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STAUNTON, WA., November 21, 1867. J. C. SouTHALL, Esq., Charlottesville, Va. SIR :
Having been a competitor of yours in the recent election for the position of delegate to the Constitutional Convention, for the district composed of the counties of Augusta, Albemarle and Louisa, and you having received the returns as delegate elect, and believing, as I do, that I was legally elected, I hereby notify you that it is my purpose to contest your seat, and upon the foilowing grounds:
1st. Your ineligibility. 2d. l shall contest the votes of the sixth magisterial district of this county.
My objection thereto being a violation of General Order No. 68, paragraph 12, (from Military Head Quarters.) in the manner of conducting the election.
3d. Perhaps I shall also contest the vote of Porter’s precinct in Albemarle county, upon the ground of improper influence having been brought to bear upon the voters thereof. Very respectfully, yours, FREDERICK S. TUKEY.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, November 22, 1867. FREDERICK S. TUKEY, Esq., SIR : Accept my acknowledgments for your letter of date of yesterday, informing me that you will contest my seat in the approaching State Convention.
If you are legally entitled to the same, I trust I shall yield the position without a sigh.
- My object in writing is to inquire the grounds on which you claim the seat. Please inform me what you mean by my being “ineligible,” and if you refer to the fact of my not having registered, mention the clause of the Reconstruction Acts on which you rely as disqualifying me in view of that fact.
2d. Please inform me of the ground on which you will “contest the votes of the 6th magisterial district in Augusta.” In what particular was section 12 of General Order No 68 violated?
3d. Please state what improper influence was exerted at Porter’s precinct in this county. You will oblige me by an early reply. Respectfully, JAMES. C. SOUTHALL.
C SECOND LETTER OF ME. TUKEY TO MR. SOUTHALL.
STAUNTON, VA., November 25th, 1867, JAS. C. SOUTHALL, Esq. : SIR : Yours of the 23d instant is before me, and contents carefully considered.
I have no disposition whatever to withhold any proper information, or treat the subject in any other way than in a candid and frank manner. Yet I am of the opinion, after having weighed the subject carefully, that neither justice nor courtesy demand further explanation from me on the points raised in yours.
There are, however, one or two other points of which I will speak, and may contest, which I did not allude to in my last. I allude to the votes received by T. W. Savage, of Albemarle, and also to threats that I have been informed were made to the voters in the county generally. Very respectfully, FREDERICK S. TUKEY.
J U DIC I ARY O O M M ITT EE
IN RELATION TO
DEBTS AND OBLIGATIONS
PURCHASE OR SALE OF SLAVES SINCE JAN’Y 1, 1860,
The Judiciary Committee, to whom was referred the following resolution :
* Resolved, That all debts contracted and obligations incurred by the pur‘chase or sale of slaves since 1st January, 1860, be declared null and void, in view of the fact that no just compensation was received for the obligation; or debts thus incurred,”
—Has had the subject undér consideration, and ask leave to submit the following report:
That this resolution presents to the committee the consideration of the question, whether this Convention has the power to interfere with, or in any manner to impair the obligations of existing contracts. In the solution of this question 'the committee has not been confined by any supposed limitations or restrictions placed upon the Convention by the law of Congress calling it into existence. but has examined it as though this body was clothed with the sovereign power of the State, and limited only by the Constitution of the United States. By reference to Section 10 of 1st Article of that instrument, it will be seen that if provides : That “no State shall pass àny bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or Haw impairing the obligations of contracts,” &c.
In the opinion of the committee the word “State,” as used in the clause quoted, includes not only the General Assembly, but any other body or assem. blage of men representing the people of the State, and convened pursuant to Maw, by whatever name it may be called. Believing this to be the true construc. tion of the clause referred to, the committee is of the opinion that the power to pass any law or ordinance impairing the obligation of contracts, is expressly *denied to the State, and that this Convention has no authority to act in the premises whatsoever.
The resolution aforesaid raises no question as to the validity of the contracts st the time they were entered into, but seeks to relieve the obligors from the