, June 11th, and the members before proceeding to business joined in an oath of supreme allegiance to the United States
On June 13th a bill of rights
was adopted, repudiating all allegiance to the Confederate States
, to which Virginia
was now united by ordinance ratified by popular vote; the offices of governor of Virginia
, etc., were declared vacant, a provisional government was provided for, all officers were required to take the oath of national allegiance, and on the 19th a declaration of independence
was unanimously adopted.
The main argument in justification of this declaration, was that under the bill of rights
the legislature had no right to call a convention to alter the constitution and the relations of the commonwealth, without the previously expressed consent of the majority, and that therefore usurpation had occurred which would inevitably lead to military despotism.
During the session of this convention, Governor Letcher
issued a proclamation June 14th, to the people of northwestern Virginia
, pointing out that the sovereign people of Virginia
by a majority of nearly 100,000 votes, had exercised the right claimed by the fathers, to institute a new government, and had united the commonwealth with the Confederate States
He declared that the people had all had an opportunity to vote.
‘You, as well as the rest of the State
, have cast your vote fairly, and the majority is against you. It is the duty of good citizens to yield to the will of the State
He quoted the bill of rights
, ‘that the people have a right to uniform government; and therefore that no government separate from and independent of the government of Virginia
ought to be erected or established within the limits thereof,’ and therefore, he said, ‘the majority have a right to govern.’
‘But notwithstanding, this right, thus exercised, has been regarded by the people of all sections of the United States
as undoubted and sacred, yet the government at Washington
now utterly denies ’