Forty-First Day of the Convention
Mr. Willey resumes his remarks on taxation, and once more asks for a change in the taxes on slaves. Mr. Montague concludes his speech and asserts the constitutional right of secession ; he declares it is Virginia's moral duty to separate from people who strive to destroy God's institution of African slavery. Mr. Macfarland delivers a long speech in which he expresses the hope that North and South may be reconciled, perhaps by amendments to the Constitution. He feels that friendship with the North is possible if slavery is excluded from legislation and agitation, and he favors one more effort to rebuild the Union. Mr. Wise defends his record as a friend of the West and recalls his efforts on behalf of equal taxation.
The CHAIRMAN

The Chair did not hear any on the floor, nor did he believe that there was any in the lobby.

Mr. WISE

It was all around. I think it very hard that the innocent should suffer.

The CHAIRMAN

Certainly.

Mr. WISE

May they return immediately? [Laughter.]

The CHAIRMAN

After a while.

Mr. WISE

Return after a while. How long will that be? [Laughter.]

The CHAIRMAN

The gentleman from Middlesex [Mr. MONTAGUE], will please proceed with his remarks.

Mr. MONTAGUE

I believe these little ebullitions which have occured must occur in a time like this.

The CHAIRMAN

The Chair deemed it his imperative duty to enforce the order to clear the galleries.

Mr. MONTAGUE

I do not complain of the Chair. It is hard for men to restrain their feelings in a time like this. I assure gentlemen and the Chair that I have no desire to excite applause here. I did not come here with any such purpose. I came here to present my views to the heads of the people, and not to their feet.

I have shown that Virginia when she joined the Federal Constitution, reserved the power to withdraw whenever she might think proper. Having shown that that was the understanding of the men who ratified the Constitution in Virginia, let us see what they did in New York. In the ratification of the Constitution by New York, yol will find this : "That the powers of government may be re-assumed by the people whensoever it shall become necessary to their happiness ; that every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by the said Constitution clearly delegated to the Congress of the United States, or the departments of the government thereof remains to the people of the several States, or to their respective State governments, to whom they may have granted the same." (1 Ell. Debates, 327.)

Here, then, the Committee will see that New York reserved the right to secede. Little Rhode Island, about whom we hear so much here, declared in the third section of her articles of ratification, "That the powers of government may be re-assumed by the people whensoever it shall become necessary to their happiness." (1 Ell. Debates, 334.)

Here, then, you have three States going into the confederation upon a certain condition? What condition? Why, that they reserved the right to withdraw whenever in their judgment their happiness and safety require it. And just here I lay down a great principle, not only

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