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Letter from Thomas S. Bocock

Member of the House of Representatives from Virginia

Speaker of the House of Representatives sometime around the Civil War

Dated 25 Jul 1850

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good practical sense as their representatives in this view.

Many things seem defective as our constitution now stands
and a rush will be made upon them, but it will depend greatly
upon the character of the substitutes adopted in their place
whether we shall [?] benefited [?] by a change or not.  These substitutes
must not only be correct in theory and principle, but they
must be well perfected in form and detail.

We will have an extension of the right of suffrage, -- that
will be easily carried out.  But when we come to the County
Court System there is difficulty.  It is very clear that it is
based upon a wrong principle now, so far as the appoi[tear in paper]tmen[? writing off edge of paper ?]
of the justices is concerned.  A self perpetuating body
neither appointed by, nor amenable to the people is an
anomaly in a popular representative government.  But when we make
the magistrates elective and disconnect them with the
Sheriffalty, how shall they be paid for their services.  This and
many other questions of detail arise, which will require great practical
talent.  As to the Judges, the evils which we labor under, grow
more out of the [? tenure ?] by which they hold office than the mode
of their appointment.  We find it almost impofsible to get
rid of a judge who has become incompetent since the time
of his appointment.  We should therefore limit their terms
to seven or eight years, and leave the important matters of
detail, to the good sense of the convention. The character of the
elections made for some years past by the Legislature has gone

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Submitted and transcribed by: Susan Shields Sasek.  I don't know who the letter was sent to, but my great aunt Virginia Butler Priddy gave it to my father many years ago (if I remember correctly, sometime in the 1970s).

[SSS Note -- characters or words in brackets [ ] are either my comments or items that I either could not read or wasn't sure about]

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Page Updated on: 27 Nov 2005 c. Susan Shields Sasek