Mr. Willey’s Speech Yesterday.
February 13, 1863
Mr. Willey’s Speech Yesterday.
The Speech of Hon. Waitman T. Willey, U. S. Senator, in the New State Convention yesterday afternoon, was one of great power, and will be, when printed, a document that will carry conviction broadcast among the people. It was listened to with profound attention by the Convention and a large collection of citizens who had assembled to hear it.
Its power consisted in its well collated facts from indisputable authority, showing first, the long array of precedents from the various hills under which many of the States had been admitted into the Union, upon certain conditions, and showing, second, the record of John S. Carlile in connection with the Senate bill reported by Mr. Wade, as Chairman of the Territorial Committee in which he affixed some five separate and distinct conditions, one of which was the enactment that all children of slaves born in the New State after the fourth of July next should be free: and showing, third, that the best Virginia statesmen in the Convention of 1829-30 and before and since had agreed that slavery was a curse to the State. Not only to the Western portion of it, but to the whole of it; and that the only hope for the State was in getting clear of it; and showing, fourth, that the New State would have one of the severest and most stringent anti-free negro laws of any State in the Union – one that would keep those of Eastern Virginia also away from us; and showing, fifth, that every conceivable interest in Western Virginia, including those of the farmer, the merchant, the manufacturer, the mechanic, and the laborer, would be immeasurably advanced, built up and protected by diminished taxes, increased population and the expenditure of our own revenue in our own midst.
There were other points incidentally woven into the speech besides the cardinal ones we have mentioned. The details of these points were strongly elaborated, and all together they made up the most thorough, and comprehensive and conclusive argument, which has yet been made in one connection.
Never was a base coin more immovably and eternally nailed to the counter than the treacherous and traitorous John S. Carlile in this speech of Mr. Willey’s. He was flayed in the pillory until there was nothing left of him, simply by quoting in the most deferential yet castigating language, his own words as expressed in the Senate bill alluded to, and in the various speeches which he from time to time made in favor of a New State. When the people of Western Virginia come to read that portion of his record which is condensed into Mr. Willey’s speech, they will wonder at their tolerance and patience with the man, and the universal indignation which found utterance in every public meeting in Western Virginia last summer, will rise and kindle and burst forth afresh.
It is the intention of Mr. Willey to have his speech published in pamphlet form, and we trust that a copy of it will find its way into the hands of every citizen of the New State. Its wide distribution can scarcely fail to secure a practically unanimous vote on the day of ratification.
Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: February 1863