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Doc. 35.-proclamations of Gov. Letcher, June 14, 1861.

To the People of North-Western Virginia:
The sovereign people of Virginia, unbiassed, and by their own free choice, have, by a majority of nearly one hundred thousand qualified voters, severed the ties that heretofore bound them to the Government of the United States, and united this Commonwealth with the Confederate States. That our people have the right “to institute a new Government, laying its foundations on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness,” was proclaimed by our fathers, and it is a right which no freeman should ever relinquish. The State of Virginia has now, the second time in her history, asserted this right, and it is the duty of every Virginian to acknowledge her act when ratified by such a majority, and to give his willing cooperation to make good the declaration. All her people have voted. Each has taken his chance to have his personal views represented. 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. The bill of rights has proclaimed “that the people have a right to uniform government; and, therefore, that no government separate from or independent of the government of Virginia ought to be erected or established within the limits thereof.”

The majority, thus declared, therefore, 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 it, and by the exercise of despotic power is endeavoring to coerce our people to abject submission to their authority. Virginia has asserted her independence. She will maintain it at every hazard. She is sustained by the power of ten of her sister Southern States, ready and willing to up-hold her cause. Can any true Virginian refuse to render assistance. Men of the Northwest, I [168] appeal to you, by all the considerations which have drawn us together as one people hereto-fore, to rally to the standard of the Old Dominion. By all the sacred ties of consanguinity, by the intermixtures of the blood of East and West, by common paternity, by friendships hallowed by a thousand cherished recollections and memories of the past, by the relics of the great men of other days, come to Virginia's banner, and drive the invader from your soil. There may be traitors in the midst of you, who, for selfish ends, have turned against their mother, and would permit her to be ignominiously oppressed and degraded. But I cannot, will not, believe that a majority of you are not true sons, who will not give your blood and your treasure for Virginia's defence.

I have sent for your protection such troops as the emergency enabled me to collect, in charge of a competent commander. I have ordered a large force to go to your aid, but I rely with the utmost confidence upon your own strong arms to rescue your firesides and altars from the pollution of a reckless and ruthless enemy. The State is invaded at several points, but ample forces have been collected to defend her.

There has been a complaint among you that the eastern portion of the State has enjoyed an exemption from taxation to your prejudice. The State, by a majority of 50,000, has put the two sections on an equality in this respect. By a display of magnanimity in the vote just given, the East has, by a large majority, consented to relinquish this exemption, and is ready to share with you all the burdens of Government, and to meet all Virginia's liabilities. They come now to aid you as you came in former days to aid them. The men of the Southern Confederate States glory in coming to your rescue. Let one heart, one mind, one energy, one power, nerve every patriot to arm in a common cause. The heart that will not beat in unison with Virginia now is a traitor's heart; the arm that will not strike home in her cause now is palsied by coward fear.

The troops are posted at Huttonsville. Come with your own good weapons and meet them as brothers!

[L. S.]

Given under my hand, and under the seal of the Commonwealth, this 14th day of June, 1861, and in the 35th year of the Commonwealth.

By the Governor:

John Letcher. Geo. W. Munford, Secretary of the Commonwealth.

To the People of Virginia:
Whereas the Convention of this Commonwealth, of the 17th of April, 1861, adopted an ordinance to repeal the ratification of the Constitution of the United States of America by the State of Virginia, and to resume all the rights and powers granted under said Constitution; and by a schedule thereto annexed, provided for taking the sense of the qualified voters of this Commonwealth, upon the ratification or rejection of said ordinance, and directed the Governor to ascertain the vote so taken, and without delay to make proclamation of the result, stating therein the aggregate vote for and against the ratification; and, whereas, the returns of several counties have not been received, and of others cannot be obtained, in consequence of the presence of a hostile force in the north-western and of the blockade in the eastern portions of the State; and by the returns which have been received, it appears that an overwhelming majority of the people have voted for the ratification of the said ordinance; now, therefore, I, John Letcher, Governor, in pursuance of the authority so given, do hereby proclaim the aggregate aforesaid to be as follows:

For Ratification125,950
For Rejection20,373
 
Majority for Ratification105,577

And to the end that the entire vote of the State, as far as it can be ascertained, may be known to the people, I have estimated the vote of the counties from which returns have not been received, taking the same from the local papers and from sources believed to be correct, or nearly so, and append it to this proclamation.

I do, therefore, further declare that the said ordinance has been ratified by the qualified voters of this Commonwealth, and in conformity to its provisions, do annex hereto a copy thereof, together with the schedule accompanying the same. And whereas, by another ordinance, “for the adoption of the Constitution of the Provisional Government of the Confederate States of America,” passed on the 25th of April, 1861, it is provided that the said ordinance shall cease to have any legal operation or effect if the people of this Commonwealth upon the vote directed to be taken on the Ordinance of Secession shall reject the same; and it now appearing by the said vote that the people have ratified the said Ordinance of Secession; therefore, I do further proclaim, that the Constitution of the Provisional Government of the Confederate States of America, ordained and established at Montgomery, Alabama, on the 18th day of February, 1861, is now in full force in this Commonwealth, and must be respected and obeyed.

[L. S.]

Given under my hand, as Governor, and under the seal of the Commonwealth, this 14th day of June, 1861, and in the eighty-fifth year of the Commonwealth.

John Letcher. By the Governor, Geo. W. Munford, Secretary of the Commonwealth.

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