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CIVIL GOVERNMENT OF VIRGINIA
A TEXT-BOOK FOR SCHOOLS BASED UPON THE CONSTITUTION OF 1902 AND
CONFORMING TO THE LAWS ENACTED IN ACCORDANCE THEREWITH
BY WM. F. FOX
SUPT. OF SCHOOLS, RICHMOND, VA.
NOTE.-Important changes in every part of the fundamental law of
the State were made by the Constitutional Convention of 1901-2.
A great many of these changes did not go into full effect until as
late as Feb. 1, 1904; and some are yet to be made effective by the
operation of laws already passed or to be enacted hereafter. Under
the circumstances the author trusts he may be pardoned if some
errors or omissions are found in this work, but it is believed
that in all essential points it is in harmony with the provisions
of the Constitution and the laws of the State as they stand at the
I GENERAL PRINCIPLES Bill of Bights--Who May Vote and Hold Office
II LEGISLATIVE, DEPARTMENT The Senate--House of Delegates--General
III EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT Governor--Lieutenant Governor--Attorney
IV EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT-Continued
Secretary of the Commonwealth-Treasurer-Auditor of Public
Accounts--Second Auditor--Register of the Land Office--State
Corporation Commission--Superintendent of the Penitentiary--
Superintendent of Public Printing--Commissioner of Agriculture and
Immigration--Commissioners of the Sinking Fund--Board of State
V. JUDICIARY DEPARTMENT
Supreme Court of Appeals--Circuit Courts--Circuit Court of the
City of Richmond
VI. JUDICIARY DEPARTMENT-Continued
Corporation or Hustings Courts--Justices Courts--Hustings Court of
the City of Richmond--Chancery Court of the City of Richmond--Law
and Equity Court of the City of Richmond
VII OFFICERS OF COURTS Clerks--The Tipstaff and Crier--Sheriff--
Commonswealth's Attorney Attorneys at-Law Who May Practice Law in
--Virginia Juries--Grand Junes--Petit Jury
VIII. COUNTY ORGANIZATION
County Officers Sheriff--Commonwealth's Attorney--County Clerk--
Treasurer--Commissioner of the Revenue--Superintendent of the
Poor--County Surveyor-Superintendent of Public Schools County
Board of School Commissioners--Electoral Board--Board of
IX. DISTRICT ORGANIZATION
Magisterial Districts.--Supervisors.--Justices of the Peace.--
Constable.--Overseer of the Poor.--Conservators of the Peace.
X. GOVERNMENT OF CITIES AND TOWNS
Council.--Mayor.--City Sergeant.--Commissioner of the Revenue.
--Commonwealth's Attorney.--Treasurer.--Sheriff of Richmond City.
State: Board of Education.--Superintendent of Public Instruction.
County: County and City Superintendents.--School Trustee Electoral
Board.--County School Board.
District: School Districts.--School Trustees.--District Board of
OUTLINES or COLONIAL AND STATE HISTORY Colonial Governors.--State
CONSTITUTION OF VIRGINIA
POPULATION OF VIRGINIA AT VARIOUS DATES
The word GOVERNMENT means guidance or direction or management. It
means also the person or persons who rule or control any
establishment or institution. Wherever any number of people live
together in one house, or one town, or city, or country, there
must be government of some kind.
In the family the parents are the government. They guide and
manage the affairs of the house. They give orders to their
children as to what they must do and what they must not do, and
they see that their orders are obeyed. This is government, and it
is for the benefit of the family. If the children were to do as
they please, there would be no peace or happiness in the home.
And in their games and amusements out of doors children find that
they must not do as they please. Every game has certain rules or
laws which those who take part in it are required to obey. In the
game of baseball, for example, the players are not allowed to act
as they like. There are rules of the play, and there is an umpire
to see that the rules are observed.
In the school, too, and in all business establishments there must
be government. The teachers direct the work in their classes,
giving orders to the pupils as to what lessons they must study and
how they must study them. In the store and factory there is a
manager or master who directs the business. If there were no
managers or masters there would be nothing but disorder and
We can see therefore how necessary government is, and we can
understand why it is that there must be government in the country
or state in which we live. There must be laws to direct men how
they must behave towards one another and to punish those who do
wrong. And there must be people to make the laws and people to see
that they are carried out.
This is CIVIL GOVERNMENT. The word CIVIL means pertaining to the
state, or to the relations between citizens and the state, and the
word STATE means the whole community or body of people living
under one government.
There are different kinds of government in different countries. In
some countries the government is monarchical--that is, under one
person, a king or emperor--and in some countries it is republican.
A republican government, or a republic, is a government in which
the chief power is exercised not by one person but by all the
people. The government of the United States is a republican
government. The government of Virginia is a republican government.
The head of the state under a republican form of government is
elected by the people.
The government in a republic is usually divided into three parts
or DEPARTMENTS. One department makes the laws. This is called the
LEGISLATIVE DEPARTMENT or the legislature. It is formed of a
certain number of persons who are elected at certain times, by the
people, and who meet to make laws that are necessary for the good
of the state or country.
The second department of government is called the EXECUTIVE
DEPARTMENT, and is also formed of persons who are elected by the
people, and their business is to execute or carry out the laws.
Their duty is to see that every one who violates any law of the
country or state is brought to punishment, and that the laws made
for promoting the well-being and happiness of the people are
The third department of the government is the JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT
or the judiciary. Its members are, in Virginia, chosen by the
legislature. Their duty is to administer the laws, that is to
inquire into every case in which a person is accused of breaking
the laws, and if a person is found to be guilty, to sentence him
to the punishment which the law prescribes for the crime or
offence he has committed.
In this book full particulars and explanations are given as to the
formation of those three departments of government, the many
duties assigned to each, and how those duties are performed.
In republics government is usually carried on according to the
wishes of the majority of the people. This is what is called
MAJORITY RULE. At elections to form the legislative or executive
department, different persons or candidates are proposed for each
office, and the candidate who gets a majority of the votes is
elected. A candidate is a person who is proposed for election to
Candidates for public offices are proposed or nominated at what
are called CONVENTIONS. A convention is a meeting of electors, or
voters, held for the purpose of agreeing upon or choosing persons
to be candidates for office. Conventions are called together and
conducted by organizations known as PARTIES or POLITICAL PARTIES.
There are usually at least two political parties in every country
in which there is constitutional government. Each of the parties
nominates candidates at every election, and tries in every
legitimate way to persuade the people to vote for its candidates.
The party whose candidates are elected is called THE PARTY IN
POWER. This is what is known as PARTY GOVERNMENT.
It is good for the state that there should be political parties.
Each party closely watches the conduct of the other, and if the
party in power make bad laws or execute the laws unfairly or
unjustly, the party out of power appeals to the people by public
speeches and by writing in newspapers, and does what it can to get
the voters to vote against the party in power at the next election
and turn it out of office.
Every citizen may join either of the parties he pleases, and so
exercise his influence through conventions and elections to secure
good government. And it is the duty of every citizen to do this,
for good government--honest law-makers and honest administrators
of the laws--is one of the greatest blessings a state can have. It
is also the duty of young people to learn about the government and
politics of their state, so that when they come of age they may be
able to perform their part as citizens intelligently and well.
1. Define GOVERNMENT.
2. Give some illustrations of the necessity of government.
3. What is the necessity for laws in a country?
4. Define CIVIL.
5. What is a republic?
6. What does the government in a republic consist of?
7. What is the duty of the legislative department?
8. What is the duty of the executive department?
9. What is the duty of the judicial department?
10. What do you understand by majority rule?
11. What is a convention?
12. What is a party government?
13. Why is it good for the state that there should be political
14. Why is it the duty of every citizen to become a member of one
of the political parties?
15. Why is it good for young people to learn about government and
VIRGINIA CIVIL GOVERNMENT
1. All power is vested in and hence derived from the people;
magistrates are their trustees and servants and at all times
amenable to them.
2. Government is, or ought to be, instituted for the common
benefit, protection, and security of the people.
3. No free government, or the blessing of liberty, can be
preserved to any people but by a firm adherence to justice,
moderation, temperance, frugality, and virtue, and by frequent
recurrence to fundamental principles.
--Bill of Rights.
The BILL OF RIGHTS is the title of the first article, or chapter,
of the Constitution of Virginia. It is so called because it is a
declaration or statement of the RIGHTS of the people in regard to
government. In English history the name BILL OF RIGHTS is given to
a declaration of rights adopted by the two houses of Parliament in
England in 1688, and soon afterwards passed into law.
VESTED IN means entrusted to or put in possession of. To vest is
to invest or clothe with power or authority.
MAGISTRATES are public officers whose duty it is to administer the
laws. The President is the chief magistrate of the nation. It is
his duty to see that the laws of the United States are executed Or
carried out. The governor is the chief magistrate of the State;
the mayor is the chief magistrate of the city. Judges are
magistrates who preside in the courts and administer the law as
applying to the cases brought before them.
Trustees are persons who hold or have charge of the property of
others in trust, and as guardians, for those to whom it belongs.
Magistrates hold their offices as trustees for the people, and
they are amenable, that is, answerable, to the people. If they do
not perform the duties of their offices honestly, the people can
call them to account and punish them.
A FREE GOVERNMENT is a government instituted, that is,
established, by the consent of the people. The government of the
United States is a free government, because it has been
established by the people, and the people can change it when they
"Government ought to be established for the COMMON BENEFIT." This
means that government ought to be for the benefit of all the
people, poor as well as rich, and under a free government all the
people have equal protection from the law.
FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES are principles or truths according to
which, or upon which, systems, or laws, or institutions, are
FOUNDED. The fundamental principles of free government are that
all men are born equal, and that all men have equal rights to life
RECURRENCE means A GOING BACK TO. We must frequently recur, or go
back to, fundamental principles in order to preserve free
government. We must also firmly adhere to, or practice justice,
moderation, temperance, and virtue.
JUSTICE is the doing of what is right. MODERATION means the
avoiding of severity or harshness in our conduct towards others.
TEMPERANCE is the moderate or reasonable use or enjoyment of the
pleasures of life. FRUGALITY is the practice of thrift and economy
as opposed to extravagance. VIRTUE is the practice of the moral
good taught by religion.
The constitution guarantees to the people the right to make and to
change their own laws; the right of speedy trial by jury;
protection in the enjoyment of their inherent rights; freedom of
elections; freedom of speech; freedom of the press; religious
freedom; equal civil and political rights and public privileges.
It prohibits excessive bail, excessive fines, the infliction of
cruel and unusual punishments, and the taking of private property
for public uses except by law and with just compensation.
A CONSTITUTION is a system or plan of government, or a written or
printed statement of the principles and rules according to which a
government is to be conducted. The constitution tells how the
government is to be formed, what it has power to do, and what it
must not do. The Constitution of Virginia GUARANTEES, that is,
secures or makes sure to the people, the right to make or change
the laws. A government under a constitution is called a
TRIAL BY JURY is trial by a judge and certain citizens who are
called the jury. The duty of the judge is to see that the trial is
conducted according to law, and to pass sentence on the accused
person if found guilty. The duty of the jury is to decide, after
hearing the evidence, whether the accused person is guilty or not.
This declaration of the jury is called a VERDICT, a word which
means a TRUE SAYING.
INHERENT means inseparable from, or not to be taken away. INHERENT
RIGHTS are rights that cannot justly be taken away from the
people. The right to life and liberty is an inherent right of man
which cannot be taken away by any constitution or government.
FREEDOM OF ELECTIONS means freedom to hold elections to choose the
officers of government, and freedom for every citizen to vote for
the candidate of his choice. FREEDOM OF SPEECH and FREEDOM OF THE
PRESS mean liberty for all to speak or publish what they desire to
say on any subject, being liable to punishment by law if they
speak or publish anything injurious to the reputation of others.
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM means liberty to belong to any religion, or to
worship God in any way that one thinks proper.
CIVIL RIGHTS are the rights a man is entitled to as a member of
the community, such as the right to trial by jury, the right of
freedom of speech.
POLITICAL RIGHTS are the rights that belong to men as citizens,
Such, as the right to vote, the right to be candidates for public
PUBLIC PRIVILEGES are benefits or advantages possessed by some and
not by others, such as charters to corporations or licenses to
carry on certain kinds of business. For example, a license to sell
liquors is a public privilege. It is not for the public good that
it should be given to everybody, but the Constitution guarantees
that under necessary restrictions as to the number of such
licenses granted, all citizens shall have equal rights to such
PRIVATE PROPERTY is property that belongs to private individuals.
It may be taken for public use when necessary. If a government
building has to be erected or a railroad made, the land required
for the purpose may be taken from the owner, but a just price must
be paid for it.
Who May Vote and Hold Office. Every male citizen of the United
States, who is 21 years old, who has been a resident of the State
two years, of the county, city, or town one year, and of the
precinct in which he offers to vote thirty days next preceding any
election, has been registered and has paid his state poll taxes,
shall be entitled to vote; except idiots and lunatics, persons
convicted after the adoption of the constitution of bribery in any
election, embezzlement of public funds, treason, felony, or petit
larceny, obtaining money or other property under false pretences,
or who have been in any way concerned in a duel.
All persons entitled to vote shall be eligible to any office
within the gift of the people, except as restricted by the
Excepting the requirements of residence in the voting precinct,
payment of poll tax and registration, the qualifications of jurors
are practically the same as those of voters.
A CITIZEN is a native of the United States or a foreigner who has
been made a citizen. To be made a citizen, a person must, at least
two years before admission, make a declaration before a judge that
it is his intention to become a citizen of the United States, and
to renounce allegiance to all foreign powers or princes. Having so
declared his intention, and after residing five years in the
United States, he must declare on oath before a judge that he
renounces allegiance to all foreign powers, and that he will
support the Constitution of the United States. He then receives a
paper or document certifying that he is a citizen. The paper is
called a NATURALIZATION paper, and the person who receives it is
said to be NATURALIZED, because it entitles him to all the rights
and privileges of a NATIVE or NATURAL-BORN citizen of the United
CONVICTED means tried in a public court for a crime and found
guilty. BRIBERY in elections is buying or selling votes, or giving
money or payment in any form to a voter for voting for any
candidate. EMBEZZLEMENT is the crime a person commits who takes
for his own use the money or property of others that has been
entrusted to his care. TREASON is to make war against or try to
overthrow or destroy the government of one's own country. FELONY
is a crime that may be punished by death or imprisonment in state
prison. PETIT LARCENY is the stealing of goods of small value.
Every voter is required to be registered. This is a most important
proceeding, as it insures the purity of the ballot and the
intelligent exercise of the right of franchise. Elections. Shall
be by ballot; for State, county, corporation and district
officers, shall be held the Tuesday after the first Monday in
November; except for mayors and councils of cities and towns,
which shall be the second Tuesday of June.
State executive officers elected at a general election shall enter
upon the duties of their respective offices the first of February
next thereafter; members of the House of Delegates and all county,
corporation, and district officers on the first of January, and
Senators on the second Wednesday in January next thereafter; and
mayors and councils of cities and towns on the first of September
next succeeding their election. State executive officers elected
by the General Assembly enter upon their duties the first of March
following their election.
They shall continue to discharge the duties of their respective
offices until their successors shall have qualified.
The BALLOT is the printed list containing the names of all the
candidates to be voted for at an election. The places where the
people vote are called POLLS, and they are kept open for one day--
from sunrise to sunset. At the polls there are officers called
judges or clerks of election. When the voter goes to the poll on
election day, one of the judges hands him a ballot. With the
ballot he goes alone into a small compartment or BOOTH, where
there is a desk with a pencil or pen and ink. There he draws a
mark with the pen or pencil through the names of the candidates he
does not wish to vote for, leaving the names of the candidates he
votes for unmarked He then, folds up the ballot, with the names of
the candidates on the inside, and hands it to one of the judges,
who drops it into a box, where it remains until the votes are
counted after the poll closes. The candidates who receive the
highest number of votes are declared elected. This is done by the
Board of State Canvassers (which see).
STATE OFFICERS are officers elected by the voters of the whole
State. The governor, the lieutenant-governor, and attorney-general
are State officers.
A CORPORATION is a body or number of persons formed and authorized
by law to carry on business under one name as a single person.
Banks and railroad and manufacturing companies are corporations.
They are called private corporations because the business they do
is for the benefit of private individuals. The people of cities
and towns have power by law to carry on the government of their
cities and towns as corporations. They are called public
corporations because they are formed for the purpose of
government, and act for the whole people (see under Government of
Cities and Towns)
QUALIFIED, with regard to State officers, means having taken the
oath of office. The Constitution requires that every person,
before entering upon the discharge of any functions as an officer
of the State, must solemnly swear or affirm that he will support
and maintain the Constitution and laws of the State of Virginia,
and that he will faithfully perform the duty of the office to
which he has been elected. To take this oath is to QUALIFY for the
The State is entitled to two U. S. Senators and ten
Representatives in Congress, and to twelve votes for President and
Vice-President in the Electoral College.
The ELECTORAL COLLEGE is the name given to the body of persons who
elect the President and Vice-President of the United States. At a
presidential election, which takes place every four years, the
people do not vote directly for the candidates who have been
nominated for President and Vice-President. They vote for persons
nominated to be ELECTORS, and each State has the right to choose
as many electors as it has senators and representatives in
Congress. Virginia has two senators and ten representatives in
Congress, therefore at the presidential election it chooses twelve
electors. This is what is meant by saying that it has twelve votes
in the Electoral College.
The members of the Electoral College do not meet all together to
elect the President and Vice-President. The electors of each State
meet in the capital of their own State in January after they are
elected, and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President.
after which they send lists to the President of the United States
Senate showing how they have voted. Those lists are examined in
the Senate and the votes counted. Then the candidates who have
received the votes of a majority of the Electoral College are
1. From whom are the powers of government derived?
2. What are magistrates?
3. For what is government instituted?
4. What are fundamental principles?
5. What is the Bill of Rights?
6 What is a constitution?
7. What is trial by jury?
8 Tell what you understand by freedom of elections, freedom of
speech, freedom of the press, and religious freedom
9. Tell the difference between civil rights and political rights.
10. What are public privileges?
11. What is involuntary servitude?
12. Define PRIVATE PROPERTY.
13. Who is entitled to vote, and who is eligible to office?
14. What is a citizen?
15. How may one become a citizen?
16. Define the terms BRIBERY, EMBEZZLEMENT, TREASON, FELONY, PETIT
LARCENY, and DUEL.
17. What are jurors?
18. When are the elections for State officers held?
19. How are elections conducted?
20. Define BALLOT, POLLS, and BOOTH.
21. What are State officers?
22. What is a corporation?
23. What is the meaning of QUALIFIED?
24. How many senators and representatives in Congress is the State
25. How many votes is the State entitled to in the Electoral
26. What is the Electoral College?
27. How do the electors choose the President and Vice-President of
the United States?
The legislative power of the commonwealth is vested in a General
Assembly consisting of a Senate and House of Delegates.
LEGISLATIVE POWER is the power to legislate or make LAWS, hence
the General Assembly is the LEGISLATURE of Virginia. COMMONWEALTH,
which means COMMON WELL-BEING, or common good, is a name sometimes
given to a State or country which has a republican form of
government--that is, a government in which the people are the
supreme power, and in which all the people have common (that is,
equal) interests and common rights. CONSISTING means formed or
made up of.
A DELEGATE is a person appointed or elected by others to do
business for them as their representative. The members of the
House of Delegates are elected by the people of the State to
represent and act for them in the business of making laws.
Number. There are forty Senators, from thirty-nine senatorial
districts. The Lieutenant-Governor is the presiding officer.
Elected. By the people; one-half being chosen every two years
until the general election in 1907. At that time, and every four
years thereafter, the entire senate will be chosen at one time for
a term of four years.
Qualifications. A Senator must be an actual resident of the
district for which he is elected; must be legally qualified to
vote for members of the General Assembly; must hold no salaried
office under the State government.
Powers. Shall select its own officers; choose from its own body,
in the absence of the Lieutenant-Governor, or when he exercises
the office of Governor, a president PRO TEMPORE; confirms or
rejects nominations; has sole power to try impeachment.
SENATORIAL DISTRICTS are the districts into which a State is
divided for the election of senators. There are thirty-nine
districts in Virginia, and each of them elects one senator, except
the district formed of Richmond and the County of Henrico, which
elects two. PRESIDING OFFICER is a person who PRESIDES or acts as
president or chairman in any assembly or meeting.
A candidate for the Senate must be LEGALLY QUALIFIED TO VOTE for
members of the General Assembly. This means that he must be a
citizen of the United States, a resident of Virginia for two
years, and have the other legal qualifications of voters as
required by the Constitution.
PRO TEMPORE is a Latin phrase meaning FOR THE TIME--that is, for a
short time or temporarily. The Senate elects one of its own
members to preside PRO TEMPORE if the lieutenant-governor happen
to be absent, or when he is called upon to act as governor. (See
under Powers and Duties of governor, page 28.) The Senate has the
power to CONFIRM OR REJECT NOMINATIONS. Many public officers of
the State are appointed by the governor, but when he nominates or
NAMES a person for a public office he sends the nomination to the
Senate, and it may confirm--that is, approve of--the nomination,
or it may reject it. If it should reject the nomination, the
person nominated is not appointed.
IMPEACHMENT means a charge of dishonesty or serious neglect of
duty made against a public official. In an impeachment it is the
House of Delegates which must make the charge and act as
prosecutor, but it is the Senate which must try the case and pass
sentence on the accused, if proved guilty.
House of Delegates.
Number. Composed of one hundred members apportioned by statute
among the counties and cities of the State.
Elected. By the people for two years.
Qualifications. Same as for Senators.
Powers. Elects its own Speaker and all other officers; impeaches
State officers, and prosecutes them before the Senate. The Clerk
of the House of Delegates is also Keeper of the Rolls.
Apportioned means divided or distributed or allotted. A statute is
any law, but the word is most commonly understood to mean a law
made by a legislature representing the people. The number of
delegates appointed to the counties and cities--that is, the
number which each is entitled to elect--is decided by statute in
proportion to the number of inhabitants.
The chairman of the House of Delegates is called the speaker. The
same title is given to the presiding officer of the lower house in
nearly every legislature in English-speaking countries.
The rolls are the statutes in written form as passed by the
Assembly. A law when proposed in the Assembly is called a bill. To
become a statute a bill must be voted on and have a majority three
times in the House of Delegates and three times in the Senate and
be signed by the governor. Then it is an act, or a Statute, or a
law. The copy signed by the governor is an engrossed or written
copy, and the official copies of the laws so engrossed are the
rolls, and are preserved by the keeper of the rolls, who is the
clerk of the House of Delegates.
General Assembly. (Senate and House jointly.)
Sessions. Biennial. Beginning the second Wednesday in January of
every even year, and continuing sixty days. The session may be
extended not exceeding thirty days. It may be convened in special
session by the Governor.
The Senate and House of Delegates jointly--that is, both together
--are called the General Assembly. Sessions means sittings or
meetings for business, and biennial means happening once every two
years. The General Assembly meets once every two years, and it
does business for sixty days. If the business necessary to be done
require more time, the session may be extended--that is,
lengthened--thirty days. A special session is a session convened--
that is, called to meet--for some special or particular business.
The governor may convene such a session whenever he thinks it
Powers. General powers of legislation under the constitution.
Elects U. S. Senators, County and City Electoral Boards, Auditor
of Public Accounts, Second Auditor, Register of the Land Office,
Superintendent of Public Printing, the Judges of the Commonwealth;
decides contests in the election of Governor and Lieutenant-
Governor; confirms or rejects nominations of certain officers made
by the Governor, the State Board of Education, etc.
Powers means what the General Assembly has power to do.
Legislation is the making of laws. The Assembly has powers of
general legislation under the constitution--that is, of making all
such laws as the constitution directs or does not forbid.
(Explanations are given later on as to the boards and officers
mentioned here which the General Assembly has power to elect.)
Contests--that is, disputes or differences--may occur in the
election of governor and lieutenant-governor. There may be
contests as to counting of votes or as to the qualifications of
candidates. Such contests are decided by the General Assembly.
Membership. Each house settles its own rules of proceeding; is
judge of the election, qualification, and returns of its members.
Members are not subject to arrest under any civil process during
the session of the General Assembly, nor for fifteen days next
before the convening, and after the termination of each session;
are privileged from arrest in all cases during the session, except
for treason, felony, perjury, breach of the peace, or a contempt
of court of a criminal nature.
What is meant by each house being judge of the election,
qualification, and returns of its members is, that it can decide
whether the members are legally elected and qualified. Returns are
the particulars as to names of candidates and the number of votes
cast for each, which the election judges are required to make up
after the close of the poll on election day. The qualifications
necessary for a member of either house are as follows: he must be
twenty-one years of age or over, and a voter of the State of
Virginia, and he must reside in the district for which he is
Civil process is a law-proceeding in a case where no crime is
charged, but such as for the recovering of a debt or for the
settlement of a difference relating to business matters. Perjury
is the crime of wilfully making a false oath. When a person
appears as a witness in a court of law he has to take an oath that
he will tell the truth. If after taking such oath he tells what he
knows to be untrue, he is guilty of perjury.
A breach of the peace is any act of violence which causes public
disturbance, such as one person assaulting another and thereby
causing a quarrel or riot.
Contempt of court is disobedience to the orders or decrees or
rules of a court of law. Insult or violence to a judge in court
would he criminal contempt.
Salaries. The President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House
of Delegates, each, $400; and the other members, each, $240 for
attendance and service at each regular session; at all extra
sessions, the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of
Delegates shall receive, each, $240, and the other members, each,
$120. Members are entitled to mileage.
In addition to his salary each member of the Assembly receives ten
cents per mile for expenses of traveling to and from the sessions
of the Assembly. This allowance is called mileage.
Bills may originate in either of the two houses. No bill shall
become a law until it has been read on three different days in
each house except by a vote of four-fifths of the members voting
in each house.
Every bill which shall have passed the Senate and House of
Delegates shall, before it becomes a law, be presented to the
Governor; if he approve, he shall sign it and it is then a law,
but if not, he shall return it with his objections to the house in
which it originated; who shall proceed to reconsider it. If after
such consideration two-thirds of the members present shall agree
to pass the bill, it shall be sent to the other house, by which it
shall be reconsidered, and if approved by two-thirds of all the
members present, it shall become a law, notwithstanding the
objections of the Governor.
He may also veto any particular item of an appropriation bill, but
this item may also be passed over his veto by a two-thirds vote of
If any bill shall not be returned by the Governor within five days
after it shall have been presented to him, it shall be a law in
like manner as if he had signed it.
A bill is a draft or statement of a proposed law. A bill may
originate in either house--that is, it may be first proposed in
either the Seriate or House of Delegates. Any senator or delegate
who wishes to have a new law made must first put it in writing.
Then he himself introduces or proposes it in the house of which he
is a member, or it may be introduced by a committee.
A committee is a number of persons, usually not a large number,
appointed by a legislature or other body to take charge of and
attend to some particular business. The members of the House of
Delegates and of the Senate are divided into committees, and some
special subject or business is entrusted to each. For example, in
the Senate there are committees on Privileges and Elections,
Public Institutions and Education, and many other subjects; and in
the House of Delegates there are committees on Courts of Justice,
Schools and Colleges, and other subjects.
Usually proposals for new laws are referred for consideration to
the committee having charge of the subject or business to which
the proposed law relates. Committees in the Senate are elected by
the senators themselves; committees in the House of Delegates are
appointed by the speaker.
When a new law or bill is introduced it is either proposed by a
committee, or by some member and given for consideration to a
committee. In order to pass, it must be read three times on three
different days (once each day) in the house in which it
The first reading is the formal placing or presenting of the bill
before the house. At the second reading the bill is discussed, and
any member who wishes to say anything for or against it is at
liberty to do so.
Amendments may also be proposed at the second reading. An
amendment is an alteration or a change in the wording or matter of
a bill. After an amendment is discussed the house votes upon it,
and if a majority is for it, the change is made in the bill.
When all amendments are discussed and voted on, a vote is taken on
the bill as a whole, and if a majority of the members vote for it,
it is read a second time.
It is then engrossed, or written out, by the clerk of the house,
and read a third time, after which a vote is again taken, and if
there is a majority for it, it passes the house.
When the bill is passed in the house in which it originated, it is
taken to the other house by the sergeant-at-arms. There it goes
through the same forms of reading and discussion, and if it be
read three times and have a majority in its favor it is passed. It
is then enrolled, after which it is signed by the presiding
officer in each house, and when this is done it is sent to the
governor for his signature.
The sergeant-at-arms is an officer whose duty it is to preserve
order in the chamber where the sessions of either house are held,
to distribute among the members any papers or documents they may
require, and in general to perform such services as are necessary
for the proper transaction of business. Each house has its own
(For enrolling, see under House of Delegates, page 19.) The
requirements with regard to a bill after it is sent to the
governor are stated in the text above. (For the veto power of the
governor, see page 28.)
1. In whom is the legislative power of the commonwealth vested?
2. What is the legislative power?
3. Define commonwealth.
4. What is a delegate?
5. How many members constitute the Senate?
6. What are senatorial districts, and how many are there in the
7. Who is the presiding officer of the Senate?
8. For how long are senators elected?
9. What are the qualifications of a senator?
10. What are the powers of the Senate?
11. What does impeachment mean?
12. Who tries a case of impeachment?
13. How many members of the House of Delegates?
14. Define statute.
15. For how long are members of the House of Delegates elected?
16. What are the qualifications of delegates?
17. What are the powers of delegates?
18. Define apportioned.
19. What is the chairman of the House of Delegates called?
20. What are the rolls, and by whom are they kept?
21. What does the General Assembly consist of?
22. How often are the sessions of the General Assembly held?
23. What is a special session?
24. What are the powers of the General Assembly?
25. What officers does it elect?
26. What is legislation?
27. What are contests in elections of governor and lieutenant-
governor, and who decides them?
28. What is meant by each house being judge of the election,
qualifications, and returns of its members?
29. What are election returns?
30. Define civil process.
31. What is perjury?
32. What is contempt of court?
33. What are the salaries of the officers and members of the
34. What is mileage?
35. What is a bill?
36. Tell how a bill becomes a law.
37. What is a committee?
38. Define amendment.
Elected. By the people for four years. Must reside at the seat of
government during his term of office; not eligible for the next
succeeding term. Salary, $5,000 a year. He shall receive no other
emolument from this or any other government.
The seat of government is the city or town in which the
Legislature holds its sessions. Richmond is the seat of government
of the State of Virginia. Term is the period of time for which a
public officer is elected. The term of the governor is four years.
He is not eligible--that is, he cannot be elected--for the next
succeeding term--that is, he cannot be governor for two terms, one
immediately following the other. Emolument is salary or
compensation or pay.
Qualifications. Must be at least thirty years of age; must be a
citizen of the United States; must have been for the five years
next preceding his election a resident of the State. If of foreign
birth, he must have been a citizen of the United States for the
ten years next preceding his election.
Foreign birth means birth in any country outside the United
States. But the children of American citizens are citizens of the
United States, even though they have been born in another country.
Powers and Duties. The chief executive officer of the
commonwealth; shall take care that the laws are faithfully
executed; shall communicate to the General Assembly, at every
session, the condition of the commonwealth, and recommend such
measures as he may deem expedient; may call special sessions of
the General Assembly; shall be Commander-in-Chief of the Land and
Naval Forces of the State; may embody the militia to repel
invasion, suppress insurrection, and enforce, the execution of the
laws; shall conduct all intercourse with other and foreign states;
may fill temporarily, during the recess of the General Assembly,
all vacancies in those offices for which the constitution and laws
make no provision; may remit fines and penalties, grant reprieves
and pardons, remove political disabilities, and commute capital
punishment; shall attest all commissions and grants; signs or
vetoes bills passed by the General Assembly.
The governor is the chief executive officer. He is called chief
because he is the highest public officer of the State, and
executive because it is his duty to execute or carry out the laws.
It is also his duty to send what is called a message to each
session of the General Assembly. The message is a letter or
statement in which he communicates to the Assembly full
information as to the condition of the State, and recommends such
measures--that is, such new laws--as he thinks necessary.
Militia is a body composed of citizens enrolled and trained as
soldiers for the defence of the State. All able-bodied male
persons between the ages of eighteen and forty-five years may be
called to serve in the militia. Naval forces are military forces
or militia that serve on sea.
Invasion is the entrance into a State of a military force from
another country for the purpose of conquest. To repel invasion is
to oppose it by force, to drive off the invaders. Insurrection is
a rising or rebellion of people in a State against the government
of their own State. It is the duty of the governor to suppress--
that is, to put down--insurrection, and to ENFORCE the EXECUTION
of the laws--that is, to carry out the laws by force if necessary.
INTERCOURSE is correspondence with others by letter or message.
When it is necessary to have intercourse with another State or a
foreign country, the governor, as the chief executive and highest
representative of the people, is the person who conducts such
The recess of the General Assembly is the time when it is not in
session. During recess of the Assembly, the governor may fill
vacancies in public offices for which the Constitution and laws
make no provision. For example, the Constitution and laws make no
provision for the appointment of judges during the recess of
Assembly; therefore, if a judge dies during the recess, the
governor appoints a person to fill the vacancy until the Assembly
meets and elects a new judge.
A FINE is a PENALTY or punishment in the form of payment of money.
Sometimes a person convicted of an offence against the law is
ordered by the judge to pay a sum of money instead of being sent
to jail. This is called a FINE. But it may happen that the person
is convicted by mistake or by false evidence, or that the fine is
too heavy for the person to pay. In such cases the governor may
REMIT the FINES--that is, release or free the persons from having
The governor may also GRANT REPRIEVES AND PARDONS if he sees good
reason for doing so. A reprieve is a delay of punishment. When a
person is convicted of murder, the judge sentences him to be put
to death on a certain day. But there may be reason for further
inquiry into the case, and to give time for such inquiry the
governor may postpone the execution of the sentence--that is, put
it off to another day. This is called a reprieve. If the further
inquiry should prove that the person is innocent, a full pardon is
granted and the person is set free.
POLITICAL DISABILITIES are punishments which deprive persons of
certain rights of citizenship. A citizen convicted of bribery in
an election, embezzlement of public funds, treason, felony, or
petit larceny, is by the law of Virginia deprived of the right of
voting. This is a POLITICAL DISABILITY. The person convicted is
legally DISABLED to vote. The governor may remove the disability,
and this restores to the person his right of voting. The governor
may also COMMUTE CAPITAL PUNISHMENT. To COMMUTE is to CHANGE, and
CAPITAL PUNISHMENT is the punishment of DEATH--the punishment
inflicted on persons convicted of murder. The governor may order
that instead of being put to death the convict be imprisoned for
life, or for a number of years. (A convict is a person CONVICTED
or found guilty of crime.)
The governor shall ATTEST ALL COMMISSIONS AND GRANTS. To ATTEST is
to certify, or bear witness to, and a COMMISSION is a written
paper giving power or authority to some person or persons to
perform a public duty. When a judge is elected he receives a
commission authorizing him to act as such, and the governor
attests the commission by signing his name to it. GRANTS or gifts,
such as grants of public lands or money for educational or other
public objects, are also made in writing, and must be attested by
the governor. (Commissions and other important papers must have
upon them an impression of the seal of the State. The seal is a
circular piece of metal made like a medal or large coin and
bearing on each side certain figures and mottoes. The impression
of the seal shows that the paper has been officially attested or
The VETO power is one of the most important powers possessed by
the governor. When a bill is passed by the General Assembly it is
sent to the governor for his signature. If he SIGN it--that is,
writes his name upon it--it is then a law. If he VETO the bill, or
any item contained in it appropriating money, the bill, or such
part of it as is vetoed, cannot become a law until it is again
passed by a two-thirds vote of both houses. (VETO is a Latin word
meaning I FORBID.)
In case the Governor dies, or is in any way incapacitated for
performing the duties of his office, the Lieutenant-Governor shall
act; and in case of the inability of both, the President PRO
TEMPORE of the Senate shall act.
INCAPACITATED for office means legally disqualified. The governor
would be incapacitated if he should refuse to qualify by taking
the necessary oath, or if he should reside out of the State, or if
he should be convicted on impeachment.
Elected. At the same time and for the same term as the Governor,
and his qualifications and the manner of his election in all
respects shall be the same.
He shall be the President of the Senate, but shall have no vote,
except in case of an equal division.
For the same term means for the same length of time. The governor
is elected for four years. That is his term of office. The term of
the lieutenant-governor is the same.
An equal division is an equal number voting for and against the
same proposal. If a bill is proposed in the Senate and twenty
senators vote for and twenty against it, that is an equal
division. In such case, and in no other case, the president votes.
He may vote on either side he pleases, and his vote is called a
Elected. By the people for four years. Salary, $2,500 and mileage.
Duties. Shall give his opinion and advice when required to do so
by the Governor, or by any of the public boards and officers at
the seat of government; shall appear as counsel for the State in
all cases in which the commonwealth is interested, depending in
the Supreme Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court of the United
States, the District and Circuit Courts of the United States for
the State of Virginia, and shall discharge such other duties as
may be imposed by the General Assembly. Member of the State Board
An attorney is a person who acts for and in the place of another.
The word is usually applied to a lawyer who is employed by another
to act for him in any law business he wishes to have done. An
attorney who appears in a court of law and acts or defends a
person, or acts against a person accused of crime, is called a
The attorney-general is a lawyer who is elected to do law business
for the State. He must appear in court as counsel for the State in
every case in which the commonwealth (meaning the whole people) is
interested. The commonwealth is interested in every case of crime,
because it is for the interest or well-being of the people that
those who commit crime should be punished. If this were not done--
if criminals, persons who commit murder or burglary or theft--were
not arrested and punished, no man's life or property would be
safe. The attorney-general must appear and act for the
commonwealth in any of the courts above mentioned whenever there
is a case in any of them in which the people of the State are
Depending or pending with reference to a case means that the case
is in court waiting to be tried or decided. (For information as to
Supreme Court of Appeals and Circuit Court of the City of
Richmond, mentioned above, see under Judiciary Department.)
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court of the
United States. Its members or judges are appointed by the
President and hold office for life, and it sits at Washington and
tries cases in which any person or persons are accused of
violating the Constitution of the United States. The members of
the district and circuit courts of the United States are also
appointed by the President. These courts sit in various districts
of States, and try cases in which persons are accused of violating
the laws of the United States--that is, the laws made by Congress.
The word circuit means a going round. A district in which the same
judges go round at certain times and hold courts in several places
is called a circuit, and the courts so held are called circuit
1. For how many years and by whom is the governor elected?
2. Where must the governor reside?
3. Is the governor eligible for a second term?
4. What is the governor's salary?
5. What is the seat of government?
6. What qualifications are necessary in a candidate for governor?
7. Mention some of the powers and duties of the governor.
8. Why is the governor called the chief executive officer?
9. What is the governor's message?
10. What is the militia?
11. Define naval forces, invasion, insurrection.
12. What is a fine?
13. What is a reprieve?
14. What are political disabilities?
15. What is capital punishment?
16. Define commissions and grants.
17. What is the veto power?
18. When does the lieutenant-governor act as governor?
19. In case of the inability of both the governor and lieutenant-
governor, who acts as governor?
20. How is the lieutenant-governor chosen?
21. What are the qualifications of the lieutenant-governor?
22. Does the lieutenant-governor ever vote in the Senate?
23. What is an equal division?
24. What is an attorney?
25. For how long is the attorney-general elected?
26. What is his salary?
27. What are his duties?
28. What are circuit courts?
Secretary of the Commonwealth.
Elected. By the people at the General Election for a term of four
years. Salary, $2,500.
Duties. Shall keep a record of all executive acts; shall attest
the signature of the Governor on all official documents; shall
keep the seals of the commonwealth; shall arrange and preserve all
records and papers belonging to the Executive Department; shall be
charged with the clerical duties of that department, and render
the Governor such services as he may require in the dispatch of
executive business; shall be general librarian, and have charge of
the library fund; shall receive and transmit election returns
directed by law to be sent to him, and keep a record of the
certified statements and determinations of the Board of State
Canvassers; issue certificates of election; collect tax on State
seal; keep on file the reports of other departments and make and
record a summary of each; record all charters of incorporation;
shall make quarterly reports to the Governor.
COMMISSIONS are fees or payments for certain work done. The
secretary of the commonwealth may charge fees for making out
copies of any public papers or documents kept hi his office, or
for issuing commissions (letters of appointment) to certain public
officers. The person who receives the copy or commission must pay
A RECORD is a written account or description of any business or
work done. EXECUTIVE ACTS are official acts of the governor. The
secretary of the commonwealth must make records of such acts and
preserve them in his office. He must sign his own name after the
signature of the governor on all official documents. This is
called ATTESTING the signature.
There are two SEALS OF THE COMMONWEALTH. One is called the GREAT
SEAL, and the other the LESSER SEAL. (For form and description of
seal, see under POWERS AND DUTIES of governor, page 28.) The great
seal is much larger in size than the lesser. It is affixed to
documents signed by the governor which are to be used for purposes
outside the jurisdiction of the State, or, for example, in a
United States court, or in another State or foreign country. The
lesser seal is affixed to public documents signed by the governor
which are issued for use within the State.
CLERICAL DUTIES are the duties of writing letters, records, and
other papers or documents. A GENERAL LIBRARIAN is one who has
general charge or control of a library. The LIBRARY FUND is the
books and maps belonging to the State. These are kept in the State
library at the capital, and the secretary of the commonwealth is
ELECTION RETURNS when made up by the judges of election are sent
to the commissioners of elections and afterwards to the Board of
State Canvassers. The board determines and decides who have been
elected, and the secretary must KEEP A RECORD of the Board's
After the election returns are examined by the State board, the
secretary makes out CERTIFICATES OF ELECTION for certain State
officers elected at the polls. The certificate is a paper
certifying or stating that the person has been elected. There is a
TAX or charge on the use of the State seals on certain documents,
and this tax is collected by the secretary of the commonwealth.
The secretary must KEEP ON FILE--that is, preserve--in his office
the reports of other public departments of the State, and make a
summary, or sketch, of the contents of each.
A CHARTER OF INCORPORATION is a paper or document granted by the
General Assembly, and giving power to a number of persons to carry
on business as a corporation, or to the people of a town or city
to carry on the business of government within their own districts.
Elected. At the General Election for term of four years. Salary,
$2,000 and commissions allowed by law.
Duties. Shall receive and disburse, only upon a warrant from the
proper Auditor, all moneys paid into the Treasury of the State;
shall pay interest on certain bonds as they become due and
payable; shall be the custodian of bonds held by the Commissioners
of the Sinking Fund, and of bonds deposited by foreign express and
insurance companies doing business in the State; shall make
quarterly and annual reports to the Governor.
The treasurer is the person who receives and takes charge of money
belonging to the State. The building in which the money is kept
and in which the treasurer has his office is called the treasury.
The treasurer also disburses money. To disburse is to pay out, and
the treasurer cannot disburse without a warrant from the auditor
(see next section).
The warrant is a writing giving the treasurer power to pay money.
The treasurer pays the interest on State bonds. A bond is a
written paper by which a person binds or pledges himself to pay a
certain sum of money before a certain day. Sometimes the
government has to borrow money, and when it does so it issues
bonds to the persons who loan the money. In these bonds the
government binds itself to pay the money by a certain time, and to
pay a certain amount every year as interest until the principal
(the full amount borrowed) is paid back.
The sinking fund is money set apart at certain times to pay the
debts due by the government. It is in charge of officers called
commissioners. These commissioners hold bonds for debts due to the
government on account of the sale of public lands, and the
interest of the State in railroads and other corporations. Express
companies and insurance companies whose head-quarters are in
foreign countries, and who do business in Virginia, are required
to give bonds to the State as security that their obligations to
citizens of the State shall be honestly carried out.
AUDITOR OF PUBLIC ACCOUNTS.
Elected. By the General Assembly for term of four years beginning
on first day of March succeeding election. Salary, $4,000.
Duties. Shall audit all pecuniary claims against the commonwealth,
except those chargeable to the Board of Education, Corporation
Commission, or any corporation composed of officers of government,
of the funds and property of which the State is sole owner; shall
settle with officers charged with collecting the revenues of the
State; shall issue warrants directing the Treasurer to receive
money into the Treasury, and warrants upon the Treasurer in
payment of all claims except those mentioned above; shall report
to the Superintendent of Public Instruction by September 15th, in
each year, ninety per cent, of the gross amount of funds
applicable to public school purposes for the current year; shall
make quarterly and annual reports to the Governor.
An auditor is a person who audits or examines accounts or
statements of the receipt and expenditure of money, to see that
they are correct.
Pecuniary claims are claims for the payment of money. Such claims
made against the commonwealth are not paid until they are examined
by the auditor of the public accounts. Claims that are chargeable
--that is, to be charged--against the Board of Education, the
Corporation Commission, or corporations of government officers,
are not audited by the auditor of public accounts, but by the
second auditor (see next section). To report ninety per cent, of
the school funds is to state the amount to that extent that is
ready to be apportioned or divided among the cities and counties
for school use (see under sections Superintendent of Public
Instruction and School Funds).
Elected. By the General Assembly for four years from the first of
March next succeeding election. Salary, $1,700 and commissions
allowed by law.
Duties. Shall register all coupon and registered bonds and
fractional certificates issued on account of the public debt, and
all bonds redeemed and cancelled by the Commissioners of the
Sinking Fund; shall be the custodian of the books of the
Commissioners of the Sinking Fund, and securities for money
belonging thereto; shall audit all claims on account of the Board
of Education, Corporation Commission, and any corporation composed
of officers of government, of the funds and property of which the
State is sole owner; shall issue his warrant for all moneys
received into the Treasury, or drawn out of it on account of these
boards and corporations, the Sinking Fund and the Literary Fund;
shall make quarterly and annual reports to the Governor.
To register bonds is to enter particulars of them in books kept
for the purpose. Coupon bonds are bonds with interest coupons or
certificates attached to them, and bearing no name, but payable to
any person who presents the coupons at the treasury at certain
times. Registered bonds are bonds bearing the name of the person
who receives them, and payable to that person or any person to
whom he may sell or transfer them.
Fractional certificates are certificates or bonds issued for any
fractional part of one hundred dollars of the public debt. All
other bonds are issued for amounts of one hundred dollars or some
multiple of a hundred.
A bond is redeemed--that is, bought back--when it is received at
the treasury or office of the sinking fund and the amount of it is
paid to the holder. The bond is then cancelled. To cancel is to
deface or destroy so that the paper or bond cannot be used again.
A security is something given or deposited as a pledge that money
loaned shall be repaid. Debts may be due to the sinking fund by
railroad or other companies in which the State has an interest,
and securities have to be given that such debts shall be paid.
The literary fund was formed in 1810 from the sale of public
lands, some of which had been possessed by the Church in colonial
times. The fund has since been increased by the sale of lands
given to the State by Congress for public school purposes. and by
fines collected for offences committed against the State, and by
donations made by private individuals. It is called the literary
fund because it is used for purposes of education.
Register of the Land Office.
Elected. By the General Assembly for a term of four years from the
first of March next succeeding election. Salary, $1,800. He is
also Superintendent of Public Buildings.
Duties. Shall issue grants to all purchasers of waste lands;
record all grants and patents, and furnish lists to the clerks of
the county and corporation courts; shall keep the records,
documents, and entries of Northern Neck Lands, and of lands
granted, or to be granted, by the Commonwealth; shall have care of
the public buildings and all other public property at the seat of
government not placed in charge of others; shall have control of
Capitol Square; shall try, prove, and seal weights and measures;
shall report semi-annually to the Auditor of Public Accounts.
The land office is the office in which business connected with the
sale or granting of public lands is conducted. This business is
under the control of an officer called the register of the land
office, and public buildings in the State are under his care. He
is also superintendent of weights and measures. At his office are
kept weights and measures, provided by the State, to be furnished
to counties and corporations as standards by which the weights and
measures in business use throughout the State are tested. The
State weights and measures are tried by the register once every
ten years, and when proved to be correct are marked with a seal.
In every county there is a sealer of weights and measures, who
must examine, once every three years, the weights and measures in
use throughout the county, to see that they are up to the
A patent is a government paper granting to some person or persons
the sole right to any lands, privileges, or inventions.
The Northern Neck was the name given in colonial times to the
peninsula lying between the Rappahannock and Potomac Rivers.
State Corporation Commission.
Composed of three members appointed by the Governor, subject to
confirmation by the General Assembly, for a term of six years
each. Salary, $4,000 each.
At least one of the Commissioners must have the qualifications
prescribed for judges of the Supreme Court of Appeals.
Duties. Shall issue all charters or amendments thereof for
domestic corporations and licenses to do business in the State to
foreign corporations; arrange for visitation, regulation and
control of all corporations doing business in the State; prescribe
the forms of all reports and collect and preserve such reports.
Shall control all transportation companies; fix the amount of
their taxes; prescribe rates, charges and classifications of
traffic and enforce the same.
Has the powers and authority of a court of record to administer
oaths and compel attendance of witnesses, and all appeals from the
Commission shall be to the Supreme Court of Appeals only. Shall
make annual reports to the governor.
The term corporation or company includes all trusts, associations
and joint stock companies having any powers or privileges not
possessed by individuals or unlimited partnerships. Charter means
the charter of incorporation under which any such corporation is
A transportation company is any company or person engaged in the
business of a common carrier. A transmission company includes any
company or person owning and operating a telephone or telegraph
line for hire. Public service corporations include transportation
and transmission companies, gas, electric light, heat and power
companies and all persons authorized to use or occupy any street
or public place in a manner not permitted to the general public.
Bonds are certificates of indebtedness issued by any corporation
and secured by a mortgage or trust deed.
Domestic corporations are such as are chartered under the laws of
Virginia. Foreign corporations are such as are incorporated under
the laws of some other state or country.
The General Assembly may place under the control of the
Corporation Commission divisions or bureaus of insurance, banking,
Every domestic and foreign corporation doing business in the state
shall file in the office of the Corporation Commission an annual
report as prescribed by law setting forth various facts regarding
its business, and organization, the names of its officers, its
place of business and such other information as may be required by
A corporation may be established for the transaction of any lawful
business or to promote or conduct any legitimate object or
Any number of persons not less than three may associate to
incorporate a college, an alumni association, a literary society,
a cemetery company or association, a fraternal benefit
association, a fraternal association, society, order or lodge, a
society for the prevention of cruelty to children or animals, a
charitable or benevolent association, or social, hunting, fishing
club, or any society, organization or association of a similar
A corporation may be limited as to duration to the time stated in
its charter. But when no time is so limited it shall be perpetual,
subject to the power of repeal reserved to the General Assembly.
A corporation may sue and be sued in any court of law and equity.
With regard to railroads, canals, and all transportation and
transmission companies, the State Corporation Commission has all
the power and authority formerly belonging to the office of
railroad commissioner; examines them as to their condition, the
causes of accidents, etc.; requires changes and improvements;
contracts with them for the conveyance of convicts, lunatics, etc.
Every railroad company in Virginia has a charter from the State,
in which are stated certain conditions on which, in the interests
of the people, they must carry on their business. It is the duty
of the Commission to examine the railroads from time to time to
see that they are operated in such a way that there shall be no
danger to the people who travel upon them.
To contract is to make an arrangement or a bargain for some work
to be done. The Commission makes contracts with the railway
companies for carrying convicts to prison from the place in which
they are tried and convicted, and for carrying lunatics to the
asylum or hospital in which they are to be confined.
With regard to internal improvements in which the State is
interested, the Commission has all the authority formerly
exercised by the Board of Public Works; appoints State directors
and State proxies for works in which the State is interested;
keeps a register of all property belonging to the State;
represents the State in relation to all corporations whether as a
stockholder, creditor, mortgagor, or otherwise.
Internal improvements are public works of various kinds for the
improvement of the State, such as railroads, canals, highways.
Money of the State may be invested in the capital of corporations
carrying on internal improvements, and it is the duty of the
Corporation Commission to watch and protect the interests of the
State in such undertakings.
For this purpose the Commission appoints directors and proxies to
act in such companies. A proxy is a person appointed as a
substitute for another. Proxies are appointed to represent and
vote for the State at meetings of corporations for internal
improvements, in which the State holds stock.
A TOLL is a charge made for passing certain canals, bridges, etc.
The Commission has the power to fix the amount of toll when it is
not specified in the charter of the canal or bridge company.
Superintendent of the Penitentiary.
Appointed. By the Board of Penitentiary Directors for term of four
years. Salary, $1,600.
Duties. Shall reside at the Penitentiary and be its chief
executive officer; shall have control and custody of the property
of the Penitentiary; shall employ a guard; shall report quarterly
to the Governor, and monthly and annually to the Board of
The PENITENTIARY is the State prison at Richmond in which persons
convicted in the State courts are imprisoned.
The GUARD is a body of men employed at the prison by the
superintendent to prevent prisoners from escaping and to suppress
rebellion by the prisoners if attempted. The Board of Directors is
the board or body of men who have the management of the
penitentiary. They are also appointed by the governor.
Superintendent of Public Printing.
Elected. By the General Assembly for term of four years. Salary,
Duties. Must be a practical printer; shall have the supervision
and management of the public printing and binding of the
Commonwealth; shall report annually to the Governor, and
biennially to the General Assembly.
The numerous public departments and offices of the State require
to have a great deal of printing done. The acts passed by the
General Assembly, the reports of public boards and of public
officers, and the proceedings and decisions of some of the courts
have to be printed and bound into books. It is the duty of the
superintendent of public printing to make contracts for such work
and all other printing and binding required for State purposes,
and to see that it is properly done.
Commissioner of Agriculture and Immigration.
Elected. By the people at the General Election for term of four
years. Salary, $2,000.
Duties. Subject to the Board of Agriculture and Immigration, he
shall be the executive officer of the Department; shall examine
and test fertilizers, collect mining and manufacturing statistics,
establish a museum of agricultural and horticultural products,
woods and minerals of the State; shall investigate matters
pertaining to agriculture, the cultivation of crops, and the
prevention of injury to them; shall distribute seeds; shall
disseminate such information relating to the soil, climate,
natural resources, markets, and industries of the State as may
attract capital and induce immigration.
It is the business of the Board of Agriculture and Immigration to
promote the interests of farming throughout the State and to
encourage the introduction of capital and immigrants into the
State. The COMMISSIONER OF AGRICULTURE is its executive officer.
STATISTICS are statements of facts, usually accompanied by
figures, showing the condition or progress of countries or peoples
The MINING AND MANUFACTURING STATISTICS of the State tell how many
mines and manufacturing establishments are open in the State, how
much work they do, how many people they employ, and give other
important information regarding them.
A CABINET OF MINERALS is a collection of specimens of minerals,
such as coal, ores, and metals. The commissioner of agriculture
must keep in his office a collection or cabinet of samples or
specimens of the minerals of Virginia, and the place where they
are kept must be open to the public.
He must also make arrangements for providing from foreign
countries such farm seeds as he may think of value to the people
of the State, and he must DISTRIBUTE them in a careful and
judicious manner among the people.
Commissioners of the Sinking Fund.
Composed of the Treasurer, Auditor of Public Accounts, and the
For explanation of the SINKING FUND, etc., see under Treasurer and
Second Auditor, pages 34-36.
Board of State Canvassers.
Composed of the Governor, Secretary of the Commonwealth, Auditor
of Public Accounts, Treasurer, and Attorney-General.
Duties. Shall examine the certified abstracts of votes on file in
the office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth, and make
statement of the whole number of votes given at any General State
election for certain State executive officers and for members of
the Senate and House of Delegates, Representatives in Congress,
and electors of President and Vice-President of the United States,
and determine what persons have been duly elected.
The manner of voting at elections is explained on page 14, and the
duty of the secretary of the commonwealth with regard to election
returns is explained on page 33. The election returns, made up
after the close of the polls on election day, are sent to the
office of the clerk of the county or corporation in which the
election is held.
Election returns are the books containing the names of the
candidates and the number of votes given for each. On the second
day after the election the COMMISSIONERS OF ELECTION meet at the
clerk's office and make out ABSTRACTS of the result of the voting
and send them to the secretary of the commonwealth.
An abstract is a paper containing the name of the person or
candidate who has received the highest number of votes, and the
number of votes received. Abstracts are made out for governor and
lieutenant-governor, for attorney-general, for secretary, for
treasurer, for superintendent of public instruction, for
commissioner of agriculture and immigration, for senators and
delegates, for electors for President and Vice-President, for
congressmen, and for county, district, and corporation officers
voted for at the election. When the abstracts are made out they
are certified and signed by the commissioners and attested by the
clerk, who acts as clerk for the commissioners.
To CERTIFY is to state or declare that anything is true or
correct. The commissioners certify the abstracts that they are
correct, and they sign their names upon them. They are then
CERTIFIED ABSTRACTS, and certified copies of the abstracts for
State officers are sent to the secretary of the commonwealth.
These abstracts are examined in the office of the secretary of the
commonwealth, by the Board of State Canvassers, who determine who
The secretary of the commonwealth after recording the
determinations of the commissioners makes out certificates of
election for senators, delegates, congressmen, and State officers
elected, except for the governor, lieutenant-governor, secretary,
treasurer, and attorney-general. The certified abstracts of votes
for these officers are transmitted to the speaker of the house of
delegates by the secretary of the commonwealth, and the returns
are opened and the votes counted and declared in the presence of
the two houses of the general assembly within one week after the
beginning of the session.
State Board of Education.
Superintendent of Public Instruction.
For the State Board of Education and the State Superintendent of
Public Instruction, see under Education, Chapter XI.
1. What is the term of office of the secretary of the
2. What is his salary?
3. Name some of his duties.
4. Define COMMISSIONS.
5. Define EXECUTIVE ACTS.
6. What are the seals of the commonwealth?
7. What is a certificate of election?
8. What is the term of office of the treasurer?
9. What is his salary?
10. What are his duties?
11. Define WARRANT; BOND.
12. What is the sinking fund?
13. What is the term of office of the auditor of public accounts?
14. What salary does he receive?
15. What are his duties?
16. What is the term of office of the second auditor?
17. What does REGISTERING BONDS mean?
18. What are coupon bonds? Registered bonds?
19. What are fractional certificates?
20. What does REDEEMING a bond mean?
21. What is the literary fund?
22. What is the term of office of the register of the land office?
23. What other offices does the register of the land office hold?
24. Mention some of the duties of the register of the land office.
25. What is the business of the land office?
26. What are the duties of the superintendent of weights and
27. What is a patent?
28. What are the duties of the superintendent of the penitentiary?
29. What is the penitentiary?
30. What are the duties of the superintendent of public printing?
31. How is the commissioner of agriculture and immigration chosen
and for how long?
32. What salary does he receive?
33. What is the business of the department of agriculture and
34. Define STATISTICS.
35. What do the mining and manufacturing statistics tell?
36. How many members constitute the State Corporation Commission?
37. How are they chosen?
88. What are their qualifications?
39. What are their duties?
40. What are internal improvements?
41. What are State depositaries?
42. What are the duties of State directors and proxies?
43. What are domestic corporations? 44. Define foreign
45. Who are the commissioners of the sinking fund?
46. What are the duties of the commissioners of the sinking fund.
47. What officers compose the Board of State Canvassers?
48. What are the duties of the Board of State Canvassers?
Supreme Court of Appeals.
Composed of five judges chosen by joint vote of the two houses of
the General Assembly. Term, twelve years. Salary: President,
$4,200; other judges, each $4,000. The judges shall not hold any
other office or public trust; shall not practice law.
Qualifications of Judges. Must have held a judicial station in the
United States, or have practiced law for five years.
Sessions. Shall hold a session annually at Richmond. Wytheville,
The Judiciary Department is that part of government which is
administered by JUDGES. All the courts of law in the State in
which judges sit and hear and decide cases, or all the judges of
the State regarded as one body, may be called the JUDICIARY.
The highest court in the State is the Supreme Court of Appeals. It
has five judges, who are elected by the General Assembly and hold
office for twelve years. The five judges appoint one of their
number to be PRESIDENT of the court, and they appoint or select
another who must reside at the seat of government. While they hold
office as judges of the Court of Appeals they are not allowed to
PRACTICE LAW--that is, to act as attorney or counsel (see under
Attorney-General, page 29).
JUDICIAL STATION is the station or rank or office of a judge. A
person cannot be elected judge of the Supreme Court of Appeals
unless he has previously been a judge in the United States, or has
practiced law for five years.
The SESSION of the court is the number of days it sits for
business at any one place and time.
Jurisdiction. Shall have original jurisdiction in cases of habeas
corpus, mandamus, and prohibition; shall have appellate
jurisdiction in all cases involving the constitutionality of a law
with reference to the Constitution of the State or the United
States, or involving the life or liberty of a person, and in other
cases prescribed by law. Shall not have jurisdiction in civil
cases where the amount in controversy, exclusive of costs, is less
than $300, unless such controversy relates to the title or
boundary of land; or the probate of a will; or the appointment or
qualification of a personal representative, guardian, committee,
or curator; or a mill, roadway, ferry, or landing; or the right of
the state, county or municipal corporation to levy tolls or taxes;
or involves the construction of a law, ordinance, or proceeding
imposing taxes; and, except in cases of habeas corpus, mandamus,
or prohibition, the constitutionality of a law, or some other
matter not merely pecuniary.
JURISDICTION means the power of a judge or of a court of law.
APPELLATE jurisdiction is the power of a court to hear and decide
cases of APPEAL against the decisions of lower courts.
This is the principal business of the Supreme Court of Appeals. In
trials in the lower courts it frequently happens that the judge
gives a decision which some lawyer acting in the case may think is
not in accordance with law, or is not fair to his client. Whenever
this happens, the lawyer may take the case to the Supreme Court of
Appeals and ask the judges there to set aside the decision of the
judge in the lower court. In cases of appeal, the court in which
the decision appealed against has been given is called the LOWER
COURT, A person who employs a lawyer to act for him in any law
business is called a CLIENT.
The Supreme Court, after hearing the complaint or appeal against
the decision of the lower court, considers the case and gives
judgment on the question. This judgment is final--that is, it ends
the case--unless there is some point in the question which has to
do with the Constitution of the United States.
A writ is a paper issued by a judge, or court, commanding some
person or persons to do something, or to abstain from doing
something. Habeas corpus is a Latin phrase meaning you may have
the body. A writ of habeas corpus is an order from a court
directed usually to a warden or keeper of a prison, and commanding
him to bring some particular prisoner before the court so that it
may be decided whether there is just cause for his detention.
A mandamus is an order from a superior court to any person,
corporation, or inferior--that is, lower--court requiring them to
do something which it is part of their duty to do. A writ of
prohibition is an order from a superior court prohibiting an
inferior court from hearing or deciding a case, on the ground that
it (the inferior court) has no jurisdiction in such case.
When the amount in controversy between two parties is less than
$300, exclusive of costs--that is, excluding or not counting
costs--the case cannot be appealed to the Supreme Court. In such
cases that court has no jurisdiction. The idea of this law is that
for sums less than $300 it would be absurd to go to the Supreme
Court, as the costs might be greater than the sum in dispute. But
if the dispute be about the title or boundary of land, or any of
the other matters mentioned in the remainder of the sentence, the
case may go before the Supreme Court of Appeals, even though the
sum mentioned in the case be less than $300.
The title of land is the right of ownership, and a paper
certifying that a person is the owner of certain land is a title
deed. The probate of a will is the proof or proving of a will. A
will is a statement, generally in writing, in which a persons
declares his will, or wish, as to how he desires his property to
be disposed of after his death. Wills must be probated--that is,
proved in the proper court--before they can be legally executed.