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Harper's Encyclopedia of United States History (ed. Benson Lossing), State of Virginia, (search)
ch alarmed the whole State, but it was speedily subdued. In 1859 an attempt was made by John Brown (q. v.) to free the slaves of Virginia. Early in 1861 the question of secession divided the people. The Confederate leaders of Virginia found it hard work to carry out the State, for there was a strong Union sentiment among the people, especially in the western or mountain districts. They finally procured the authorization of a convention, which assembled in Richmond, Feb. 13, 1861, with John Janney as chairman. It had a stormy session from February until April, for the Unionists were in the majority. Even as late as April 4 the convention refused, by a vote of 89 against 45, to pass an ordinance of secession. But the pressure of the Confederates had then become so A Virginia landscape. hard that one weak Unionist after another gave way, converted by sophistry or threats. Commissioners were sent to President Lincoln, to ascertain his State seal of Virginia. determination ab