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D E C L A RA TI O N
PEOPLE OF VIRGINIA,
PEPPESENTED IN CONVENTION, AT THE CITY OF WHEELING,
THURSDAY, JUNE 13, 1861.
The true purpose of all government is to promote the welfare and provide for the protection and security of the governed, and when any form or organization of government proves inadequate for, or subversive of this purpose, it is the right, it is the duty of the latter to abolish it. The Bill of Rights of Virginia, framed in 1776, re-affirmed in 1830, and again in 1851, expressly reserves this right to a majority of her people. The act of the General Assembly, calling the Convention which assembled at Richmond in February last, without the previously expressed consent of such majority, was therecore a usurpation; and the Convention thus called has not only abused the powers nominally entrusted to it, but, with the conrivance and active aid of the executive, has usurped and exercised other powers, to the manifest injury of the people, which, if permitted, will inevitably subject them to a military despotism.
The Convention, by its pretended ordinances, has required the people of Virginia to separate from and wage war against the government of the United States, and against citizens of neighboring States, with whom they have heretofore maintained friendly, social and business relations :
It has attempted to subvert the Union founded by Washington and his co. patriots, in the purer days of the republic, which has conferred unexampled prosperity upon every class of citizens, and upon every section of the country:
It has attempted to transfer the allegiance of the people to an illegal confederacy of rebellious States, and required their submission to its pretended edicts and decrees:
It has attempted to place the whole military force and military operations of the Commonwealth under the control and direction of such confederacy, for offensive as well as defensive purposes :
It has, in conjunction with the State executive, instituted wherever their nsurped power extends, a reign of terror intended to suppress the free expression of the will of the people, making elections a mockery and a fraud :
The same combination, even before the passage of the pretended ordinance of secession, instituted war by the seizure and appropriation of the property of the Federal Government, and by organizing and mobilizing armies, with the avowed purpose of capturing or destroying the Capital of the Union :
They have attempted to bring the allegiance of the people of the United States into direct conflict with their subordinate allegiance to the State, thereby making obedience to their pretended ordinances, treason against the former.
We, therefore, the delegates here assembled in Convention to devise such measures and take such action as the safety and welfare of the loyal citizens of Virginia may demand, having maturely considered the premises, and viewing with great concern the deplorable condition to which this once happy Commonwealth must be reduced unless some regular adequate remedy is speedily adopted, and appealing to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe for the rectitude of our intentions, do hereby, in the name and on the behalf of the good people of Virginia, solemnly declare that the preservation of their dearest rights and liberties and their security in person and property, imperatively demand the reorganization of the government of the Commonwealth, and that all acts of said Convention and Executive, tending to separate this Commonwealth from the United States, or to levy and carry on war against them, are without authority and void ; and that the offices of all who adhere to the said Convention and Executive, whether legislative, executive or judicial, are vacated.
An ORDINANCE for the Reorganization of the State Government.
Passed June 19, 1961.
The People of the State of Virginia, by their Delegates assembled in
Convention at Wheeling, do ordain as follows:
1. A governor, lieutenant Governor and attorney general for the state of Virginia, shall be appointed by this convention, to discharge the duties and exercise the powers which pertain to their respective offices by the existing laws of the state, and to continue in office for six months, or until their successors be elected and qualified ; and the general assembly is required to provide by law for an election of governor and lieutenant-governor by the people as soon as in their judgment such election can be properly held.
2. A council, to consist of five members, shall be appointed by this convention, to consult with and advise the governor respecting such matters pertaining to his official duties as he shall submit for consideration, and to aid in the execution of his official orders. Their term of office shall expire at the same time as that of the governor.
3. The delegates elected to the general assembly on the twenty-third day of May last, and the senators entitled under existing laws to seats in the next general assembly, together with such delegates and senators as may be duly elected under the ordinances of this convention, or existing laws, to fill vacancies, who shall qualify themselves by taking the oath or affirmation hereinafter set forth, shall constitute the legislature of the state, to discharge the duties and exercise the powers pertaining to the general assembly. They shall hold their offices from the passage of this ordinance until the end of the terms for which they were respectively elected. They shall assemble in the city of Wheeling on the first day of July next, and proceed to organize themselves as prescribed by existing laws, in their respective branches. A majority
in each branch of the members qualified as aforesaid, shall constitute a quorum to do business. A majority of the members of each branch thus qualited, roting affirmatively, shall be competent to pass any act specified in the twenty-seventh section of the fourth article of the constitution of the state.
4. The governor, lieutenant-governor, attorney general, members of the legislature, and all oflicers now in the service of the state, or of any county, city or town thereof, or hereafter to be elected or appointed for such service, including the judges and clerks of the several courts, sheriffs, commissioners of the revenue, justices of the peace, officers of the city and municipal corporations, and officers of militia, and officers and privates of volunteer companies of the state, not mustered into the service of the United States, shall tach take the following oath or affirmation before proceeding in the discharge of their several duties :
* I solemnly swear (or affirm,) that I will support the constitution of the C'nited States, and the laws made in pursuance thereof, as the supreme law of the land, anything in the constitution and laws of the state of Virginia, or in the ordinances of the convention which assembled at Richmond on the thirteenth of February, eighteen hundred and sixty-one, to the contrary notwithstanding; and that I will uphold and defend the government of Virginia as vindicated and restored by the convention which assembled at Wheeling on the eleventh day of June, eighteen hundred and sixty-one."
5. If any elective officer, who is required by the preceding section to take soch oath or affirmation, fail or refuse so to do, it shall be the duty of the governor, upon satisfactory evidence of the fact, to issue his writ declaring the office to be vacant, and providing for a special election to fill such vacancy at some convenient and early day to be designated in said writ; of which due publication shall be made for the information of the persons entitled to vote at such election ; and such writ may be directed, at the discretion of the gov. ernor, to the sheriff or sheriffs of the proper county or counties, or to a special commissioner or commissioners to be named by the governor for the pirpose. If the officer who fails or refuses to take such oath or affirmation be appointed by the governor, he shall fill the vacancy without writ, but if such officer be appointed otherwise than by the governor or by election, the writ shall be issued by the governor, directed to the appointing power, requiring it to fill the vacancy.
ARTHI'R I. BOREMAN, President. G. L. CHANMER, Secretary.
An ORDINANCE to authorize the apprehending of suspicious
persons in time of war.
Passed June 19, 1861.
The People of Virginia, by their Delegates assembled in Convention at
Wheeling, do ordain that the Sixth and Seventh Sections of the Seventeenth Chapter of the Code of Virginia, be amended and re-enacted as follows:
1. The Governor may cause to be apprehended and secured, or may compel to depart from this state, all suspicious subjects or citizens of any foreign state of power at war with the United States.
2. And whereas, the convention at Richmond have declared the union between the state of Virginia and the other states, under the constitution of the United States, to be dissolved, and have attempted to transfer the alle. giance of the people of this state to an illegal confederacy of rebellious states called the confederate states of America ; claiming that the state of Virginia and the said confederate states are rightfully, and in fact foreign states or powers in reference to the United States: Now, therefore, all persons in this commonwealth adhering to and supporting the said convention at Richmond, or the said confederate states, or professing to owe allegiance or obedience to the same, shall be deemed, (for the purposes of this ordinance only,) subjects or citizens of a foreign state or power at war with the United States.
3. The governor may send for the person and papers of any such person within this state, in order to obtain information to enable him to act in such
4. Any warrant or order of the governor under this ordinance may be directed to any sheriff or other oflicer, civil or military, and shall be executed according to the terms thereof by such officer, who shall have all the powers necessary for the purpose, either in or out of his county or corporation.
5. If the governor shall have just cause to believe that any persons in this state claiming to be subjects or citizens of the said confederate states, or adhering to and supporting the said convention or the said confederate states, or professing to owe allegiance or obedience to the
same, are about to assemble together, or have assembled themselves together, for the purpose of drilling or receiving military instruction, or to organize themselves as a military force, or to attempt any military operation, or do any act which may endanger the safety or welfare of the good people of this commonwealth or any portion of the same, he may cause such assemblage to be prevented or dispersed, and the persons who may be about to assemble or who have assembled as aforesaid, to be apprehended and secured, or may compel them to depart from this state; and for this purpose he may issue his warrant or order directed to any sheriff or other officer, civil or military, which warrant or order shall be executed as aforesaid. And any assemblage of two or more persons for any purpose inimical to the government of the United States, or of this state as reorganized by this convention, shall be deemed an unlawful assembly, and the persons so offending may be proceeded against and punished as provided in chapter one hundred and ninety-five of the code of Virginia.
6. If any sheriff or other person shall transmit or pay any money, or any check, draft, bill, order, note or certificate for the payment of money, to any officer or other person at Richmond or elsewhere, for the use of the said confederate states, or of the illegal state government at Richmond, now waging war against the United States, or shall furnish any money, arms, military equipments or munitions of war, or aid or other support to the said confederate states, or state government, or to any military force under the control or direction of the same, or to any person or persons about to join any such military force, the governor may cause to be apprehended and secured, or may cause to depart from this state, the sheriff or other person guilty of such offense, and for this purpose may issue his warrant or order and cause the same to be executed as hereinbefore provided.
7. The powers vested in the governor by this ordinance shall be exercised only upon satisfactory evidence and with the concurrence of a majority of his council.
8. This ordinance shall take effect from its passage, and may be altered or repealed by the general assembly.
Arthur I. BOREMAN, President. G. L. Cranyer, Secretary.
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.
Passed June 21, 1861.
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 laws 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 publie accounts, twenty thousand dollars; that of the treasurer, fifty thousand dollars; and that of the secretary of the commonwealth, five thousand dollars. Each of the 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 safe keeping.
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 afterDoon during the remainder of the year.
6. It shall be the duty of the several sheriffs, and all other persons who tave in their hands or are liable for any monies which by existing laws are farable 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 *ound due to the state.