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[519] opposed an immediate division of the State; but Mr. Dorsey, of Monongahela, who urged it, being supported by Pierpont and others, obtained, on the 20th, a unanimous vote in favor of ultimate separation — Yeas 56. The Convention had voted, two days earlier, by 57 to 17, that the separation of Western from Eastern Virginia was one of its paramount objects. In the afternoon of that day, Francis H. Pierpont, of Marion county, was chosen Governor, Daniel Paisley, of Mason county, Lieutenant-Governor, with five members to form an Executive Council. These elections were all unanimous. The Convention, it will be noted, was a Convention of Virginia, wherein the loyal counties and loyal people were represented, so far as the Rebellion did not prevent; and all this action was taken, not in behalf of West Virginia as such, but of loyal Virginia. The Legislature, which met soon after at Wheeling, was a Legislature of Virginia, elected on the regularly appointed day of election — eastern as well as western counties being represented therein; and this Legislature, as well as the Convention, heartily assented to the formation of the new State of West Virginia. This action was taken, throughout, on the assumption that the loyal people of a State constitute the State; that traitors and rebels, who repudiate all respect for or loyalty to the Constitution and Government of the country, have no right to control that Government; and that those people of any State who heartily recognize and faithfully discharge their obligations as loyal citizens, have a right to full and perfect protection from the Republic they thus cling to and uphold. Congress, after due deliberation, assented to and ratified this claim, admitting the new State of West Virginia1 into the Union as the equal of her elder sisters; her people being henceforth under no other obligation to the authorities of Old Virginia than are the people of that State to the authorities of her young sister across the Alleghanies.

Of course, neither the Rebels in arms, nor their sympathizers anywhere, were delighted with this application of the principle of secession. Gov. Letcher, in a Special Message,2 treated it as one of the chief sources of his general unhappiness. He says:

President Lincoln and his Cabinet have willfully and deliberately proposed to violate every provision of the third section of the fourth article of the Constitution, which each one of them solemnly swore or affirmed, in the presence of Almighty God, to “preserve, protect, and defend.” That section is in these words:
“New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new State shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other State, nor any State formed by the junction of two or more States or parts of States, without the consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned, as well as of the Congress.”

The answer to this is ready and simple: President Lincoln and his Cabinet do not regard John Letcher as Governor of that State of Virginia which is a member of our Federal Union. The Governor of that Virginia is Francis H. Pierpont; and its Legislature is that which, elected by loyal Virginians, assembled at Wheeling, and gave its free, hearty, and almost unanimous assent to the division of the old and the formation of the new State. All this must be as plain to Letcher as to Lincoln. Those who

1 First named Kanawha, after its principal river.

2 January 6th, 1862.

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