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Rockbridge County Resolutions

Union or Secession
  • Resolutions of Rockbridge County Working Men
Workingmen, farmers, and mechanics meeting in Lexington on December 19, 1860, condemned antislavery agitators and Southern radicals for putting both slavery and the Union in jeopardy and recommended that workingmen throughout the Union join them in advocating a peaceful, constitutional resolution of political differences.
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Resolutions of Rockbridge County Working Men

Resolutions unanimously adopted at a large meeting "of the working men, farmers and mechanics" of Rockbridge County, in Lexington, on December 19, 1860, and published in the Lexington Valley Star, January 10, 1861.

Newspapers during the winter of 1860–1861 reported on a large number of meetings in many parts of the country at which workingmen adopted resolutions about the secession crisis. On December 19, 1860, a meeting "of the working men, farmers and mechanics" in Lexington unanimously adopted twelve resolutions condemning antislavery agitators and Southern radicals for putting both slavery and the Union in jeopardy. One resolution declared, "We will not be driven from our affection for the Union by Northern Abolitionists or Southern fireeating demagogues." They also recommended "to the working classes and all Union-loving men, to hold similar meetings throughout the whole country, both North and South:— that the popular sentiment may be heard, so that politicians and demagogues may know, the people will not be dragged into civil and servile war, for the purpose of establishing a Constitutional Monarchy upon the ruins of a once happy and prosperous Republic."

Resolutions unanimously adopted at a large meeting "of the working men, farmers and mechanics" of Rockbridge County, in Lexington, on December 19, 1860, and published in the Lexington Valley Star, January 10, 1861.
WHEREAS, We regard the National Union as essential to the peace, prosperity, and Liberty of the American People, that it is the paladium of our political safety, and that we cherish a cordial, habitual and immoveable attachment to it, that we discountenance whatever may suggest a suspicion that it can in any event be abandoned, and that we indignantly frown upon any attempt, to alienate any portion of our country from the rest, or enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the various part, Therefore,
1st. Resolved, that we have an abiding confidence in the provisions of the Constitution of the United States for the redress of all the grievances of which we have now, or heretofore had reason to complain, and that we regard it, as one of the peculiar blessings of the American people, that they have such redress, within their reach by constitutional means.
2nd. Resolved, That whilst we feel indignation at the unjust and illegal enactments of some of the States of the Union, toward the South; we are still for using all honorable means to induce them to guarantee our rights in the Union, before we resort to the last means of redress;—Revolution.
3rd. Resolved, That we hereby express our unwillingness to be dragged into secession and its attendant consequences, until the People have had ample time to weigh the matter for themselves, and we will not be driven from our affection for the Union by Northern Abolitionists or Southern fireeating demagogues.
4th. Resolved, That we do not consider nullification or secession, as a remedy for any grievance, but hold them as revolutionary rights, only to be exercised in the last resort.
5th. Resolved, That after all honorable and constitutional means have been exhausted toward a settlement of our present difficulties—we hereby express our firm resolve not to renounce Virginia's fair and equitable proportion of all the common property of the present Union, hereby pledging ourselves to maintain these demands at all hazards.
6th. Resolved, That the establishment of a Southern Confederacy, will be no protection to the peculiar institution of the South, but will place it upon the same international footing with the Northern Confederacy as it now stands with the British colonies.—that it will be effectually circumscribed and confined to its present limits, than which a more fatal restriction could not be devised, for in that event we may in vain hope to extend its area by the acquisition of additional territory, not one foot of territory can ever be acquired without a bloody strife with the Northern confederacy.
7th. Resolved, That we, working men, farmers, and mechanics of the county of Rockbridge, asserting our unshaken attachment, devotion and fidelity to our native State and all her institutions, openly declare, immediate, and uncompromising hostility to any and all efforts to sever the confederacy, until we have failed to obtain from the North our rights under the Constitution within the Union, and which we believe cannot be secured by going out of it.
8th. Resolved, That we believe that in the present crisis, the preservation of our glorious Union depends under God, more upon the wisdom and conservatism, and the Geographical position of Virginia and the other border States, than on all else besides, and that if we and they stand firm, we shall present an insuperable barrier against the wild fanaticism of the North, and the madness and precipitate folly of the South, and thus hold them in check until reason and justice returns to the one and wisdom and moderation to the other.
9th. Resolved, That we consider the institution of slavery as it exists amongst us, as sanctioned by Holy writ, as justified by humanity, and promotive of the welfare of the Slave as well as the Master.
 10th. Resolved, That we are utterly opposed to the re-opening of the African Slave trade.
11th. Resolved, That a State Convention is not demanded by the present condition of affairs, and is especially inexpedient in view of the great importance that unity of sentiment & feeling should prevail throughout the whole State on the great question that is now agitating the nation, and to the exclusion of local questions, that must arise before such a convention.
12th. Resolved, That we recommend to the working classes and all Union-loving men, to hold similar meetings throughout the whole country, both North and South:— that the popular sentiment may be heard, so that politicians and demagogues may know, the people will not be dragged into civil and servile war, for the purpose of establishing a Constitutional Monarchy upon the ruins of a once happy and prosperous Republic.