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In the memorable preamble to that Constitution they declare as follows:

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

It was the act of the people and not of the States. George Washington, the President of the Convention, in communicating to the Congress the Constitution which had been thus framed, in his letter of the 17th of September, 1787, uses this most remarkable and significant language:

It is obviously impracticable, in the Federal Government of these States, to secure all rights of independent sovereignty to each and yet provide for the interest and safety of all.

This Constitution was not submitted to the States for ratification, but to the people of the several States in Conventions assembled. On the 25th of June, 1788, the Convention of Virginia, by their ordinance assenting to and ratifying that Constitution, declared and made known:

That the powers granted under the Constitution, being derived from the people of the United States, may be resumed by them whensoever the same shall be perverted to their injury or oppression, and that every power not granted thereby remains with them and at their will.

We still hold to the great political truths our fathers have taught us. Our National Government is not a mere league between sovereign States, which each may revoke at its pleasure, but the solemn act of the people of the several States, which they alone can revoke.

We do not deny the right of revolution; on the contrary, we maintain and vindicate it. Whenever a Government, in its administration, is destructive of the legitimate ends of all Governments, “it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it ;” but in so doing the people must be consulted, and they will ever take care that the Government they have established shall not be changed for light and transient causes. Nothing has occurred to warrant or justify the change in our Government proposed by the ordinances of our Convention. Adopting the language of our fellow-citizens of the county of Berkeley, at their late mass meeting, we can truthfully declare:

That we have never yet agreed to break our allegiance to that Constitution which was signed by George Washington, framed by James Madison, administered by Jefferson, judicially expounded by John Marshall, protected by Jackson, defended by Webster, and lived for by Clay.

“That we have never known Virginia save as a State in the United States; and all our feelings of State pride are indelibly associated with her, as a bright star in the constellation of a glorious and united country.”

“ That we have lived happily under the great Government of the United States, and if that Government has oppressed us by any of its acts, legislative, executive, or judicial, during its existence, we do not know it.”

Such, we are well persuaded, must be the declaration of every calm, deliberate, and conscientious citizen. How, then, can we approve and ratify the ordinance of secession? As if nothing should be wanting to arouse and excite our most determined opposition, the manner of its adoption, the circumstances which preceded it, the unjustifiable acts of aggression and warfare against the Government of the United States, committed prior even to the attempted disruption of the Union, and the still more flagrant outrage upon our rights and liberties, in the passage of the ordinance annexing our State to the Confederate States, and the introduction of the armed soldiers of that Confederacy for |the avowed purpose of making war upon the United States, all combine to strengthen and confirm our solemn determination not to submit to such violation of our rights secured to us by the Constitutions of both Virginia and the United States. We will maintain inviolate our fealty and allegiance to both. There is and can be no conflict in this double allegiance. The ordinances of the Convention intended to withdraw our State from the United States and annex her to the Confederate States, are unconstitutional, null, and void; and the acts of the Governor and his subordinates, so far as they are intended to execute those ordinances, are mere usurpations of power, unwarranted by the Constitution and laws of our State.

To show conclusively how far the existing authorities of our State Government have compromised her honor and dignity and abused the trust and confidence of her people, we make the following extract from the message of the Hon. Jefferson Davis, to which we have before referred:

Having been officially notified by the public authorities of the State of Virginia that she had withdrawn from the Union, and desired to maintain the closest political relations with us which it was possible at this time to establish, I commissioned the Hon. Alex. H. Stephens, Vice-President of the Confederate States, to represent its Government at Richmond. I am happy to inform you that he has concluded a convention with the State of Virginia by which that honored Commonwealth, so long and justly distinguished among her sister States, and so dear to the hearts of thousands of her children in the Confederate States, has united her power and her fortunes with ours, and become one of us.

The fourteenth article of the Bill of Rights of our State is in these words:

That the people have a right to uniform government; and therefore that no government separate from or independent of the government

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