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Union or Secession
  • "Every feeling of my heart is for my own Section"
  • "Every feeling of my heart is for my own Section"
On January 11, 1861, Henry County businessman William C. Staples complained about stagnant business conditions and the unsettled state of national politics.
Related documents:
  • Governor John Letcher's Message
    Governor John Letcher's Message to the General Assembly, January 7, 1861
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"Every feeling of my heart is for my own Section"

William Staples to Christoper Yancy Thomas, January 11, 1861, Gravely Family Papers, Acc. 34126, Library of Virginia

Early in January 1861, Henry County businessman William C. Staples wrote to Christopher Yancy Thomas, a member of the Senate of Virginia, to complain about stagnant business conditions. He also endorsed Governor John Letcher's recent message to the General Assembly and speculated on proposals to call a state convention. Staples was doubtful, though, "If any possible good can result from a convention, let us by all means, have one—I however, greatly fear, that it is but a scheme of designing demagogues to hitch Va. on to the mad career, of So. Ca." Despite his misgivings, Staples went on to express, "I am for Southern rights, Southern honor and Southern institutions."

William Staples to Christoper Yancy Thomas, January 11, 1861, Gravely Family Papers, Acc. 34126, Library of Virginia

Perine Store
Jany 11 1861
Dear Thomas:
The very great necessity for money induces me to request you as a personal favor of no little magnitude, to try to make some arrangment by which I can, at an early day, get the amt. of my claim as Prest. of the D. &. W. T Co.—Upon examination of my acct. & by reference to your books, I find the Company indebted to me the 1st. inst. about $302—and I do assure you it would be doing me a very great kindness to procure me the amt—Surely that much can be paid—I have no idea there will be any contracts made this year for the Construction of any more of our road, & of course there will be no call for the money, and as I have recieved but a very small proportion of my very small Salary, I am sure ye will agree with me that I ought to have it—and will confidently trust to your friendship to procure it for me—
We have nothing of interest transpiring in our region—all are awaiting with painful anxiety the developments of each bulletin of news—I most cordially endorse Govr. Letchers messag——think he occupies the true ground—Yet if any possible good can result from a convention, let us by all means, have one—I however, greatly fear, that it is but a scheme of designing demagogues to hitch Va. on to the mad career, of So. Ca. I am for Southern rights, Southern honor and Southern institutions—every feeling of my heart is for my own Section. but I can not see how we in Va. can better our condition—how we are the better to preserve our rights—outside of the Union—and surely every patriotic heart in Va. would exhaust the last hope in diplomacy, before we would precipitate our state into all the horrors of a civil war—and he who can now do most to save as from this terrible calamity, will richly deserve to be stood along side with Washington in the hearts of the American people—but if all should fail, then let us be united—there should be no traitor in the borders of the Old Dominion, and I dare say it is the sentiment of all, that the state should be immediately placed in a condition of—defence—yes—if needs be, let the musket be placed in the hand of every man, who is able to carry one & let not our very weakness, provoke the jeers and contempt of the adversary—
—I shall be glad to hear from you, your views &c. of the state of things which now exist in our Country—and what ye think will be done by our state
Very truly. Yr friend
WM. C. STAPLES