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Union or Secession
  • "Why Such Haste?"
On February 4, 1861, election day for members of the Virginia Convention, Charles W. Button, editor of the Lynchburg Daily Virginian, cautioned against hasty action.
Related Biographies:
  • Charles William Button (1822–1894)
    Charles William Button
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"Why Such Haste?"

Editorial in Lynchburg Daily Virginian, February 4, 1861.

On February 4, 1861, election day for members of the Virginia Convention, Charles William Button, editor of the Lynchburg Daily Virginian, cautioned against hasty action before the inauguration of Abraham Lincoln to succeed James Buchanan as president of the United States on March 4, 1861. "Lincoln cannot do more than Buchanan has declared it to be his purpose to do," Button wrote, "to-wit: execute the laws." Button relied on Lincoln's expressed intention, as he interpreted it, "to conciliate the States remaining in the Union."

Editorial in Lynchburg Daily Virginian, February 4, 1861.

Why Such Haste?
The Precipitators are moving heaven and earth to get us out of the Union before the 4th of March. And why? We can understand the tactics of the office-holders, but why should others be intent upon accomplishing this result so precipitately? How will our cause be worsted by remaining till after the 4th of March? If we secede now, we leave the Army and Navy in the hands of what will then be to us a foreign and hostile Power.— By the indiscreet action of the seceding States, we have left a majority against us in both branches of Congress. Lincoln cannot do more than Buchanan has declared it to be his purpose to do, to-wit: execute the laws. Our own impression is, and we speak the sentiment of an intimate personal friend of the President elect, who is in regular correspondence with him—that he will labor to conciliate the States remaining in the Union. He certainly, coming into power with an empty treasury, cannot desire to inaugurate his administration over a dismembered confederacy by an appeal to arms. He would be a fool if he should. In no respect, then, will it be detrimental to our cause to await the developments of the ides of March.