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[328] of Virginia ought to be erected or established within the limits thereof.

But in direct violation of this fundamental law of our State, without the authority, aye, without the knowledge of our people, a government separate from and independent of the government of Virginia has been erected and established within her limits. The new government, called the Confederate States of America, las, by the usurpation of our Convention, been placed over a large portion of our State, put in possession of the Governor and his subordinate executive officers, our whole military force and military operations, offensive and defensive; and, to complete our degradation as a free people, by the introduction of large bodies of Confederate troops, and the alteration of our Constitution and laws relating to elections, that foreign government has obtained the control of the ballot-box. We are very sure that no man, whose faith has not been shaken in the great political axiom of our fathers, that man is capable of self-government, can calmly and dispassionately consider the acts of the Convention and Executive of our State without feeling aroused within him the same spirit of indignant resistance which led our fathers into and through the war of the Revolution.

Questions of the grave import as are those submitted to you are not to be decided under the sudden and rash impulse of passion, prejudice, or the promptings of misled State pride. We have loved and honored our State for her past history — a history made glorious by her loyalty to the great Union which she more than any other State contributed to create, establish, and perpetuate. No mere vituperation or sneering can or ought to move us from our honest convictions of duty. We are not the followers of any man or set of men, but the conscientious supporters of the Government, both National and State, which our fathers created, and which for nearly three-quarters of a century has covered our country with blessings.

Admitting, as we do, the right of revolution, but denying, as we must, that there is any case, sufficient or otherwise, to demand or justify it, to what description of Government has our Convention attempted to annex us? We cannot better answer this question than in the language of one of Maryland's most patriotic and gifted sons:

On one side of us is a united nation of nineteen millions of people; on the other, a divided population of nine millions. We stand between them. If we remain true to the Union, we shall have protection and peace, and hereafter an easy settlement of all our complaints. If we desert the Union, we shall be driven into a Confederacy which has but little sympathy with our interests, and less power to protect us against the ravages of the frequent wars which must inevitably arise between the two sections.

“The Southern Confederacy is essentially weak in the basis of its construction. It is founded on a principle which must lead to the ever-recurring danger of new secessions, and the exhibition of a worse than Mexican anarchy. It may witness pronunciamientos upon every discontent, and the strife of the parties ending in further disintegration. If the Border States go into that Confederacy, the opposition of material interests will soon develop the utter want of capacity in the new Government to secure its cohesion.”

Wisely, therefore, did our late Convention, looking to the geographical, social, commercial, an industrial interests of Northwestern Virginia, resolve “that the Virginia Convention, in assuming to change the relations of the State of Virginia to the Federal Government, have not only acted unwisely and unconstitutionally, but have adopted a policy utterly ruinous to all the material interests of our section, severing all our social ties, and drying up all the channels of our trade and prosperity.” We are very confident that every reflecting and candid man must concur in this resolution; and that, therefore, if our reasoning upon the constitutional question be sound, both our duty as true and loyal citizens of Virginia and the United States, and our interests of every kind, are in perfect harmony the one with the other.

It is neither our right nor our duty to anticipate the action of the Convention which will assemble on the 11th of June. Ere this address reaches you, your will, at least in parts of our State, will have been expressed through the ballot-box. How far that will may sustain the positions we have here assumed, we know not, but they are nevertheless submitted to you with the confident assurance that they cannot be successfully assailed. We are equally confident that it will be your determination to maintain and vindicate the loyalty of our State in the Union, in such manner and by such constitutional and lawful means as future consultation and deliberation shall determine to be the best and wisest. We have sought to strengthen and confirm your attachment to our Government as it existed prior to the usurpations of the Convention and Executive of our State; to satisfy you that your love for the Union of our fathers was not a mere sentiment, but was firmly based upon truth and duty; that your fealty to the State of Virginia demanded and compelled your fealty to the Union; and that, however our brethren in other parts of the State might decide for themselves in this solemn crisis of our country's history, we of Northwestern Virginia, having an equal right with them so to decide, will abide by and maintain the Constitution and laws of the United States and of Virginia.

Whilst we have a Constitution and code of laws for our State Government, and local officers to administer them, the Executive and his immediate subordinates have submitted themselves to the Government of the Confederate States. They have thrown off their allegiance

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