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through the ranks of an alien race, led by aliens and worse trian aliens. It relaxed the grip of the carpet-bagger and said with power what Greeley said with rhetoric, "Go back thieves.” Since then it has kept down taxes, restored public credit, put capable Courts and honest men in office, established and cherished a great and flourishing school system, secured laborers on public works their wages, sustained our eleemosynary institutions, compelled corporations to pay taxes in counties and cities, supplied limbs to broken-bodied soldiers, given a home to them also, and pensions to the destitute, turned a deficit in the treasury to a surplus, and paved the way for the Convention to reduce taxes twenty-five per cent. on real and personal estate. And all this while drawing from the treasury themselves a pittance that was but the shadow of compensation. Let facts speak. These are facts that will forever stand to the credit of the General Assembly of Virginia.


The article on the Executive Department shows some important and salutary amendments. The Governor may suspend, during the recess of the General Assembly, executive officers, at the seat of government except the Lieutenant-Governor, for misbehavior, incapacity, neglect of official duty or acts performed without due authority of law, and appoint protempore successors. He reports the suspension and its cause to the next General Assembly, whereupon it determines whether such officer shall be restored or removed. He may approve the general purposes of a bill or joint resolutions; and may disapprove a part, returning it to the House in which it originated, with recommendation of its amendment. If both Houses agree or disagree to the amendment, they then return the measure to the Governor and he acts upon it as he should have done the first time. He may also veto any item or items in an appropriation bill and approve the others.

If a measure presented to the Governor shall not be returned to the author for five days afterwards (Sundays excepted), it shall become a law as if he had signed it, unless the General Assembly by its adjournment prevents such return; in which case it shall be a law if signed by the Governor within ten days after such final adjournment and not otherwise.

The State Treasurer is made elective by the people at the same time, and for the same term as the Governor. The General Assembly is commanded to provide a system of checks and balances between officers at the seat of government, who are charged with the collection, receipt, custody or disbursement of the revenue of the State; and bonds are required of the deputies, assistants or employees of officers charged with the public funds, as well as of their principals.


This clear-cut article met the predoininant sentiment of the people and the Convention. The judiciary under it consists of a Supreme Court of Appeals of five Judges, Circuit Courts, Corporation Courts and Justices of the Peace. The General Assembly may add such courts as the public interests require in cities of over 30,000 inhabitants. Special Courts of Appeal to consist of three Judges, of the Supreme Court, of the Circuit Court and of the City Courts of Record to try cases in which a majority of the Supreme Court Judges can not sit, or cases which can not be tried with convenience; and also Land Courts by which is meant courts for the registry of land titles, which have elsewhere been found to be great sources of public economy, utility, convenience and safety.

The Supreme Court Judges are to get an annual salary of $4,000 and the Circuit Courts not less than $2,000.

The State is to pay the Supreme Court salaries; it is to pay half of the Circuit Court salaries, the cities and the counties of the Circuit paying the other half, except in Richmond where, on account of the State business there transacted, the State pays the whole salary.

In cities of 10,000 inhabitants, or more, the Judges of the City Courts are to get not less than $2,000, paid by the State and City, half and half; but the City may increase the salary at its own expense.

Cities of less than 10,000 inhabitants, if they indulge in the luxury of a City Judge, must pay for him themselves. Salaries are not to be increased or diminished during a Judge's term. Where cities share liability for salaries, the State pays first and reimburses itself from the cities afterwards.

Judges can not practice law or hold any other office, but Judges of a Court of a city under 5,000 in population, may be Commissioner in Chancery of the Circuit Court.

The General Assembly is to elect the Judges and prescribe the jurisdiction of Justices of the Peace and they are to be appointed or elected as it prescribes.

There are to be twenty-four Circuits and they may be increased or diminished with this limitation that no Circuit is to fall below 40,000 inhabitants, and none to be formed of less. At the first election of the Supreme Court, one Judge is to be chosen for four years, two for eight and two for twelve years, and thereafterwards all for twelve years, and half of the Circuit Judges and City Judges are to be chosen for four, and one-half for eight years, and thereafter all for eight years; and of City Judges this is likewise, that the election of all may not take place at the same time—an arrangement departed from as to the State Senate.

The jurisdiction of the Courts and Judges is to be conferred by law, but the Supreme Court is to have original jurisdiction in all cases of habeas corpus, mandamus and prohibition, and on them only; and appellate jurisdiction (1) on all cases involving the constitutionality of a law, (2) on the life or liberty of any person, and (3) such other cases as may be prescribed by law.

Three hundred dollars (exclusive of costs and interest on judgment on the court below) is made the limit of jurisdiction in civil cases, except in the particular cases named.

No appeal is allowed the Commonwealth in any case involving life or liberty, unless it be provided for in any case involving the enforcement of the law of the State.


The County Courts are abolished. In compensation, the circuits are increased from sixteen to twenty-four. Moreover, the County Clerk may be authorized by the General Assembly to exercise jurisdiction "in the matter of admission of wills to probate, and of the appointment and qualification of guardians, personal representatives, curators, appraisers and committees of the estates of persons who have been judged insane or convicted of felony, and in the matter of the substitution of trustees."

Boards of Supervisors are required to meet at fixed periods to the end that they may fix a substitute for the old-fashioned court-day and provide an additional rallying point for the popular gatherings and demonstrations.

Farewell, old County Court! We part with you regretfully, and not without misgiving. The people did not feel that they could pay what you were worth, or that it was just to you or themselves that you should live on half rations and be compelled to jump over the judicial rail into the forum of legal contention. With you departs many a happy association, and many a delightful remembrance lingers in your wake—like the phosphorescent play of the waves when the ship has passed.

This be your tribute: No public servants so poorly paid ever served the State so worthily and well.


Some worthy reforms in municipal government are instituted. Cities are defined as incorporated communities of 5,000 population or more, and towns are those of less than 5,000. General laws are to govern them, except in cases where the object of a special one cannot be otherwise obtained in the opinion of the General Assembly, and so indicated by a twothirds recorded vote.

Commissioners of the Revenue of cities and counties alike may be elective or appointive, as provided by law, and if chosen by the people shall be ineligible for the next succeeding term.

The City Treasurer, and County Treasurer also, is elective by the people for a term of four years, but cannot serve for more than two consecutive terms nor act as deputy for their immediate successor.

The City Council is accountable to the General Assembly and the Mayor to the Governor.

The City Council is elective and is to consist of two branches, unless the General Assembly permits otherwise in cities under 1,000 in population. The Council cannot elect a member to office during his term or within a year afterwards.

The Mayor may veto a resolution or ordinance of the Council, and two-thirds of the members elected may carry them over his veto. Like the Governor, he may veto any particular item of an appropriation bill.

The consent of the corporate authorities is necessary to the use of streets, alleys or public grounds by street railways, gas, water, steam, electric heating, light or power, cold storage, compressed air, viaduct, telephone, or bridge company, or any person, partnership or association engaged in these or like enterprises.

City franchises are limited to thirty years, and, except as to trunk railways, must be advertised at public auction before granted, and the sale of city or town rights in public properties and franchises is prohibited except under ordinance passed by three-fourths of the members elected to each branch of the Council.

Cities and towns are prohibited from issuing bonds to an amount, including existing indebtedness, exceeding 18 per cent. of their taxable real estate, present charters excepted.

No one can hold at the same time more than one county or city office.

The Supervisors are to meet at fixed periods.

Magisterial Districts remain as at present, and no new one shall contain less than thirty square miles.

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