A Free and Independent State

Now, therefore, we, the people of Virginia, do declare and ordain that the Ordinance adopted by the people of this State in Convention, on the twenty-fifth day of June, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy-eight, whereby the Constitution of the United States of America was ratified, and all acts of the General Assembly of this State, ratifying or adopting amendments to said Constitution, are hereby repealed and abrogated; that the union between the State of Virginia and the other States under the Constitution aforesaid, is hereby dissolved, and that the State of Virginia is in the full possession and exercise of all the rights of sovereignty which belong to a free and independent State.

Ordinance of Secession, 17 April, 1861.

Whereas, Seven of the States formerly composing a part of the United States have, by authority of their people, solemnly resumed the powers granted by them to the United States, and have framed a Constitution and organized a Government for themselves, to which the people of those States are yielding willing obedience, and have so notified the President of the United States by all the formalities incident to such action, and thereby become to the United States a separate, independent and foreign power; and whereas, the Constitution of the United States has invested Congress with the sole power “to declare war,” and until such declaration is made, the President has no authority to call for an extraordinary force to wage offensive war against any foreign Power: and whereas, on the 15th inst., the President of the United States, in plain violation of the Constitution, issued a proclamation calling for a force of seventy-five thousand men, to cause the laws of the United states to be duly executed over a people who are no longer a part of the Union, and in said proclamation threatens to exert this unusual force to compel obedience to his mandates; and whereas, the General Assembly of Virginia, by a majority approaching to entire unanimity, declared at its last session that the State of Virginia would consider such an exertion of force as a virtual declaration of war, to be resisted by all the power at the command of Virginia; and subsequently the Convention now in session, representing the sovereignty of this State, has reaffirmed in substance the same policy, with almost equal unanimity; and whereas, the State of Virginia deeply sympathizes with the Southern States in the wrongs they have suffered, and in the position they have assumed; and having made earnest efforts peaceably to compose the differences which have severed the Union, and having failed in that attempt, through this unwarranted act on the part of the President; and it is believed that the influences which operate to produce this proclamation against the seceded States will be brought to bear upon this commonwealth, if she should exercise her undoubted right to resume the powers granted by her people, and it is due to the honor of Virginia that an improper exercise of force against her people should be repelled. Therefore I, JOHN LETCHER, Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, have thought proper to order all armed volunteer regiments or companies within this State forthwith to hold themselves in readiness for immediate orders, and upon the reception of this proclamation to report to the Adjutant-General of the State their organization and numbers, and prepare themselves for efficient service. Such companies as are not armed and equipped will report that fact, that they may be properly supplied.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the Commonwealth to be affixed, this 17th day of April, 1861, and in the eighty-fifth year of the Commonwealth.

JOHN LETCHER.

Mary Aggie and Benefit of Clergy in Virginia

Miserere mei, Deus, secundum magnam misericordiam tuam;
et secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum, dele iniquitatem meam.

Psalmus 50. iii.

LAWS OF VIRGINIA, MAY 1732−−5th & 6th GEORGE II.

CHAP. VII.

An Act for settling some doubts and differences of opinion, in relation to the benefit of Clergy; for allowing the same to Women; and taking away of Reading; and to disable certain Persons, therein mentioned, to be Witnesses.

I. WHEREAS it has been held, That where, by an act of parliament, made in England before the settlement of this colony, the benefit of clergy, as it is called, hath been taken away from any offences, that persons committing the like offences in this colony, are excluded by virtue thereof; but this opinion, if it were nicely examined, might possibly be questioned: And for settling the law in that point,

II. Be it enacted, by the Lieutenant-Governor, Council and Burgesses, of this present General Assembly, and by the authority of the same, That where, by any act of the parliament of England, made before the fourth year of the reign of the late king James the first, the benefit of clergy is taken away from any offence, the same shall hereafter be adjudged to be taken away from the like offence, committed in this colony, in respect to principals, and accessories standing mute, and challenging a greater number of the jury than the law allows.

III. And whereas the old distinction, of allowing the benefit of clergy, to men only, and excluding women, and putting the offender, being a layman, to read, hath been taken away by the parliament of England: Be it enacted, That where a man, being convicted of any felony, may demand the benefit of his clergy, if a woman be convicted of the same, or the like offence, upon her prayer to have the benefit of this act, judgment of death shall not be given against her upon such conviction, nor execution awarded upon any outlawry, for such offence; but she shall suffer the same punishment as a man should suffer, that has the benefit of his clergy allowed him in the like case; That is to say, shall be burnt in the hand by the jailor in open court, and shall be afterwards dealt with, as a man in the like case might be. And if any person be convicted of a felony, for which he ought to have the benefit of clergy, and shall pray to have the benefit of this act, he shall not be required to read, but without any reading, shall be allowed, taken, and reputed to be, and punished as a clerk convict; which shall be as effectual, to all intents and purposes, and as advantageous to him, as if he had read as a clerk; any other law or statute, to the contrary hereof, in any wise, notwithstanding. Clergy allowed to women.

IV. And whereas a question hath lately arisen, touching the right of negros, to the benefit of clergy: for the determination thereof, Be it further enacted, That when any negro, mulatto, or Indian whatsoever, shall be convicted of any offence within the benefit of clergy, judgment of death shall not be given against him or her, upon such conviction; but he or she, shall be burnt in the hand in open court, by the jailor, and suffer such other corporal punishment, as the court shall think fit to inflict; except where such negro, mulatto, or Indian, shall be convicted of manslaughter, or the felonious breaking and entring any house in the night-time, or for breaking and entring in the day-time any house, and taking from thence any goods or chattels whatsoever, to the value of five shillings sterling; and where he or she hath once had the benefit of this act; and in those cases, such negro, mulatto, or Indian, shall suffer death, and be excluded from the benefit of this act.

V. And whereas negros, mulattos, and Indians, have lately been frequently allowed to give testimony as lawful witnesses in the general court, and other courts of this colony, when they have professed themselves to be christians, and been able to give some account of the principles of the christian religion: but forasmuch as they are people of such base and corrupt natures, that the credit of their testimony cannot be certainly depended upon, and some juries have altogether rejected their evidence, and others have given full credit thereto: For preventing the mischiefs that may possibly happen by admitting such precarious evidence,

VI. Be it further enacted, That no negro, mulatto, or indian, either a slave or free, shall hereafter be admitted in any court of this colony, to be sworn as a witness, or give evidence in any cause whatsoever, except upon the trial of a slave, for a capital offence; in which such case they shall be allowed to give evidence, in the manner directed by one act of assembly, made in the ninth year of the reign of the late king George, intituled, An Act directing the trial of Slaves committing Capital Crimes; and for the more effectual punishing Conspiracies and Insurrections of them; and for the better government of Negros, Mulattos, and Indians, bond or free.

In Plain Violation of the Constitution

Whereas, seven of the States formerly composing a part of the United States have, by authority of their people, solemnly resumed the powers granted by them to the United States, and have framed a Constitution and organized a Government for themselves, to which the people of those States are yielding willing obedience, and have so notified the President of the United States by all the formalities incident to such action, and thereby become to the United States a separate, independent and foreign power; and whereas, the Constitution of the United States has invested Congress with the sole power “to declare war,” and until such declaration is made, the President has no authority to call for an extraordinary force to wage offensive war against any foreign Power: and whereas, on the 15th inst., the President of the United States, in plain violation of the Constitution, issued a proclamation calling for a force of seventy-five thousand men, to cause the laws of the United States to be duly executed over a people who are no longer a part of the Union, and in said proclamation threatens to exert this unusual force to compel obedience to his mandates; and whereas, the General Assembly of Virginia, by a majority approaching to entire unanimity, declared at its last session that the State of Virginia would consider such an exertion of force as a virtual declaration of war, to be resisted by all the power at the command of Virginia; and subsequently the Convention now in session, representing the sovereignty of this State, has reaffirmed in substance the same policy, with almost equal unanimity; and whereas, the State of Virginia deeply sympathizes with the Southern States in the wrongs they have suffered, and in the position they have assumed; and having made earnest efforts peaceably to compose the differences which have severed the Union, and having failed in that attempt, through this unwarranted act on the part of the President; and it is believed that the influences which operate to produce this proclamation against the seceded States will be brought to bear upon this commonwealth, if she should exercise her undoubted right to resume the powers granted by her people, and it is due to the honor of Virginia that an improper exercise of force against her people should be repelled. Therefore I, JOHN LETCHER, Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, have thought proper to order all armed volunteer regiments or companies within this State forthwith to hold themselves in readiness for immediate orders, and upon the reception of this proclamation to report to the Adjutant-General of the State their organization and numbers, and prepare themselves for efficient service. Such companies as are not armed and equipped will report that fact, that they may be properly supplied.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the Commonwealth to be affixed, this 17th day of April, 1861, and in the eighty-fifth year of the Commonwealth.

JOHN LETCHER.

Cromwell, Lincoln, and Virginia

Cromwell, Lincoln and Virginia.

When Oliver Cromwell was installed Protector of England, the Commonwealth of Virginia refused to acknowledge his authority. The English Commonwealth was then at the height of its power, and, at its head, one who was admirably described by Bossuet as “a man of an incredible depth of thought; as profound a hypocrite as he was a skillful politician; capable alike of concealing and undertaking everything; active and indefatigable equally in peace as war; so vigilant and active that he has never proved himself wanting to any opportunity which presented itself to his elevation; in fine, one of those stirring and audacious spirits which seem born to overturn the world.” Such was the Commonwealth and such the man, triumphant over all other enemies, against which this gallant Commonwealth, then numbering only twenty thousand inhabitants, unfurled the standard of defence.

The Commonwealth of England was disposed to submit to this resistance.–Virginia, from the first, had arrayed itself on the side of the King. During the whole preceding struggle of Charles and the Parliament, Virginia was firm in its adherence to the monarch, and enacted a declaration “that they were born under a monarchy, and would never degenerate from the condition of their birth by being subject to any other government.” After the beheading of Charles I., Virginia acknowledged the authority of his son, and actually continued the provincial government under a commission sent by him from his retreat at Breda to Sir William Berkeley. The wrath of Parliament was intensely roused by this bold and persistent contumacy; an ordinance was issued declaring the inhabitants of Virginia notorious robbers and traitors, and all intercourse prohibited with them, either by the people of England, the inhabitants of the other American settlements, or with foreign nations. Finally, a fleet was sent over to overpower the rebellious colony. But observe the difference between the great intellects that then ruled England and the Government of the United States. Cromwell extended the olive branch as well as the sword, and commissioners accompanied the fleet, who were empowered to try the effect of pacific and conciliatory measures. The result proved the wisdom of the policy.

“It marks,” says Bancroft, a Massachusetts historian, “the character of the Virginians, that they refused to surrender to force, but yielded by a voluntary deed and mutual compact. We copy the articles concluded between the commissioners of the Commonwealth, and the Council of State, and the Grand Assembly of Virginia, that our readers may contrast them with the terms of Lincoln’s so-called amnesty:

“First. That this should be considered a voluntary act, not forced or constrained by a conquest upon the country; and that the colonists should have and enjoy such freedoms and privileges as belong to the free-born people of England.
“Secondly. That the Grand Assembly, as formerly, should convene and transact the affairs of Virginia, doing nothing contrary to the Government of the Commonwealth or laws of England.
“Thirdly. That there should be a full and total remission of all acts, words, or writings against the Parliament.
“Fourthly. That Virginia should have her ancient bounds and limits, granted by the charters of the former kings, and that a new charter was to be sought from Parliament to that effect, against such as had trespassed upon their ancient rights. (This clause would seem to be aimed at some of the neighboring colonies.)
“Fifthly. That all patents of land under the seal of the colony, granted by the Governor, should remain in full force.
“Sixthly. That the privilege of fifty acres of land for every person emigrating to the colony should remain in full force.
“Sevenths. That the people of Virginia have free trade, as the people of England enjoy, with all places and nations, according to the laws of the Commonwealth; and that Virginia should enjoy equal privileges, in every respect, with any other colony in America.
“Eighths. That Virginia should be free from all taxes, customs and impositions whatever; and that none should be imposed upon them without the consent of their Grand Assembly; and no forts or castles be erected, or garrisons maintained, without their consent.
“Ninth. That no charge should be required from the country on account of the expense incurred by the present fleet.
“Tenths. That this agreement should be tendered to all persons, and that such as should refuse to subscribe to it should have a year’s time to remove themselves and effects from Virginia, and in the meantime enjoy equal justice.”

The remaining articles were of less importance. This was followed by a supplemental treaty, for the benefit of the Governor and Council, and such soldiers as had served against the Commonwealth in England—allowing them the most favorable terms.

We need not enumerate the unconditional-surrender terms proposed by Lincoln. Their contrast to the overtures by which Cromwell pacificated the colony is too striking to require comment.

The record of Virginia from the first, warrants the pride and devotion of persons. The correspondence between the rights secured under the articles with the Commonwealth Parliament, and the rights mentioned in the Declaration of Independence, as violated by the British King, will suggest itself to every intelligent reader. That Old Dominion, with all its traditional love of monarchy; would not permit even its born king to trample upon its rights. If it did not lead the way in the American Revolution, it came up in due time; and, like a broad-shouldered and double-jointed giant, carried it through when others tottered and trembled under the burthen. “Beware of entrance to a quarrel, but, being in, bear it that the opposer may beware of thee,” seems to have been always the maxim of this deliberate and plucky old Commonwealth. But for Virginia, and Virginia’s Washington, what would have become of the American Revolution?

It becomes not us to speak of her career in the present war. She arrogates to herself no superiority over her patriotic and heroic sister States. She has been reproached, indeed, for coming so late into the contest. It is true, that in this Revolution, as in that of ’76, she was not in a hurry. She exhausted every effort for peace, conciliation and compromise before she drew the sword. She seemed like her great orator, Patrick Henry, somewhat awkward and hesitating in her first utterances in the grand debate. But she waxes warm as she proceeds, and then the lightnings flash and the thunders roll over the heated sky. Whatever be the result of this struggle, no Virginian will have reason to be ashamed of his State. Let Lincoln, more despotic than Cromwell, deprive her of her liberties and expunge her name from the roll of States, he cannot despoil her of the Past, nor extinguish the lustre with which History will reflect the majestic luminary long after it has descended beneath the horizon.

— The Daily Dispatch: 25 January 1865; Richmond Dispatch.

Pregnant with Ruin

Logo of the Jamestown Exposition, held from 26 April to 1 December 1907, at Sewell's Point on Hampton Roads, in Norfolk, Virginia, in commemoration of the 300th anniversary of the foundation of Jamestown.
Logo of the Jamestown Exposition, held from 26 April to 1 December 1907, at Sewell’s Point on Hampton Roads, in Norfolk, Virginia, in commemoration of the 300th anniversary of the foundation of Jamestown.

VIRGINIANS FIRST DEFIED ENGLAND. 

AN INTERESTING HISTORIC DOCUMENT SHOWS THAT NORFOLK (VA.) CITIZENS WERE AHEAD OF PHILADELPHIANS.

The coming Jamestown Exposition brings to light many historic facts long since forgotten. While loath to leave the British Empire, the patriots of Norfolk, Va., were the first to resent the aggression of the British Stamp Act, which led to the American Revolution. Under the name of “The Sons of Liberty” they assembled in Norfolk on March 13, and in bold and determined phrases announced their intention of resisting any further aggression on the part of the English Parliament. This was two months before the promulgation of the celebrated Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence and nearly five before the thirteen colonies assembled in Philadelphia to forever cast off the authority of the British crown and start the country on a career of prosperity and splendor which will be celebrated at the Jamestown Exposition, to be held at Hampton Roads, near Norfolk, in 1907. Extracts:

Having taken into consideration the evident tendency of that oppressive and unconstitutional act of Parliament commonly called the Stamp Act, and being desirous that our sentiments should be known to posterity and recollecting that we are a part of the colony who first in General Assembly openly expressed their detestation to the said act, which is pregnant with ruin and productive of the most pernicious consequences, and unwilling to rivet shackles of slavery and oppression on ourselves and millions yet unborn, hereby resolve:

  1. That we acknowledge our lord and sovereign, King George the Third, to be our rightful and lawful king; and that we will at all times, to the utmost of our power and ability, support and defend his most sacred person, crown, and dignity; and shall always be ready, when constitutionally called upon, to assist his Majesty with our lives and fortunes and to defend his just rights and prerogatives.
  2. That we will by all lawful ways and means which Divine Providence has put into our hands defend ourselves in the full enjoyment of, and preserve inviolate to posterity, those inestimable privileges of all freeborn British subjects, of being taxed only by representatives of their own choosing, and of being tried by none but a jury of their peers; and that if we quietly submit to the execution of the said Stamp Act all our claims to civil liberty will be lost, and we will be deprived of the invaluable privileges aforementioned.
  3. That a committee be appointed who shall in such manner as they think proper go upon necessary business and make public the above resolutions, and that they correspond as they shall see occasion with the Associated Sons of and Friends to Liberty in the other British Colonies of America.

As a result of the adoption of the resolutions Lord Dunmore, the British Colonial Governor, made a demonstration before Norfolk, and several shots were fired into the city from the frigate Liverpool. As a result of this and other outrages the Norfolk people were ready to throw off all authority and join with the other colonies when the Philadelphia Declaration of Independence was promulgated.

— Extracted from Confederate Veteran, vol. XIV, no. 8, August 1906.

The Crying Bloud of Our Pious Souveraigne

Speech of Sir Wm. Berkeley before the Grand Assembly in Virginia, March 1651 (1650/51).

GENTLEMEN you perceave by the Declaration that the men of Westminster have set out, which I beleeve you have all seene, how they meane to deal with you hereafter, who in the time of their wooing and courting you propound such hard Conditions to be performed on your parts, & on their own nothing but a benigne acceptance of your duties to them.

Indeed me thinks they might have proposed something to us which might have strengthned us to beare those heavy chaines they are making ready for us, though it were but an assurance that we shall eat the bread for which our owne Oxen plow, and with our owne sweat we reape; but this assurance (it seemes) were a franchise beyond the Condition they have resolu’d on the Question we ought to be in: For the reason why they talke so Magisterially to us in this, we are forsooth their worships slaves, bought with their money and by consequence ought not to buy, or sell but with those they shall Authorize with a few trifles to Coszen us of all for which we toile and labour.

If the whole Current of their reasoning were not as ridiculous, as their actions have been Tyrannicall and bloudy; we might wonder with what browes they could sustaine such impertinent assertions: For if you looke into it, the strength of their argument runs onely thus: we have laid violent hands on your Land-Lord, possess’d his Manner house where you used to pay your rents, therfore now tender your respects to the same house you once reverenced: I call my conscience to witnes, I lie not, I cannot in all their Declaration perceave a stronger argument for what they would impose on us, then this which I have now told you: They talke indeed of money laid out on this Country in its infancy: I will not say how little, nor how Centuply repaid, but will onely aske, was it theirs? They who in the beginning of this warr were so poore, & indigent, that the wealth and rapines of three Kingdomes & their Churches too, cannot yet make rich, but are faine to seeke out new Territories and impositions to sustaine their Luxury amongst themselves. Surely Gentlemen we are more slaves by nature, then their power can make us if we suffer ourselves to be shaken with these paper bulletts, & those on my life are the heaviest they either can or will send us.

‘Tis true with us they have long threatned the Barbados, yet not a ship goes thither but to beg trade, nor will they do to us, if we dare Honourably resist their Imperious Ordinance. Assuredly Gentlemen you have heard under what heavy burthens, the afflicted English Nation now groanes, and calls to heaven for relief: how new and formerly unheard of impositions make the wifes pray for barreness and their husbands deafnes to exclude the cryes of their succourles, starving children: And I am confident you
do believe, none would long endure this slavery, if the sword at their throats Did not Compell them to Languish under the misery they howrely suffer. Looke on their sufferings with the eyes of understanding, and that will prevent all your teares but those of Compassion. Consider with what prisons and Axes they have paid those that have served them to the hazard of their soules: Consider your selves how happy you are and have been, how the Gates of wealth and Honour are shut on no man, and that there is not here an Arbitrary hand that dares to touch the substance of either poore or rich: But that which I woud have you chiefly consider with thankfullnes is: That God hath seperated you from the guilt of the crying bloud of our Pious Souveraigne of ever blessed memory: But mistake not Gentlemen part of it will yet staine your garments if you willingly submit to those murtherers hands that shed it: I tremble to thinke how the oathes they will impose will make those guilty of it, that have long abhor’d the traiterousnesse of the act: But I confesse having had so frequent testimonies of your truths and courages, I cannot have a reasonable suspition of any cowardly falling of from the former resolutions, and have onely mentioned this last, as a part of my duty and care of you, not
of my reall doubts and fears: or if with untryed men we were to argue on this subject, what is it can be hoped for in a change, which we have not allready? Is it liberty? The sun looks not on a people more free then we are from all oppression. Is it wealth? Hundreds of examples shew us that Industry & Thrift in a short time may bring us to as high a degree of it, as the Country and our Conditions are yet capable of: Is it securety to enjoy this wealth when gotten? With out blushing I will speake it, I am confident theare lives not that person can accuse me of attempting the least act against any mans property? Is it peace? The Indians, God be blessed round about us are subdued; we can onely feare the Londoners, who would faine bring us to the same poverty, wherein the Dutch found and relieved us; would take away the liberty of our consciences, and tongues, and our right of giving and selling our goods to whom we please. But Gentlemen
by the Grace of God we will not so tamely part with our King, and all these blessings we enjoy under him; and if they oppose us, do but follow me, I will either lead you to victory, or loose a life which I cannot more gloriously sacrifice then for my loyalty, and your security.

Ye Present Scituation of Affairs

Detail of portrait of Lieutenant-Governor Alexander Spotswood by Charles Bridges (1736).
Detail of portrait of Lieutenant-Governor Alexander Spotswood by Charles Bridges (1736).

VIRGINIA, October 15, 1712.

To ye Council of Trade:

MY LORDS:

The arrival of the Dulwich Frygat, with her Maj’t’s proclamation for a Cessation of Arms, gives me the opportunity of a few Minutes to inform y’r Lord’ps of ye present Scituation of Affairs in these parts.

The Indians continue their Incursions in North Carolina, and the Death of Colo. Hyde, their Gov’r, w’ch happened the beginning of last Month, increases the misery of that province, so much weakened already by their own divisions, that no measures projected by those in the Governm’t for curbing the Heathen can be prosecuted.

This Unhappy State of her Maj’t’s Subjects in my Neighbourhood is ye more Affecting to me because I have very little hopes of being enabled to relieve them by our Assembly, which I have called to meet next Week; for the Mob of this Country, having tryed their Strength in the late Election and finding themselves able to carry whom they please, have generally chosen representatives of their own Class, who as their principal Recommendation have declared their resolution to raise no Tax on the people, let the occasion be what it will. This is owing to a defect in the Constitution, which allows to every one tho’ but just out of the Condition of a Serv’t, and that can but purchase half an acre of Land, an equal Vote with the Man of the best Estate in the Country.

The Militia of this Colony is perfectly useless without Arms or amunition, and by an unaccountable infatuation, no arguments I have used can prevail on these people to make their Militia more Serviceable, or to fall into any other measures for the Defence of their Country. The fear of Enemys by Sea, (except that of pirates,) are now happily removed by the peace, (which if on no other acc’t than that alone,) ought to be received here as the greatest and most valuable blessing; but the Insurrections of our own Negroes, or the Invasions of the Indians, are no less to be dreaded, while the people are so stupidly averse to the only means they have left to protect themselves Against either of these Events. I shall, for my own part, take all the care I am capable of (under these disadvantages) for the safety of her Ma’tie’s Subjects, and still endeav’r to testify to yo’r Lord’ps that I am with due respect.

Alwaies Pray for the Happy Restauration of Our King

King Charles II, by John Michael Wright or studio, circa 1660-1665; National Portrait Gallery, London.
King Charles II, by John Michael Wright or studio, circa 1660-1665; National Portrait Gallery, London.

Therefore on the whole matter we Conclude: We are resolved to Continue our allegiance to our most Gratious King, yet as long as his gratious favour permits us, we will peaceably (as formerly) trade with Londoners and all other nations in Amity with our Soveraigne: Protect all foraigne Merchants with our utmost force from injury in the rivers; Give letters of Reprisall to any injured within our Capes: Alwaies pray for the happy restauration of our King and repentance in them who to the hazard of their soules have opposed him.

This is unanimously consented to by the Governor, Councell and Burgesses.

The “Vindication” of the General Assembly to a letter published in London in March, 1651/1652 accusing the people of Virginia as “Rebells and Traitors” for their loyalty to Charles II; Mcllwaine, Journals of the House of Burgesses, Vol. 1619-1658/59, pp. 77-78.

In the Full Possession and Exercise of All the Rights of Sovereignty

Now, therefore, we, the people of Virginia, do declare and ordain that the Ordinance adopted by the people of this State in Convention, on the twenty-fifth day of June, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy-eight, whereby the Constitution of the United States of America was ratified, and all acts of the General Assembly of this State, ratifying or adopting amendments to said Constitution, are hereby repealed and abrogated; that the union between the State of Virginia and the other States under the Constitution aforesaid, is hereby dissolved, and that the State of Virginia is in the full possession and exercise of all the rights of sovereignty which belong to a free and independent State. And they do further declare that the said Constitution of the United States of America is no longer binding on any of the citizens of this State.

— Virginia Ordinance of Secession, 17 April, 1861.

The Five Articles of Perth

King James I of England and VI of Scotland, by Daniel Mytens, 1621. National Portrait Gallery, London: NPG 109.
King James I of England and VI of Scotland, by Daniel Mytens, 1621. National Portrait Gallery, London: NPG 109.
  1. That the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper should be received kneeling, and not in a sitting posture, as hitherto.
  2. That the communion might, in extreme cases, or to sick persons desiring it, be administered in private.
  3. That baptism also might, when deemed necessary, be privately administered.
  4. That children, or young persons, should be confirmed by a bishop — that is, make a personal avowal of the engagements entered into by god-fathers and god-mothers at the time of baptism.
  5. That the anniversary of the Nativity, of Christmas, the day on which our Saviour was born; Good Friday, or the Passion, when he suffered death for us; Easter, or the resurrection; Pentecost, or the descent of the Holy Spirit — should all be observed as solemn days.

The Five Articles of Perth.

…in modern times, when the mere ceremonial of divine worship (and Presbyterians must allow this) is supposed to be of little consequence compared to the temper and spirit in which we approach the Deity, the Five Articles of Perth seem to involve matters which might be dispensed or complied with, without being considered as essential to salvation;

— Sir Walter Scott.