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Proceedings of the
Second Session of the
Second Wheeling Convention

August 20, 1861

[Conclusion of Tuesday's proceedings.]

Mr. LAMB offered the following resolution:

Resolved, That when this Convention adjourn to-morrow, it shall stand adjourned until called together by the President of this Convention or the Governor; and if not so convened on or before the first Thursday of January next it shall then stand adjourned sine die.

Mr. SMITH, of Marion, moved to amend by striking out after "to-morrow" and insert "it adjourn sine die." He thought there could be no necessity for recalling this Convention.

Mr. LAMB said it was possible there might arise an emergency that would justify the assembling of this Convention, and it would at any rate do no harm to leave that power in the hands of the Governor and President of the Convention.

Mr. HUBBARD suggested the 26th of November next instead of the first Thursday of January, lest, according to the provisions of the ordinance, there might be two conventions in session at the same time.

Mr. LAMB reminded him that the Convention to be called together under the operation of the ordinance would have no power to meet any such emergency as was contemplated. It would be a Convention called for a special purpose, the formation of a Constitution.

Mr. SMITH could not see that there ever would be any need of summoning this Convention together again, but at the suggestion of friends he would withdraw the motion.

Mr. STEWART moved to strike out that part authorizing the President to call them together. He preferred to leave it to the Governor alone.

Mr. LAMB replied that the Governor might die, or the secessionists might carry him off. They had better have two strings to their bow.

Mr. VAN WINKLE said that in the event of the death of the Governor there would be nobody to call the convention together, and should any emergency arise at such a time this government must go all to pieces.

The amendment was rejected and the resolution adopted.

Mr. NICHOLS presented the following:

Resolved, That the doorkeeper of this Convention be allowed three dollars per day for their services, instead of the sum now fixed.

The resolution was adopted.

Mr. VAN WINKLE said he had some resolutions to offer, and while he had no doubt they contained the sentiments of every member of the Convention yet he thought possibly it might be best, or at least well, to put something on the record. The refer, he said, to the necessity, the obligation, which rests upon every member here when he goes back among his constituents, to enforce upon them the importance of aiding and of maintaining, in every way possible, the civil power of this government, and also of aiding and co-operating in the raising of State volunteers in our home defence. The armies of the enemy having left our country, we may think there is no more necessity for this. Even if their return were not probable, we ought to be prepared to put down any domestic violence that might arise ourselves, inasmuch as the Government may, thinking there is no longer any necessity of keeping its troops amongst us, withdraw them for some other field of action.

Every one must be sensible that, unless the civil arm is strengthened in every way it can be, and unless all domestic broils and violence can be kept down until peace returns, our business and other interests must remain in their present prostrate condition.

The following are the resolutions as they were unanimously adopted:

Resolved, That this Convention most earnestly urge upon their loyal fellow citizens the importance of extending to the reorganized government a cordial recognition, and that support in its efforts to establish the civil authority and to cause the laws to be administered and executed, and maintain peace and good order throughout its jurisdiction.

Resolved, That this Convention further urge upon their loyal fellow citizens the importance of encouraging by their countenance, active co-operation in the enrollment and drilling of, at least, one company of State volunteers in every county for the purpose of suppressing rebellion and insurrection, and aiding the civil authorities in the enforcement of the laws.

Mr. VAN WINKLE, from the Committee on Business, reported an ordinance to provide for the election of representatives in the Congress of the United States; also an ordinance to increase the compensation of the Adjutant General, during the continuance of hostilities in the Commonwealth.

He moved to take up the following ordinance, which was accordingly put upon its passage and adopted.


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

1. Every incumbent of an office held under authority of the commonwealth, or of any county, city or town thereof, who, on and before the 17th day of June last was in rebellion against the government of the United States, or who by any overt act, or by writing or speaking, supported and upheld, or attempted to support or uphold, the usurped government at Richmond, or the pretended government of the Confederate States, and who has not before the passage of this Ordinance, taken and subscribed the oath of office prescribed by the Ordinance of this Convention, entitled "An Ordinance for the Re- organization of the State Government," shall be deemed and taken to have vacated his office; and it shall be the duty of the Governor, upon satisfactory evidence thereof, to proceed to fill such vacancy, or cause the same to be filled in the mode prescribed by the fifth section of the above cited Ordinance.

2. This Ordinance shall be in force from its passage.

He then moved to proceed to the consideration of the following, which was also taken up and passed:


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

1. If in any County there shall be no Sheriff or Collector of the Public Revenues authorized to act under existing laws and the Ordinances of this Convention, and the County Court of such County cannot be convened, or, being convened, shall fail or refuse to appoint and qualify a Collector of the State and County Levies, and other public dues, within the said County, it shall be the duty of the Auditor of Public Accounts, with the approbation of the Governor, to appoint a Collector of the Public Revenues for said County, requiring him to take such oaths and with proper and sufficient sureties, to be approved by the Governor and Auditor, to execute such bonds as are required from Collectors appointed by the County Courts under the said laws and ordinances. The said boards shall be filed with the Auditor of Public Accounts, who shall transmit certified copies thereof to the Clerk of the County Court of such County, which copies shall be received as evidence in all the Courts of the Commonwealth.

2. This Ordinance shall be in force from its passage, and may be altered or repealed by the General Assembly.

He then called up the following just laid upon the table, and it was taken up and also passed:


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

1. In every Congressional District of the State where from any cause an election for Representative in the Congress of the United States was not held on the fourth Thursday of May last, and in the Eleventh District, where a vacancy now exists, an election shall be held on the fourth Thursday of October next, which shall be conducted, and the result ascertained, declared and certified in the manner directed in the 2d section of the 2d edition of the Code of Virginia.

2d: If in consequence of the occupation of any county by any army or forces in hostility with, or rebellion against the government of the United States, such election cannot be, or is not, held in such county, any person entitled to vote therein may vote in any other county of his district; and if no election shall be held at the time appointed in the 1st section of this ordinance in any Congressional District therein mentioned, the Governor on receiving satisfactory evidence thereof, may by proclamation or writ appoint another day for holding such election therein.

3d. This ordinance shall be in force from its passage, and may be altered or repealed by the General Assembly.

On motion of Mr. Carlile, the following ordinance was taken up from the table and adopted:


The People of Virginia, by their Delegates assembled in Convention at Wheeling, do ordain as follows: 1st. During the continuance of hostilities within the Commonwealth, the Adjutant General, in addition to the salary now allowed by law, shall be entitled to receive the sum of $700 per annum.

2d. This ordinance shall be in force from its passage, and may be altered or repealed by the General Assembly.

On motion a committee, consisting of Messrs. Van Winkle, Boreman and Lamb, were selected to revise the ordinances of the Convention.

Mr. CALDWELL presented an ordinance relating to grand and petit jurors and attorneys at law, requiring them to answer certain questions before entering of the duties of their offices, which, after some consideration, was indefinitely postponed.

Mr. KRAMER offered the following, which was agreed to:

Resolved, That 10,000 copies of the ordinance providing for the formation of a new State, be published for circulation within the counties of the proposed new State and counties lying contiguous thereto.

Mr. BURDETT moved that when this Convention adjourn, it adjourn to meet tomorrow at 4 P. M.

The motion was agreed to, and on motion the Convention adjourned.


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Chapter Nine: Second Session of the Second Wheeling Convention

A State of Convenience

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