The Supplemental Bill

March 19, 1867


The Supplemental Bill was on the verge of being sent to the President to be signed when one of the amendments was rejected in the process. The amendment accounted for voters who falsely swore oath to the Constitution. Yet, after reconsideration, the amendment was supported by both houses and the bill will most likely be ratified in the coming days.


The telegraphic news shows that the supplemental bill came near being a law yesterday. The House passed it with three amendments, and the Senate concurred in two of these. The one rejected is that striking out the clause by which the Senate so amended the bill as to require at least half of the registered voters to ratify the constitution. The House restored its own provision which requires a majority of all the voters registered. The busy-bodies who have been using their efforts to curtail the privileges and rights of the people of Virginia have made the impression upon Congress that under the Virginia Code many legislators and judges did not for some time before the war take the oath to support the Constitution of the United States. We published a day or two since the clause in that Constitution which required legislators, judges, etc., to take this oath, and if it was omitted in any case to which the provision applies--which we very much doubt--it was clearly a neglect of duty. Nevertheless, the House of Representatives, influenced by the busybodies aforesaid, added a clause to the supplemental bill depriving all such legislators and judges as may not have taken the oath to support the United States Constitution of the right to vote or hold office pending the military government. The Senate adopted the amendment, and we suppose nobody here thinks anything of it. This amendment, that about the registered voters noticed above, and one to punish false swearing (against which our own statutes are quite severe enough) are the three adopted by the House. The only point at issue between the Houses, that as to the number of registered votes necessary to ratify the constitution, we suppose will be promptly settled.
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Walker Black




“The Supplemental Bill,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed December 3, 2022,