November 25, 1862
Wheeling, Nov. 24th, 1862.
Editors Press:--In the Intelligencer of this morning is, as usual, a false and abusive article of me. I so far depart from the rule I have hitherto and shall hereafter observe, not to notice through the columns of any journal what that paper says of me, for the purpose of branding as false a statement seemingly made upon the authority of Mr. Willey. The statement to which I refer is that I was present at a meeting of “all the Western Virginia delegation at that time in Washington,” where a substitute prepared by Mr. Willey in substance the same as the bill that afterwards passed the Senate “was agreed to.” I never agreed to such a bill nor was I present at any meeting of Western Virginia delegates where such a bill was submitted and agreed to. It is due to Mr. Willey that I should say I do not believe he ever made such a statement.
Jno. S. Carlile.
The above card from Mr. Carlile appears in last evening’s Press. We invite public attention to it and the answer we shall make. We pass by what Mr. C. says concerning our articles about him, only stopping to make this point: That since the gentleman thought worth while to notice any of our statements, is it not strange, is it not unaccountable, that, our of all we have said, he should single out one little item of no comparative importance, and pass by entirely all the multitudinous and crushing and overwhelming vital facts which we have arrayed against him from the indisputable record. To the charge that he wrote secret letters over Western Virginia, urging that the Convention bill, to which he now pretends to be friendly, should be voted down, he makes no answer. To the charge that he engrafted an emancipation bill, with his own hand, in Senator Wade’s report, he makes no answer. To the charge that he struck out the Wheeling Convention boundaries, and substituted the one names yesterday, he makes no answer. To the charge that he dictated, with his own hand, the representation which each county should have, in a Convention never contemplated by his constituents, he makes no answer. To the charge that towards James W. Paxton, E. H. Caldwell, and Ephraim B. Hall, the Convention Commissioners, he made pretences which he deliberately falsified afterwards, he makes no answer.
To all these charges he answers not one word, and he dare not.
Jno. S. Carlile knows, as well as he knows how unworthy he has proven himself, that the evidence against him is like an avalanche, and that he can no more escape from the killing weight of it than he can escape death at the appointed day.
But to the insignificant point which he has essayed to make. Even that point, poor and pitiful as it is, in comparison with the others, he can not make, at all events not against us. Our statement that he was present at the informal meeting which Mr. Willey called after Mr. Wade’s report, was based upon an explicit declaration to that effect from Mr. Willey himself, made in his speech at Morgantown, on the 28th day of July last. We sent a verbatim reporter to that meeting, and from his report we we [sic] take the following quotation:
“Well, then, fellow-citizens I called a meeting of my colleagues in both Houses at my room, in connection with Gov. Peirpoint and Mr. Porter, of the county of Hancock, and perhaps some others who happened to be in the city at the time, and proposed in substance the bill to which my friend (Mr. Crane) has alluded, striking out all the Valley counties included, (in the report alluded to) and having ascertained beyond all doubt that it would be impossible to put through the senate and House the Constitution without some conditions affixed, I presented to that meeting of my colleagues and friends the proposition in substance, which I wrote out and expanded afterwards, embracing in point of fact the principle of the celebrated Missouri resolution adopted on the admission of Missouri into the Union. It was agreed upon—no voice dissenting--not one! MY COLLEAGUE WAS PRESENT. HE SUGGESTED THE MISSOURI RESOLUTION HIMSELF IN THE FIRST PLACE. And I knew of no objection until I heard it announced in argument on the floor of the Senate.
We submit this record to the people—Let them judge between Mr. Carlile and his colleague, Mr. Wiley. We shall make no comments upon it. Our only object in adducing it is to show how gratuitous and how reckless it is in Mr. Carlile to arraign the testimony which we have borne against his unworthiness, as “false.” No! Mr. Carlile, the record is not false. It is you who are “false.” It is because we would not follow you when you turned your back upon all that you and we so long advocated together, that you now call our testimany [sic] “false.” You, sir, must be conscious of the wrong you do us when you say so. You know how ardently and sincerely we stood by you as long as you would permit us. We gladly recognised you as the leader of Western Virginia, and we gave you, in unstinted measure, the best energies of this paper. We never asked a personal favor in return. All that we asked and desired of you was that you would be true to the proud mission in which you had been called. Against the better judgment of many friends, we nominated and supported you for your present position, and it is but little for us to say that we contributed chiefly to your election. And after you were elected and had taken your seat, we were long and loathe to believe the rumors that came from Washington of your growing infidelity to the great cause of the Union and to the interests of Western Virginia. It was only when we went and saw for ourselves, that we felt constrained by every instinct of manliness and principle to cut loose from your fellowship. You left us no choice. We had either to do that or betray the people who trusted us both.—You can bear us witness that more than once, in your own house, we remonstrated with you about unguarded expression which had escaped you concerning the probable issue of the war. We believed these expressions only the imprudent impatience of an anxious loyal man, and did not credit the report of those who suspicioned you for alienation from the good cause. But the sequal [sic] proved that those persons were right and we were wrong, and it was then and not until then, that we commenced the work of your exposure. And Sir, whether you believe it nor not, it was the most sorrowful task of a public nature, upon which we ever entered. But we did it, and it is to us this day only a matter of sad congratulation that we have been able to so thoroughly meet you at every twist and turn. We regret for yourself, and still more for the cause, your lost character. You have been of inestimable service to the country and Western Virginia, and both have generously acknowledged your services, and the sincere men of both lament the temptation that seduced you. You are now in this city on your way to Washington, to take your seat in the Senate. We sincerely hope that we shall be able to commend your course of action during the coming session. If we can we shall do so, but if not we shall never hesitate as to our duty.
Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: November 1862