Mass Meeting in Kanawha
July 3, 1862
Mass Meeting in Kanawha
In accordance with the public notice given the loyal citizens of Kanawha county assembled, at the Court House in Charleston, on Monday the 16th of June 1862. It was discovered that the Court House would be altogether too limited to accommodate the larger number assemble, and arrangements were accordingly made to accommodate them in the shady yard of the Court House. – At about 2 o’clock, P.M. the large assembly of the people there congregated was called to order by Mr. E.W. NEWTON who took the stand as the President of the meeting, C.D. CARTER was appointed secretary,
On Motion, The President appointed J.D. Carter, James Navius, Geo. Ritter, F.W. Garcelan and John Reynolds, a committee to prepare and present for the meeting resolution appropriate to its consideration and action.
During the absence of the committee, Mr. N.S. Whitteker, being called upon, addressed the audience, delivering, in a fervid, eloquent strain the true Union Sentiments. – It was evident they came from a patriotic head and heart, and the cheers, that were returned from the vast audience, showing that they also reaching the hearts of a union loving people.
At the close of Mr. Whittekers remarks, the Committee returned and through the chairman, Mr. Carter, reported to the meeting the following preamble and resolution which were, without debate, adopted by acclamation:
Whereas, the doctrine of Secession, taught by the political, and developed in all the horrors of civil war by the military leaders of the South, is rebellion, in its worst form, against the Government of the United States; subversive of the very principles of that form of Government that we have been taught to hold only less sacred than the pure principles Eternal God, and destructive of the peace, prosperity, and security, and social happiness and religious welfare of the people. And whereas it is the paramount duty of every Union loving law abiding citizens, to set his face as flint against this monstrous heresy, oppose and crush it, in all its forms, by every influence in his power [Illegible]
Resolved 1. That, as this rebellion and revolution necessarily reaches the very foundations upon which all things, social and political, have heretofore been built. We hold, therefore, that sentiments, preferences sympathies in favor of the rebels, or for their cause, are positively treasonable, and cannot be tolerated with impunity, and ought to be made punishable by statute.
And further, that we are distinctly opposed to the return of any particle more of such sentiment, preference of sympathy to our country there being an almost intolerable sufficiency thereof already in our midst.
Resolved, 2. That we will discourage secession in every form that it may be present itself for public patronage.
Resolved, 3. That we heartily condemn every thing like the affiliation with secessionists for the purpose of gaining their patronage, or otherwise; and we do most solemnly declare, that we will support no man for any office who shall be found guilty of so doing.
Resolved, 4. That we heartily disapprobate the putting of secessionists or sympathisers[sic] therewith in any office of trust or profit, either by appointment or otherwise, and all such attempts will be looked upon by us as a premium upon treason.
Resolved, 5. That the appointment of William J. Rand, as the Superintendent of the Road and River Improvements, meets our unqualified disapprobation – He has given no evidence whatever, of either support of, or sympathy with either the Government of the United States or the restored government of Virginia, since the passage of the Ordinance of Secession, but on the contrary, has openly associated and sympathised[sic] with the enemies of both since that. And he, the said William J. Rand, is hereby respectfully to resign said office.
Resolved, 6. That we recomend[sic] Mr. Watson Eastwood as a suitable person to be appointed to fill the office of Superintendent of the Road and River Improvement.
Resolved, 7. That we will support no man for any office who will not act and publicly declare himself an unconditional Union man.
Judge Jas. H. Brown being called out took the stand and riveted the attention of the people with an able speech delivered in his best style. He remarked in the outset that he did not deem it proper for him, on account of his position to speak directly to the resolution that had been adopted but would confine his remarks to the unhappy condition of our common county, giving utterance only to his views in general as he had uttered on the bench. His remarks were highly instructive to the audience showing in a lucid manner the enormity of the wicked rebellion and its utter causelessness. He also explained in the most satisfactory way the constitutionality of the necessity of the restored government of Virginia. The importance of the proposed New State to the future peace and prosperity of the West was made clear to all present. The speaker retired from the stand amid the hearty cheers of his attentive hearers.
Col. B.H. Smith, being called upon made one of his very happiest, able and devoted Union speeches – enforcing the necessity of a strict and sacred observance of the laws in putting down the rebels, liberty and security could be retained only by the protection of the law. While he would extend all proper liency to the rebels he would have the rebellion put down at all hazards. His remarks were often enthusiastically cheered by the meeting.
Mr, Andrew Cunningham, closed the speaking on the occasion. His sound views of our Union and the glorious destiny of our Union that awaits our free institutions delighted the unintelligent audience. – Though a laboring man his remarks convinced his hearers that he had the command of words forcibly and clearly to express those views.
Mr. F. Walker moved that the loyal citizens of the Kanawha celebrate the coming 4th of July, at the camp ground over Elk. On motion it was resolved that the preceedings of the meeting be published in the Kanawha Republican and the Weekly Register, Wheeling Intelligencer and Press, and the Gallipolis Journal and Dispatch, he requested to publish the same. The meeting then adjourned, and the people returned pleased with the unanim—[illegible] the enthusiastic union feeling they had witnessed and felt.
E.W. NEWTON, Prest.
J.D. CARTER, Sec’y.
Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: June 1862