January 4, 1861
Protests against the Action of South Carolina, and against a State Convention—
Western Virginia will not be Dragged out of the Union by South Carolina.
[Correspondence of the Cincinnati Commercial.
Parkersburg, Jan. 1, 1861.
A large Union Meeting was held here to-day; the largest and most enthusiastic ever assembled in the county. Speeches were made by Gen. J. J. Jackson, J. M. Stephenson, A. J. Boreman, and J. J. Jackson, Jr. A preamble and resolutions reported by Gen. Jackson, as Chairman of the Committee, were adopted, with but one dissenting voice. The following are the resolutions adopted, which indicate the tenor of the preamble:
Resolved, That the doctrine of secession of a State has no warrant in the Constitution, and that such a doctrine would be fatal to the Union, and all the purposes of its creation; and in the judgment of this meeting secession is revolution; and while we fully admit the doctrine and right of revolution for the great causes set forth in the Declaration of Independence, or for others of equal force, and while we are grieved to say that the government of several of the free States, and more especially many of their citizens, have been guilty of flagrant acts of injustice, and in violation of the Constitutional rights of slaveholders, yet we cannot perceive that a sate of facts yet exists to warrant the extreme resort of revolution; indeed, we are fully persuaded that all our grievances may be redressed under the Constitution. We therefore earnestly deprecate the course of South Carolina, and protest against any Convention being called in Virginia to take into consideration Federal relations, as in our judgment it would necessarily give countenance to her conduct.
2d. We believe it to be the sworn duty of the President to uphold the laws by all the power of the Government, and in so doing, he is entitled to the sympathy and support of every good citizen, and we believe the Constitution and the laws of the United States are as binding on South Carolina now as they were before her pretended acts of secession.
3d. We are deeply impressed with the conviction that our national prosperity, our hopes of happiness and future security, depend on preserving the Union as it is it, and we see nothing in the election of Abraham Lincoln to the Presidency of the United States—as much as we may have desired the election of another—as affording any just or reasonable cause for the abandonment of what we regard as the best Government ever yet devised by the wisdom and patriotism of men.
4th. That in the opinion of this meeting, the proposed call of a Convention by the Legislature, for the purpose of considering what position Virginia shall assume in the revolutionary movements of South Carolina, is at the instigation of the enemies of the Union, and intended as a means of precipitating the State into a connexion fatal to her credit, her prosperity and to the happiness of her people.
5th. That we believe the General assembly has no constitutional power to call a Convention for the purpose of changing the relation of the State to the Federal Government; but in the event of a call of such a Convention by the Legislature, the delegates should be chosen on the basis of the free white inhabitants of the commonwealth.
6th. That we will be bound by the acts of no Convention, no matter how called or organized, the purpose of which is to alter, or in any manner change the relation Virginia bears to the Government of the Union, unless the proposed alteration or change is first submitted to the votes of the people, and sanctioned by them after full discussion and ample time for consideration.
7th. That any Convention which may be called should take such action to amend the Constitution of Virginia as to base representation in the General Assembly upon the free white population of the State, and ultimately establish the ad valorem principle of taxation as well for slave as for other property.
8th. That the Senator from this District and the delegates from this county be, and are hereby instructed to lay the foregoing preamble and resolutions before the Senate and House of delegates, and that they be requested to sustain the sentiments thereof.
9th. That a copy of the foregoing preamble and resolutions be transmitted to our Representatives and Senators in the Congress of the United States[.] R.
[Correspondence of the Intelligencer.]
Parkersburg, Va., Jan. 1, 1861.
Editors Wheeling Intelligencer:
Gents: -- On my way to this place yesterday I was handed a copy of the Parkersburg News, published and edited by one Charley Rhoads, a man of some note as a country politician. The first thing that arrested my attention was his allusions to a letter written by Hickory, and published in your columns sometime previously. If the truth must be told, I must say that if anything were needed to prove Charley a confirmed ass, his strictures on Hickory’s letter is just the thing. I took the trouble of hunting up that letter and find it correct in every particular, except that W. Vrooman is agent at this point, not John Brown, and that the oil Wells are in Wirt instead of Ritchie county. There is such a man as Judge Keener working one or more oil wells our there, and there were 7 or 8 copies of your daily received here at that time. He says it is a perversion of facts to state that the people of this county are true to the Union. I say that is a base calumny on the good people of this place. Some days ago it was announced that a meeting of the citizens of this town and county would be held for the purpose of giving expression to their sentiments on the present condition of our country. One o’clock to-day was the hour set for the meeting and the new, large and truly magnificent Court House the place. A few minutes after the appointed hour the spacious building was crowded to suffocation, hundreds being compelled to to [sic] remain outside. B. H. Foley, Breckinridge Democrat, and a large slave owner, was called upon to preside, and K. B. Stephenson, another Breckinridge Democrat, acted as Secretary. Speeches were made by Gen. Jackson, J. M. Stephenson, A. J. Boreman, and J. J. Jackson, Jr. The greatest enthusiasm prevailed. One of the resolutions reads as follows: “that any convention which may be called should take such action to amend the Constitution of Virginia so as to base representation in the General Assembly, upon the free white population of the State, and unalterably establish the ad valorem principle of taxation, as well for slave as for all other property.” The speakers were very earnest and all or most of them are slaveholders. The greatest unanimity prevailed. Charley, the Pennsylvania disunionist, and some other obscure individual voting in the negative. So, Messrs. Editors, you see you[r] correspondent Hickory stated the truth when he said that the Hon. G. W. Thompson and the Hon. S. Clemons were much commended here for the manly and patriotic stand which they took in the beginning of this excitement. Charley showed the cloven foot to-day. Many of the citizens thought like Hickory that he was for the Union, but that is settled. He is this night despised and execrated by al least nine-tenths of his own party.
E Pluribus Unum.
Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: January 1861