“A Crazy Legislature”
The Spectator has a very silly and indelicate article under the above caption, in which it charges the Legislature, “by nearly a unanimous vote,” with having “pledged Virginia to fight the battles of South Carolina.” This is all twaddle, and an abortive attempt at raw-head-and- bloody-bones to frighten the people. The call of a Convention is to prevent war and bloodshed; rather than precipitate them. If any body of men in the universe could be placed in a position to save this country from carnage and civil war, it will be a Convention of delegates fresh from the sovereign people of Virginia. It is admitted on all sides, that Virginia’s relations to the Union are such as to be more potential for restoring peace and harmony than any other State. How would it be possible to make known her wishes and position, save through a body authorized by the people to represent their sentiments. Any action Virginia may take through her Convention will be for the conservation of peace, if that is possible. If War is inevitable, which we by no means believe, then what body so proper as the Convention to define the purpose of the Old Dominion? Be the result of our present difficulties peace or war, a Convention is the safest and most legitimate body to act for the State.
The idea of pledging Virginia to fight the battles of any State is simply ridiculous. If the madness of Black Republican fanaticism and treachery should ever attempt to coerce any seceding State, the question would become one embracing the constitutional rights of every Southern State that repudiates the right of coercion, and the conflict would become one of the South, defending the Constitution, against the North, violating it. In that event, Virginia would have as many battles of her own to fight as she could desire, without sending her armies to the cotton and rice fields of the extreme South.
It is a conflict we desire to prevent. If we send the proper men to the Convention, that conflict may be prevented. It is the solemn and sacred duty of the people therefore, to come to the polls on the 4th day of February and cast their votes for such men as they can trust, irrespective of Court-house recommendations or partizan influences. There will be no infamy too intense or degradation too deep, for the man whose craven soul would allow party considerations or associations to decide these momentous questions for him. A weightier responsibility never rested upon any people than the voters of Virginia will be called to assume on the 4th of February. Let each man meet it like a freeman, who in the sight of God and his loyalty to his State and country, feels like proving his patriotism and asserting his adherence to the Federal Constitution as framed by our fathers.
— Republican Vindicator (Staunton, Virginia), 18 January 1861.