April 20, 1861
A large and respectable meeting of the citizens on Monongalia County, without respect to party, convention at the Court-house, in pursuance to previous notice, Wednesday evening, April 17th.
Wm. Lazier, Esq., was elected President, and Geo. M. Reay, Wm. N. Jarret, John Mickel and H. Dering were elected Vice President, and Dr. Wm. M. Dent and Dr. I Scott Secretaries.
The President made a patriotic and sound Union speech, showing plainly that our only hope for safe [missing] Union. He depicted [missing] plan terms, and that [missing] Southern Confederacy [missing] gave it as his [missing] impossible and [missing] persisted in [missing] Western Virginia [missing] East and remaining [missing] the Union, an independent State [missing] stated that he would rather sacrifice all his interest in slaves, and that Western Virginia should be a free States, rather than go out of the Union.
On motion, Dr. Boughner, F. Madera, Col. Kramer, R. L. Berkshire and Dr. H. N. Mackey were appointed by the Chair to draft resolutions expressive of the sense of the meeting.
During the retirement of the committee, in response to a call, H. Dering, Esq., addressed the meeting in a most thrilling and patriotic Union speech, (which was frequently responded to by the audience,) taking a bold and manly stand in favor of the Union as it is, and favoring a division of the State if the East persists in secession, and if we cannot get equal taxation from them. After Mr. Dering concluded, the committee made the following report:
Whereas, An alarming crisis now exists in this country imminently threatening the existence of the American Union, and all the blessings of that civil and religious liberty, to secure which our Revolutionary fathers waged and endured all the hardships and privations of a seven years war. And whereas the present deplorable condition of our public affairs has arisen from the indiscreet and useless agitation of the slavery question in our national legislature by demagogues and selfish politicians North and South. And whereas, the time has come when it behooves every true friend of the Union and his country to rally under the flag and to maintain the same with an unwavering hand and under the most adverse and trying circumstances. Therefore be it
Resolved, That we the people of Monongalia, without distinction of party, deprecate and hereby enter our solemn protest against the secession of Virginia in the present exigency as unwise and inexpedient and fatal to her best interests and the interests of our whole country; believing as we do, that amongst its legitimate and immediate results, will be the utter ruin and bankruptcy and desolation of our hitherto proud and powerful old Commonwealth.
Resolved, That we are attached to the Federal Union as the ark of our political security and safety, that it is endeared to us by the enduring fame and patriotic deeds of its founders, and that we will cling to it despite all the tirades and treasonable threats of the ingrates and traitors who are engaged in the unholy work of firing the Southern heart and precipitating us in the yawning gulf of secession.
[unreadable] exemplified in the so-called Southern Confederacy, is unmitigated treason against the Constitution and Government of the United States, and its leading actors, in the language of its prime mover and greatest champion, Wm. L. Yancey, “are traitors, and liable to be treated as such for violating the Constitution and laws of their country.
Resolved, That the idea of seceding from the general government of the United States, and attaching Virginia (as the outside sentinel) to the so-called Cotton or Gulf State Confederacy, is repulsive, and opposed to every feeling, sentiment and instinct of patriotism, and the sense of this meeting is unalterably opposed to being dragged into the wake of secession by South Carolina, the hot-bed of political heresies and treason.
Resolved, That Western Virginia has patiently submitted to and borne up under the oppressive policy of of [sic] Eastern Virginia for the last half century, as shown in her course in denying to us equal representation and refusing to bear her equal share of the burden of taxation, (in uniformly claiming and receiving exemption from equal taxation on her slave property;) That now the measure of Eastern oppression is full and that if, as is claimed by her, secession is the only remedy offered by her for all our wrongs, the day is near at hand when Western Virginia will rise up in the majesty of her strength and repudiating her oppressors will dissolve all her civil and political connection with them, and remain firmly under the time honored stars and stripes.
Resolved, That we hereby tender our thanks to our delegates in Convention, W. T. Willey and M. M. Dent, Esqrs., for their firm stand and active resistance to the extreme and unwise policy of secession, and cordially say to them, “Well done good and faithful servants.”
On motion the report of the committee was taken up for discussion.
E. C. Bunker, Esq., made some remarks in opposition to some of the resolutions, and was replied to by R. L. Berkshire, Esq., in some very forcible remarks. The resolutions as reported by the committee were then taken up separately and passed by an overwhelming majority, most of them unanimously.
The following resolution was submitted and unanimously adopted:
Resolved, That is case an ordinance of secession is passed by our State Convention, that our Delegates be requested to propose a division of the State, by some line that will sever us from all future connection with Eastern secessionists.
On motion, Col. Kramer, Col. Hanway, and Dr. Boughner were appointed a committee to invite F. Smith, of Mannington, Va., to address the citizens of this County at the Court-house on Monday next.
On motion is was ordered that the proceedings of this meeting be published in the Morgantown Star, Wheeling Intelligencer and all the papers in the State friendly to the Union.
After giving three cheers for Major Anderson and three for the Union, the meeting adjourned to meet on Monday next.
Wm. Lazier, Pres.
Wm. M. Dent, I. Scott, Sec’ys.
Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: April 1861