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Union or Secession
  • "Remain true to the Union"
On May 22, 1861, a committee appointed by the convention that met in Wheeling, May 13–15, 1861, issued an address to the people of northwestern Virginia that called on them to select delegates to a second convention that would restore Virginia to the Union and provide "for the exercise of those Executive and Legislative functions of our State government."
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« Return to Virginia Conventions in Wheeling

"Remain true to the Union"

Excerpt from an address "To the People of North Western Virginia," May 22, 1861, Wheeling Daily Intelligencer, May 27, 1861.

On May 22, 1861, a committee appointed by the convention that met in Wheeling from May 13 to May 15, 1861, issued an address to the people of northwestern Virginia that called on them to select delegates to a second convention that would restore Virginia to the Union. John Snyder Carlile, of Clarksburg, who had opposed secession in Richmond during the spring and issued the call for the Wheeling Convention, was the chairman and draftsman of the committee. Believing that the statewide referendum on May 23 would ratify the Ordinance of Secession, the committee members also informed the public, "it will be the duty of the people of North Western Virginia, to provide, in the lawful and constitutional mode, for the exercise of those Executive and Legislative functions of our State government, which have been entrusted to those who are faithless and disloyal, and thus save ourselves from that anarchy which so imminently threatens us." The second Wheeling Convention met on June 11.

Extract from an address "To the People of North Western Virginia," May 22, 1861, Wheeling Daily Intelligencer, May 27, 1861.

On one side of us is a united nation of nineteen millions of people; on the other, a divided population of nine millions. We stand between them. If we remain true to the Union, we shall have protection and peace, and hereafter an easy settlement of all our complaints. If we desert the Union, we shall be driven into a confederacy which has but little sympathy with our interests, and less power to protect us, against the ravages of the frequent wars which must inevitably arise between the two sections. . . .
Whilst we have a Constitution and code of laws for our State government, and local officers to administer them, the Executive and his immediate subordinates have submitted themselves to the government of the Confederate States. They have thrown off their allegiance to the United States, and are now diligently and laboriously preparing themselves to wage war against the government of the Union. We need not characterize, in terms, such conduct, but as true and loyal citizens of Virginia, we can and must declare, that in our calm and deliberate judgment, it will be the duty of the people of North Western Virginia, to provide, in the lawful and constitutional mode, for the exercise of those Executive and Legislative functions of our State government, which have been entrusted to those who are faithless and disloyal, and thus save ourselves from that anarchy which so imminently threatens us