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Proceedings of the
Second Session of the
Second Wheeling Convention

August 19, 1861

The Convention met and was called to order at half past 9 o'clock A. M.

Prayer by Rev. Gideon Martin of the M. E. Church.

Minutes of Saturday read and approved.

The President presented a communication from the Governor, tendering his resignation as a member of the Convention.

Mr. LEWIS followed in some remarks upon the form of the government here, and suggested that the executive and legislative department of the government ought to be entirely separated, and that it should be brought back to its original representative character. The Richmond Convention had placed the supreme power in the executive, and he thought that in reconstructing this government they ought to remedy the evils brought upon us by that Convention. We should be careful of patterning after them in destroying the representative character of our government, and investing too much of the authority in the hands of an executive. He favored the acceptance of the resignation.

Mr. LEWIS went on at some length to explain the card to which allusion had been made in debate here. He reviewed circumstances which induced him to write it, and defined what he meant by a divided allegiance, to be strictly in accordance with the Constitution of the United States and of the State. He took the position he did at the time because he understood the movement then being inaugurated here as a counter revolution, and not what it has since proved itself, the reorganizing of the government of the whole State; and because he thought it proposed a disintegration of the State at a time when he thought it would have been unwise. "If that card was mistaken in the doctrines it announces, if it was imprudent in its inception, and ill-judged in the time of its being put forth, it, was remarked by the gentleman from Ohio, it threw impediments in the way of those who are engaged in this great movement. I will from this day make use of all my powers, intellectual, moral and physical, to undo what was wrongfully done in the writing of that card."

The resignation of Mr. Peirpoint was accepted.

The order of the day came up, being upon the substitute as amended by Mr. Stewart.

Mr. HOOTON proceeded to address the Convention. He believed upon the harmonious settlement of this vexed question here depended the welfare of this government. Since Saturday they had all had time to reflect, and he came here this morning holding out an olive branch to gentlemen who advocated the opposite side of this question. For this purpose he submitted a proposition that this whole matter be referred to a committee to consist of six members, three from each side, with the express understanding that the committee report to-morrow morning. He moved that the whole matter be thus referred.

Mr. FARNSWORTH asked the gentleman to withdraw his motion for a time.

Mr. HOOTON declined to do so, as he was aware that there were, at least, half a dozen propositions to be offered. He could not consistently do so.

Mr. FARNSWORTH said his object was to present a modification of his proposition, which he believed would give general satisfaction. If this should fail he would then favor the proposition.

Mr. HOOTON said the gentleman could present his modified proposition to the committee for their consideration.

Mr. BOREMAN said he was willing to meet gentlemen on the other side half way, and he thought every proposition had much better be referred to the committee.

Mr. DORSEY moved to amend the motion by inserting as the committee, the names of Messrs. Carlile, Lamb, Kramer, Carskadon, Jackson and Boreman of Tyler.

Mr. TARR moved to amend by making the committee consist of ten, and thought they should be selected from every side of the house.

Mr. VAN WINKLE remarked that in the Convention of 1850, when the Compromise Committee was appointed to consider the question of the white basis, they were appointed by ballot, each member voting for half the committee. He did not make the motion to select them in this way, but merely made the suggestion.

Mr. WEST expressed a hope that the proposition of the gentleman from Preston would prevail.>

Mr. DORSEY withdrew his motion.

Mr. POLSLEY rose merely, as he said, for the purpose of expressing his cordial approbation of the proposition of the gentleman from Preston.

Mr. TARR withdrew his amendment to the motion of Mr. Dorsey.

Mr. LAMB suggested that each side of the house upon the question to be determined should select its half of the Committee.

Mr. HOOTON accepted the suggestion.>

Mr. HOOTON's proposition as thus amended was adopted unanimously.

Mr. LAMB, from the Committee on Credentials, reported that E. B. Hall, of Marion, was entitled to a seat in the Convention, to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Mr. Peirpoint.

The report was adopted and Mr. Hall sworn in.

Mr. FROST presented an ordinance to provide for holding a special term of the County Court of Jackson county, to commence on the fourth Thursday of August, 1861, which ordinance was passed.

Mr. VAN WINKLE by general consent, offered the Committee on Business an ordinance providing for the collection of the public revenue in certain cases, which was laid upon the table and ordered to be printed.

The Convention then took a recess until the regular hour, to afford opportunity to elect a Compromise Committee.


Convention met at half past two.

Mr. FROST said the members of both sides respectfully elected the following gentlemen as the Committee on Compromise: Messrs. Farnsworth, Carlile, Paxton, Van Winkle, Ruffner and Lamb.

Mr. VAN WINKLE said he was instructed by that Committee to recommend to the Convention an adjournment until tomorrow morning in order that all propositions connected with the subject which are pending or may be offered, be referred to that Committee, and that they have liberty to print their report before submitting it to the Convention, if they can agree in time. "In that case the matter will be ready for your action at the opening of the morning session, and will hardly be got ready before. In reference to the other business that is pending here I mentioned it to the Committee, and they said they would like to be present when it is acted upon; and upon the whole, considering the state of anxiety in the minds of the members upon this subject, it was thought if we would dispose of this in the morning, the other business could be taken up and disposed of in perhaps a half hour or an hour.

I therefore move that all propositions and any propositions that may be offered in reference to a division of the State, be referred to the Select Committee on that subject, and that they have leave to print such report as they may agree to by tomorrow morning.

Mr. LEWIS - In accordance with the suggestion just made, I move that the Convention now adjourn.

Mr. FROST asked the gentleman to withdraw his motion a moment to allow him to make a personal explanation, which he proceeded to do as follows:

"The impression seems to have gone abroad, sir, that on last Saturday, after making the statement I did, that I had paired off with Mr. Todd, of Taylor county, I voted upon the amendment of the member of Doddridge. I distinctly stated then that I believed under the arrangement I had made with Mr. Todd, I had the right, after the proposition of Mr. Boreman was voted down, to vote upon any subsequent proposition, but I declined doing it lest it might be misinterpreted. I voted upon one proposition alone, and that was upon a motion to put the main question. I voted against that in order to allow the member from Doddridge an opportunity to speak upon his proposition. This impression seems to have got abroad outside of the hall from the report of members who seem to have misunderstood the vote I gave. I make this statement in order that the reporters may make some minute of it to show why I declined voting. I was in favor of the motion of the gentleman from Doddridge, and should have voted in favor of it, but for the reason assigned I did not vote upon it."

Mr. LEWIS then renewed his motion and the Convention adjourned.

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August 19
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August 21

Chapter Nine: Second Session of the Second Wheeling Convention

A State of Convenience

West Virginia Archives and History