Per Diem in the Convention
April 1, 1868
The state Convention no longer has funds and General Grant declares that the Convention should not continue past April 6th. Even so the Convention has made no progress and simply wasted the money of the struggling Virginian people. The Dispatch agrees that the men of the Convention are incompetent and selfish carrying out the Convention solely to get their daily pay.
Per Diem in the Convention. The statement, or rather confession, of Mr. Clements in the Convention on Monday plainly developed the fact that General Grant had come to the conclusion that that body ought not to be tolerated longer than the 6th of April; which conclusion is a further intimation that they have stayed here a great deal longer than they should have done, and that they have most outrageously wasted the money of a prostrate and impoverished people. General Grant gave the mercenary body another hard hit in saying to them that he had heard that some of their body would stay here as long as they could draw their eight dollars per diem! Most true. But to what an extent of profligacy must this body have carried their proceedings when such a rebuke is plainly and bluntly administered to them by the Radical candidate for the Presidency ? The money committee, according to Mr. Clements, had an oiler of money at 7 per cent, until the 1st of August, or 6 per cent, if the certificates of debt on which the loan should be made were signed by General Schofield and Mr. Auditor Taylor. This plan the committee did not like, and they boldly proposed to suspend the July interest on the State debt that they might get their per diem. So that, after outraging the sense of justice of their own party by an unreasonably long session, they propose to rob the widow and the orphan by taking from them the only resource on earth for procuring food and raiment ! What monstrous wrong is too enormous for these unprincipled men? They are a body of incompetent mercenary white interlopers, the vultures of camps who remained after the war, and ignorant negroes. The people of Virginia must be taxed in a manner they never have been for the expenses of their noblest deliberative assemblies to pay the cost of the work of destruction, and the bread must be taken out of the mouths of hundreds of helpless women and children whose homes have been made desolate by war to pay the cost of the desecration of the capitol by this abominable farce of a deliberative body!
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“Per Diem in the Convention,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed March 30, 2023, https://reconstructingvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/952.