Guyandotte Meeting

Kanawha Valley Star
April 30, 1861

Public Meeting at Guyandotte -
Flag of Virginia Hoisted

At a meeting of the volunteer companies, citizens of Guyandotte, Va., and vicinity, held on the 20th April, 1861, Peter C. Buffington, esq., presiding and Capt. H. H. Miller, secretary; a large number of people of Cabell county being present, the flag of Virginia made by the secession ladies of Guyandotte, and Lewis Peters, esq., artist, was raised on the bank of the Ohio in front of the Planter's Hotel. It went up amid the enthusiastic applause of the multitude and the rejoicing of the ladies, a large number of whom were present. The flag was raised by Elijah Rickets and John W. Ong, sr., two of the oldest citizens of the place.

Rev. St. Mark Russell was called to address the meeting, who promptly responded. While he was portraying the causes that should impel the secession of Virginia, in his usual animated and eloquent style, he was interrupted by the arrival at the wharf of a steamer and a report that the Convention had passed the ordinance of secession, upon which more deafening shouts now rose on the banks of the Ohio than went up from the meeting. Salutes were fired for the Confederate States and President Davis.

The speaker was again called to the stand. He rejoiced and thanked God, that we were once again free; and in conclusion expressed the hope that Virginia would be as united as that meeting in an hearty approval of the action of the Convention.

L. H. McGinnis, esq., of Logan, was then called for who rose and in a masterly and el[o]quent manner portrayed the wrongs we have endured; the unparalleled sacrifices we have made; and the extraordinary system of legislative encouragement we have acquiesced in towards our heretofore sister States of the North to save a Union which he now declared is more odious than any tyranny ever established over men.

Advertising to the cause of the disruption, the speaker declared that it was a duty we owe to the States themselves; that we were bound by the most sacred obligations to conserve the institution of slavery; it was indispensible to the civilization of the African. He argued elaborately that we had not only the plainest recognition in the Old and New Testament of property in slaves, but all history proved it right and favored by Providence. The revolution of 1776 proved it, and that of 1861 would prove it.

As our fathers enlisted under the banner of Washington, a slaveholder, fighting for the freedom of the white and the slavery of the black race; we should rally under General Davis who is also a slaveholder, against Lincoln the first, who, like George the third, and yet bolder in his demands is opposed to African and in favor of American Slavery. And alluding to Virginia, and her flag waving over his head, and her great efforts to preserve peace, he said that while the old and justly renowned Commonwealth stood as a meadiator [sic] betweenn [sic] the contending fires of revolution, a mercenary soldier had been thrown into her bosom to reduce her to military subordination. And now that she had bravely turned upon her invaders; he made a powerful appeal to Virginians to stand by the mother of States and her flag, and declared that he would be foremost to hang the traitor that dared insult the flag that floated over their heads. His sentiments were responded with the utmost enthusiasm.

B. H. Thack[s]ton, of Cabell C. H., was called, who made a short but patriotic defense of Virginia's rights.

Dr. A. B. McGinnis, was called, who responded in an eloquent review of the causes, rise and progress of resistance to abolition rule in Guyandotte and vicinity. He had taken his stand months ago for independence as the only cure for the political disease that threatened the existence of our institutions and liberties.

He rejoiced to be joined by many of those who had denounced him for his "secession madness." He argued at length, the importance of Union of the South; but above all unions the union of Virginia was most essential to her salvation.

Amid the most enthusiastic applause the meeting adjourned to the Town Hall.

G. D. Warren, esq., was called and responded in a practical and glowing description of the present proud position of Virginia. He declared amid tremendous cheering, that the time for division in Guyandotte had passed; that those who were not for Virginia in her sovereign, independent position, were against her in toto; and would now be marked as her enemies; that if any such existed in Guyandotte they would be treated as traitors.

Capt. H. H. Miller, of the Home Guard, also addressed the meeting.

Hon. William H. Buffington responded to the call of the meeting in a brief, practical and forcible review of the crisis. He, however, said the time for argument had passed, and pressed in a most eloquent manner the necessity of immediate preparations for defense. He said he had long believed that such a crisis was inevitable. That the Puritanic intolerant sentiment of New England, of which he gave a most glowing description, was incompatable with the brave and generous spirit of the Cavaliers of James river; that could they not be united long under the form of free government. He declared he would defend the flag of Virginia to the death; and his sentiments were greeted with enthusiastic applause.

At the conclusion of Dr. A. B. McGinnis' speech he offered the following preamble and resolutions, which were unanimously adopted:

Whereas, we have a practical interpretation of the inaugural address of the President elect of the late United States, in an illegal, unnatural and mercenary war upon our sister Southern independent States, for the purpose of subjugating them to a foreign military despotism, and whereas, we have intelligence by report, that the Convention of Virginia has passed the ordinance of secession; therefore be it resolved,

1st. That we approve the action of the Convention, if the ordinance has passed.

2d. That in our judgment the failure of the Convention to submit an ordinance of secession to the people, will inevitably involve the State in a double revolution, the like of which no parallel is found in history.

3rd. That we would deem it an act of political tyranny in the Convention to withhold from the people the privilege of choosing whether their destiny shall be with the South or with the military despotism now being forced upon the people by the revolutionists of the so called Lincoln Government.

4th. That in our judgment the formal and legal withdrawal of Virginia from her connection with the late United States, and union with the Confederate State, is the surest, if not the only remedy for the troubles which now environ and disturb her social and political systems.

5th. That the secretary cause the proceedings of this meeting to be published in the Kanawha Valley Star, and that the Richmond papers be requested to copy.

H. H. MILLER, Sec'y.

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