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[49] meeting of the next Legislature. There was, however, a provision in the act of January 31st, 1863, by which the consent of the so-called Legislature of Virginia was given to the transfer of the county of Berkeley to the new State, authorizing the Governor, if in his opinion the election could not be safely and properly held in that county on the day first designated, to postpone it to another day to be by him appointed. Similarly, in the act of February 4th, 1863, giving consent to the admission of certain counties, of which Jefferson was one, into the newly-formed Commonwealth, it was provided that if the condition of the country would not permit, or from any cause the election to decide the question of annexation could not be fairly held on the appointed day, the Governor should, as soon as it could be safely and fairly held, issue a proclamation ordering such election.

It is notorious that at the time fixed for submitting the question, the condition of the counties of Berkeley and Jefferson rendered the opening of the polls impracticable, and that the voters, a large majority of whom were opposed to the transfer, could not attend, and had, indeed, no proper notice of the election. In Berkeley there were nine precincts, and in Jefferson eight, yet, so far as appears, at only two of the seventeen were any votes cast. At these precincts the election was held by commissioners disqualified under the laws of Virginia, while no commissioners were appointed, or, at all events, notified of their appointment, and no polls opened ac the other fifteen precincts. Jefferson county, in which were located the precincts above mentioned, where alone, any ballots were cast, had more than 1,700 votes; less than 100 were polled, not a few of these being fraudulent and illegal. Anything like a free and fair election was indeed obviously impossible while the country was intersected by military lines, and the citizens often strictly confined to their own premises.

In the face of these facts the so-called Governor of Virginia officially certified the result of the election as being in favor of the annexation of Berkeley and Jefferson to West Virginia, the Legislature of which in its turn passed the acts for the admission of these counties, and this shameful travesty of solemn constitutional proceedings was complete.

As has been already observed, however, the Congress of the United States, the assent of which is by the Constitution made indispensable to the transfer of territory from one State to another, in the act

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