I, George W. Thompson
, one of the Judges
of the Circuit Court, acting under the Constitution
and the laws of Virginia
, and under the Constitution of the United States
, and by my oath of office, imposed on me by the State of Virginia
, in virtue of the obligation voluntarily and solemnly assumed by the State
in her ratification of the Constitution
of the Union
, to declare the Constitution of the United States
, and the laws made in pursuance thereof, the supreme law of the land, “any thing in the Constitution
or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding;” (Art.
VI., sections 2 and 3;) and being by the laws of the State
, a conservator of the peace, and desirous and intending to maintain both Constitutions and the laws made in pursuance thereof, by the faithful discharge of my duties, I hereby, in the names of those Constitutions and the laws made in pursuance thereof, in times of peace and prosperity, and with the consent of all the good people of the Commnonwealth, as necessary for the protection of life, liberty, property, and the lawful pursuit of happiness, do call on all the good citizens to obey these wise and salutary laws, and to aid me in their firm and saluary enforcement by obedience themselves, and for the punishment of the lawless.
It is only in obedience to Constitutions that families are safe in life, liberty, or property; and no majorities, cabals, mobs, however numerous they may be, or by whatever motive they may be actuated, are above these exalted safeguards of human welfare and prosperity; and under these, individuals and minorities are entitled to protection.
If majorities, acting lawlessly, are above them, then majorities in States, regardless of the Constitutions, will rule; but this may not be until the reign of lawlessness and violence is inaugurated.
And I call upon all citizens, in virtue of these supreme laws of the land, to stand by the faithful and impartial administration of the laws.
To those citizens of West Virginia
whose large majority against Secession show a firm determination to maintain and defend their constitutional obligations, I appeal to maintain the law and order which both of these instruments guarantee and enforce.
If one is a matter of conscience and of law, so is the other; and, in maintaining all these obligations to the utmost extent possible, in times like the present, we show ourselves worthy of peace, and the order and the protection of those laws whose sovereignty we have vindicated by our recent vote, or become obnoxious to their just punishment.
To those citizens in Western Virginia
, who claim the right of secession, in like manner I appeal to lay down their arms against their brethren and fathers, and submit to the judgment and wish of their own people, in so large a portion of the State
as West Virginia
If it is right for one portion of the people in mass to violate or set aside the Constitution
, so as to free themselves from political intercourse with other portions of the people of the United States
, surely it should be permitted to so large a body of people as West Virginia
, exercising their sovereignty in a lawful manner under the Constitution
and in support of the Constitution
, to choose their destinies.
This, at the late election, they have done in no equivocal manner.
They should be permitted, and especially by you, their brethren, exercising with such unanimity this sovereign and constitutional right, to stand by the Constitution
and the laws in peace; to maintain the solemn integrity of the institutions under which they have grown and prospered.
By this vote they have solemnly said they have no cause of revolution; they are satisfied; let them remain in peace.
If you are dissatisfied, go in peace; go where you will have the support and sympathy of those whose cause you espouse; and in God's name, in the name of our ancient friendships and fireside relations; in the name of that peace, the skirts of whose robe will be dabbled in blood, if you remain in arms; in virtue of the holy ties of relationship, and for the preservation of whatever of constitutions and the laws are left, while yet tlhe ruin has not reached you and us; while the vengeance of civil war has not broken up all domestic ties, and the sword of private revenge lhas not crossed your own thresholds and sprinkled them with blood, and left your homes and your households in ruin; by all tlhe solemn memories of the past and the obligations of the present to recognize the wishes of the people of West Virginia
, to seek their own happiness and welfare in a lawful and peaceful manner; in the solemn majesty of those laws, and in a higher appeal of justice and the cry, depart, depart in peace, and give not up West Virginia
, which otherwise will remain in safety, if not repose, to the horrors of a terrible war. With such a large majority, neither Eastern Virginia
nor the South
will be disposed to coerce us to their own local and peculiar policy.
With such a position as West Virginia
occupies, separated by vast mountain ranges from old Virginia
, accessible to the whole West
, and the wholo North
, theo whole will be a unit in our defence.
never can be coerced or conquered.
Her streams may run blood, and her households may be desolated, and if this shall be so, it will be the work of those in West Virginia
, who remain in arms to oppose and resist the wishes of the majority of her people.
Retire, disband, and let us alone in
peace, under the Constitution
and the laws, and do not require those laws and Constitution to be maintained here at this mighty sacrifice.--Wheeling
, May 28.