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coerce a State" would be resisted. Though the governor was opposed to a convention, the legislature authorized the election and assembling of one, decreeing in connection therewith that at the former the people should decide whether or not the doings of said convention should be submitted to a vote of the people. The election resulted in the choice of one hundred and fifty-two delegates, a decided majority of whom were opposed to secession. It convened on the 13th of February, and its sessions revealed the sharp conflict of opinion that prevailed within as well as without the assembly. The conspirators met with indifferent success, and on the 4th of April the convention refused, by a vote of eighty-nine to forty-five, to pass an ordinance of secession. But they were desperate, and hesitated at nothing to enkindle feelings of discontent towards the Union and to inflame the passions of its members.
Alexander H. Stephens, having been sent to Virginia to strengthen the secessionists, addressed the people of Richmond on the 23d of April. He assured his excited auditory that the fires of patriotism were blazing brightly from Montgomery to Richmond, that the constitutional liberty they had vainly sought in the old Union they had found in the new; and he predicted that Lincoln would "quit Washington as ignominiously as he entered it." "The people of Virginia," he said, "and the States of the South are one in interest, in feeling, in institutions, and in hope; and why should they not be one in government? Every son of the South from the Potomac to the Rio Grande should rally beneath the same banner. The conflict may be terrible, but the victory will be ours. mains for you to say whether you will share our triumphs."
To the blinding appeals of sophistry, and to sectional distrust and hatred, they added attempts to reach the result aimed at by external pressure and the stimulus of Southern sympathy. Among those efforts were the purpose and attempt to goad the extreme Southern States to overt acts of violence and blood. Ruffin and Roger A. Pryor went to Charleston for this purpose. Nor did they go in vain. The jubilant correspondent who affirmed that the "ball fired by Edmund Ruffin will do more for secession in Virginia than volumes of stump
speeches" correctly forecasted the effect of such blood-letting. This, with the President's reply to the Virginia commissioners that he should "repel force by force," and his call for troops, changed very much the aspect of affairs. The feeling in Richmond, too, was contagious, and the men of the convention found it difficult to remain unaffected by the booming of cannon, the ringing of bells, the flying of flags, and the cheering of the excited multitude that were crowding the streets. Many faltered, either quailing before such menaces or seduced by such appliances, and the majority against disunion was rapidly melting away. And yet in a full convention there still remained a majority loyal to the government. But, drunk with passion and with blood, the leaders were not to be defeated, with success so near, if means, however desperate and indefensible, would prevent. In furtherance of that purpose, ten members of the convention were waited upon by leading conspirators, and informed that they had "the choice of three things, either to vote the secession ordinance, to absent themselves, or be hanged." Feeling that further resistance would be in vain, they succumbed to the pressure and were absent, and the ordinance of secession was passed by a vote of eighty-eight to fifty-five.
The convention appointed a committee, at the head of which was ex-President Tyler, to negotiate a treaty with Stephens. On the 24th of April a treaty was signed, providing the whole military force and operations, offensive and defensive, in the impending conflict, should be placed under the control of the President of the Southern Confederacy. The next day the convention adopted and ratified this treaty, appointed delegates to the Confederate Congress, and invited the Confederate government to make Richmond its capital. Thus the convention which had submitted the ordinance of secession to the people of that Commonwealth adopted the provisional government of the Confederate States, and they became, in the words of John Tyler, telegraphed to Governor Pickens, "fellow-citizens once more." While the question was pending before the people, Senator Mason, in a letter of the 16th of May to the "Winchester Virginian," contended that the ordinance of secession had an
nulled the Constitution and laws of the United States, and that its rejection by the people would violate the sacred pledge made to the Confederate States. He said that if there were those who could not in conscience vote to separate Virginia from the United States, their duty was simple and plain. "Honor and duty require alike," he said, "that they should not vote on the question; and if they retained such opinions, they must leave the State." Mason spoke the voice of the secession leaders. Thousands of Unionists did not dare to vote; Southern troops were on the soil of the State; Union men were everywhere proscribed and hunted down. The vote on the ordinance of secession was taken near the close of the month of May, and more than one hundred thousand majority was given therefor.
The delegates of Western Virginia in the convention returned to their homes resolved to resist the policy of secession. Public meetings were held pledging fidelity to the Union. Francis H. Pierrpont, afterward governor of Virginia, and John S. Carlisle, afterward United States Senator, were active and zealous. On the 13th of May a convention of delegates representing thirty-five counties met at Wheeling. Repudiating secession and declaring in favor of separation from the seceding State, it called a provisional convention of delegates to be chosen on the 26th, and to meet on the 11th of June. The convention met, and Arthur J. Boreman, afterward governor and United States Senator, was made president. John S. Carlisle reported resolutions repudiating the action of the disunion convention and vacating the offices of all who adhered to the Rebellion. After debate it was voted unanimously to divide the State. On the same day Francis H. Pierrpont was chosen governor, and a legislature was elected. This body assembling at Wheeling, and, claiming to be the legislature of the State of Virginia, assented to the proposed division. Congress, after deliberation, decided that this government, this governor, and this legislature were the government, governor, and legislature of loyal Virginia.
Tennessee afforded as apposite an illustration of the stern logic of events and of the difficulty of maintaining a position and at the same time discarding the measures necessary to
hold it, as either of the States called to grapple with the problem of disunion. It deprecated and dreaded the dangers of an open rupture even to slavery itself, distrusted the proposed policy, and shrunk back from the leadership of the men who were urging upon them that desperate measure. Indeed, so strong was the Union sentiment that as late as the 9th of February, on the question submitted to the people by the legislature, out of a vote of less than ninety-two thousand more than sixty-seven thousand voted against the proposed convention. And yet they were so opposed to the only measure that could prevent it, that they declared that if "any force be sent South for the purpose of subjugating the people thereof, the people of the State will join as one man to resist such an invasion at all hazards, and to the last extremity"; and the governor replied defiantly to the President's call for troops, that "Tennessee will not furnish a man for the purposes of coercion, but fifty thousand if necessary for the defence of our rights and those of our Southern brothers." An address from several leading men, including Neil S. Brown, John Bell, and others, while indorsing the position taken by the governor and legislature in refusing aid thereto, expressed the opinion that Tennessee should "not take sides against the government."
With sentiments like these it was only a question of time when the State would be found following the lead of the very men they so much distrusted, and linking their fortunes with a crusade they feared and had abundant reason to fear. They sought neutrality, but neutrality was obviously impossible.
Governor Harris called the legislature together on the 25th of April. The governor's sympathies had always been avowedly with those of the secession leaders, and in his message he called upon the legislature, notwithstanding the strong vote which the people had just cast against it, for the immediate adoption of an ordinance of secession and its early submission to the people. Henry W. Hillard of Alabama, who had been appointed a commissioner by the Confederate government, presented his views to the legislature. Assuming that the question involved was one of constitutional liberty, involving the right of the people to govern themselves, he maintained that the idea of reconstruction must be abandoned, that they would
not submit to the Abolition North, and that a system of government founded on slavery was the only form that could be sustained.
Ex-Governor Neil S. Brown urged the people to arm themselves, as it was the settled policy, he contended, of the administration and of the whole North to wage a war of extermination against the South. A treaty was negotiated on the 7th of May between the Confederate commissioner and commissioners appointed by the governor, with the authority of the legislature. By this treaty it was provided that the public property, munitions of war, and naval stores seized or acquired from the United States should be turned over to the Confederacy, and the Confederate President be authorized to exercise absolute military control in that State until it should become a member of the Confederacy. This treaty was sustained by nearly a two-thirds vote in each house. An ordinance of secession was submitted to the people, and also a proposition for the adoption of the provisional government of the Confederate States. Governor Harris was authorized to raise fiftyfive thousand volunteers and to issue five millions of State bonds. Before the 8th of June, when the ordinance and proposition were to be submitted to a popular vote, a large military force had been organized, the people were overcome by violence, and the ordinance of secession was adopted by more than fifty-seven thousand majority.
East Tennessee, being mountainous and having few slaves, remained loyal to the Union by a majority of more than two to one; and she remained loyal to the end, though at a fearful cost. When the intelligence was received that the legislature had adopted an ordinance of secession, Mr. Brownlow, afterward governor and United States Senator, denounced the action in his paper in bold and fiery language, calling upon the people to vote against the ordinance of secession. "Let," he said, "every man, old and young, halt and blind, contrive to be at the polls on that day. If we lose then, our liberties are gone, and we are swallowed up by a military despotism."
The legislature of North Carolina assembled on the 19th of November. John W. Ellis, the governor, was a bitter and active secessionist, using both personal and political influ