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Day 42 of the Convention

Monday, March 2, 1868

The Convention was called to order on Monday at 10 o’clock, Mr. Pres. Cowles in the Chair. 

After dealing with various minor matters, the Convention returned to the issue of encouraging immigration into the state. Mr. Abbott said, although this matter had been burlesqued, yet to him it seemed that it was a subject of the greatest importance. Virginia has had an agency in New York for more than a year. All the other States surrounding us, had taken similar steps. Mr. Candler offered an ordinance to provide for the legislature to have the power to create the office of land and immigrant commissioners and the Governor, with the consent of both branches, to fill the office. By motion, the ordinance was continued to the next day.

The Convention returned to discussion of when it would adjourn sine die. The original proposal from the committee was that they would adjourn on March 12. Mr. Rodman moved an amendment that no member receive pay if the continue after March 12. Mr. Jones sought a later date of the 15th or 20th. Mr. French, of Chowan then spoke in favor of the original date of March 12 and the amendment of Mr. Rodman. He said:

The interchange of views spoken of, was the very trouble which this Convention encountered. The calling of the yeas and nays on irrelevant questions was another trouble. Old musty speeches were drawn out and delivered here. Every interest of the State—her famishing people and languishing resources, all demand prompt action and an early adjournment. The people are anxious to vote for the constitution. Let the Convention adjourn and go home on the 12th, or cease to draw its one thousand dollars a day.

Delegates applauded his speech. No resolution was reached.

Delegates spent some time calendaring the various constitution reports. On motion of Mr. Ashley, the report on education was made special order for Friday 11 o’clock.

Mr. Ashley said the report had been laid on the desk for several days. If there were any suggestions to be made, he desired delegates to meet the committee here this afternoon at 4 o’clock. 

Other business was taken up for the afternoon. When the Convention reconvened for the evening session at 7:30, only 47 members were present. Mr. Tourgee moved that the Sergeant-at-Arms be sent after the absent members. The motion was sustained. Mr. Hayes of Halifax moved for reconsideration of this vote and the motion was sustained. 

The Convention then considered the Report of the Committee on Corporations other than Municipal, which was placed for its third and final reading.

After the first section was read, Mr. Durham moved to amend by adding “Provided, That institutions of learning in which black and white people are educated promiscuously, shall not be incorporated under general laws, or by special act.”

Mr. Hood moved to amend the amendment of Mr. Durham, which, after some discussion, was withdrawn.

The question recurred on the amendment of Mr. Durham. Mr. Durham demanded the yeas and nays. The demand was not sustained. The amendment was lost.

After a majority voted in favor of the entire report, yeas 71, nays 13, on motion the Convention adjourned.



Ferrell, Joseph, ed., Compilation of the Official Report of the Proceedings of the Convention (Chapel Hill, N.C.: unpublished manuscript 2007). (See day 8 for fuller explanation of this resource.)


*The debate and other quotes are close to verbatim from the reported resources with some adjustment to put all comments in first person, present tense.

Ann McColl

Ann McColl is an attorney and state constitutional scholar.