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Ordinance of Secession (Calligraphy)

Union or Secession
  • Ordinance of Secession (Calligraphy Version)
Beginning on June 14, 1861, members of the Virginia Convention signed an elegant parchment of the Ordinance of Secession that Richmond educator and artist William Flegenheimer had prepared.
Related documents:
  • Ordinance of Secession (Enrolled)
    Ordinance of Secession (Enrolled Version)
  • First signed Ordinance of Secession
    Ordinance of Secession (First Signed Version)
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Ordinance of Secession (Calligraphy Version)

Ordinance of Secession, adopted April 17, 1861, ratified May 23, 1861, Virginia Convention (1861: Richmond), Records, 1861–1961, Acc. 40586, State Government Records Collection, Record Group 93, Library of Virginia.

On April 17, 1861, the Virginia Convention by a vote of 88 to 55 adopted the Ordinance of Secession. It repealed the 1788 state convention's ratification of the Constitution of the United States and the General Assembly's resolutions ratifying amendments to that Constitution. The ordinance stated that Virginia resumed all the powers that the state had granted to the federal government on the grounds that the federal government had "perverted said powers not only to the injury of the people of Virginia, but to the oppression of the Southern slaveholding States." The ordinance was ratified in a popular referendum on May 23, 1861.

On its last day, May 1, 1861, the first session of the convention authorized the secretary to have the text of the Ordinance of Secession "engrossed on parchment by a professional penman, during the recess of the Convention, so that the same may be signed by members on their return, if it be adopted by the people at the polls." William Flegenheimer (1832–1910) was a teacher residing in Richmond who later became an attorney in the city. He completed the preparation of the elegant parchment by May 28. The members began signing it on June 14. Several members did not attend the convention's second session and signed it at the third session in November, as did several delegates who were elected to replace men who had resigned, died, or been expelled for taking part in the Restored government of Virginia in Wheeling. The parchment has the signatures of 142 delegates and that of Convention Secretary John L. Eubank.

Ninety-two members of the convention signed a preliminary parchment late in April during the final days of the first session of the convention, and Convention President John Janney signed the official, enrolled parchment of the ordinance in June 1861, during the second session of the convention.

John Quincy Marr, a delegate from Fauquier County who was absent when the convention adopted the text on April 17, signed the preliminary parchment copy of the ordinance before the first session adjourned on May 1. He was killed in a skirmish on June 1. On June 14, 1861, the second session of the convention authorized copying his autograph from the April parchment onto lithographic copies to be made of Flegenheimer's ceremonial parchment that delegates signed in June.

Ordinance of Secession, adopted April 17, 1861, ratified May 23, 1861, Virginia Convention (1861: Richmond), Records, 1861–1961, Acc. 40586, State Government Records Collection, Record Group 93, Library of Virginia.

An Ordinance
To Repeal the ratification of the Constitution of the United States of America, by the
State of Virginia, and to resume all the rights and powers granted under said Constitution.
The people of Virginia, in their ratification of the Constitution of the United States of America, adopted by them in Convention, on the twenty-fifth day of June, in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-eight, having declared that the powers granted under the said Constitution, were derived from the people of the United States, and might be resumed whensoever the same should be perverted to their injury and oppression, and the Federal Government having perverted said powers, not only to the injury of the people of Virginia, but to the oppression of the Southern slaveholding States,
Now, therefore, we, the people of Virginia, do declare and ordain That the ordinance adopted by the people of this State in Convention, on the twenty-fifth day of June, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-eight, whereby the Constitution of the United States of America, was ratified; and all acts of the General Assembly of this State ratifying or adopting amendments to said Constitution, are hereby repealed and abrogated; that the union between the State of Virginia and the other States under the Constitution aforesaid is hereby dissolved, and that the State of Virginia is in the full possession and exercise of all the rights of sovereignty, which belong and appertain to a free and independent State.
And they do further declare, that said Constitution of the United States of America, is no longer binding on any of the citizens of this State.
This ordinance shall take effect and be an act of this day when ratified by a majority of the votes of the people of this State, cast at a poll to be taken thereon, on the fourth Thursday in May next, in pursuance of a Schedule hereafter to be enacted.
Done in Convention in the City of Richmond, on the seventeenth day of April, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-one, and in the eighty-fifth year of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

[Names in First Column]
W. M. AMBLER
E M ARMSTRONG
WM: B. ASTON
JOHN B. BALDWIN
GEORGE BAYLOR
MIERS W. FISHER
WM. HAMILTON MACFARLAND
HUGH M. NELSON
JOHNSON ORRICK
LOGAN OSBURN
WM: C. PARKS
WM BALLARD PRESTON
WM. CAMPBELL SCOTT
JNO: M. SPEED.
JOHN T. THORNTON.
SAM'L WOODS.
JNO J. KINDRED
HENRY L GILLESPIE
F M CABELL
S L GRAHAM
SAM. M. GARLAND.
GEORGE W. RICHARDSON.
HENRY A. WISE
J T MARTIN
JNO. L. EUBANK
, Secretary of Convention
[Names in Second Column]
ALFRED M. BARBOUR
JAS. BARBOUR
EWD. R CHAMBERS
GEO : BLOW JR.
JAMES BOISSEAU
PETER B BORST
WOOD BOULDIN
WM. W. BOYD
JAMES C BRUCE
BENJAMIN W. BYRNE.
THOS STANHOPE FLOURNOY
WILLIAM W. FORBES
JOHN T SEAWELL
GEO: P. TAYLOR
WM: M. TREDWAY
BENJ. F. WYSOR
HERVEY DESKINS
GEO: W. HULL
W. T. SUTHERLIN
JAS: W. HOGE
ROBERT C KENT
R.E.GRANT
RICHARD H. COX
STEPHEN A. MORGAN
JAMES MARSHALL

[Names in Third Column]
A.T. CAPERTON
THOS BRANCH
W.P. CECIL
JOHN A. CAMPBELL
JOHN R. CHAMBLISS SR
MANILIUS CHAPMAN
SAML A. COFFMAN
R. M. CONN
C B CONRAD
ROBT Y CONRAD
JOHN CRITCHER
SAML PRICE
TIMOTHY RIVES
CHARLES R. SLAUGHTER
ALEXR H. H. STUART
ROBT. A TURNER
JAMES. H. COX
SAMUEL G. STAPLES
JAMES W SHEFFEY
GEO: W. RANDOLPH.
JAMES LAWSON
ANDREW PARKS
THOS MASLIN
EDW. D MCGUIRE
JOHN A. ROBINSON
C.J.P. CRESAP

[Names in Fourth Column]
JAMES B. DORMAN
JUBAL A EARLY
NAPOLEON B FRENCH
COLBERT C. FUGATE
PEYTON GRAVELY
FENDALL GREGORY JR
ADDISON HALL
CYRUS HALL
F B. MILLER
HORATIO G MOFFET
DAVID PUGH
PETER SAUNDERS SR
VW SOUTHALL.
JOHN TYLER
RO: H: WHITFIELD
JAS G. HOLLADAY
HENRY H MASTERS
JEREMIAH MORTON
THOMAS F. GOODE
GEORGE WM BRENT
WM H. B. CUSTIS
W.P. COOPER
ROBT E. COWAN

[Names in Fifth Column]
WM. L. GOGGIN
JOHN GOODE JR.
FIELDEN L HALE
JAMES P. HOLCOMBE
JNO. N. HUGHES
LEWIS D ISBELL
WALTER D. LEAKE
CHAS K MALLORY
J. B. MALLORY
JNO. L. MARYE
R. E. SCOTT
J D. SHARP
JAMES MAGRUDER STRANGE
WMS C. WICKHAM
WM H DULANY
JOHN ARMISTEAD CARTER
M. R. H. GARNETT
G.W. BERLIN
THOMAS SITLINGTON
FRANKLIN P. TURNER
J. M. HECK
EPPA HUNTON
J. B. YOUNG

[Names in Sixth Column]
JOHN JANNEY (Prest. of the Convention And Delegate from Loudoun)
LEONARD S. HALL
ALLEN C. HAMMOND
LEWIS E HARVIE
ALPHEUS F. HAYMOND
PETER C. JOHNSTON.
JOHN R. KILBY
PAUL MCNIEL
ROBERT L: MONTAGUE
EDMUND TAYLOR MORRIS
S. MCD MOORE

[space left for John Q. Marr's signature, which was added to the lithograph]
WM. J. NEBLETT
EDWARD WALLER
SAML C. WILLIAMS
MARMADUKE JOHNSON
WM WHITE
ANGUS R BLAKEY
ALGERNON. S. GRAY
JAS: V. BROOKE.
JNO: ECHOLS
BURWELL SPURLOCK

WM. FLEGENHEIMER
Penman