund for the education of poor children. On that principle and no other he was always prepared to receive it. But in relation to the remarks of the gentleman from Marion, he had never heard it contradicted that the money was deposited in one of the banks of Virginia. He presumed it was the case.
The motion was adopted, and the resolution ordered to lie over for one day.
Mr. MOSS moved that the resolution adopted on Wednesday, by which the House resolved to postpone the election of U. S. Senators until Tuesday next, be reconsidered.
He thought it important to know whether the legislative department of the government of the United States would recognize this State government. The election of Senators was the only mode by which that could be ascertained. If that motion should prevail, he would then move to go into the election of one Senator at this time.
Mr. LOGAN: I must oppose the motion. If we elect one senator I do not see why we should not elect two. We are just as well prepare to elect two as one; and I am unwilling that this business shall be done by piece-meal. I would, however, prefer very much that the election should be deferred until Tuesday. I do no see any more force in the remarks of the gentleman from Wood, in reference to the recognition of this State government to-day than he did in mine two days ago. He then was satisfied that the recognition this government had already received was sufficient for our present purposes, and that there was no such haste as some gentlemen seemed to think for the recognition involved in the sending of United States Senators to Washington. There may be some information among members of this body of which I am not _________ if expressed here might change my views on this subject.
Mr. MOSS: I think it important, sir, that it should be known throughout the country whether we will be recognized or not. I know several gentlemen who are deterred from taking an active part in the formation of this government, because they are not satisfied that we will be recognized by all the departments of the Federal Government. Another reason I had for making this motion was that if any gentlemen were elected Senator who might be now representing a district in the Lower House of Congress, it is important that an election should be held before the people for member of the House of Representatives. It may be possible that a gentleman who is now representing a district in the House of Representatives may be elected Senator. If so, we certainly ought to have another election for member of Congress. I hope sir, the motion will prevail.
The question was taken and the motion prevailed.
So the motion adopted on Wednesday to postpone the election of United States Senators until Tuesday next, was reconsidered.
Mr. VANCE of Harrison - Has the Senate been informed of the vote to reconsider? If not I move that the Senate be informed of the action of this body, so that they may take appropriate action.
Mr. LOGAN - The day has not been changed yet.
The CHAIR explained that the question now before the house was the motion of the gentleman from Ohio, as amended by the gentleman from Kanawha, offered and acted upon on Wednesday, and which now by the vote reconsidering recurred for the action of the house as it stood before such action was taken.
The CLERK read the resolution of Mr. Wilson fixing the time at two o'clock - amended by Mr. Ruffner by striking out the time set - and further amended by Mr. Moss fixing the time on Tuesday. The vote adopting the resolution with the last amendment having been reconsidered the question recurred on the resolution as amended by the gentleman from Kanawha, leaving the time blank.
Mr. MOSS - I desire to offer the following as a substitute:
Resolved, That this House, with the consent of the Senate, do at 2 o'clock proceed to elect a Senator to represent the State of Virginia in the Congress of the United States in place of the Hon. R. M. T. Hunter.
Mr. ZINN - I move to strike out "two o'clock", and insert three.
Mr. MOSS - I accept the amendment.
Mr. LOGAN - I regret very much that this subject has been reconsidered, and this substitute offered. I cannot see any good reason yet - certainly none has been assigned this morning - for proceeding to this election, more than existed day before yesterday, when this subject was postponed till next Tuesday, by a large majority. It was then represented that this body was not full; not as full as it would be; there were members who had not yet been able to reach here, but who would be present by Tuesday, and who had a right to vote on this subject and a desire to do so. This argument was presented with not little force, by some of the very gentlemen who voted this morning in favor of ___ reconsideration of the vote postponing the election. Why it is that they have so suddenly become oblivious of the rights and privileges of those absent members, I am at a loss to understand.
If we do proceed with the election of Senators, let us elect both of them this afternoon. I do not like this one-man movement, and I do hope the members of this body will refrain from any action which may seem even to look towards a ___ of any one man to any position. I hope, sir to act in this matter with reference to the food of the whole section represented by this body. I am not willing to come here and lend myself to any movement that may even seem to have reference to the good of an individual rather than the good of the whole.
We are just as much prepared to elect two Senators as one. But I have another motive in this matter. I desire to approach the election of United States Senators untrammelled by any other influences, and I wish to first get rid of the election of our State officers. That election has its influence upon the election of Senators; and I want to get it out of the way. Then we can approach the election of United States Senators on its own merits. If we go into this election to-day, we go into it surrounded by all the personal influences and prejudices with which we are surrounded now. Of this I do not complain, because it is naturally caused by the claims of competing candidates. I submit to the good sense and discretion of this body if it were not better to dispose of State matters first, so as to approach the election of United States Senators with calmness, impartiality, and disinterestedness. I want that we shall send men to the Senate of the United States of whom we will not be ashamed. I am here to say that my views are not confined to one man or two men. There are just as good men whose names have not been mentioned in any of the public prints as those who have been. As an act of justice to those absent which was claimed for them by their friends two days ago. I still claim that we shall give them time to come here and vote with us on this subject.
Mr. PARSONS, of Tucker - I have learned that several gentlemen left here this morning with the understanding and expectation that this election was not to come off until Tuesday. I think under such circumstances it would be unfair to them now to push forward the election.
Mr. BOREMAN - I voted for the postponement on Wednesday, and for the reconsideration of that vote to-day. My reason for giving the first vote was that several members were not yet present, who desire to participate in the election. I voted to reconsider because I understood nearly or quite all those gentlemen are now here. There are three Senators I know of, elected on Saturday who have come in since Wednesday, and several members of the House of Delegates. I voted for the reconsideration so that gentlemen who think there ought to be one United States Senator elected to take his seat in the Senate, could have an opportunity to be fully heard on this subject. If there are any members who were here on Wednesday, now absent, relying on the postponement to Tuesday, I still adhere to my position then taken. If they are all here with the additions we have had, I will not hesitate to go into the election.
Mr. RUFFNER - I cannot but raise my voice to oppose this proposition. I fear we are looking at this great question of the election of an United States Senator to represent the State of Virginia, (not the Northwest,) in too contracted a light. We are in a State of renovation. We scarcely know who are to be our friends in this movement to establish a new government for the State I desire to look, sir, over the whole Commonwealth for men to represent the State of Virginia. I fear that some gentlemen may consider that the election, at least, of one Senator, is a foregone conclusion, and I am opposed to precipitating this thing, because we may be liable to the imputation of precipitancy. The word has gone out that this election is not to take place till Tuesday, and members who have not yet come, will come with reference to that day. I trust the day fixed will not be disturbed.
Mr. SNYDER - I voted against the postponement of the election, when that matter was up on Wednesday. Hence, I voted in favor of the reconsideration of that vote to-day. I did so, sir, with the expectation that we would proceed to the election of two Senators, instead of one. If we are competent to elect one, we are equally so to elect two. As to taking advantage of gentlemen who are not here, I have to say that I am willing to shoulder my share of the responsibility of taking advantage of gentlemen who are not here to attend to their business, as they ought to be. I shall certainly favor the election of two Senators at this time, if we elect either one. And in reference to one other point, I must frankly admit, sir, that my feelings and views on this important subject are somewhat contracted, and I cannot help it - contracted, I mean, sir, with a special regard for the interests of Northwestern Virginia. If the Northwest has ever, in our whole history, had a Senator in the Senate of the United States, I do not recollect it. We now have an opportunity of having two, and I am emphatically for having them.
I move to amend the substitute by adding, "also one in the place of Hon. James M. Mason."
Mr. MOSS - I was not aware at the time I offered the substitute that there were any members of this body absent who were here when the election was postponed. If this be the case I do not think it would be right to go into the election now. The delegates from _____________________learn are absent. Such being the case, I agree with the gentleman from Ohio that the election ought not to proceed, and I withdraw the resolution which I offered as a substitute for that before the House.
Mr. SNYDER - I object to the withdrawal.
Mr. SMITH, of Marion - I must, sir, enter my protest against entering into this election this morning. The reasons assigned by the gentleman from Wood seem to be sufficient in themselves. Like some of the gentlemen who have just addressed you, I am inclined to think the people of the Commonwealth should be consulted. The election of United States Senators is a grave matter, sir, and _____ the people may be represented here, through their proper representatives, in that election.
Sir, the charge that has been made against the politicians of our country is that they have too long wielded the destinies of the State - that the government has too long been in the hands of designing politicians, and that the power should come from the people, which is the legitimate source of power. Therefore, in the election of U. S. Senators I desire that the people should be consulted. Now, sir, that gentlemen have left here with the understanding that we would not go into the election is undoubtedly true. They have gone home to consult their constituents, and if in their absence we pass a resolution and enter into the election it is unjust both to them and their constituents. Let us defer it until Tuesday. I would just say here that I would not ask for a moment's delay if I thought the necessity for an election was imperative.
Even the gentleman who offered the resolution this morning has not, with all _________ to him, offered a good reason why we should enter upon the election of Senators. Is it because we desire a representative in Congress? We have one there. As for the formal recognition by the government before next Tuesday, I do not conceive it to be imperative; and as we have nothing to gain by going into an election, and as we have not the people here to enter into an election through their representatives, and as the election was not to be held until Tuesday, I think we should not go into the election until the time agreed upon.
Mr. WEST moved to lay the substitute on the table.
Mr. LOGAN inquired whether the House had a right to reconsider a resolution which had been concurred in by the Senate without first obtaining the consent of that body.
The Chair expressed the opinion that they had.
Mr. WILSON said he thought the gentleman from Wood had withdrawn his substitute.
The Chair stated that the gentleman from Monongalia objected.
Mr. SNYDER said the reason he objected was that gentlemen of experience in legislation, and who he was ready to admit were his superiors in many respects, voted to postpone this election, and had voted to reconsider, and now want to postpone it again. He could not consent to be led around in this way by anybody.
The Senate, through their clerk, transmitted the following message:
The Senate have passed the following resolution, and request the concurrence of the House of Delegates therein:
Resolved, That the President appoint a Committee of three, to act with a Committee appointed by the Speaker of the House of Delegates, to inquire upon what terms the printing for both Houses can be obtained, and report the same to this body to-morrow.
The resolution of the Senate was concurred in, and Messrs. Wetzel, Crothers and Kramar appointed on the joint Committee on Printing.
Mr. WEST insisted on his motion to lay the substitute on the table.
The Chair said the motion to lay on the table carried the whole subject with it.
Mr. WEST said such was his object.
The question on the motion to lay on the table was put and decided in the affirmative.
Mr. WEST called attention to the fact that the documents accompanying the Governor's Message had not been printed as provided for in his resolution to print. He moved the printing of an equal number of the documents accompanying the Message.
The motion was adopted.
Mr. KRAMAR offered the following, which was adopted:
Resolved, That the Committee on Banks inquire into the expediency of reporting a bill authorizing the reception and passage of bank notes of foreign banks of less denomination than five dollars.
Mr. LOGAN said that thus far their action had left the election indefinitely postponed. He now moved to take up the resolution and substitute, and hoped that they would vote down the substitute and adopt the resolution fixing Tuesday.
The motion was adopted. So the subject of the election was again taken up.
The amendment of Mr. Snider, to proceed to the election at three o'clock, was rejected.
The substitute offered by Mr. Moss was also rejected, and the question recur[r]ing on the original resolution as amended and passed on Wednesday, it was adopted.
So the election was again postponed till Tuesday.
Mr. CROTHERS offered the following, which was adopted:
Resolved, That the Committee on Military Affairs inquire into the expediency of reporting a bill appropriating a sufficient sum of money for the purpose of arming and equip[p]ing the militia of the Commonwealth, under the direction of the Government.
Mr. RUFFNER offered the following, which was adopted.
Resolved, That so much of the Governor's Message as refers to Circuit Courts be referred to the Committee on Courts of Justice; that so much of it as refers to the ordinances of the Convention be refer[r]ed to the Committee on Propositions and Grievances; and that so much of it as relates to the revenue be referred to the Committee on Finance.
Mr. WEST moved that a list of each of the Committees be published, which motion was rejected.
The House then adjourned.