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Staunton Convention of 1816

Farmer’s Repository
Charles Town
September 11, 1816


Journal of the Proceedings of a Convention, begun and held at Staunton, the 19th day of August, in the year 1816.

MONDAY, August 19th.

At a meeting of Delegates from sundry counties in the Commonwealth of Virginia, convened at Staunton, in pursuance of a recommendation contained in an address to the People, dated at Winchester, on the 1st day of June last and signed by deputies from the counties of Berkeley, Frederick, Harrison, Wood, Monongalia, Fauquier, Fairfax, Loudoun, Hampshire, Jefferson and Brooke, for the purpose of devising and adopting measures, to effect a Convention of the People of this Commonwealth, to reform defects in the constitution of the state.

There were present the following Members, to wit: From the counties of

Albemarle - William Woods, William F. Gordon. Augusta - Robert Porterfield, Chapman Johnson. Bath - Samuel Blackburn, Charles Cameron. Bedford - Jabez Leftwitch. Berkeley - Elisha Boyd, Joel Ward. Botetourt - James Breckenridge, Allen Taylor. Brooke - Jesse Edgington, James Marshall. Fairfax - Thomas Moss, Wiliam H. Fitzhugh. Frederick - Henry St. George Tucker, Jared Williams. Fauquier - George B. Pickett, Frederick Chapman. Franklin - William A. Burwell, Benjamin Cook. Greenbrier - James J. Mayers, Ballard Smith. Giles - David French, John Chapman. Hampshire - John Jack, William Armstrong, jr. Hardy - Edward Williams, Abel Seymour. Harrison - John Redd, Nicholas P. Hairston. Jefferson - Henry S. Turner, William P. Flood. Kenhawa - Andrew Donnelly, Henry White. Loudoun - William Noland, Joshua Osburn. Monongalia - Thomas Willson, John Staley. Monroe - Isaac Estill, James Woodville. Montgomery - Henry Edmundson, Eldred Rawlings. Nelson - Landon Cabell, William C. Reeves. Ohio - Isaac Leffler, Moses Chaplin. Pendleton - William McCoy, Zebulon Dyer. Pittsylvania - George Tucker, Geo. Townes. Prince William - John Love, Edmund Brooke. Randolph - Edward S. Duncan, George Alderson. Rockbridge - James McDowell, John Leyburn. Rockingham - William Bryan, Peachy Harrison. Shenandoah - Isaac Samuels, Charles U. Lovell. Wood - Alexander H. Creel, Jacob Beeson.

Honorable General James Breckenridge was unanimously elected President of Convention; and

Erasmus Stribling, Secretary.

John Clarke was appointed Door Keeper.

On motion of Mr. Noland,

“Resolved, that a committee of Election be appointed, to consist of three members.”

And the said committee was accordingly appointed, to consist of the following members, viz. - Messrs. Noland, Leyburn and Townes.

On motion of Mr. Johnson,

“Resolved, that the rules of proceeding adopted for the Government of the House of Delegates of Virginia, so far as applicable, be adopted for the Government of this Convention.”

On motion of Mr. Jackson,

“Resolved, that when this House adjourn, it will adjourn to meet to morrow morning 9 o’clock.”

On motion of Mr. Johnson,

“Resolved, that this Convention will on to morrow resolve itself into a committee of the whole, to take into consideration the objects of their meeting.”

Mr. Jackson then offered the following resolution -

“Resolved, that it is expedient at this time to adopt measures for a General Convention of the people of this Commonwealth, to amend the Constitution of the State; which Convention shall meet during the present year.”

And the said resolution was, on motion, ordered to be referred to a committee of the whole.

On motion then,

Resolved that this Convention now adjourn.

TUESDAY, August 20th.

The following additional members appeared and took their seats, to wit -

From the County of Culpeper - Elijah Arnold.

Patrick - Greenville Penn and Abraham Staples.

On motion,

Ordered, that Henry Cease and Michael Forbes be appointed Assistant Door Keepers.

On motion of Mr. Tucker, of Frederick.

The rule of the house which requires the order of the day to be taken up at 12 o’clock, was suspended for the present, in order to enable the House now to resolve itself into a committee of the whole.

Whereupon,

On the motion of the same gentleman,

The House resolved itself into a committee of the whole, to take into consideration the objects of their meeting.

Mr. Noland in the chair.

And after some time spent therein,

The Committee rose, reported progress, and asked leave to sit again.

Which leave was granted them.

On motion of Mr. Tucker, of Pittsylvania,

Resolved that this Convention now adjourn.

Wednesday 21st August.

On motion of Mr. Fitzhugh,

Resolved that a Committee of three be appointed to draft a plan for defraying the expenses of this Convention.

And the said Committee was accordingly appointed to consist of Messrs. Fitzhugh, Tucker (of Pittsylvania) and Turner.

Mr. Noland, from the committee of elections, presented a report, which was received and read as follows:

The committee of elections have, according to order, examined the certificates of the delegates returned to this convention from the counties of Albemarle, Augusta, Bath, Bedford, Berkeley, Botetourt, Brooke, Culpeper, Fairfax, Frederick, Fauquier, Franklin, Greenbrier, Giles, Hampshire, Hardy, Harrison, Henry, Jefferson, Kenhawa, Loudoun, Monongalia, Monroe, Montgomery, Nelson, Ohio, Pendleton, Pittsylvania, Prince William, Patrick, Randolph, Rockbridge, Rockingham, Shenandoah, and Wood, and find the elections to have been regular and pursuant to previous notice.

Resolved as the opinion of this Committee, that the Delegates from the counties of Albemarle, Augusta, Bath, Bedford, Berkeley, Botetourt, Brooke, Culpeper, Fairfax, Frederick, Fauquier, Franklin, Greenbrier, Giles, Hampshire, Hardy, Harrison, Henry, Jefferson, Kenhawa, Loudoun, Monongalia, Monroe, Montgomery, Nelson, Ohio, Pendleton, Pittsylvania, Prince William, Patrick, Randolph, Rockbridge, Rockingham, Shenandoah, and Wood, are entitled to seats in this convention.

And the said Resolution being twice read, was on the question put thereupon, agreed to by the House.

A letter from Andrew Russell and David Campbell, delegates chosen to this convention from the county of Washington, to the chairman of this convention, was presented, and on motion,

Ordered to be read and lie on the table.

On motion of Mr. Tucker (of Frederick,)

The House according to the order of the day resolved itself into a committee of the whole to take again into consideration the subjects to them referred.

Mr. Noland in the chair.

And after some time spent therein, the resident resumed the chair, and Mr. Noland reported that the committee of the whole house, had, according to order, hand under consideration the subjects to them referred, and had made some further progress therein, but not having time to go through the same, had requested him to ask leave to sit again.

Resolved that this House will again on to morrow resolve itself into a committee of the whole House, to take into consideration the subjects to them referred.

On motion of Mr. Blackburn,

Resolved that this house do now adjourn.

Thursday the 22d August.

Jacob T. Fishback, a delegate from the county of Wythe, appeared and took his seat.

On motion of Mr. Tucker, of Frederick,

The House according to the order of the day resolved itself into a committee of the whole, to take again into consideration the subjects to them referred.

Mr. Noland in the chair.

And after some time spent therein, the President resumed the chair, and Mr. Noland reported that the committee of the whole House had, according to order, had under consideration the resolution to them referred, and had agreed to sundry amendments thereto, which he delvered in at the secretary’s table, together with the said resolution.

The House then proceeded to consider the said resolution, with the amendments reported by the committee, which amendments were in the following words.

Resolved that this Convention do consider the existing inequality in the representation in the two Houses of the General Assembly of Virginia, as a grievance, and as derogating from the rights of a large portion of the good people of the Commonwealth.

Resolved that a committee of     members be appointed to prepare on the part of this convention, a memorial to the Legislature of the State, to be presented at their next session, requesting them to recommend to the people of the State the formation, on fair and equal principles, of a general convention, empowered to amend the constitution, on every point on which it shall be found to be defective.

On motion of Mr. Jackson, the word “unanimously” was inserted after the word resolved in the first resolution; which resolution as amended was agreed to by the House.

A motion was made by Mr. Johnson to amend the amendment proposed by the committee, by striking out the second resolution and inserting in lieu thereof the following words, viz:

Resolved that a memorial be presented to the Legislature of this state, at their next session, on the part of this convention, praying that a general convention may be assembled for the purpose of amending the constitution so as to give a fair and equal representation to every part of the state in both branches of the Legislature, and so as to provide for subsequent amendments from time to time as the good people of this commonwealth may think expedient.

Resolved that this convention will recommend to the people of this commonwealth, the adoption of a similar memorial to be presented also to the Legislature at their next session.

And the question being put on agreeing to the said amendment, was determined in the negative; ayes 28, noes 40.

On motion of Mr. Johnson, seconded by Mr. Noland,

Ordered that the ayes and noes on the said question be inserted in the journal.

The names of the gentlemen who voted in the affirmative are, Messrs. Breckenridge, (President,) Woods, Porterfield, Johnson, Cameron, Blackburn, Boyd, Ward, Taylor, Edgington, Marshall, Tucker (Frederick,) Williams, Mayers, Seymour, Turner, Flood, Noland, Osburn, Edmundson, Rawlings, Cabell, Reeves, Brooke, McDowell, Leyburn, Lovell and Fishback - 28.

And the names of the gentlemen who voted in the negative are, Messrs. Gordon, Leftwich, Arnold, Moss, Fitzhugh, Picket, Chapman, Burwell, Cook, Smith, French, Chapman, Jack, Armstrong, Pindall, Jackson, Redd, Hairston, Donnelly, White, Staley, Wilson, Estill, Woodville, Leffler, Chapman, McCoy, Dyer, Tucker (of Pittsylvania,) Townes, Love, Penn, Staples, Dunean, Alderson, Bryan, Harrison, Samuels, Creel and Beeson - 40.

A motion was made by Mr. Fitzhugh, to amend the second resolution by filling the blank therein with the word “seven” which was agreed to by the House.

A motion was made by Mr. Johnson, further to amend the second resolution by striking out at the end of the said resolution the words “on every point on which it shall be found to be defective,” which amendment was agreed to by the House.

The question was then put, will the House concur with the committee in the said amendment as amended; and determined in the affirmative; ayes 57, noes, 11.

On motion of Mr. Johnson, seconded by Mr. Noland.

Ordered that the ayes and noes on the said question be inserted in the Journal.

The names of the gentlemen who voted in the affirmative are, Messrs. Breckenridge, (President,) Woods, Gordon, Porterfield, Johnson, Cameron, Blackburn, Leftwich, Boyd, Ward, Taylor, Marshall, Arnold, Moss, Fitzhugh, Tucker (Frederick) Williams, Picket, Chapman (Fauquier) Burwell, Cook, Mayers, French, Chapman (Giles) Jack, Armstrong, Seymour, Redd, Hairston, Turner, Flood, Donnelly, White, Noland, Osburn, Staley, Estill, Woodville, Edmundson, Rawlings, Cabell, Reeves, M’Coy, Dyer, Tucker (Pittsylvania) Townes, Love, Brooke, Penn, Staples, McDowell, Leyburn, Bryan, Harrison, Samuels, Lovell, Fishback - 57.

The names of the gentlemen who voted in the negative are Messrs. Edgington, Smith, Pindall, Jackson, Willson, Leffler, Chaplin, Duncan, Alderson, Creel and Beeson - 11.

The main question was then put, will the House adopt the amendments reported by the committee, as amended by the House, and determined in the affirmative; ayes 59, noes 9.

On motion of Mr. Jackson, seconded by Mr. Johnson, ordered that the ayes and noes on the said question be inserted in the Journal.

The names of the gentlemen who voted in the affirmative are, Messrs. Woods, Gordon, Porterfield, Cameron, Leftwich, Boyd, Ward, Marshall, Arnold, Moss, Fitzhugh, Tucker (of Frederick,) Williams, Pickett, Chapman, Burwell, Cook, Mayers, Smith, French, Chapman, Jack, Armstrong Jr. Seymour, Jackson, Redd, Hairston, Turner, Flood, Donnelly, White, Noland, Osburn, Staley, Willson, Estill, Woodville, Rawlings, Cabell, Reeves, Leffler, Chaplin, McCoy, Dyer, Tucker (of Pittsylvania) Townes, Love, Brooke, Penn, Staples, Duncan, Alderson, Bryan, Harrison, Samuels, Lovell, Creel, Beeson, and Fishback - 59.

The names of the gentlemen who voted in the negative are Messrs. Breckenridge, (President,) Johnson, Blackburn, Taylor, Edgington, Pindall, Edmundson, McDowell, Leyburn - 9.

On motion of Mr. Jackson,

Resolved that this convention do recommend to the people of this commonwealth the adoption of a memorial on similar principles to be presented also to the Legislature at their next session, and that the committee created by the second resolution just adopted by the House do prepare the draft of such memorial.

And a committee was appointed under the said second resolution to consist of the following members, viz. Messrs. Fitzhugh, Jackson, Tucker (of Pittsylvania,) Burwell, Love, Tucker (of Frederick) and Boyd.

Mr. Boyd presented a communication from a committee appointed by sundry citizens in the town of Petersburg, which was ordered to lie on the table.

On motion of Mr. Blackburn,

Resolved that this House do now adjourn.

Friday the 23d August.

Mr. Noland from the committee of elections presented a report, which was read, as follows:

The committee of Elections have, according to order, examined the certificate of a delegate returned from the county of Wythe, to this convention, and find the election was regular and pursuant to previous notice.

Resolved as the opinion of this committee that the delegate from the county of Wythe is entitled to a seat in this House.

The said resolution being twice read was on the question put thereupon agreed to by the House.

On the motion of Mr. Noland,

Ordered that the communication from the Petersburg committee, with its inclosure yesterday laid on the Table be read, which are in the following words:

PETERSBURG, 12th August, 1816.

To the chairman of the Staunton Convention.

A letter directed to Mr. Francis G. Yancey and Mr. John S. Barbour of this town, requesting an association of other individuals with them for the purposes therein mentioned, was duly received and has been attended to. A committee composed of Robert Birchett, Christopher T. Jones, Samuel Crawford, John H. Brown, Thomas Shore, Francis G. Yancey, John S. Barbour, and Alder B. Spooner, having consulted together, concluded to request a meeting of the citizens of Petersburg at the court House, by a public notice in the newspapers. Notice was given, and at the appointed hour, a large number of citizens assembled, - An adjournment took place for the purpose of circulating more extensively among the people an address, forwarded by a delegation from several counties in the western section of the state, and on account of a general wish, that the subject might be maturely considered. On Thursday last, another meeting took place, but was thinly attended, in consequence of the court having sat until a late hour. On Friday last in the evening according to adjournment, the citizens again assembled at the Court House. The meeting was well attended. A larger number in fact, were present than is usual at our town meetings. A motion was made to adjourn indefinitely, but after much debate it failed. The inclosed resolutions were then adopted almost unanimously by the meeting.

With sentiments of particular respect and consideration, &c &c.

A. B. SPOONER,
S. CRAWFORD,
For and in behalf of the Committee.

(Here follow the proceedings of the Petersburg Meeting - already published in the Repository.)

Whereupon resolved on motion of Mr. Noland, that the said letter and enclosure lie on the table.

On motion of Mr. Noland,

Resolved that the committee appointed to draft a plan for defraying the expenses of this convention, be directed to contract for the printing of seven hundred copies of the journals of this convention.

Mr. Fitzhugh from the committee appointed under two resolutions yesterday adopted by the house to draft memorials, reported a resolution and memorial as follows.

(RESOLVE.)

Resolved that the following memorial, to be signed by the president, and attested by the Secretary, be presented to the Legislature of Virginia, as expressive of the sense of this convention on the subjects therein contained.

(MEMORIAL.)

Memorial of the Staunton Convention, to the Legislature of the State of Virginia.

The convention of delegates held at Staunton in the month of August 1816, for the purpose of devising the best and surest means of obtaining such amendments to the Constitution of the Commonwealth as will secure to the good people thereof, all the rights and privileges to which they are by nature entitled, and of which they have been deprived by the early adoption of principles, which if not originally and radically wrong, have become so by the subsequent "operation of natural and accidental causes," beg leave to lay before the Legislature of the state, such an exposition of their grievances as will establish at once the certainty of their existence, the extent of their operation, and the necessity of their removal. Passing over many lesser evils, connected with, and inseparable from the existing constitution, they are satisfied on the present occasion, to confine their attention exclusively to one; not doubting that the same remedy which will be applied to it, will at the same time be extended to every principle in the constitution, inimical to the rights and happiness of an independent people. No doctrine has received a more universal assent, than that in a republican government the will of the majority should be the law of the land. And yet in a state, boasting of the pure republican character of its institutions, this first and fundamental principle of republicanism, does not exist; for (to borrow the language of a late eloquent appeal to the people of Virginia,) "the government of the commonwealth is actually in the hands of a minority; and what is still more pernicious to the general interests, in the hands of a minority, inhabiting a particular section of the state. Forty-nine counties, adjacent to each other in the eastern and southern sections of the state, including three of the boroughs situated in those counties, have a majority of the whole number of representatives in the most numerous branch of the legislature. And these counties and boroughs contained, in 1810, only 204,766 white inhabitants; less than one half the population of the state by 72,138 souls."

In the other branch of the legislature the inequality is still more apparent. Incredible as it may seem, it is nevertheless a fact, that while the country west of the Blue Ridge constituting three fifths of the territory of the state, and containing, according to the census of 1810, a white population of 212,036 souls, has but four instead of nine senators, to which it is entitled; thirteen senatorial districts on tide water containing, according to the same census a white population of only 162,717 have thirteen, instead of seven senators, which would be their just proportion.

These facts are respectfully submitted to the Senate and House of Delegates of the State of Virginia, with the hope that they cannot fail to produce an impression, favourable to the cause of republicanism, and the just rights of so decided a majority of the white population of the state. This done, the convention look with confidence to the Legislature for such aid as they have the power to grant. They know that the means of extending to them immediate relief are not within the power of the Legislature. They therefore do not ask it. They know that the several counties are entitled to two representatives on the floor of the House of Delegates, and that a mere legislative act cannot prevent them from exercising an acknowledged right. Each Senatorial District too, has a constitutional claim to one representative in the Senate; and it may well be questioned whether there be a power in the Legislature to alter or abridge this claim. But what cannot be done directly, what cannot be done by law, may be indirectly accomplished through the medium of a Legislative recommendation. And although the people cannot be commanded to act, facilities for acting may be afforded them to a very great extent.

The General Assembly then are respectfully requested to recommend to the people of the Commonwealth the election of a convention to alter and amend the defects of the constitution. And in doing this it is confidently hoped that such principles of representation will be adopted, and such modes of election prescribed, as will insure to every part of the state, a weight in the Convention to be assembled, proportioned to its white population. Thus and thus only can the excitements existing in the State be allayed, the great ends of republican government be attained, and the Constitution be placed on a basis to insure its own durability, as well as the peace and happiness of those for whom it has been framed.

Mr. Johnson moved that the said resolution and memorial lie on the table, which was overruled by the House.

The question was then put "will the House adopt the said resolution and memorial," and decided in the affirmative; ayes 61, noes 7.

On motion of Mr. Johnson, seconded by Mr. Noland,

Ordered that the ayes and noes on the said question be entered in the Journal.

The names of those who voted in the affirmative are, Messrs. Woods, Gordon, Porterfield, Cameron, Leftwich, Boyd, Ward, Edgington, Marshall, Arnold, Moss, Fitzhugh, Tucker (Frederick,) Williams, Pickett, Chapman, Burwell, Cook, Mayers, Smith, French, Chapman, Jack, Armstrong, Williams, Seymour, Pindall, Jackson, Redd, Hairston, Turner, Flood, Donnelly, White, Noland, Osburn, Staley, Willson, Estill, Woodville, Rawlings, Cabell, Reeves, Leffler, Chaplin, McCoy, Dyer, Tucker (Pittsylvania,) Townes, Love, Brooke, Penn, Staples, Duncan, Alderson, Bryan, Harrison, Samuels, Lovell, Creel, Beeson, Fishback - 61.

The names of the gentlemen who voted in the negative are, Messrs. Breckenridge (President,) Johnson, Blackburn, Taylor, Edmundson, McDowell, Leyburn - 7.

Mr. Fitzhugh from the same Committee, also reported a memorial to be recommended to the people of this commonwealth, as follows:

(This Memorial was published in the Repository of the 28th ultimo.)

On motion of Mr. Fitzhugh,

Resolved that the said memorial be adopted as the sense of this House, and that the Secretary have printed five hundred copies thereof.

Mr. Burwell then offered for the consideration of the House, the following Resolutions:

Resolved that with a view to the attainment of the end specified in the resolutions yesterday adopted, if the Legislature of the State shall be indisposed, or feel itself incompetent to act on the subject, it be recommended to the people at their elections in April next, to express their opinions as to the expediency of recommending a General Convention for the purpose of amending the Constitution.

Resolved that a standing Committee, consisting of seven members, be appointed, with power to choose a select committee in each county of the Commonwealth, friendly to the objects of this meeting; and that in case it shall appear that a majority of those who vote in the State are in favour of a general convention, the standing committee shall recommend to the people a plan to procure a convention of delegates at Staunton, to fix on the mode of electing representatives to a general convention.

Resolved that the standing committee, or a majority of them, be requested to meet together as soon after the spring elections as may seem expedient, for the purpose of carrying into effect the objects of the latter part of the foregoing resolution.

A motion was made by Mr. Fitzhugh to substitute for the said resolutions, the following:

Resolved, that with a [v]iew to the certain attainment of the ultimate object of this convention, a central committee of such of its members as being favourable to its views are also members of the General Assembly, be appointed to meet in Richmond during the next winter; and that in case the General Assembly should either be indisposed or feel itself incompetent to take any part in the call of a General convention, they be requested to organize committees in the different Congressional Districts in the State, for the purpose of procuring an election by the freeholders in each of the said Districts, of six delegates to represent them in a convention to meet in     on the     day of     for the purpose of adopting such ulterior measures, as to them may seem necessary.

Whereupon, the question was put on the adoption of the said substitute, and decided in the negative.

The main question was then put,

Will the House adopt the resolutions proposed by Mr. Burwell, and decided in the affirmative; ayes 61, noes 7.

On motion of Mr. Johnson, seconded by Mr. Noland,

Ordered that the ayes and noes on the said question be inserted in the Journal.

The names of the gentlemen who voted in the affirmative are, Messrs. Woods, Gordon, Porterfield, Cameron, Leftwich, Boyd, Ward, Edgington, Marshall, Arnold, Moss, Fitzhugh, Tucker (of Frederick,) Williams (of Frederick,) Pickett, Chapman (of Fauquier,) Burwell, Cook, Mayers, Smith, French, Chapman (of Giles,) Jack, Armstrong, Williams (of Hardy,) Seymour, Pindall, Jackson, Redd, Hairston, Turner, Flood, Donnelly, White, Noland, Osburn, Staley, Willson, Estill, Woodville, Rawlings, Cabell, Reeves, Leffler, Chaplin, (of Ohio,) McCoy, Dyer, Tucker, (Pittsylvania,) Townes, Love, Brooke, Penn, Staples, Duncan, Alderson, Bryan, Harrison, Samuels, Lovell, Beeson, Fishback - 61.

The names of the gentlemen who voted in the negative are, Messrs. Breckenridge (President,) Johnson, Blackbur, Taylor, Edmundson, McDowell, Leyburn - 7.

Ordered that Messrs. Burwell, Boyd, Tucker (of Frederick,) Tucker (of Pittsylvania,) Jackson, Gordon and Love, be appointed a standing committee in pursuance of the said resolutions.

Mr. Johnson then presented for the consideration of the House the following resolution.

"Resolved, as the opinion of the convention, that the Constitution of this Commonwealth ought to be so amended as to provide, as far as practicable, that every part of the commonwealth shall bear its just share, only, of the public taxes."

On motion of Mr. Tucker (of Frederick,)

Ordered that the said resolution lie on the Table.

On motion of Mr. Williams (of Frederick,)

Resolved that this House do now adjourn.

SATURDAY, August 24.

A member from [t]his place announced to the House, that a delegation to this convention was elected from the county of Tyler, which has from accidental causes been unable to attend.

On motion of Mr. Johnson,

Ordered that the house now proceed to consider the resolution offered by him yesterday, and which was ordered to lie on the table.

A motion was made by Mr. Fitzhugh to defer the further consideration of the said resolution indefinitely; and the ques[t]ion being taken thereupon, was decided in the negative; ayes 48, noes 21.

On motion of Mr. Blackburn, seconded by Mr. Johnson,

Ordered that the ayes and noes on the said question be inserted in the Journal.

The names of the gentlemen who voted in the affirmative are, Messrs. Cameron, Blackburn, Leftwich, Boyd, Arnold, Fitzhugh, Burwell, Cook, Smith, French, Seymour, Jackson, Redd, Hairston, McCoy, Tucker (Pittsylvania,) Love, Staples, Bryan, Harrison, Creel - 21.

The names of the gentlemen who voted in the negative are, Messrs. Breckenridge (President,) Woods, Gordon, Porterfield, Johnson, Ward, Edgington, Marshall, Moss, Tucker (of Frederick,) Williams (of Frederick,) Pickett, Chapman, Mayers, Chapman, Jack, Armstrong, Williams, Pindall, Turner, Flood, Donnelly, White, Noland, Osburn, Staley, Wilson, Estill, Woodville, Edmundson, Rawlings, Cabell, Reeves, Leffler, Chaplin, Dyer, Townes, Brooke, Penn, Duncan, Alderson, McDowell, Leyburn, Samuels, Lovell, Beeson, Fishback - 48.

Mr. Jackson moved an amendment to the resolution under consideration as follows;

Resolved, as the opinion of the Convention, that the constitution of this Commonwealth ought to be so amended as to provide safe and defined barriers between the Legislative, Executive and Judicial departments of the government, and to maintain and preserve the independence of the judiciary.

Resolved also, as the opinion of the Convention, that the constitution ought further to be amended, so as to define therein the right of suffrage and establish it upon a just and equitable basis.

A motion was then made by Mr. Fitzhugh to adopt a substitute to the said resolution and amendments, as follows:

Resolved, that the Declaration in our Memorial to the General Assembly, that "passing over many lesser evils, connected with and inseparable from the existing constitution, they are satisfied on the present occasion to confine their attention exclusively to one, not doubting that the same remedy which will be applied to it, will at the same time be extended to every principle in the constitution inimical to the rights and happiness of an independent people," supercedes the necessity of any declaration of their views as to any particular principles proper to be engrated on a new constitution.

The question was then put,

Shall the said substitute be adopted, and decided in the affirmative; so the resolution and amendments were lost.

Mr. Tucker (of Pittsylvania,) from the committee appointed to prepare a plan for defraying the expenses of this convention, made a report as follows:

The committee who were required to prepare a plan for defraying the expenses of this convention, beg leave to report:

That the citizens of Staunton, partaking of the interest felt by a large portion of the good people of this Commonwealth, in the objects of this convention, & of that disinterested spirit - without which those objects cannot be effected, have anticipated the purposes for which this committee was appointed, and have deposited in the hands of the secretary of the Convention, a sum sufficient to cover the contingent expences that have been, or will be incurred. And while your committee would have preferred that the citizens of Staunton had not superadded this, to the many other instances of courtesy which they have manifested toward the members of this convention, yet having ascertained that the sum cannot be burthensome to the citizens of Staunton, they think their offer should be met in the same liberal spirit in which it was made, and should be accepted by this convention.

Resolved therefore unanimously, that in the opinion of this convention, the citizens of Staunton, in defraying the contingent expences of this meeting, deserve well of the friends of political reform in this Commonwealth.

Resolved unanimously, that the thanks of this Convention are due to Erasmus Stribling, Esq. for the assiduity, ability and disinterestedness with which he has discharged the duties of secretary to this convention.

The question being put on the said resolutions separately, they were unanimously adopted by the House.

On motion of Mr. Tucker, (of Frederick,)

Resolved unanimously, that the members of this convention in continuing to pursue the great object of necessary reform, will never cease to cherish a desire to effect that important end, by temperate, and peaceful measures; and that they will cultivate among their fellow-citizens, a spirit of moderation and forbearance, and a disposition to preserve unimpaired the peace, good order, harmony and happiness of our beloved and common country.

On motion of Mr. Johnson,

Resolved unanimously, that the protest of the minority in the convention, signed by James Breckenridge, Allen Taylor, John Leyburn, James McDowell, Henry Edmundson and Chapman Johnson, be spread upon the Journals of this convention.

PROTEST

The undersigned members of the Staunton Convention, having had the misfortune to dissent from a majority of their associates, in the means which they have adopted to secure the great object of reform, which all have in view, feel bound to avail themselves of the privilege of the minority, to spread upon the Journals of the House, along with that dissent, a brief statement of the reasons for it.

They mean not to censure - Indeed they cannot withhold their approbation of the calmness, temper and dignity which have characterised the conduct of the majority. But lest it should not be distinctly understood, from the votes already recorded, what are the real sentiments and wishes of the undersigned, upon the subject of reforming the constitution of the state; they here solemnly record them, by way of protest against the measures which have been adopted by the convention.

They hesitate not to give their decided assent to the proposition, that the inequality of representation in both branches of the Legislature, is a political wrong, and a practical evil which ought to be corrected.

They hesitate not to acknowledge, in its fullest latitude, the right of a majority of the people, to alter, reform, or abolish their political institutions, whenever they may think fit.

But they believe it to be a maxim of political wisdom, equally sanctioned by reason, and verified by experience, that the constitutional laws of every free government, should be contemplated with habitual reverence, should be approached with the most prudent caution, and touched with trembling timidity. They think, therefore, that the people of this commonwealth would not express an unwise distrust of themselves, by saying that they would never consent to any alteration in their constitution, which was not required by some palpable necessity, and the propriety of which did not challenge the assent, of every unprejudiced, candid, intelligent mind.

Reform in the representation, they deem a measure of such palpable propriety, that they would not hesitate to recommend it. Connected with this reform, they think it essential also, that a constitutional provision should be made, securing every portion of the state from the imposition of an undue proportion of the public taxes. They would think it wise, too, to introduce into the constitution a provision well guarded, with prudent limitations, whereby, in all future time, other defects in our constitution, which may have already developed themselves, or which experience may hereafter unfold, may be corrected, without unnecessarily agitating the public mind, or endangering the public tranquility.

Thus far, for the present, are they willing to go, and no further. They are willing to recommend the call of a General convention, with powers limited to those specified objects. But they are unwilling to commit the whole constitution, with all its consecrated principles, to untried hands - they are unwilling to resign that charter of their country's rights, which is identified with the revolution, around which the best feelings of the heart are intimately entwined; and under which the good people of this commonwealth have enjoyed, for 40 years; a share of political prosperity, and personal blessings, which have rarely fallen to the lot of man.

It is, therefore, that they protest: - They protest against the call of an unlimited convention. They will, nevertheless, unite their best efforts, with those of the majority, in securing the great object for which this convention was assembled, by those means, which appear to them, best suited to the end - by means of a limited convention.

JAMES BRECKENRIDGE,
ALLEN TAYLOR,
J. LEYBURN,
JAMES McDOWELL,
HENRY EDMUNDSON,
C. JOHNSON.

On motion of Mr. Jackson,

Resolved unanimously, that the thanks of this convention be presented to the Hon. James Breckenridge, for the ability and impartiality with which he has performed the arduous duties of President of this convention.

Resolved, that this convention do now adjourn, sine die.


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