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“ [212] good people of Virginia,” issued their declaration, “that the preservation of their dearest rights and liberties, and their security in person and property, imperatively demand the reorganization of the government of the commonwealth.”

In pursuance of this declaration, we have passed such ordinances as are immediately necessary to reorganize the government, and put it in operation. We have appointed a governor, lieutenant-governor, attorney-general, and executive council, leaving to the General Assembly, which we have directed to be convened, at a very early day, to fill, or to provide for filling, all other offices as soon as in their judgment it can be properly done. The terms of the officers we have appointed are limited to six months, or until the election and qualification of their successors, for which the General Assembly is authorized to provide at the earliest possible period. In all this, our fellow-citizens will clearly perceive that there has been no disposition to assume any power or authority not demanded by the exigencies of their present unhappy condition, or to retain it longer than a regard for their highest interests may require.

In reply to remarks which have been made abroad, we deem it proper to say, that we have not seen occasion to take any steps in reference to the debt of the state. The idea of the repudiation of any part of it which was legally contracted, has not been expressed or entertained by any member of the convention. The only notice the subject has received, has been in connection with the proposed separation of the western counties, and whenever it has been thus named, those desirous of separation have invariably expressed their willingness to assume their equitable portion of the burden. Any promises of payment or projects of arrangement at this time, when the very existence of the commonwealth is threatened, would be worse than idle.

Under all these circumstances, with the firm conviction that the course adopted is the only one by which the state can be retained in the Union, and the liberties and rights of the people secured and perpetuated, we most earnestly call upon our loyal fellow-citizens, in every county of the commonwealth, who are not already represented in the General Assembly and in this convention, to elect members of the legislature, and appoint delegates to this body, at the earliest possible moment. Writs of election will be issued by the executive whenever it appears that they can be executed, and representatives from every county will be most cordially received. No suspension or essential change of any part of the constitution or laws of the commonwealth, unless positively demanded by the exigencies of the times, will be made, until the will of the whole people, or of their authorized representatives, can be freely expressed; and such changes as have been, or may hereafter be, so demanded, will be submitted for ratification at an early day.

We call upon the loyal citizens of the common-wealth to organize and arm for its defence against the conspirators and usurpers at Richmond, and their aiders and abettors. Plans will immediately be devised to give to such organizations the greatest efficiency. The general government will aid and protect us to the utmost of their power, and will most unquestionably recognize the reorganized government as the true and legitimate government of the state. They cannot and will not do otherwise.

The reorganized government appeals to the great body of the people for countenance and support in this hour of great anxiety and trial. They do so confidently, because, while there have been many defections from the great and holy cause.of “Liberty and Union” among those to whom you have been accustomed to look for political information and direction, there have been comparatively few among yourselves. In this matter, which appeals to your dearest rights and interests, you have responded spontaneously to the promptings of your honest hearts. Your own experience has taught you the great benefits of the Union, and you recognize the great principle, that a government so beneficial in its operations, so mild in its requirements, so powerful to protect, and so constituted as to diffuse throughout an immense territory the blessings of prosperity and happiness, “should not be changed for light or transient causes.” In every county where the free expression of your views has been permitted, your majorities in favor of the maintenance and perpetuity of the Union have far exceeded the calculations of the most sanguine among your friends. Persevere, then, in your most holy war against the corrupt and perjured oligarchy who have usurped your government, and would have sold you to the ambitious despots of an unholy affiliation. In such a cause, we may look for the blessings of that Holy One, who has made it a part of his divine providence that those who, in purity of heart and purpose, strive for the preservation of their dearest rights, their homes and their country, although the struggle may be protracted for long and weary years, shall never strive in vain.

By order of the Convention,

Arthur I. Boreman, President. G. L. Cranmer, Secretary.

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