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Proceedings of the
Second Session of the
Second Wheeling Convention

August 9, 1861

The Convention met at 11 A. M.

Prayer by Rev. S. R. Brockunier, of the M. E. Church.

Minutes read and approved, with a slight amendment.

The ordinances reported by the Committee on Business, which cam up as the order of the day, were taken up, and the following passed:

An Ordinance, providing for the discharge of the duties of the Board of Public Works.

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

1. Until the General assembly shall direct an election of members of the Board of Public Works and the same shall be duly elected and qualified the Governor and Auditor and Treasurer shall constitute the said Board, and shall exercise the authority and discharge the duties thereof. The Secretary of the Commonwealth shall discharge the duties of the Clerk of the said Board.

2. This Ordinance shall take effect from its passage.

An Ordinance, providing for the discharge of the duties of the office of Second Auditor.

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

1. The duties of the office of Second Auditor, as prescribed by the laws now in force, shall, until the vacancy now existing in the said office is filled by the General Assembly, be discharged by the Auditor of Public Accounts, without additional compensation.

2. This Ordinance shall take effect from its passage; and may be altered or repealed by the General Assembly.

An Ordinance, declaring null and void the proceedings of the Richmond Convention of 1861.

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

1. All Ordinances, Acts, Orders, Resolutions, and other proceedings of the Convention which assembled at Richmond on the thirteenth day of February last, being without the authority of the People of Virginia constitutionally given, and in derogation of their rights, are hereby declared illegal, inoperative, null, void, and without force or effect.

The following was also considered and rejected by 32 yeas to 38 nays; Mr. Carlile having called for the yeas and nays:

An Ordinance providing for the publication in newspapers of the Ordinances of this Convention, and the Public Laws passed by the General Assembly.

The People of Virginia by their Delegates assembled in Convention at Wheeling, do ordain as follows:

1. The Ordinances of this Convention, heretofore and hereafter passed, and the Acts of the General Assembly passed at its recent session, and all Public Acts hereafter passed by that body, shall be published, once only, in two newspapers printed at the seat of Government, one of which shall be in the German language, and in one newspaper printed in each County of the State, if any there be. The said newspapers shall be designated by the Governor, and shall be paid for such publication at the rates allowed for the newspaper publication of the Laws of the United States.

2. It shall be the duty of the Secretary of this Convention and the Clerk of the House of Delegates, to furnish to the publishers of the newspapers designated by the Governor, as soon as practicable, accurate written or printed copies of the Ordinances of the Convention and Acts of the General Assembly heretofore passed, and immediately upon their passage, similar copies of such Ordinances and Acts as may be hereafter passed by these bodies respectively.

3. Proclamations and other instruments of a general nature, or relating to the Commonwealth at large, emanating from the Executive Department and Offices, and required to be published, shall be inserted in the same newspapers as many times as may be directed by the Governor, and be paid for at the usual advertising rates. The Secretary of the Commonwealth shall furnish to the said newspaper accurate written or printed copies of such Proclamations and other instruments.

4. This Ordinance shall take effect from its passage and be in force until amended or repealed by the Legislature.

The consideration of these ordinances occupied nearly the whole of the session. Mr. Van Winkle, who reported from the Committee on Business, explained and advocated all of them.

The principal discussion occurred upon the rejected ordinance, providing for the publication of the public laws and ordinances. It was advocated by Messrs. Van Winkle, Frost and Boreman of Tyler, and opposed by Messrs. Nichols, Crane of Randolph, and Carlile, each of whom spoke upon it.

Mr. KRAMER offered the following as a substitute:

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

That 20,000 copies of the Ordinances of this Convention, and Public Laws passed by the General Assembly be published and distributed among the members of this Convention for publication.

Mr. CRANE moved to substitute 10,000 copies.


The substitute was rejected.

So the Convention refused to take action looking to the publication of the public laws.

Mr. BROWN, from the Committee on Credentials again reported adversely on the claims of Jonathan Roberts, of Alexandria, to a seat in the Convention.

The credentials were laid upon the table.

Mr. DORSEY moved to an adjournment, but withdrew the motion to allow

Mr. BURLEY to offer the following resolution:

Resolved, That when the Convention adjourn to-morrow it will adjourn sine die.

Mr. Burley remarked that he offered the resolution in good faith. He did not think it necessary for the Convention to remain here any longer. He had discovered that they were not getting along as well as they might, and he thought this would afford plenty of time, if they would be more industrious to do all the work there was to do. I have been in the committee this morning. I find there is nothing before it except this Division question. There is a sub-committee to draft a bill and I think they should be able to prepare that at a very early hour in the morning, and the Convention has nothing before them but to act upon it.

Mr. WEST - I rise for a two-fold purpose, and whether I can accomplish both or either one, I do not know. My object is to give the resolution of my respected friend from Marshall - old Jimmy - I am old Jimmy, too, - [laughter]

THE PRESIDENT - Gentlemen will forbear calling one another by name.

Mr. WEST - We know each other; we do that by way of compliment to each other. [Laughter.] However, I have had a good deal of this sort of experience, and I find that a motion of this kind has never failed to clog the wheels of the progress of legislation. As certain as the sun rose this morning and will rise to-morrow morning if that resolution is not disposed of to-day, it has to be disposed of at some other time; and whenever it is, it must embarrass our action; and I know the gentleman from Marshall does not intend to clog and impede the progress of this House. But I do know one more thing, that there will be an effort to adjourn this Convention before this question of Division is decided upon; and I do know, sir, as well as I know that, that if such is the fact, and we so adjourn, we go home to an insulted constituency. We go home to a constituency that has just cause to be insulted. Did they send us here to play and trifle with them? Did they send us here, sir, to act as a mockery upon their expressed desires?

Mr. VAN WINKLE - Will the gentleman give way for a moment?

Mr. WEST - Yes, sir.

Mr. VAN WINKLE - Mr. President, I move to adjourn.

Mr. WEST - Not for an adjournment. [Laughter.] I cannot give way for an adjournment.

The PRESIDENT said the motion was not in order, the gentleman was making a speech.

Mr. VAN WINKLE - He gave way, sir.

The PRESIDENT - He was interrupted.

Mr. WEST - I know my good friend from Wood does not intend to deprive me of the privilege of speaking, because I believe, if I am not mistaken, he is a new State man himself. The gentleman from Wood knows that there is something more in that than just black and white. I think that every thinking man who is a new State man, knows that there is something more in that than merely a piece of paper writing

Mr. BURLEY - I do not wish the gentleman to labor under a mistake too long at a time without correcting it. I assure you, sir, if there is any honor in man, I had no such object in view in offering the resolution as he attributed to me. I do so, believing that we have plenty of time to consider and act on the question the gentleman desires, and do it right if gentlemen will only go to work and improve the time. I insisted on a meeting of the committee yesterday, but it was very warm, and gentlemen thought it would be too much labor, and there we were all the afternoon lounging about doing nothing. I do not know for my part when this Convention is going to adjourn if we are allowed to go on in this kind of style. I do not wish to choke off any gentleman, or choke off any measure here. I want everything don fairly and honestly. If this question is entitled to more consideration let it be granted; but I am one of the last that wants to remain here doing nothing and taxing the community with it.

Mr. WEST - I move a recess until three o'clock.

Mr. VAN WINKLE - I move, as an amendment, to adjourn.

The motion was put and the Convention adjourned.

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August 21

Chapter Nine: Second Session of the Second Wheeling Convention

A State of Convenience

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