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Union or Secession
  • "What Will Virginia Do?"
Five days after the Virginia Convention defeated a motion to secede, the editors of the Daily Richmond Enquirer came out forthrightly for secession.
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"What Will Virginia Do?"

First paragraph of an editorial in the Daily Richmond Enquirer, April 9, 1861.

Five days after the Virginia Convention defeated a motion to secede by a vote of 90 to 45, the editors of the Daily Richmond Enquirer printed a long editorial entitled "What Should Virginia Do?" In the first paragraph, they offered a summary of their opinions, expressed in loud italic type, "Virginia should unite her destiny with that of the Confederate States of America."

First paragraph of an editorial in the Daily Richmond Enquirer, April 9, 1861.

What will Virginia Do?
This question is propounded to us from the North, the South, the East and the West. It is very properly viewed as a question the solution of which involves the most important consequences, not only to Virginia, but to the two competing Republics which now stand upon the ruins of the old Union. The solicitude in regard to the future position of this hitherto renowned Commonwealth is therefore clearly explained. We are not authorized by Virginia to define the line of policy which she intends to adopt. No one can tell with infallible certainty the relations which she will hereafter sustain to the governments respectively of the North and the South. But our opinion as to the course she will pursue, and the reasons for that opinion, are candidly submitted to the anxious enquirer. Virginia should unite her destiny with that of the Confederate States of America. To this course she stands committed beyond recantation by her States rights antecedents—she having been the pioneer and the most intrepid and efficient champion of the cause of resistance to Northern aggression; to this course she stands committed by a manly self-respect as the original slave State of the South—the faithful and honest defender of the peculiar institution, doomed to destruction by the Black Republican powers that be; to this course she is impelled, in a word, by the instincts of self-preservation itself; by a natural and just appreciation of her rights, interest, and safety as a State organized upon the principles of '76. Here in the briefest possible space, is our opinion in regard to Virginia's future position, and the reasons for that opinion.