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Proceedings of the
Second Wheeling Convention

June 21, 1861

The Convention met at ten o'clock. A. M., and was opened with prayer by Rev. Gordon Battelle.

The Minutes of the preceding day were read and adopted.

Mr. CARLILE, from the Committee on Business, reported the following Ordinances, which were adopted:

Ordered, That until the Seals of the Commonwealth ordered by this Convention are procured, the Governor shall affix his private seal to such writs and other documents as it shall be necessary for him to issue.

Ordered, That until the appointment of a Secretary of the Commonwealth, the Governor be authorized to employ some suitable person to fill said office temporarily.

Mr. DORSEY offered the following:

Resolved, That a committee on offices to consist of nine members be appointed.

He said the design of that resolution was to raise a committee to which the various resolutions that had been offered by gentlemen in relation to vacating the offices of the State might be submitted so as to arrive at some harmonious action on that subject.

Mr. CARNE, of Tucker, did not know what end the gentleman proposed to reach with the resolution. The committee so raised could of its own volition report nothing. Some matter for them to inquire into would have to be offered after all. If this was another mode of reaching the end sought to be obtained by the resolution offered by the gentleman yesterday morning it would not effect the purpose unless another committee were raised to consider that matter.

Mr. DORSEY replied that the design attributed was not the design of the resolution at all, but it was to present these resolutions one after another, and refer them to the committee. The expectation was that the committee would report back some of them, or a different resolution on the general subject, or else present some explanation which might go out to the people, giving them to understand why the Convention had refused to take action on these resolutions.

Mr. CARLILE said that if this resolution was to elicit discussion, he would move to let it lie over for the present. He submitted a motion, that when the convention adjourn, it adjourn over till Monday at 2 o'clock.

After some discussion, the motion was adopted.

On motion, then, the ordinance relating to the receipts and disbursements of the public revenue, and providing for the appointment of an Auditor, Treasurer and Secretary of the Commonwealth, was taken up, and after having been considered, section by section, and various amendations made, was passed unanimously.

The ordinance as passed, is as follows:

An Ordinance relating to the Receipts and Disbursements of the Public Revenue, and Providing for the appointment of an Auditor, Treasurer, and Secretary of the Commonwealth.

The people of Virginia, by their delegates assembled in Convention, in Wheeling, do ordain as follows:

1. The General Assembly, as soon as it shall be organized at Wheeling, pursuant to the Ordinances of this Convention, shall elect by joint vote of the two houses, an Auditor of Public Accounts, a Treasurer, and a Secretary of the Commonwealth; whose terms of office shall respectively commence as soon as they shall be duly qualified, and shall continue for the unexpired portion of the current term of said offices, and until their successors be respectively elected and qualified.

2. The officers so to be elected shall discharge the duties and exercise the powers pertaining to their several offices by existing laws, so far as such law may be consistent with the ordinances of this Convention.

3. Each of said officers shall give bond, with security, to the satisfaction of the Governor, which bond shall be payable to the Commonwealth of Virginia, and be conditioned for the faithful performance of the duties of the office. The penalties of the bonds shall be respectively as follows: that of the Auditor of Public Accounts, Twenty Thousand Dollars; that of the Treasurer, Fifty Thousand Dollars; and that of the Secretary of the Commonwealth, Five Thousand Dollars. Each of these bonds shall be submitted to the Governor for approval; and if he be of opinion that it is in proper form, and duly executed, and that the security is sufficient, he shall endorse his approval thereon, and cause the same to be deposited in some secure place for safekeeping.

4. The Auditor of Public Accounts, and the Treasurer, shall each keep an office in the City of Wheeling, for the transaction of their official business, and the hours for transacting business at said offices shall be from eight in the morning, until three in the afternoon, between the first day of April and the first day of November; and from nine in the morning, until three in the afternoon, during the remainder of the year.

5. It shall be the duty of the several Sheriffs, and all other persons who have in their hands, or are liable for, any monies which by existing laws are payable to the Treasury of the State of Virginia forthwith to adjust their several accounts with the Auditor to be elected as aforesaid and pay over to the Treasurer herein provided for, the amounts which shall respectively be found due to the State.

6. If any Sheriff or other person, having in his hands, or being liable for, any monies which by existing laws are payable to the Treasury, fail or refuse to adjust his account, or to pay over such monies as herein required, the Auditor of Public Accounts shall immediately publish a notice of such default in some Newspaper in the City of Wheeling; and if such Sheriff or other person shall not, within thirty days after such publication, have duly adjusted his account and paid over such monies, he shall forfeit and pay to the Commonwealth the sum of Five Hundred Dollars, to be levied by distress under warrant of the Governor, which warrant it shall be the duty of the Governor to issue, on satisfactory evidence that such default has occurred, directing the same at his discretion to the Sheriff of any county, or to a special Commissioner or Commissioners for the purpose, and to the Sheriff or other person making default as aforesaid, and his or their securities, shall further be liable to judgment, in the name of the Commonwealth of Virginia, for the amount appearing to be due with interest thereen from the time of such default till payment, and fifteen per centum upon the principal, as damages to be recovered by motion on ten day's notice in any Court of Record in the State.

7. The several Commissioners of the Revenue and Sheriffs, having first taken the oath or affirmation required by the Ordinances of this Convention, and being otherwise duly qualified, shall proceed, with all convenient despatch, to the discharge of their several duties in relation to the assessment and collection of the Public revenue, under the existing laws, so far as the same may not be inconsistent with the Ordinances of this Convention.

8. All monies to be paid into the public Treasury, shall be paid into the Merchants' and Mechanics' Bank of Wheeling, at the City of Wheeling, or one of its Branches, at Point Pleasant, Clarksburg and Morgantown; or into the North-western Bank of Virginia, at Wheeling, or one of its Branches at Parkersburg and Wellsburg, but if collected East of the Blue Ridge of Mountains, into the Bank of the Old Dominion in Alexandria, to the credit of The Treasury of Virginia; and the person so paying the same shall take from the proper officer of such Bank or Branch, a certificate of the fact. The Treasurer, on the delivery of such certificate, shall retain and file the same, charging the amount therein specified to the proper Bank or Branch, and delivering to the person who made the payment at Bank, duplicate receipts for the amount so paid, specifying on what account the money was paid. The person making the payment shall forthwith hand over one of the said receipts to the Auditor of Public Accounts, to be retained and filed by him, and charged to the Treasurer's account: and upon the other receipt, which is to be retained by the person making the payment, the Auditor shall endorse as follows: A duplicate hereof has been filed in the Auditor's office, and affix his signature and the proper date to such endorsement.

9. No receipt of the Treasurer shall be an acquittance or discharge to any person for any sum of money due to the Commonwealth, unless such receipt be endorsed by the Auditor of Public Accounts as aforesaid. And any person bound to pay money into the Public Treasury, who shall pay the same otherwise than according to this Ordinance, shall remain liable for such money, and be subject to every fine, penalty or forfeiture to which he would have been subject if he had not paid the same.

10. If the Governor, at any time when this Convention, and the General Assembly, re-organized under the ordinances thereof, shall not be in session, shall be of opinion that the safety of the public funds requires that no more public monies should be paid into any one or more of the depositories specified in the preceding section, or that the monies which may be in the same, to the credit of the Treasury, should be withdrawn, he may announce the fact by proclamation to be published in some newspaper in the City of Wheeling, and in the City of Alexandria, and in the proclamation he may, if it be necessary, designate another depository or depositories, at which monies due the Commonwealth may thereafter be paid. And after such proclamation is published, it shall not be lawful to pay any sum of money on State account into any depository or depositories to which such payment shall be thereby forbidden; and the Auditor of Public Accounts and Treasurer, if required by the Governor, shall cause the monies held by such depository or depositories to be transferred to some other lawful depository or depositories of the Public Funds. But all such Proclamations and orders of the Government shall, as soon as possible, be submitted to this Convention or to the General Assembly, for their revision.

11. Any person claiming to receive money from the Public Treasury, shall apply to the Auditor of Public Accounts for a warrant for the same. And the Auditor if he find such money to be due by the State, and that the payment thereof has been authorized by any Ordinance of this Convention, or Act of the General Assembly as re-organized under the ordinances of this Convention, shall issue his warrant therefor upon the Treasurer, specifying on what account the money is to be paid, and to what appropriation the same is chargeable. And the Treasurer, on the presentation of said warrant to him, shall, if satisfied that such warrant has been duly authorized as aforesaid, endorse upon said warrant, his Check, directed to some one of the depositories in which there shall be money to the credit of the Treasury, which check shall be payable to the order of the person entitled to receive the amount therein specified. The Treasurer shall, however, at no time, draw a check on any Bank, Branch or other depository, unless there be money enough therein, to the credit of the Treasury, to pay such check. And no Bank, Branch or other depository, holding money to the credit of the Treasury, shall pay any check drawn by the Treasurer, unless the same be endorsed upon a warrant, authorizing the same, issued by the Auditor of Public Accounts.

12. This ordinance shall take effect from its passage. It may be altered or repealed by the General Assembly.

The Convention then took a recess until two o'clock.


Mr. LAMB offered a verbal amendment to the ordinance organizing the State Government, which was adopted.

Mr. CARLILE offered the following resolution:

Resolved, That the Secretary be requested immediately to notify the members of the Governor's Council, not now in the city, of their election as such. Adopted.

Mr. MOORE offered the following:

Resolved, That this Convention, in view of the extraordinary condition in which our portion of the United States is now placed, we earnestly recommend to the Federal authorities, the construction of a military road from Webster, a point on the B. & O. R. R., southward through the State of Virginia, or to some such point as would be suitable for the concentration of forces in the struggle in which our General Government is now engaged.

The resolution was referred to the Committee on Business.

On motion of Mr. Carlile, the ordinance fixing the salaries of certain officers, &c. Was then taken up.

Mr. STEWART moved to amend the line fixing the salary of the Governor at $3,000 per annum by striking out that sum and substituting $2,000.

The amendment was rejected.

Mr. LAMB moved to insert between the first and second lines the words "Of the Attorney General at the rate of $1,000 per annum."

The amendment was adopted.

Mr. HUBBARD moved to amend the line fixing the salary of the Secretary of the Commonwealth at $1,500 per annum by striking out that sum and substituting 1,200.

The amendment was rejected.

Mr. LIGHTBURN moved that the line fixing the pay of the door-keepers be so amended as to allow them $2 per day, instead of $1.50.

The amendment was adopted.

On motion of Mr. West, the line fixing the pay of the pages was so amended as to allow them $1 a day, instead of fifty cents.

On motion of Mr. Lamb, the second section, requiring that the expenses incurred by the Governor, shall be submitted to the Auditor, the same as any other claims against the State, was so amended as to require the same in regard to the expenses of his Council.

The Ordinance, as a whole, was then adopted unanimously.

Mr. CLOSE offered the following resolution, which was adopted:

Resolved, That a copy of the Declaration adopted by this Convention, and the signatures hereto appended, be sent by special messengers, to be designated by the President of this body, to the President of the United States.

On motion of Mr. WEST, the rule was suspended for the purpose of reconsidering the vote by which the election of Attorney General was postponed until Saturday, and on his motion, the Convention proceeded to the election.

Mr. HUBBARD nominated Jas. S. Wheat, Esq., of this city.

No other nominations being made, the roll was called, and Mr. Wheat received 70 votes; Mr. Farnsworth, 1; Wm. A. Harrison, of Harrison, 1.

The Chair announced that Jas. S. Wheat was elected Attorney General for the State of Virginia.

Mr. FLESHER offered the following resolution, which was referred to the Committee on Business:

Resolved, That for the better security and safety of the loyal citizens of this Commonwealth, and the perpetuity of their liberty, it is highly and exceedingly necessary that there should be placed, at least in each of the counties of Western Virginia, by the Federal Government, a recruiting officer, whose duty it shall be to enlist all such young men as may be desirous of engaging in their country's service, and when enlisted, to send them to Camp Carlile, or elsewhere, for discipline and drill, so as to muster them into the service of the United States, at as early a day as possible; and that to this end, we invite and solicit the proper officer of the general government, to send us such officers without delay.

Mr. BURDETT suggested an inquiry into the whereabouts and disposition of the 2,000 stands of arms now in the city.

Mr. CARLILE stated that he had been instructed to say that the Committee of which he was Chairman, had had that matter under consideration, and had unanimously come to the conclusion that the guns referred to, should be handed over to the State authorities here, for arming the volunteer militia of the State, which will be organized in a few days.

Mr. DORSEY moved to suspend the rule for the purpose of reconsidering the vote by which the Convention had resolved to adjourn over till Monday. Lost.

Mr. MOORE moved that a committee of five be appointed to prepare an address for circulation.

THE CHAIR stated that the Committee on Business already had that matter under consideration.

Mr. MOORE withdrew the motion.

The Convention then adjourned till Monday next at two o'clock.

June 11
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June 19
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June 21
June 24
June 25

Chapter Seven: First Session of the Second Wheeling Convention

A State of Convenience

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