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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 chanc
orm if not in substance, by the action of politicians if not people — some half willing, others more than half forced-those who should have stood with sleepless zeal upon the ramparts of the Constitution ingloriously surrendered their posts, and the reign of anarchy was thus inaugurated in our own happy land. All this increased, and seriously too, the embarrassment which surrounded the question. But still the spirit of the times, the voice of the people in every section, South as well as North, demanded peace — that abstractions should be laid aside, that every substantial cause of grievance should be redressed, and that the interests of a great and prosperous nation should not be disturbed, nor the moral sense of the world shocked by a conflict of arms among brethren. There was yet hope that the cup of intestine war might in mercy be permitted to pass. The report of the first hostile gun which was discharged, however, proclaimed to the world that all chances of peaceful adjustm
bravely fought to make for us that Union, so are we now called upon to prove ourselves worthy of them by defending and preserving that Union and that flag which have proved so great a blessing to ourselves and to the world at large. Go forth, then, in the name of God, to uphold the authority of law, and to wrest from the lawless rebels this our fair land, which has been truly the land of the free and the home of the brave. Not for ourselves alone, but for the loyal hearts South as well as North; for in my heart I firmly believe there are thousands in the rebel States faithful and true, looking on and waiting with painful anxiety for the hour in which your noble efforts shall release them from the reign of terror under which they are now bowed down; and for their sakes I implore you, in the hour of victory, forget not mercy. But while, as instruments in the hands of an avenging God, you go forth to punish and subdue those who, for their own selfish ends, would sacrifice our country
ings, land I am perfectly willing to abide her final judgment. Mr. Baker--Mr. President, it has not been my fortune to participate in at any length, indeed, not to hear very much of the discussion which has been going on — more I think in the hands of the Senator from Kentucky than anybody else — upon all the propositions connected with this war; and, as I really feel as sincerely as he can an earnest desire to preserve the Constitution of the United States for everybody, South as well as North, I have listened for some little time past to what he has said, with an earnest desire to apprehend the point of his objection to this particular bill. And now — waiving what I think is the elegant but loose declamation in which he chooses to indulge — I would propose, with my habitual respect for him, (for nobody is more courteous and more gentlemanly,) to ask him if he will be kind enough to tell me what single particular provision there is in this bill which is in violation of the Const