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Governor Letcher's


and by every possible means ginia having been denied, her The Reign of Terror. of conveyance. Many who Territorial rights assailed, her

Call for Troops. could not get away became, outwardly, soil threatened with invasion by

the authorities at Washington, and every artifice em. Secessionists, and were thus protected.

ployed which could inflame the people of the NorthTo prevent the escape of improper or sus

ern States and misrepresent our purposes and wishes, pected persons, the Mayor of Richmond is

it becomes the solemn duty of every citizen of this sued a proclamation forbidding the organi- State to prepare for the impending conflict. Those zation of Vigilance Committees, or Commit- misrepresentations have been carried to such an tees of Safety, and ordering the people to give extent thai foreigners and naturalized citizens who, him information of any person suspected' of but a few years ago, were denounced by the North being disloyal to Virginia, and he would or- and deprived of essential rights, have now been inder their arrest and trial. A number of

duced to enlist into regiments for the purpose of rests were immediately made, and the jailer's invading this State, which then vindicated those business became quite lively. The operation rights and effectually resisted encroachments which

threatened their destruction. Against such a policy of this law, or proclamation, was similar to and against a force which the Government at Washthat under which New England witches were ington, relying upon its numerical strength, is now arrested and put to death. To be suspected' rapidly concentrating, it becomes the State of Vir. was sufficient cause of arrest. No person was ginia to prepare proper safeguards. To this end and allowed to leave Richmond without a pass. for these purposes, and with a determination to reAt first the Governor gave them—then the pel invasion, I, John Letcher, Governor of the ComMayor, or a deputized police officer : and monwealth of Virginia, by authority of the Conven. they gave passes to whom they pleased. A tion, do hereby authorize the commanding General number of men escaped who were obliged to of the military forces of this State, to call out, and leave everything behind them; with them it to cause to be mustered into the service of Virginia, was a question of life or death, and as life from time to time, as the public exigency may rewas dearer than property, they saved the first quire, such additional number of volunteers as he

may deem necessary. by abandoning the latter. Men were not alone

“To facilitate this call, the annexed schedule will the objects of this persecution; the Richmond indicate the places of rendezvous at which the com. Dispatch impudently ordered the Northern panies called for will assemble upon receiving orders female teachers to shut their mouths,' and for service." that a word to the wise was sufficient.'» The reception of the news of the issue, by

What wonder that, when the day of voting the President, on the same day, of his proclaon the Ordinance came, only thirty-two thou- mation calling for three years' troops, doubtsand votes were polled against it? What less confirmed the Governor's “worst apprewonder that the people residing west of the hensions,” and gave the madmen some idea Blue Ridge mountains, should repudiate the of the nature of the lion they had aroused. whole atrocious proceedings, and should These high-handed pro

Union Uprising in proceed to reorganize the State Government ceedings, in forcing the

Western Virginia. on its old basis of loyalty to the Federal Gov. State into an attitude of ernirent?

offense, found bitter opponents and public The reign of tyranny hastened the develop- expressions of indignation in those sections ment of events. If treason had lurked in of the Commonwealth where the mob did not shadow, waiting for the moment to strike, rule, and where the Confederate troops had its moment was now come and every re- not yet found their way. As early as May straint was removed--the revolutionists had | 4th, a large Union meeting was called at entire sway. May 3d, Governor Letcher, Kingwood, Preston county, at which the voice snuffing the battle afar off, found ample ex- was unanimous for a division of the State, in cuse in the gathering hosts at Washington order that the Western section might continue for issuing the following manifesto, calling to be represented in the Federal Congress. out the militia, of whom many thousands The meeting expressed its unalterable hostiliwere already under arms :

ty to secession, and took steps looking to a The sovereignty of the Commonwealth of Vir. I Convention of the Western counties. The

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The Last Act of

movements of the mer- servient, to a contemptible degree, to the Union Uprising in Western Virginia.

chants of Wheeling indi- sentiments of the slaveholding few

cated the gathering storm. not slow to betray the aristocratic tendency These patriotic men resolved to pay no tax of the revolution proposed.* The Richmond “to support the usurped Government at Examiner, early in May, wrote : Richmond.” The resolutions rang out with In the Northern States exists the government of purt the ring of the old spirit which said—“We Democrary. The lowest, most ignorant, and coars. pay King George no further tribute !” These est part of the whole people, who make the majormeetings were the little beginnings from ity of it, control the action of the Government by the whose results sprang the new Government of immediate exercise of their volition, impress upon Virginia, which the President recognized as

it their violence, their instability of opinion and the true and only loyal Government of the fickleness of feeling, and render it, in all respects, State, and whose representatives to the Na- the agent of their crude and unfounded ideas of a

moment. tional Congress were admitted to seats.

“ The essence of the Constitution of the United Virginia was fully adopt- States was representative Democracy. But the con

ed into the Southern Continual strides of innovation, guided by demagogues, Tyranny.

federacy May 6th, by act have destroyed the representative principle in the of the Confederate Congress. Two of her Northern States. Public officers in those countries delegates were then sworn in and took their reflect the popular feeling of the moment, instead seats. As the people were not to vote upon of that National sentiment and opinion that is formthe Ordinance of Secession until May 23a, ed after experience and second thought. In this the this admission demonstrates with what disre- South is wholly different from the North. The lovest gard of the people the Conventions and the

* The communication of Commodore Stewart Congress acted. Overriding voters was part (" Old Ironsides') to Mr. Childs, of Philadelphia, of the “system” of the Southern Government (under date of May 4th, 1861,) regarding his interto which Mr. Stephens, in his celebrated Ex- view with John C. Calhoun in the latter part of Deposition (see pages 63–64) had not adverted; cember, 1812, is so interesting as boaring on this but, the contempt generally entertained, in point that we may quote : the South, of their own poor whites — the “ I observed, with great simplicity, · You in the South and aristocratic idea upon which the institution South-west are decidedly the aristocratic portion of this

Union. You are so in holding persons in perpetuity in slav. of slavery itself was founded— the stigma

cry; you are so in every domestic quality; so in every habit fixed upon all white working men and me- of your lives, living and actions; so in habits, customs, inchanics by the “ruling classes” — render it tercourse and manners; you neither work with your hands, easy to believe that, in the “new order of bead, nor any machinery, but live and have your living,

not in accordance with the will of your Creator, but by the things,” the democratic principle of a major- sweat of Slavery; and yet you assume all the attributes, ity rule was not to be accepted. The Slave professions and advantages of Democracy.?

* Mr. Calhoun replied : I see you speak through the head owners, breeders and traders comprised but

of a young statesman, and from the heart of a patriot; but a meagre minority of the entire white popu- you lose sight of the politician and the sectional policy of the lation of the South; yet, this minority was people. I admit your conclusions in respect to us Southrous resolved to rule, and for that dissevered their that we are essentially ariswcratic. I cannot deny but we

can and do yield much to Democracy; this is our sectional relations with the Free States.

po icy. We are from necessity thrown upon and solemnly That, even in Virginia, wedded to that party, however it may occasionally clash The Few to Rule the

“the people” were to be with our feelings, for the conservation of our interests. It is Many.

through our affiliation with that party in the Middle and made subservient to the

Western States, we control, under the Constitution, the gorfew, is susceptible of easy proof. The entire crning of the United States; but, when we cease thus to conduct of the Slave interest throughout the control this Nation through a disjoined Democracy, or any

material obstacle in that party which shall tend to throw is secession revolution, and the final steps taken

out of that rule and control, we shall then resort to the disto link the fortunes of the State to the Slave solution of the Union. The compromises in the Coustitution, Confederacy before the people could exercise under the then circumstances, were sulllcient for our fathers, any voice in the transaction, is evidence of but, under the altered condition of the country from that

period, leave to the South po resource, but dissolution; for no the purposes of those conspirators against amendments to the Constitution could be reached through • democracy. The press in the South-sub- Convention of the people and their throu-fourths rule.'»

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part of the population here are slaves, have nothing to do which he discussed the question of a separawith the Government, and no influence on its policy. The tion from the Eastern section of the State, character and political action of the country originates and adverted to the supremacy of the Genwith the SUPERIOR INTELLIGENCE, and is supported

eral Government. His views unquestionably sleadily.

Western Virginia was represented those of the most influential class. Loyal Western loyal. Settled almost en

He favored a separation if it were done with Virginia.

tirely by non-slaveholders, the power of law and legislative procedure; its people were not subjected to the tyranny and, though he denied the right of the of the “ dominant" class. The quite general United States Government to invade the circulation, through that section, of news- State, he conceded the right of resistance to papers, gave the people more enlarged and treason, and therefore the necessity for the correct ideas of public affairs than prevailed presence of Government forces where treain the Eastern portion of the State, from son existed. which Northern newspapers were studiously At the important Con

The Wheeling Con. excluded. As one consequence, the few Seces- vention held in Wheeling, sionists were powerless to control the peoplo May 13th, the preliminary to their behests; and such men as Clemens proceedings were taken for a regularly elected and Carlisle found hearty response to their Convention. The fourth day of June was Union-loving sentiments.

named as the day of election, and the eleventh May 9th, the Governor's agent arrived at of June the day of the assemblage of the Grafton, in Western Virginia, to open the elected delegates to take action concerning rendezvous for troops called out under the a reorganization of the State Government. Governor's requisition. Informed of his

The spirit betrayed by the leading men in

presence, the people waited upon the “ agent,”

that primary gathering—where about twenty ordering him to leave the place within twen-counties were represented-left no doubt of ty-four hours, which he did, and no troops the entire loyalty of the movement. While assembled at the call.

the hosts of Jefferson Davis were gathering On the contrary, however, an active loyalty, at all good strategic positions to meet the from that moment, began to prevail, and threatened Union advance, the people west eleven companies, sworn into the United of the Blue Ridge mountains were not left to States volunteer service, were in camp, at the the mercy of rebel bayonets, for the General Fair Grounds, in Wheeling, by May 20th. Government had, by the advice of the GovThe two first, on this roll of honor, were the

ernors of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Penncommands of Captains Britt and Stephens.

sylvania, arranged to throw forward General Prior to the Convention McClellan's column, at once, to afford the Judge Thompson's

at Wheeling, (May 13th,) people and the Convention proper protec

Judge Thompson, of the tion, and to threaten the rebel occupatiou Circuit Court of Wheeling District, delivered of Harper's Ferry by a flank and rear move& charge to the Grand Jury, May 10th,) in

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TENNESSEE's vote, Feb- | other slaveholding States as Tennessee Going.

The Bill of Sale. ruary 9th, on the question may wish to enter into it; “ Convention” or* "No Convention,” resulted having in view the protection and defense of the in an overwhelming Union triumph (see Vol.

entire South against the war that is now being car

ried on against it.' II, page 24). This announcement for the

“ The said Commissioners met Hon. Henry W. time being reassured the country of that

Hilliard, the accredited representative of the Con. State's loyalty ; but, the extraordinary revulsion of feeling created by the attack on Sum- agreed upon and executed a Military League between

federate States, at Nashville on this day, and have ter and the President's proclamation for

the State of Tennessee and the Confederate States of troops, swept away, at a dash, the

America, subject, however, to the ratification of the atism” of Tennessee, and soon arrayed her on two Governments, one of the duplicate originals of the side of treason. The Governor's answer which I herewith transmit for your ratification or reto the requisition, already quoted (see page jection. For many cogent and obvious reasons, un99), was the key-note of the miserere to fol- necessary to be rehearsed to you, I respectfully low. The Unionists staggered before the recommend the ratification of this League at the storm which the demons of discord evoked; earliest practicable moment. and, though their influence was predominant

* Very respectfully, ISHAM G. HARRIS." enough, for the moment, to place the State in “CONVENTION BETWEEN THE STATE OF TENNESSEE AND a position of “Neutrality,” even that cloak

“ The State of Tennessee, looking to a speedy ad. for treason was soon cast aside. May 8th, the

mission into the Confederacy established by the publication, by the Nashville papers, of the

Confederate States of America, in accordance with secret proceedings of the Legislature then in

the Constitution for the Provisional Government of session, announced to the people that their

said States, enters into the following temporary liberties were gone, and that, thenceforward, convention, agreement and military league with the they were under the iron despotism of the Confederate States, for the purpose of meeting Confederate "authorities.” The story of this pressing exigencies affecting the common rights, sale of a State is fully told in the documents interests and safety of said States and said Confede. attesting it.

eracy. May 7th, Governor Har- First. Until the said State shall become a mem. The Bill of Sale.

ris sent to the Legislature ber of said Confederacy, according to the Constituthe following communication and document:

tions of both powers, the whole military force and EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT,

military operations, offensive and defensive, of said NASHVILLE, May 7th, 1861.

} State, in the impending conflict with the United "Gentlemen of the Senate and House of Representatives :

States, shall be under the chief control and direction • By virtue of the authority of your joint resolu

of the President of the Confederate States upon the tion, adopted on the 1st day of May inst., I appoint- same basis, principles and footing as if said State ed Gustavus A. Henry, of the county of Montgomery,

were now and during the interval, a member of said Archibald 0. W. Totten, of the county of Madison, Confederacy. Said forces, together with that of the and Washington Barrow, of the county of Davidson, Confederate States, to be employed for the common "Commissioners, on the part of Tennessee, to enter defense. into a Military League with the authorities of the “ Second. The State of Tennessee will, upon beConfederate States, and with the authorities of such coming a member of said Confederacy, under tho

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permanent Constitution of said Confederate States, | States of America, are hereby

The Ordinance of if the same shall occur, turn over to said Confede- abrogated and annulled, and

Secession. rate States, all the public property, naval stores that all obligations on our part and munitions of war, of which she may then be in be withdrawn therefrom; and we do hereby resume possession, acquired from the United States, on the all the rights, functions and powers which by any of same terms, and in the same manner, as the other said laws and ordinances were conveyed to the Gov. States of said Confederacy have done in like cases. ernment of the United States, and absolve ourselves

Third. Whatever expenditures of money, if any, from all the obligations, restraints and duties incurthe said State of Tennessee shall make before she red thereto; and do hereby henceforth become a becomes a member of said Confederacy, shall be free, sovereign and independent State. met and provided for by the Confederate States. Second. We furthermore declare and ordain that

“ This Convention entered into and agreed on, in Art. 10, Sections 1 and 2 of the Constitution of the the city of Nashville, Tennessee, on the seventh day State of Tennessee, which requires members of the of May, A. D. 1861, by Henry W. Hilliard, the duly General Assembly, and all officers, civil and milita-, authorized Commissioner to act in the matter for ry, to take an oath to support the Constitution of the Confederate States, and Gustavus A. Henry, the United States, be and the same are hereby abArchibald W. 0. Totten and Washington Barrow, rogated and annulled ; and all parts of the ConstituCommnissioners duly authorized to act in like manner tion of the State of Tennessee, making citizenship for the State of Tennessee. The whole subject to of the United States a qualification for office, and the approval and ratification of the proper authori- recognizing the Constitution of the United States as ties of both Governments, respectively.

the supreme law of this State, are in like manner " In testimony whereof, the parties aforesaid have abrogated and annulled.

herewith set their hands and seals, the day and Third. We furthermore ordain and declare, that year aforesaid, in duplicate originals.

all rights acquired and vested under the Constitution “ HENRY W. HILLIARD, [Seal.] of the United States, or under any act of Congress "Commissioner for the ConfederateStates of America. pussed in pursuance thereof, or under any laws of

“ GUSTAVUS A. HENRY, [Seal.] this State and not incompatible with this ordinance, “ A. 0. W. TOTTEN,

[Seal.] shall remain in force and have the same effect as if “WASHINGTON BARROW, [Seal.] this ordinance had not been passed."

Commissioners on the part of Tennessee." Upon this the people were to ballot “SepThis “ league” was put upon its adoption aration,” “No separation." immediately. The Senate ratified it by a At the same date (lay 6th) the Legislature vote of fourteen to six. The House by a vote passed an act adopting the Constitution of of forty-two to fifteen-eighteen members not the Confederate States. Upon this act the voting or absent. The ratification read: people were to vote (at the election ordered " That said league be in all respects ratified June 8th) “Representation,” “No representand confirmed, and the said General Assem-ation.” bly hereby pledges the faith and honor of The “Declaration" was passed in the Senthe State of Tennessee to the faithful observ- ate by a vote of twenty to four. In the House ance of the terms and conditions of said by forty-six to twenty-one. league."

Thus was consummated the transfer of that An act had, the day pre- State, with its tremendous Union majority, viously, been adopted, or- to the control and keeping of the conspiradering an election to be


and thenceforward the Unionists were held June 8th, at which the following “ De to suffer persecutions which forever will darkclaration of Independence" (Ordinance of en the page of Tennessee's history and cast a Secession) should be voted upon:

shadow upon the civilization of the nineteenth · We, the people of the State of Tennessee, waiy.

century.* ing our expression of opinion as to the abstract doctrine of secession, but asserting the right as a free

* Those curious to read the story of suffering in and independent people to alter, reform or abolish Tennessee are referred to Parson Brownlow's book. our form of Government in such manner as we

There is enough of horror compressed in the ten think proper, do ordain and declare that all the laws months' experiences of that man, to convince the and ordinances by which the State of Tennessee be

must incredulous that the spirit of secession was the came a member of the Federal Union of the United spirit of Evil.

The Ordinance of


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