Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood
January 5, 1863

Wheeling Intelligencer
January 13, 1863

Matters In Marion County.

Meeting at the Court House - a Spirited Debate - Delegate Smith drawn out and "done" for.

From the Fairmont National

On Monday last a large number of people from various parts of the county assembled in town to attend the County Court. Considerable feeling was manifested on the street in reference to the course pursued by the Delegates from this county in the Wheeling Legislature, and as Mr. Smith, one of the Delegates, was present and busily engaged in haranguing small squads of secesh who gathered about him as "birds of feather" are wont to do, it was determined by the Union men to have a speech from him defining his position and explaining his votes and speeches in the House of Delegates. Accordingly he was applied to by several prominent citizens and urged to take the stand, and if possible, exculpate himself from the many rumors afloat that he had gone body and breeches to the side of Carlile and the rebels. But all efforts to get him out proved futile until as a last resort it was determined to send over to Palatine for Rev. Moses Tichnell to lead off and in the course of remarks propound certain questions to Mr. S, which it was thought would have the effect of causing him to desist in his efforts to hold up but make him give something even though it should be nothing but mile and water. When the messenger found Mr. Tichnell, he was engaged in repairing a fence, but on learning the situation at the Court-House, he threw down a rail in hand, put on his coat, came over and at once commenced by speaking of the efforts long ago made to get the East to consent to a division of the State.

He said our just rights had always been denied us. If we should remain tied to the East for a thousand years still our interests would lie along the Ohio river, with Wheeling, down the Monong[a]hela with Pittsburg, and with the great West. All Western Virginia had ever got for the millions of taxes paid, were a few mud turnpikes, which the people had again to pay in tolls. The sore-backed 'quality' of Eastern Virginia who have come out here with one or two niggers, expect everybody to cry rabbi as they pass along in their old fashioned, rickety one-horse shays.

He believed every State had a right to emancipate. He was further convinced that the love of slavery was not a matter of principal but of interest. It is a matter of dollars and cents. It is the profit arising from the ownership of slaves that make men like it. He showed that no State had any right to complain when the South began the war. The people of Western Virginia had early made up their minds to die rather than see the flag of their country trailed in the dust. When the war broke out he was notified that if he spoke for the Union his house would be burned and himself sent to jail. A guard protected his house and he told the messenger to tell his lord and master Haymond, that he would have a good time getting him to jail. He had spoke for the Union and as long as God gave him breath he would continue.

He then spoke of Carlile's treachery and spoke of his having been a democrat, whig, knownothing and everything else. He never had had any confidence in him. He (Carlile) had claimed to be the prime mover in the new State movement, but his treachery had well nigh ruined us. He answered the charge of Congressional dictation and showed that it was only a bugbear - a humbug - political foolery - a scheme to deceive and delude the people. He said it was the united testimony of all that slavery could not live long here at best. This bill will not make this a free State a day sooner than we would by the operation of natural causes.

He then addressed Mr. Smith as follows:

Mr. Smith, it is reported that you have endorsed Mr. Carlile; is it so?

Mr. Smith (apparently much embarrassed) denied the right of the gentleman to catechise him in this uncourteous manner.

Mr. Tichnell replied, that as a citizen of the country he claimed the right to ask his representative any questions relating his action as a public servant. Why, Mr. Smith, did you not vote for the resolutions censuring Carlile?

Mr. Smith replied that he believed Mr. Carlile not guilty of the charges preferred against him. He had no documents with him, but at the next Monthly Court he would be prepared to give an account of his stewardship.

Mr. Tichnell asked the people if they would vote for a man who wouldn't show his hand. We had a perfect right to catechise him.

After a great deal of off-hand sparring, in which, Mr. Smith, in everything, came off second best, he finally came slowly up to the scratch, and struck out right and left in a tremendous lung effort, from the gist of which one would suppose he was a candidate for some office - Governor, may be - as he went out of his way to extol the soldiers of West Virginia; denounce the Administration, calling it a corrupt misrule; boast of having made the first Union speech in the county, and to declare every man's right to interrogate the public servant upon any and all subjects relating to his public acts.

This sounded a little inconsistent with what he had before said, but he had by this time discovered that there were more persons present than Mr. Tichnell desirous of hearing an explicit answer to the questions proposed. Mr. Smith spoke for nearly an hour. The great burden of all he said was denunciation of the Administration and of Congress for what he called a perversion of the objects of the war, and dictating the terms for the admission of new States. Here are a few of his expressions contrasted. If they are not incongruous, absurd, and a miserable hotch-potch of blather to cover up his ill-concealed sympathy with the tribe of Davis the I., we don't know what is.

He never had been a political admirer of Carlile.

Mr. Carlile was not guilty of trying to defeat the new State project.

All his (Smith's) feelings and former associations inclined him to be pro-slavery.

He believed West Virginia ought to be a free State.

He was in favor of the Battelle resolutions, and had urged Mr. B. to offer them in the Convention.

He had private objections to the bill under which the State had been admitted. Every vote he had cast had been for the new State.

How he would vote now, he could not tell.

He said Tennessee and Kentucky were admitted with a slavery Constitution, a fact quite unnecessary to tell as everybody knows it, but it wasn't convenient for him to say that by the Ordinance of '87 slavery was excluded from Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Michigan. This would have been fatal to his bugaboo of Congressional dictation.

He argued to show that Eastern Virginia must have a voice in this matter of a division of the State, and that France would come on us for the redemption of bonds she hald against the old State. If he believed all this, we can't see how he ever was a new State man, unless these ideas have but recently popped into his head which is hardly supposable as the secessionists in this county have urged them before.

After he had concluded, E. B. Hall, Esq., took the floor and entered into a complete analysis of the whole arguments against the new State founded on Congressional dictation and the right of Eastern Virginia to any voice in the matter. He said there was no dictation in the matter at all. The Emancipation clause was got up by our own delegation aided by the advice and suggestions of the Commissioners and other friends of the new State who were in Washington at the time. He said the clause excluding free negroes was not incorporated in order to secure the votes of Lane of Kansas and others whose consciences would not permit them to vote to exclude any class of citizens. He defended Ben. Wade and the editor of the Wheeling Intelligencer against the charges made by Mr. Smith that they had dictated the whole thing. He was in Washington himself the day the bill was arranged and knew from personal knowledge that there was not a word of truth in the cry of dictation.

We regret we have not space to give even an outline of all Mr. Hall said. Suffice it to say that he spoke with great energy, force and eloquence, for he no doubt felt grieved that a man in Mr. Smith's position should endeavor to weaken the confidence of the people in the integrity of the Administration and in our right to the new State. We have heard men used up in debate before, but we never yet witnessed so complete a demolishment of an opponent as on this occasion. Mr. Tichnell cornered him, pinned him to the wall, and skinned him alive, but Mr. Hall took the wind out of him, buried him deep and covered him all over with shame.

Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: January 1863

West Virginia Archives and History