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Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood
Undated
August 1861


Richmond Daily Dispatch
August 24, 1861

Attorney General Bates to the bogus Convention.

--A letter from Mr. Bates to Mr. A. F. Ritchie, of Marion county, was read in the Wheeling Convention on Thursday last. It was in answer to an inquiry as to the propriety of forming a new State in the Western part of Virginia. Mr. Bates says:

The formation of a new State out of Western Virginia is an original, independent act of revolution I do not dany the power of revolution. (I do not call it right for it is never prescribed, it exists in force only, and has and can have no law but the will of the revolutionist.) Any attempt to carry it out involves a plain breach of both the Constitutions of Virginia and the nation. And honor it is plain that you cannot take that course without weakening if not destroying, your claims upon the sympathy and support of the General Government; and without disconcerting the plan already adopted both by Virginia and the General Government, for the re-organization of the revolted States, and the restoration of the integrity of the Union.

Your Convention annulled the revolutionary proceedings at Richmond, both in the Convention and General Assembly, and your new Governor formally demanded of the President the fulfillment of the constitutional guarantee in favor of Virginia,Virginia as known to our Fathers and to us. The President admitted the obligation and promised his best efforts to fulfill it and the Senators, not as representing a new and nameless State, now for the first time heard of in our history, but as representing "the good old Commonwealth."

If I had time I think I could give persuasive reasons for declining the attempt to create a new State at this perilous time.

At another time, I might be willing to go fully into the question, but now I can say no more.

A telegraphic dispatch tells us what the bogus assemblage has done.

Wheeling,August 20.--The Western Virginia State Convention adopted to day an ordinance creating a new State to be called Kanawha. The ordinance provides that the matter be referred to the people at an election to be held on the 24th of October for approval or rejection. The adjoining counties are to be admitted if a majority of the voters therein desire it.


Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: Undated: August 1861

West Virginia Archives and History