Staunton Spectator: February , 1870Go To Page : 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
Gov. Gilbert C. Walker's Inaugural Address
(Column 04)Summary: The Inaugural Address of Republican Governor Gilbert Walker. Walker alluded to the tremendous responsibilities of the Legislature, and the prospects for economic development. He closed with an appeal to universal suffrage, universal amnesty, immigration, and national expansion.
Full Text of Article:
Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and House of Delegates:
Accept my hearty congratulations that you are again seated in this hall, clothed with all your rightful powers and functions. You are to-day the lawfully-constituted General Assembly of the Sovereign State of Virginia. Notwithstanding "fundamental conditions," as futile as unnecessary, you are the Legislature of a State co-equal in all her rights and prerogatives with any and every other State in the American Union. Your powers and duties are no longer "limited and qualified," save by a Constitution almost unanimously adopted by the people, and by the Constitution and laws of the United States. You are no longer subject to the domination of a power in its very nature antagonistic to the genius of republican institutions. No; you have been emancipated from this as well as from the fears and doubts and terrible uncertainties which enshrouded the future. Our people are secure once more in the exercise of their own affairs with public servants elected by and amenable to them alone. Surely in all this there is abundant cause for "rejoicing with exceeding great joy." The voice of Virginia is again heard in the national councils. May it be potent for good! May it be heard in thunderous tones demanding the application and enforcement of the great principle upon which our senators and representatives, and you and I, were elected -- "Equal rights to all!" Let it not cease to enforce this demand until every hated test-oath shall have been erased from the national statute books, nor until "political disabilities" shall be known no more among men. You and I have qualified by taking the same oath of office. We have solemnly pledged ourselves before high Heaven to support and maintain as well the Constitution and laws of the United States as of the State of Virginia; that we "recognize and accept the civil and political equality of all men before the law;" and that we will faithfully perform our official duties to the best of our ability. A strict and conscientious observance of this solemn obligation will redound to the peace and prosperity of the State and the vindication of the just expectations of the people and our friends everywhere. It is your duty to make the laws, mine to execute them. Fulfil your duty, and I pledge you a faithful and fearless execution of mine.
Never before in the history of this commonwealth has a Legislature assembled upon which devolved greater responsibilities than upon you. It is not a new state you have to form -- that would be a far easier task. You would then break the virgin soil where you pleased, and lay the foundation and rear the superstructure of your civil polity with materials fresh quarried from precedents of the past, and fashioned and moulded by the accumulated experiences and necessities of the present. Not so with you now. A civil polity, originated amid the throes of the revolution of 1776, and partaking of its spirit, made venerable by time and sacred in the eyes of the people, was suddenly overthrown by the rude shock of revolution. It fell amid the clash of battle and "the clash of resounding arms." Its "broken and dismembered fragments" are to be reverently gathered up by you, and with these and the new materials which experience and the needs of the present demand you are to rebuild the edifice of the state. The foundation is already laid for you. It was designed and executed in this very hall two years ago. To-day what matters it to you or me by what, if any, authority it was done? What matters it though rude, inexperienced, and incompetent workmen were employed in this great and delicate undertaking? It has been done -- it is an accomplished fact. The wonder is that it was so well done. You and I, and the people of this commonwealth, have, in the most solemn and delicate manner, accepted it -- yes, and discharged both the architect and the workmen. But we have not banished them. No; far from it. We shall require, and I trust will have, their active aid and assistance in rearing the new superstructure, which may be more grand in its proportions, more harmonious and symmetrical, than the former edifice. Whether it shall be so or not rests mainly with you. Success or failure is in your hands. The foundation is ample. It has been laid broad and deep. Let the superstructure but equal even the foundation, and no fears need be entertained of the future growth and glory of Virginia. The more our Constitution is studied -- the more it is considered and understood -- the more will its chief provisions commend themselves to our approval. True, it contains provisions which, in my judgment, might be improved, but what I consider a defect you might esteem a virtue. -- What constitution ever met with a unanimous approval? Are they not all compromises? I doubt if ever in the history of popular government there was one adopted with the unanimity of ours. And while that unanimity may not be the correct measure of its popularity -- while other and extraneous causes rather than its real merits undoubtedly contributed to this result -- nevertheless the mandate of the Constitution must, and will be observed as the sovereign command of all the people. Who desires or will presume to disobey them? Not you nor I. No; the Constitution shall be faithfully and honestly executed. Its provisions shall have a fair and impartial trial, and when, if ever, experience shall demonstrate the inutility or impracticability of any of them, we will proceed to make such modifications as our necessities may demand. The manifestations of punic faith by others affords no justification for a departure from the paths of right by us. The ancient and proverbial reputation of the people of this Commonwealth for honor and integrity will be maintained, regardless of the selfish and fanatical vituperation of our enemies at home or abroad.
We have but to do our duty faithfully, honestly, and manfully, and we shall inaugurate along with civil government an era of prosperity, of internal development, and individual and corporate enterprise, which in brilliancy will eclipse the past glories of the Commonwealth. We live in a grander age than any of which has preceded us. It is essentially an age of gigantic material development. A continent has been bound together by sinews of iron, and united to others by nerves of electricity. Lofty mountains, which formed alike the boundaries and barriers of ancient nationalities, have been pierced by the aggressive spirit of commerce, and the waters of that turbulent sea that rudely tossed the trail bark of Aeneas, have been led submissively across the arid plains of Sahara and mingled with the waves that overwhelmed Pharaoh and his wicked host. What age ever witnessed such stupendous accomplishments as the Pacific railroad, the ocean cable, the Mount Cenis tunnel, and the Suez canal? And yet we live in and are actors upon the stage of this wonderful era. And shall we supinely fold our arms and, gazing only upon a dead past, glorious though it may have been, refuse to live and move in and be of a grander present?
We cannot stand still if we would. We must either advance or recede. Change! change! is the inexorable law of nature -- more fundamental than paper constitutions. You and I must recognize this great truth, and act upon it as becomes rational and responsible men. We must "front face" and "march," ever mindful to keep step to the music of the age in which it is our good fortune to live.
Located as our State is, midway of the temperate zone, exempt from the rigorous cold of the North and the torrid heat of the South, with every variety of fruitful soil, from the rich alluvial bottoms along our rivers and sea-coast to the higher table and timber lands in the West, our hills and mountains filled with exhaustless deposits of iron and other ores, with the finest harbor on the Atlantic coast, affording ample and safe anchorage for the combined navies of the world, with an almost limitless water-power far up to their sources in the Blue Ridge and the Alleghenies -- why should not these great natural advantages be utilized and Virginia advanced to her proper position in the front rank of States in wealth and enterprise and material development? -- With a soil as fertile and a climate more salubrious, with greater national wealth in her minerals, her water-power, and her commercial advantages than any of her sister States, why should not Virginia at once set upon a career of prosperity and greatness unequaled and unsurpassed? Nothing but blind stupidity and criminal neglect of opportunities can prevent it. Our people expect it, the country anticipates it, and you and I will be held largely responsible if such an era fails of prompt inauguration. We have a canal which, when completed, will prove as valuable an adjunct to commerce as the far-famed Suez canal. It can and ought, and I am confident will be completed, if you and the people will but heartily co-operate with me in a plan which I shall hereafter take occasion to submit for your consideration. A South Pacific railroad has been projected, with its eastern terminus at Norfolk. -- I doubt not it will be built.
When these two great works shall have been completed together with the other railroads and lines of internal communication contemplated and in process of construction and a direct steamship line between Norfolk and Europe shall have been established, every portion of our State will be in direct and easy communication with all the great commercial marts of the country and the world. All this is not only possible, but altogether probable, and that, too, within the first half of the present decade. -- Rest assured that all the influences which I can exert, personal and official, shall be wielded in furtherance of any and every plan which has for its object the development, advancement, growth, and improvement of our State, or any portion of it. But railroads and canals, and other commercial facilities, are not the only requisites to the successful inauguration of that career of development which we all so ardently desire. We need, also, capital and population. These lie at the foundation of all improvement and prosperity. Without the introduction of these agencies it is idle to hope for the accomplishment of the grand results we have in view. In one sense population is wealth. This will prove a cardinal truth with us. Every able-bodied immigrant adds to the wealth of a State, it is estimated, from $1,000 to $2,000. -- With judicious, united, and harmonious effort, our population, now numbering one and a quarter millions, can be annually increased by immigration from thirty to fifty thousand. -- How many years would elapse with such an annual accession to our population and wealth before we should witness the full realization of our fondest anticipations.
In my opinion, immigration should be fostered and encouraged by all the influences we can exert, and by all the means at our command. Nature with a lavish hand has bestowed upon us all the advantages of climate, soil, and mineral wealth, which could be desired. But these alone will not suffice. There must be other inducements, which our people themselves can alone present. Thousands of vigorous, intelligent young and middle-aged men, with more or less of capital, are, annually, migrating from the eastern and central States of the Union to the West. They are honest, industrious, energetic citizens -- the bone and sinew of our land -- the very class of people we need in Virginia to purchase our surplus lands, to build up our waste places, and to unite with us in developing our vast agriculture and mineral resources. Englishmen are already looking for homes in our State for the surplus population of the empire. Much interest, also, on our behalf has of late been awakened among the other populations of northern Europe.-- To turn the tide of immigration from all these sources to our State only requires the proper combined and harmonious action of our people and their chosen representatives. Now is the opportune moment for such action; once lost it may never return in your day or mine. To the emigrant who settles in our midst with the honest intention of becoming a good citizen we must extend a cordial and hearty welcome, regardless of what State or nation may happen to have been his birth place. He must be made to feel at home, and the equal among his fellows. There must be extended to him those social amenities of life which constitute its chief enjoyment, such as his station entitles him to receive and enjoy, and thrown around him and his must be the protecting aegis of the law, securing and guaranteeing him in his "Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness." Let it be known of all men that such are our purposes and intentions -- that such reception and such protection will be accorded to every such emigrant -- that law and order everywhere prevail, and will be maintained at all times and under all circumstances, with the full power of the State, and every railroad train that arrives within your borders, every steamboat that anchors in your harbors, will be laden with people seeking homes and fortunes among us.
In executing the functions of the high and responsible office to which I have been elected, the promotion of the public weal will be my highest aim. With charity towards all and malice towards none, I shall perform my official duties liberally, conscientiously, interest of no clique, faction, or an eye single only to the good of the whole people, the development and advancement, the glory and dignity, of the State. I have no private political purpose to subserve, and no party behests to obey. I am free from all "entangling alliances," and untrammeled by any political pledges. Always a firm and consistent Unionist, I expect to live and die one. Beyond this the chief tenets of my political faith are the maintenance of the public faith, State and national, untarnished; honesty and economy in the administration of public affairs; the equalization and reduction of tariffs and taxation to the lowest degree consistent with the maintenance of the public credit; free education for all; a fostering care, encouragement, and elevation of labor; and until fully, finally, and permanently accomplished, universal amnesty and impartial suffrage. These are fundamental principles in my political creed, and it matters not what you call them, whether Republican, Democratic, or Liberal, so far as applicable they will be faithfully adhered to in my administration of the affairs of the State. Those who agree with them will naturally sustain and uphold the administration, while those who disagree with them may oppose it. I can see no other reasonable grounds for any division among our people at this time. With all due respect to the opinions of others, it appears to me that any attempt at this time to divide, distract, and vex our people with questions of mere party politics -- any effort to galvanize into life the defunct political organisms, with their attendant ills of sectional hate and animosity -- any attempt for partisan purposes to reopen the terrible wounds inflicted by the late war, now healing, deserve to be frowned down with indignation. Have we not enough to do to resuscitate and reinvigorate our own crippled and desolate Commonwealth? Have we more brain, more energy, than will suffice for this mighty task? Are we not admonished by the love we bear her, by our veneration of her past and our hopes for her future, to stand side by side and shoulder to shoulder, earnest, and, above all, united in a common effort and a common purpose to reorganize and rehabilitate the State, and to start her out once more on "the high road to glory, glittering like the morning star, full of life and joy." What we need in Virginia, what the nation needs to-day, is the inauguration and cultivation of a broad and catholic national spirit, unsullied by local prejudice or selfish and sectional interest.
We must not forget that we are to-day a part and parcel of the American nation. Our destinies are inseparably linked with its destines. Its growth will be our growth, its advancement our advancement, its glory our glory. I confess to a strong and conscientious belief in what is popularly styled "manifest destiny." It is manifest to me that the future destiny of this nation points to the gradual expansion of its limits until the entire continent shall have been embraced within its boundaries.-- And I believe that upon this same continent there is to be formed and moulded a new, distinctive, well-defined, and grand American nationality.
It is true that our country is peopled by all the numerous offshoots of the Caucasian race, differing widely in language, habits, and education, but time and concurring circumstances will gradually melt together and mould these diverse elements into one united, harmonious, and homogenous people, surpassing all of the great peoples that have preceded them in their mental, moral, and physical development, and in the greatness and grandeur of their achievements. You and I must act our several parts in the fulfillment of this manifest destiny, and whether it shall be well or illy done will depend upon the individual action of each.
Let us each and all remember that
"We can make our lives sublime;
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time
Footprints that perhaps another,
Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall, perhaps, take heart again."
Judiciary System--Mr. Stuart's Suggestions
(Column 01)Summary: A. H. H. Stuart submitted a letter concerning the judiciary system. He recommended that circuit and local courts be given exclusive jurisdiction over different kinds of cases, and that circuit judges should be required to spend more time in their districts.
(Names in announcement: A. H. H. Stuart)Full Text of Article:Don't Divide
A lawyer from another county having requested Hon. A. H. H. Stuart to give him his views in reference to the Judiciary system which should be adopted by the Legislature, Mr. Stuart, in compliance therewith, wrote him a letter containing "suggestions of a plan for a judiciary system for Virginia," which letter that gentleman sent to the Editor of the Richmond Whig for publication, and it appeared in last Saturday's issue of that journal. We have not the space to publish it this week, and must content ourself at this time with only a brief reference to it. The strong, common-sense views presented in this letter cannot fail to impress favorably the minds of the members of the Legislature. The chief evil in the old system was "vexatious delay in the dispensation of justice," and that evil was caused by having "too many courts possessing concurrent jurisdiction in regard to common law, chancery and criminal proceedings." "The proper remedy," says Mr. Stuart, "will be found in a judicious division and distribution of jurisdiction among the courts provided for by the Constitution." The county judge, "learned in the law," "should have exclusive jurisdiction in all criminal proceedings, and in all matters of police, and in all questions of probate and administration and guardianship, and in all motions in regard to roads, mills, and local administration," and accounts of fiduciaries should be reported to and inspected and judicially approved by him before being entered of record. "The circuit courts should have exclusive jurisdiction of all actions at law and cases in chancery. Each judge should be required to hold four terms annually in each county of his circuit, of sufficient length to enable him to dispatch the business. Two of these terms should, as a general rule, be devoted to the trial of common law cases and two for the considerations of chancery cases."
(Column 01)Summary: Asked Southerners to vote for politicians based on their qualifications, and to avoid joining political parties until later.
Full Text of Article:Governor's Message
The time for the organization of political parties in this State has not yet arrived. The less our people have to do with Federal politics at this time the better. We have nothing to gain by allying ourselves at this time with either of the parties into which the people of the North are divided. We should ignore Federal politics as much as possible, and should elect our officers with reference to their character, fitness and qualifications, not considering whether they have been Whigs or Democrats, Unionists or Secessionists. These various classes are now attending together -- let them so remain as long as possible. "United, we stand -- divided, we fall."
(Column 01)Summary: Printed in full a message from Governor Walker to the General Assembly. Gov. Walker spoke about the prison system, the judiciary, and county and local elections. He also discussed plans to establish an asylum for black citizens.
Full Text of Article:
The following message from his Excellency Gov. Walker was communicated on Wednesday last, the 9th inst., to the General Assembly.
Gentlemen of the Senate and House of Delegates:
On entering upon the discharge of my duties as the Chief Executive of the State under the constitution on the 27th day of January last, excepting that of Attorney-General, I found nearly every office in the Commonwealth either vacant or filled by a military appointee. The office of Lieutenant-Governor, made vacant by the resignation of the Hon. John F. Lewis, was filled by the appointment of John L. Marye, Esq., who duly qualified on the 27th day of January last. The authority for this appointment is contained in the fifth section of the fourth article of the constitution. The necessity for the prompt exercise of the authority was so apparent and pressing that I was unwilling to assume the responsibility of delaying it. Twelve days would elapse before the assembling of your honorable bodies, and probably several days thereafter before you could make suitable provisions for filling the office. In the meantime, the death of the Governor would have left the State without an Executive head, and inevitably, thrown its affairs into confusion fraught with the greatest dangers. The commission of Lieutenant Governor Marye will expire thirty days from the commencement of your present session, and it will be the duty of the General Assembly to make timely provisions for filling the office thereafter. The Secretary of the Commonwealth, the First and Second Auditors and the Register of the Land office severally tendered their resignations to me, to take effect on the 1st inst. For many reasons I did not deem it advisable to accept any of these resignations, and the duties appertaining to these offices have been continued to be discharged by the former inhabitants. To solve all legal doubts as to whether these officers could hold over after the restoration of the State to civil government, as well as to perfect the prompt organization of the State government under the constitution, I trust the General Assembly will proceed at once to fill these offices, as well as that of the Treasurer.
[three lines obscured]important duty the better, both for the interests of the State and the safety and well-being of the prisoners. The acting General Agent and Storekeeper has already tendered his resignation, but the Superintendent has not. The condition of our penitentiary demands your prompt and serious consideration. During the past year the number of convicts has increased to an alarming extent. On the 1st of January, 1869, the number of prisoners remaining in the institution was 357, while on the 1st of January, 1870, the number had increased to 601. The expenses for the fiscal year ending September 30, 1868, were $65,201.36, while for the fiscal year ending September 30, 1869, they had increased to 79,038.73. Most of the prisoners are able-bodied men, and ought to be employed at some mechanical business, thus lightening the burthen which this institution has always been to the State and benefitting the prisoners themselves by providing them regular and healthful exercise for both body and brain, and by teaching them some useful occupation. But the experience of other similar institutions as well as our own, I believe, has demonstrated that this cannot be done with any profit by the State. -- Hence, in most of the States the "contract system" has been resorted to, and, so far as I am informed, with good success. The convicts are employed under contracts with persons not otherwise connected with the prisons extending from three to five years at a certain stipulated price per day, in the manufactures of articles of merchandise, but principally of boots and shoes. In such cases the State furnishes only the necessary room for the accommodation of the prisoners and the power (steam or water) necessary for the propulsion of the machinery required, and guards or keepers in sufficient numbers to prevent the escape of the prisoners and to preserve order and discipline among them. I am strongly of the opinion that the State can be relieved from a very large portion of the expenses of the penitentiary by the proper introduction of this system. I have already, in my possession, one or two propositions from entirely responsible parties, proposing to employ all the able-bodied male prisoners in this institution in the manufacture of boots and shoes. I have delayed accepting any such propositions thus far, because, among other reasons, the State government has not been fully organized under the Constitution, and because it appeared to me that some additional legislation might be required. The present buildings are old, much out of repair, unsafe, and not well adapted for a prison with the necessary workshops. It must be repaired, and ought to be remodeled and enlarged, or a new penitentiary built.
The lands occupied by the institution at this time are too valuable for such a purpose. A new location can undoubtedly be obtained, easy of access and possessing equal or greater advantages than the present, and new, more suitable and complete buildings erected thereon at an expense not very much in excess of the value of the present penitentiary property. If your Honorable bodies should agree with me in this view of the subject, I would recommend that immediate action be taken for the sale of the present, and the purchase of a new site. Repairs of a temporary and inexpensive nature can be made upon the present property, so as to render it comfortable for occupation until the new buildings are completed, and a cheap wooden structure can be erected within the open area enclosed by the present buildings, for the temporary accommodation of the contractors for the prison labor. The contractors themselves would doubtless make these repairs and erect such temporary buildings as they might deem necessary, at their own expense, receiving their compensation therefor from the labor of the prisoners. But if you shall deem it inexpedient to change the location of the prison, then the repairs upon the present property should be of a more permanent nature, and the new building of a more durable and commodious character, and differently located. It is quite important that a prompt decision should be arrived at, as to which course shall be pursued, in order that contracts may be made for the profitable employment of the very large number of now idle and expensive prisoners.
It is proper in this connection to speak of the State Guard. The necessity for some organization like the former State Guard, or the State Police, is too apparent to require comment or argument from me. Men must be employed to guard the penitentiary, and to care for and protect the public property. In my opinion, a military organization is preferable to any other. It is quite probable that the State Guard might be reorganized under the present laws, but I have preferred to defer all action in that behalf until the opinion of the General Assembly could be had.
I respectfully recommend that this subject be considered and acted upon at the earliest practicable moment.
CITY, TOWN AND COUNTY OFFICERS.
Among the important subjects demanding your immediate attention, one of the first will be that of providing for filling the various city, town and county officers, until regular elections can be held. The Constitution provides for holding regular elections in cities and towns on the fourth Thursday in May, and in counties on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. Before any elections, general or special, can be properly held, it will be necessary for you to enact a general registration law and provide the mode and manner in which elections will be held. Our present statutes are inconsistent with the provisions of the constitution upon this important subject. The 22d section of the fifth article of the constitution undoubtedly clothes the General Assembly with ample power to fill these offices in such a manner as to it shall seem best, until regular elections can be held. I doubt the propriety of ordering special elections in these cases at this time. Aside from the time which will necessarily be consumed in perfecting the requisite legislation for that purpose, the great expense which elections would entail upon the Commonwealth, ought, if possible, to be avoided. In the meantime it is of paramount importance that many of these offices should be promptly filled. It appears to me, therefore, advisable that the Legislature at a very early day enact a law authorizing the filling of three offices by appointment and officers can be regularly elected and qualified as provided for by the constitution.
Five judges of the supreme court of appeals, sixteen judges of the circuit courts and over one hundred county and city judges are to be elected by you, who will hold their offices respectively in the order named for twelve, eight, and three years from the 1st of January next. This is a grave and responsible duty and surrounded by serious difficulties and embarrassments. A learned and incorruptible judiciary has ever been the pride and boast of our people. Whatever other changes our necessities may compel, I trust that the high standard of qualification for judicial position which has heretofore obtained in our State may never be "changed, altered, or amended." Honesty and capability have been and should continue to be the sovereign tests of fitness. The judicial ermine should ever be far removed from the arena of politics. If there is anything more to be shunned than a political preacher, it is a political judge. It may be that you will be unable to fill all these judicial positions by men who are not disqualified from holding office by the Constitution of the United States. Without intending any disrespect to the fundamental law of the land or to the constituted authorities, it appears to me that you not only ought to have the right to the widest range of selection for these exalted positions, but that you ought to exercise that right. It is a solemn duty which you owe to yourselves and to your constituents, to the country and to posterity to elect our ablest, purest and best men, and if in the fulfillment of that duty your choice should fall upon any who are disqualified, by the 3d. clause of the 14th article of the constitution of the United States, I would recommend the passage by your honorable bodies of a resolution respectfully requesting Congress to remove such disqualifications. I am satisfied that such a resolution would receive the prompt and favorable consideration and action of Congress.
The salaries of all the judges are to be fixed by you, and while I am an earnest advocate of economy in all departments of government, I am not in favor of meagre and insufficient salaries for public officials, especially for the judges of the circuit courts and court of appeals. They should be sufficient to command the most eminent ability. The lawyer who accepts one of these judicial positions by that act banishes himself from the practice and emoluments of his profession. Unless a man of fortune, he is dependent upon his salary for his support, and that salary ought to be sufficient to furnish him a comfortable living, in keeping with the high position which he holds. I am aware that the judicial system provided for by the constitution will of necessity be an expensive one, but with the many reforms which may, and ought to be instituted, it may be rendered less burthensome than our former system.
The expenses incident to the administration of the criminal laws have within the past few years increased enormously mainly due to the larger increases in the number of petty offenses, such as larceny and assault and battery. A thorough reform not only in the laws themselves, but in their mode of administration, is imperatively demanded.
It appears to me that all cases of petit larceny, except for a second offence, and all cases of assault and battery, except with a deadly weapon; in fact, for all crimes of a lesser grade than a felony, should be summarily tried by a justice of the peace, with or without jury, at the option of the accused, reserving, of course, the right of appeal to the county court upon questions of law; and in cases of conviction, the punishment inflicted to be a fine or imprisonment in the county jail, or hard labor upon the public roads or elsewhere.
By the adoption of this system, and by requiring that the value of the property stolen shall be at least thirty dollars to constitute the crime of grand larceny, you will free the courts of record of a very large proportion of their criminal business, and the Commonwealth from a fourth to a third of its "criminal charges."
Cases of trial and conviction of larceny, with mere suspicion of burglary, have lately come to my knowledge where the whole value of the property stolen did not exceed one dollar, and yet these cases went through all the formalities of arrest, examination by a magistrate, commitment in default of bail to the county jail, a formal investigation by the grand jury, resulting in a formal indictment and trial by the county court and a petit jury, consuming days of time and costing the Commonwealth from seventy-five to one hundred dollars. Now such cases ought to be tried by a justice of the peace in two hours at an expense not exceeding five dollars. Every county and city should be compelled by law to establish, at as early a day as practicable, a poor-house, for the care and sustenance of the infirm and helpless within its corporate limits, and in connection therewith, or with the jail, a workhouse, where offenders of the class under consideration may be compelled to labor upon the public roads, or in tilling the soil, or at such other employment as may be most profitable, thereby contributing to lighten rather than increase the burthen of the people. In all our courts, the compensation of all officers except the judges should be only the fees appertaining to their respective offices, to be paid in all cases by suitors, except in criminal cases, where either the prosecution fails, or the defendant has no property from which the fees can be collected. While our courts should be freely open to all, and the costs incident to litigation ought not to be so high as to amount, in any sense, to a denial of justice, yet it is right that suitors should bear, to some extent, the increased expenses they occasion. I would recommend that, in every civil case in a court of record, a fee or tax of from three to five dollars be imposed, to be paid to the clerk at the commencement of the suit, and before any papers are filed or issued and to be by the clerk paid into the Treasury of the State.
By such modifications of our laws as I have thus briefly suggested, it is quite probable that at least fifty thousand dollars can annually be saved to the State in the administration of our civil and criminal jurisprudence.
ASYLUM FOR INSANE COLORED PEOPLE.
Soon after entering upon the discharge of my duties as Provisional Governor, I ascertained that both the Eastern and Western Lunatic Asylums were filled to overflowing with patients, and that there were many people, both white and colored, in the various county jails, and other places around the State, where they could not be properly treated or cared for. It seemed imperatively demanded that some measures be promptly provided for the suitable care and custody of these unfortunate people. The propriety of enlarging the Eastern Lunatic Asylum was first considered, but the expense of such enlargement seemed too great to justify its being undertaken at that time. Besides it was deemed advisable that the insane of the two races should be provided for separately. Subsequently the property lying immediately east of the city, known as Howard's Grove Hospital, through an arrangement effected by the Commanding General, was turned over to the State, and it was determined to convert the same into an asylum for the colored insane, and to remove thereto those of that race who were at the Eastern Lunatic Asylum, thus leaving in that institution sufficient accommodation for the white insane, who, as before stated, were in different jails and other places of confinement in the State. -- That arrangement has been carried fully into effect. The property thus turned over to the State, without cost, is of considerable value. -- It consists of eighteen acres of land now under lease to the State for ten years, at an annual rental of two hundred dollars, whereon stand several wooden buildings worth five or six thousand dollars, one additional wooden building has been erected, and some necessary improvements and repairs made at the expense of the State. Beds, bedding and other necessary articles, which were in use, or stored on the premises, were purchased from the Government at a nominal price.
The lease and a plan of the grounds and buildings are on file in the office of the auditor of public accounts. The report herewith submitted of the superintendent of public buildings, who at my instance has had charge of this property for the past month, contains a statement of the expenditures made by the State, the condition and capacity of the institution and the number of patients now under treatment. With the further expenditure of a small sum it is believed that all the colored insane of the State can be well and comfortably accommodated at this asylum for the next ten years. I would respectfully recommend that a law be at once enacted organizing this asylum upon the plans of the Eastern and Western Lunatic Asylums, and providing for the care and custody of all the colored insane of the State at the same.
I have been requested by the authorities of Randolph Macon College to submit for your consideration a proposition in writing, for the sale to the State of the property of that institution, situated in Mecklenburg county, for an asylum for insane colored people. My great respect for the gentlemen who make this proposition, and my high appreciation of the ultimate objects they have in view in making the same, induce me to comply with their request, although my sense of duty compels me to decline to recommend this purchase at this time.
Having thus called your attention to some of the most important subjects which demand your immediate attention, and the consideration of which will necessarily occupy your time for some weeks to come, I shall bring this communication to a close. I shall at an early day communicate to you a statement of the financial condition and resources of the State, with such recommendations as commend themselves to my judgment, and some suggestions for the amelioration of the condition of the very large debtor class in our State. Public improvements, immigration, education, and other important subjects, will be discussed in communications to be hereafter communicated to your honorable bodies.
(Column 01)Summary: Dr. Sampson gave a well-attended lecture on "Jerusalem" in the Baptist Church on Friday.[No Title]
(Names in announcement: Dr. Sampson)
(Column 01)Summary: Algernon T. Maupin, ex-Postmaster of Staunton, was arrested in Washington on charges of embezzling $2,000 of public money.[No Title]
(Names in announcement: Algernon T. Maupin)
(Column 01)Summary: The Spectator reported that sixty more freedmen have left the area to travel to the Gulf States. Predicted that they will come to regret this decision.
Full Text of Article:Tableaux and Charades
On yesterday morning, about sixty more negroes left this place for the Gulf States. The agents of this species of emigration who get $10 per head must be making money. The negroes will be the parties duped. Many will regret that they ever left this State, and will dolefully sing, "Carry me back to Old Virginia."
(Column 02)Summary: The young ladies and gentlemen of West View held tableaux and charades in the Methodist Church.Married
(Column 03)Summary: James H. Hutcheson, formerly of Greenville, and Miss Jenny M. E. Reamer, daughter of S. R. Reamer of Harrisonburg, were married on January 27th at the residence of the bride's parents by the Rev. J. S. Gardner.Deaths
(Names in announcement: James H. Hutcheson, Jenny M. E. Reamer, S. R. Reamer, Rev. J. S. Gardner)
(Column 03)Summary: Miss Emily Arnall, daughter of the late John T. Arnall, died at the residence of A. W. McClure in Staunton on February 12th of consumption.Deaths
(Names in announcement: Emily Arnall, John T. Arnall, A. W. McClure)
(Column 03)Summary: Turner Ashby Wheeler, son of James D. Wheeler, died in Spring Hill on February 2nd. He was 3 years old.Deaths
(Names in announcement: Turner Ashby Wheeler, James D. Wheeler)
(Column 03)Summary: Catharine Virginia Kiracofe, wife of the Rev. J. W. Kiracofe, died in Maryland on January 11th. She was 23 years old. She was born in Augusta and was a long-time member of the United Brethren Church. She died of consumption, leaving a husband and two children.Deaths
(Names in announcement: Catharine Virginia Kiracofe, Rev. J. W. Kiracofe)
(Column 03)Summary: Charles Grandison, an African-American who was "formerly the servant of Thomas Barrett," died in Staunton on February 11th. He was 79 years old. The paper printed the notice in response to a request.
(Names in announcement: Charles Grandison, Thomas Barrett)