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Introduced Version Senate Concurrent Resolution 2 History

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SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION 2

(By Senators Trump and Cline)

[Introduced January 10, 2020]

 

Requesting the citizens of Frederick County, Virginia, to consider becoming a part of the State of West Virginia.

Whereas, Frederick County, Virginia, was formed in 1743, and Hampshire County, Virginia, was formed in 1754.  Most of what was originally Hampshire County, when it was formed in 1754, was territory that had been part of Frederick County.  Berkeley County, Virginia, was formed from Frederick County in 1772; and

Whereas, The counties of Jefferson, Berkeley, Morgan, Hampshire, Mineral, Hardy and Grant counties in the State of West Virginia all contain territory that was once part of Frederick County, Virginia, such that Frederick County, Virginia, may truly be regarded as the mother of all seven of these West Virginia counties; and

Whereas, In addition to the historical connections between Frederick County, Virginia, and the seven counties in West Virginia, which are her children, there have always existed strong familial ties between and among the inhabitants of those counties, as well as ties of commerce, business, religion, education, arts, society, politics, travel, recreation, and connections of every possible kind. There remain, as there have always been, feelings of deep affection for Frederick County and for her inhabitants by and among the citizens of West Virginia, and in particular by and among the citizens of those counties in West Virginia which may be regarded as the children of Frederick County. In 1862, when the government of Virginia, meeting in Wheeling, took up the question of the formation of a new state, Frederick County was among those counties which were regarded as having a natural place within the new state. So strong was the desire to have Frederick County join the new state that the opportunity for her to do that was specifically provided for by an Act of the Legislature; and

Whereas, The Act of the Legislature of Virginia, passed May 13, 1862, giving the consent of the State of Virginia to the formation of the new State of West Virginia, provided as follows:

That the consent of the legislature of Virginia be, and the same is hereby, given that the counties of Berkeley, Jefferson, and Frederick shall be included in and form part of the State of West Virginia, whenever the voters of said counties shall ratify and assent to said constitution, at an election held for the purpose, at such time and under such regulations as the commissioners, named in said schedule, may prescribe; and

Whereas, Although the citizens of the counties of Berkeley and Jefferson thereafter voted to join the new state, the citizens of Frederick County have not yet done so; and

Whereas, By its decision in the case of State of Virginia v. State of West Virginia, 78 U.S. 39, 20 L.Ed.67, 11 Wall. 39 (1870), the United States Supreme Court recognized that the opportunity for Frederick County, Virginia, to transfer to and join the new State of West Virginia, was lawfully and permanently reserved unto her by the actions of Virginia and by the Congress of the United States, to be exercised whenever the voters of Frederick County might vote to join the new State of West Virginia, to-wit:

“The State of Virginia, in the ordinance which originated the formation of the new State, recognized something peculiar in the condition of these two counties, and some others. It gave them the option of sending delegates to the constitutional convention and gave that convention the option to receive them. For some reason not developed in the legislative history of the matter these counties took no action on the subject. The convention, willing to accept them, and hoping they might still express their wish to come in, made provision in the new constitution that they might do so, and for their place in the legislative bodies, and in the judicial system, and inserted a general proposition for accession of territory to the new State. The State of Virginia, in expressing her satisfaction with the new State and its constitution, and her consent to its formation, by a special section, refers again to the counties of Berkeley, Jefferson, and Frederick, and enacts that whenever they shall, by a majority vote, assent to the constitution of the new State, they may become part thereof; and the legislature sends this statute to Congress with a request that it will admit the new State into the Union. Now, we have here, on two different occasions, the emphatic legislative proposition of Virginia that these counties might become part of West Virginia; and we have the Constitution of West Virginia agreeing to accept them and providing for their place in the new-born State. There was one condition, however, imposed by Virginia to her parting with them, and one condition made by West Virginia to her receiving them, and that was the same, namely, the assent of the majority of the votes of the counties to the transfer. It seems to us that here was an agreement between the old State and the new that these counties should become part of the latter, subject to that condition alone. Up to this time no vote had been taken in these counties; probably none could be taken under any but a hostile government. At all events, the bill alleges that none was taken on the proposition of May 1862, of the Virginia legislature. If an agreement means the mutual consent of the parties to a given proposition, this was an agreement between these States for the transfer of these counties on the condition named. The condition was one which could be ascertained or carried out at any time; and this was clearly the idea of Virginia when she declared that whenever the voters of said counties should ratify and consent to the Constitution they should become part of the State; and her subsequent legislation making special provision for taking the vote on this subject, as shown by the acts of January 31st and February 4th, 1863, is in perfect accord with this idea, and shows her good faith in carrying into effect the agreement. But did Congress consent to this agreement? Unless it can be shown that the consent of Congress, under that clause of the Constitution which forbids agreements between States without it, can only be given in the form of an express and formal statement of every proposition of the agreement, and of its consent thereto, we must hold that the consent of that body was given to this agreement. The attention of Congress was called to the subject by the very short statute of the State of Virginia requesting the admission of the new State into the Union, consisting of but three sections, one of which was entirely devoted to giving consent that these two counties and the county of Frederick might accompany the others, if they desired to do so.”; and

Whereas, With Frederick County, Virginia, in mind, Article VI, Section 11 of the West Virginia Constitution provides the mechanism for Frederick County to become part of the State of West Virginia, providing as follows:

“Additional territory may be admitted into, and become part of this state, with the consent of the Legislature and a majority of the qualified voters of the state, voting on the question. And in such case provision shall be made by law for the representation thereof in the Senate and House of Delegates, in conformity with the principles set forth in this constitution. And the number of members of which each house of the Legislature is to consist, shall thereafter be increased by the representation assigned to such additional territory”; and

Whereas, Upon joining the State of West Virginia, the citizens of Frederick County would be immediately entitled to all of the rights secured and protected by the West Virginia Constitution to the citizens of West Virginia, including not only the rights of free speech, freedom of the press, religious freedom, the right of peaceful assembly, the right to due process of law, but also the right to keep and bear arms without interference by the government; and

Whereas, Upon joining the State of West Virginia, Frederick County, including the City of Winchester, contained therein, would be immediately entitled to at least six delegates in the West Virginia House of Delegates and two senators in the West Virginia Senate; and

Whereas, From the time of the admission of the State of West Virginia into the Union, the counties which are the children of Frederick County, and the citizens of those counties, have pined for reunion with their mother county and prayed that she might join them in the State of West Virginia; therefore, be it

Resolved by the Legislature of West Virginia:

That the citizens of Frederick County, Virginia, consider becoming a part of the State of West Virginia; and; be it

Further Resolved, That on behalf of the citizens of West Virginia, the Legislature of West Virginia does hereby remind the citizens and government of Frederick County, Virginia, of the invitation that was extended more than a century and a half ago, inviting Frederick County, Virginia to join the new State of West Virginia; and, be it

Further Resolved, That on behalf of the citizens of West Virginia, the Legislature of West Virginia assures the citizens and government of Frederick County, Virginia that the invitation extended in 1862 still stands, and that it stands as it was made, with the sincere and earnest hope of all of West Virginia that the invitation will one day be accepted by the citizens of Frederick County; and, be it

Further Resolved, That the 158 years which have elapsed since this invitation was first extended have not diminished the feelings of deep affection in which Frederick County and her citizens are held by the citizens of West Virginia; and, be it

Further Resolved, That at such time as the citizens of Frederick County may desire for Frederick County to become part of the State of West Virginia, the citizens of the Mountain State will welcome them with open arms and rejoice in the addition of Frederick County to the State of West Virginia; and, be it

            Further Resolved, That the Clerk of the Senate is hereby directed to forward a copy of this resolution to the Board of Supervisors of Frederick County, Virginia.

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