April 30, 1861
At a meeting of a portion of the Southern States’ Rights party of Kanawha County, held at the Flat Woods, on Saturday 20th April, 1861, Mr. Thomas M. Shelton was chosen as chairman, and Mr. S. A. Roberts as secretary. The nomination of candidates for the next House of Delegates of Virginia was announced as the object of the meeting.
On motion of Mr. A. B. Littlepage a committee was appointed to present resolutions for the consideration of the meeting. Whereupon Messrs. A. B. Littlepage, R. T. Roberts, S. T. Dudding, Alfred Lovejoy, Stephen Davidson, and R. T. Melton, were requested to act as such committee, who after consultation, reported the following preamble and resolutions, which were unanimously adopted:
Whereas, we, the voters of the Flat Woods precinct are advised that Mr. Henry D. Ruffner is compelled to decline his nomination for the next Legislature of this State, and whereas we all concur in the resolutions of the Southern Rights party, passed at Charleston, Monday last, and think that the times call for good and true men in council as well as in field. Therefore, resolved,
1.That we recommend to the people of this county, Thomas B. Swann and Hezekiah Agee, as suitable persons to represent them in our next House of Delegates.
2. That the Charleston papers be requested to publish the proceedings of this meeting.
Thos. M. Shelton, Pres’t.
T. A. Roberts, sec’y.
For the Kanawha Valley Star.
Thomas B. Swann, Esq.:
Sir: Believing that you are a true friend of Southern rights, and institutions, and will stand be the State of Virginia under all circumstances, you are invited to declare yourself a candidate for the House of Delegates.
For the Kanawha Valley Star.
To my Fellow Citizens of Kanawha County:
I have given to your many private and public calls upon me, regardless of party, to serve you in the next Legislature of the State, that reflection which they deserve. The compliment which you have so frequently communicated to me, your sense of my ability to serve you, are duly appreciated. In times of the ordinary legislation of the State, it would be impossible for me to yield to your wishes, but in times like the present, it behooves every good citizen so to do, and to act as best he may serve the general good.—Look to whatever course we please, as the source of our national troubles, the crisis upon us is an attack upon constitutional liberty, whose very pillars and dome are being shaken and rent by Northern fanaticism, and it requires the united and strong arm of the statesman and soldier to preserve it for ourselves and prosterity [sic]. Liberty is in danger, and every freeman should run to her rescue. We are in actual war. The spell of the Union, dear as we all loved it once, has been broken at the mouth of the can[n]on, and the North is arrayed against Virginia in hostile arms. Some of us thought it was better to separate at once than to part in the storm of war, which we thought delay would bring upon the country. Our counsels were overruled, and the counsel of others, who advised a different course, prevailed. The voice of censure and recrimination should not rest upon our lips. We must forget the past and unite for the future. Had the policy of those with whom I acted prevailed, it might have led to the same unhappy result. We will, at least, extend to each others opinions an honest and manly charity. What would be the best policy in such trying times, was a question of proportions, upon which the best and wisest might honestly differ and err. We will be wise enough to profit by our errors and united for our mutual defense.
The flag of Virginia calls every son of Virginia to duty, and we will respond from the hills and low-lands, and keep its proud crest upon that eminence where our fathers placed it. Division amongst us now, will induce our foe to bring this war to our very doors, which we may yet avoid, by being united. In this great conflict, all parties have crumbled into dust, to rise no more. It remains for the future to inaugurate new governments and new parties. For the present, we will know only the flag of Virginia, and wherever that leads we will follow. Virginia exhausted all her powers to keep the peace between these States; she will now exhaust all her stores of war in maintaining her honor and driving the foe from her soil. To love the Black Republican-Lincoln-Union now, with which we are at war, is treason to Virginia—treason, which will live in the minds and be excreted by the good and great of generations unborn. The legislation of the State should be now so directed as to bring this unhappy war to a speedy close. This can only be accomplished by a bold and energetic policy. Timid counsels now is a crime, that will make this war of long duration. It must be brought to a speedy close by vigorous means. If the general desire for my services is, as is supposed, I will serve you with pleasure. If you can select another, who will serve you with more energy and ability, I shall rejoice to serve my State in another field of duty. My preparation for the approaching courts, allow me no time for canvassing the county, and I must leave my election to my friends.
Respectfully, your ob’t ser’t,
Thomas B. Swann.
Charleston, April 30, 1861.
Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: April 1861