Excerpts from speech of William Henry Bagwell Custis, of Accomack County, in the Virginia Convention on April 17, 1861, printed in George H. Reese and William H. Gaines, Jr., eds., Proceedings of the Virginia State Convention of 1861 (Richmond: Virginia State Library, 1965), 4:135–136.
On April 17, 1861, William Henry Bagwell Custis, of Accomack County on the Eastern Shore, addressed the convention "to enter my most solemn protest against the passage of this ordinance." He had voted against secession on April 4, and explained that he opposed secession in part because of the defenseless state of the Eastern Shore. Custis voted against secession again on April 17, because he believed it was in the interest of his constituents. "But if a majority of these people vote for it" in the required public referendum scheduled for May 23, he concluded, "then it becomes the act of the people and I will submit; and whenever the standard of the Old Dominion floats, I will rush to it; and I venture to say I will be found as true to it as the most ultra in this Convention or out of it."