May 7, 1861
Pursuant to previous notice, a meeting of the citizens of Kanawha county at the Mouth of Big Sandy, on Tuesday the 30th day of April, 1861, was held for the purpose of consulting together and uniting upon the course of policy, which, in this judgment, would most effectually protect their interest and honor in the unfortunate, deplorable condition of the country.
On motion, James S. Connell was called to the Chair, and George S. Chilton was appointed Secretary. And on motion, a committee of seven, composing the following named gentlemen, was appointed to draft resolutions expressive of the sense of the meeting, to-wit: Milton Woods, M. Geary, A. J. Hindsman, John Selby, Squire Jarrett, J. C. Riley, and W. E. Chilton; and on motion of I. A. Welch, John H. Connell was added to the committee.
Whereupon the committee reported the following preamble and resolutions.—The resolutions were advocated by I. A. Welch, esq. In the course of his remarks he declared that in every act of his life his devotion to the preservation of the Union was such that he had been unwilling to see this government broken up as long as there existed a rational hope for its preservation, but believing that there was not now a shadow of a hope for the preservation of the Union upon terms of equality and justice, that the next devotion was to Virginia, and come weal or woe, he would stand by her in every emergency, even to the death. The resolutions were opposed by M. Geary; and the vote being taken resulted in their adoption, M. Geary, only voting in the negative. Milton Woods voted to strike out the first clause of the fourth resolution.
Whereas, the confederacy or compact, known as the United States of America, and adopted and ratified by the people then composing thirteen independent sovereign States, had for its object, to “Form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to” them and their posterity, and whereas it is a fact as true as it is painful to us that the government of our fathers has become subversive of the purposes for which it was created; and to enumerate the enormities which we have suffered from these to whom we have always been loyal, would be to enumerate a series of abuses almost coeval with the government. Amongst the various grievances that we have suffered, the execution of the various laws, growing out of an express provision of the Constitution, providing for the reclamation of a “fugitive from labor, have been obstructed by laws passed by the legislatures of a large majority of the non-slaveholding States, and by lawless mobs, created by fanatical and misguided minds, for the purpose of hinderdering [sic] the execution of the laws, thereby making them inoperative and void. Raids of lawless desperadoes have invaded many of the Southern Slave States and have murdered the peaceable citizens in the night time while they were sleeping in confident security under the hopeful protection of our institutions, and more effectually to complete their work of death and devastation on an unoffending and unsuspecting people, have burned their barns and dwellings and incited their slaves to insurrection. Under the sanction of law, a party having for its object the abolition of slavery, has elected by a majority of the electoral college the chief executive officer of this government, and having thus been elected exclusively upon sectional principles, has, during the short but eventful period of his administration, in every conceivable manner, pandered to the will of the fanaticism of his party, which in point of a reckless disregard of the lives and happiness of a people whom it is his sworn duty to protect, is unprecedented in the history of the most barbarous ages, and in our most earnest and mature deliberations is unfit to be the chief executive officer of a free people.
1st. Therefore be it Reso[l]ved, That we have despaired of all hope of remaining in the present political relation we now sustain to the people of the Northern States of the late United States of America, upon terms of peaceful equality, that we have suffered these wrongs as long as they are sufferable, and even beyond that period that “forbearance ceases to be a virtue.”
2d. Resolved, That we approve of the action of our State Convention in the passage of an ordinance of secession, and that we will ratify the same when it shall be submitted to us.
3d. Resolved, That we will defend the honor, integritry [sic] and soil of Virginia in every emergency and at all hazards and sacrifices, even to the death.
4th. Resolved that the only hope of a speedy termination of the civil war that has been so wantonly waged upon us, is a united South, and we most ardently cherish the hope that all Virginians will be true and loyal to her in this hour of her trial.
5th. Resolved that the Kanawha Valley Star and Kanawha Republican be requested to publish the proceedings of this meeting.
On motion the meeting adjourned.
J. S. Connell, Pres’t.
G. S. Chilton, Sec’y.
Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: April 1861