Title: Reapportionment.

July 6, 1870


The Conservative Caucus has decided to delay the reapportionment of representatives currently until the next session of the General Assembly. When this happenes the House, the Senate, and the Virginia General Assembly will require reapportionment, since the previous calculations included the 3/5 calculations which has lead to the disenfranchisement of many regions currently.


The Conservative caucus acted wisely in agreeing to postpone the redistricting of the State until the full session of the General Assembly. The State Constitution contains the following provision : "At the first session of the Central Assembly after the enumeration of the inhabitants of the State by the United States a reapportionment of Senators and members of the House of Delegates, and every tenth year thereafter, shall be made." So that it will be the duty of the General Assembly next fall not only to rearrange the congressional districts, but to reapportion representation in the Senate and the House of Delegates of Virginia. It is well known that representation in the present General Assembly is not based upon population. The counties west of the Blue Ridge, where the whites constitute four- fifths of the population, were partially disfranchised by the Underwood Convention, whilst the eastern counties, containing a large negro population, were granted more than their due proportion of representation. Accomac county, which, according to the census reports, contained in 1860 a population of 18,586, has two delegates, whilst. Frederick county, which contained in 1860 a population of 16,546', has but one. Northampton and Accomac, which had in 1860 a population of 24,418, have one senator, whilst Frederick, Clarke, and Shenandoah, which then had a population of 37,588, have no more than one. The villainy of the Underwood Convention is still more apparent in other cases that might be named- as for instance, that Louisa county, with a population of 16,701, was granted two delegates, whilst Frederick, with a population (as we have stated) of 16,546, was allowed to have but one. The reader will readily understand why Underwood and his subordinate scoundrels played this little game when told that Frederick had in 1860 a white population of 13,079 against a negro population of less than 4,00O, whilst Louisa had a negro population of 10,518 against a white population of 6,183. Scott and Russell each has one delegate. Their united population was in 1800 25,968. Petersburg, which in 1860 had a population of 18,266, has two delegates. Rockingham, which then had a population of 23,408, has but two delegates. These figures are sufficient to prove that it will be the duty of the General Assembly to reapportion representation in that body when it shall come together next fall, it can at the same session rearrange the congressional districts. The wrong done to the West and to the white people of Virginia by Underwood and his tools must be remedied as soon as possible. The census tables for 1870 will furnish all the data necessary to intelligent action on these subjects on the part of the General Assembly. Those data cannot sooner nor otherwise be obtained.
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Bryce Smith




“Title: Reapportionment.,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed May 18, 2022, https://reconstructingvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/1769.