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Virginia Convention at work

Union or Secession
  • Virginia Convention at work
  • Virginia Convention at work
  • Virginia Convention at work
On April 1, 1861, Henry County convention delegate Peyton Gravely reported on the work of the Virginia Convention.
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Virginia Convention at work

Peyton Gravely to Benjamin Franklin Gravely, April 1, 1861, Gravely Family Papers, Acc. 34126, Library of Virginia

On April 1, 1861, Peyton Gravely, a member of the Virginia Convention from Henry County, reported on the work of the convention. Elected as an opponent of secession, Gravely commented on the "Strong out Side pressure" the delegates faced from Richmond's newspapers, most of which favored seceding from the Union. Three days after writing his letter, Gravely voted with a two-to-one majority against a motion to secede. Gravely mentioned speeches of Timothy Rives, of Prince Edward County, Thomas S. Flournoy, of Halifax County, James Barbour, of Culpeper County, William Leftwich Goggin, of Bedford County, William Ballard Preston, of Montgomery County, William T. Sutherlin and William M. Tredway, both of Pittsylvania County, and James Cole Bruce, of Halifax County. The great length of many of the speeches eventually led the delegates to place a time limit on each speaker. Jubal A. Early, whom Gravely thought might be a good candidate to oppose Representative Thomas Salem Bocock for Congress, represented Franklin County in the Virginia Convention.

Peyton Gravely to Benjamin Franklin Gravely, April 1, 1861, Gravely Family Papers, Acc. 34126, Library of Virginia

Richmond April 1st 1861
Dear nephew
Your much esteemed favour of march the 25 was duly recived which brought to me the gratifying inteligence wh that all was at that time well at home
On friday last resolutions were introduced in the convention to terminate debate in the committee of the whol after tuesday nexte which resolutions meet with Strong oposition from the Secssi Secession Side of the house the resolutions was amended by Substituting thursday in the place of tuesday nexte and has Since been adopted in that Shape by a large majority
Tim Rives Spoke on friday last Seven hours in favor of the Union and it was a very able Speech Mr. Flournoy to Spoke on Saturday a bout one houer and a half in favor of the union his Speech was a well timed and very Abel and gives general Satisfaction to the party
Jim Barbour next took the floore and made a very Secession dry and uninteresting Secession Speech of a bout half an oure in lenth. Mr Goggin nexte in turn took the flore and Spoke foure hours aparte of which was in favor of Secession and part in favor of union Goggin and Barbour are boath instructed deligates
Baldwin Preston and Flornoy have all made very able Speeches on the Side of union
I now think the convention will adopt for its ultimatum the reporte of the committee on federal relations at this time if the vote could be taken it would be adoped by a very large majority (There is not much differince) betwen the reporte of the committee on federal relations and the reporte of the peace conference what will be the result when the vote is taken I am at this tim unable to Say
We have in Richmond a Strong Strong out Side pressure the [one word cancelled and illegible] publick presses are all against us but the whig and that will go in a few days, if I have not been misinformed upon the Subject You nead have no fears a bout Sutherlin nor Tredway they will be kept Strate by there constituents So will Flornoy Bruce and ohers Wm Martin lefte here on Saturday morning I think he has Som idea of Runig for congress in oposition to Mr Bocock Majr Early would be a sutable candidate if he could compeat with Bocock on the Stump
I think the convention will adjourn by the 15 of April if not before that time
I am glad to hear that you have Set a resolution to write y me onst a week during the Siting of the convention
My Kind regardes to
Julia and the Children
And accept the Same for
for your Self from
PEYTON GRAVELY