WEST VIRGINIA - STEPS TO
The Two Virginias Before
An intelligent view of the
events resulting in severing in twain the original state cannot be
obtained without understanding the relations existing between the two
Virginias prior to the war. It is a general impression that the separation
was caused by questions growing out of the war. But the war was not the
cause but only the occasion for the separation. The question of dividing
the state of Virginia on the lines finally accomplished had been a mooted
question for fifty years prior to the war. It had agitated the
legislatures and conventions of the state. It had been a subject of
discussion in political campaigns and in party organizations. It had so
embittered the population of the two territorial sections as to threaten
the public peace.
causes which developed this situation between the two sections need only
to be enumerated to appear conclusive. In the first place we have the
anomaly of a state exercising sovereignty over a territory so
geographically divided by a chain of mountains as to effectually cut off
communication between its population of the one side and the other. The
ranges of the Alleghany Mountains erected their lofty crests and stretched
themselves from one end to the other. They were impenetrable and
impassable by any ordinary means of transportation. The state government
was administered from Richmond, and its edicts carried around through the
District of Columbia and the state of Maryland to the western territory
under its jurisdiction. It was facetiously said that when a sheriff from
one of the western counties had traveled to his state capital to settle
his accounts, he had just enough left of the revenues collected to pay his
expenses back home. There was not only no communication between the two
peoples, but there was little or no acquaintance, and absolutely no
commercial relations. Western Virginia belonged by nature, not to eastern
Virginia, but to the valley of the Mississippi. Its natural outlets to
market were south and west, with Cincinnati and Chicago, with Pittsburg on
the north, and with Baltimore on the east.
Nature had divided Virginia. When the
boundaries between the states of the Union were being fixed-as far back as
1781-there was a controversy in the Federal Congress as to the western,
boundary of Virginia. It was then claimed that the Alleghany Mountains
should constitute her real boundary, as it was her natural boundary.
Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and, perhaps, other states, were inclined
to confine Virginia to the Alleghany boundary. Daniel Webster had, thirty
years before the war, with prophetic forecast, advised the South if it
withdrew from the Union that the separation would leave Virginia
dissevered, for the natural line of division would leave western Virginia
allied with the states of the North rather than the South.
Moreover, the people of eastern and western
Virginia were never homogeneous. They were as far apart in tastes and
temperament as by geographical conditions. Their peoples were of a
different ancestry, different habits, different tastes, different manners
and modes of life.
The bringing together, therefore, under one state government of two
peoples so diverse in their tastes and character as the eastern and
western Virginians was like an attempt to fuse an aristocracy and a
democracy into one homogeneous whole. Naturally, they did not mix.
Geographically, they could not mix.
The situation was aggravated by the existing
system of slavery. Slavery was a profitable institution east of the
mountains; it was of but little practical value west of the mountains.
That section of the state west of the Alleghanies was best adapted to
stock-raising, grazing, growth of the cereals, to manufacturing, and such
industries as could not profitably employ slave labor. Its people cared
very little for the institution on economical grounds, and were somewhat
awry with it on moral considerations. They would not have invited it as an
original proposition. They accepted it like many other things that were
thrust upon them by the East. In the East it was interwoven with all their
domestic and political institutions, and was maintained without any moral
compunctions. It had shaped and moulded their laws and public policy, as
well as their private interests and modes of life. The western section was
bordered its entire length by free soil, which made the escape of the
slave easy. He need but cross the Ohio River, or step across the invisible
line into Pennsylvania, to find freedom from his bonds.
Moreover, the preponderance of slave property
in the East gave rise to a very unsatisfactory basis of representation
between the East and West that was a continual source of irritation and
simple enumeration of the foregoing facts and conditions establishes the
statement with which we introduced this subject, that the war was not the
- cause but only furnished the opportunity for the severance of West
Virginia from the mother state. The fruit was already ripe, and needed
only that the tree be shaken. There was no such unnatural and incongruous
alliance existing in the Union of states as that which existed between the
two Virginias. It is not strange that the two sections parted. It is
strange that they remained together as long as they did.
Steps Leading to the "Parting of the Ways."
The Virginia Secession Convention, so called,
which assembled at Richmond on Feb. 13, 1861, was in continuous session
from that date until the first of May, when it adjourned to meet again on
convention reassembled, eighty-one delegates responded to the roll call.
It was not a "Secession Convention" when it first met in February, but it
was now. An ordinance of secession had been already adopted on April 17 by
a vote of eighty-eight to fifty-five, before the recess of the convention,
and had been submitted to the people for ratification and voted upon, but
no official return of the vote appears in the journal of the convention.
The business of the convention was now to put
that ordinance into effect.
There are but two or three of the names of the
delegates from western Virginia appearing among those signed to that
ordinance. Its passage had been the signal for `their withdrawal from the
convention, and in some instances of hasty flight to more friendly and
safer environments west of the mountains. After the convention had looked
itself over it proceeded to pass the following resolution:
"Resolved, that Wm. G. Brown, James Burley,
John S. Burdette, John S. Carlile, Marshall M. Dent, Ephraim B. Hall,
Chester D. Hubbard, John J. Jackson, James C. McGrew, George Me. Porter,
Chapman J. Stewart, Campbell Tarr, and Waitman T. Willey, be, and are
hereby expelled from this convention, and that their seats as members of
the convention be, and are hereby declared vacant."
The delegates named in the foregoing
resolution were those representing western Virginia, and who had voted nay
on the adoption of the ordinance on its passage in April previous. It does
not appear from the resolution that they had been guilty of any other
offense that would deprive them of their seats, or that they had
voluntarily resigned, or were to be allowed to resign-the language of the
resolution was that they "be expelled." And the resolution was passed.
The fact was that after the passage of the
ordinance of secession the delegates named in that resolution, from
western Virginia, realized that their influence and usefulness in that
body were ended. The bitterness, the malice, the suspicion, the
vindictiveness and the spirit of violence incident to the outbreak of a
civil war were rife among the populace of Richmond.
Under these conditions the western delegates
determined that it was the part of prudence for them to get away from
Richmond as speedily and quickly as possible. But even this was a
difficult and dangerous undertaking. After procuring written passports
from Governor Letcher, this little party of "refugees," so to speak, made
their journey to Strasburg and thence down the valley by way of Winchester
to Harper's Ferry, making many narrow escapes from the mobs collected at
different points along the way.
The arrival at their homes of the western
delegates was the occasion of general agitation of the whole population of
western Virginia. They were quick to comprehend the desperate character of
the situation, but unable at once to unite on a common course to meet it.
As in all such crises, there was at first great confusion and diversity of
opinion in the public mind. Public meetings of the people in the various
counties were the order of the hour. The returned delegates were active in
organizing these meetings.
The first of these meetings was held at
Morgantown, the home of Hon. W. T. Willey, who had arrived fresh from the
Richmond convention, and his constituents were eager to learn from him the
real situation and his views as to the most expedient course to be taken
by the people of western Virginia, who were not in accord with the action
of the Secession Convention. The temper of the citizens of this locality
expressed at this first meeting was representative of the prevailing
sentiment throughout the western section. They entered a solemn protest
against the secession of Virginia; denounced such action as treason
against the government of the United States; declared their unalterable
opposition to such a course; that they would not follow Virginia, but
would dissolve their civil and political relations with the East, and
commended the firmness of western delegates in resisting secession from
meetings were held in a number of counties. They served to give character
and direction to the forming opinions and judgment of the masses of the
people. Notable among these meetings was one held at Clarksburg on April
22, which was convened at the instance of the delegate from that county,
Hon. John S. Carlile, and which gave the first practical turn to the
course of affairs. This meeting adopted a series of resolutions denouncing
and repudiating the course of the Richmond convention, and recommended to
the people of each of the counties of western Virginia to appoint five
delegates to meet in convention at Wheeling on May 13 following, "to
consult and determine on such action as the people of northwestern
Virginia should take in the present fearful emergency."
Out of this proposition came the convention at
Wheeling known as the "Mass-Meeting" or "Mass-Convention," which took the
initiative step toward the dismemberment of Virginia and the erection of a
new state. Hither had come, in large numbers, the representatives of the
people of the western counties to confer and determine upon a course of
action that involved momentous results. These delegates, it is true, had
no very well defined idea of what they were there for. Their mission had
not been exactly defined or determined. It was an irregular kind of
proceeding. No statute law or constitution authorized or gave jurisdiction
to the convention. No official authority could be found for the calling of
the convention or the appointment of delegates. It was one of the steps in
convention was formally opened and organized; officers were elected,
committees appointed, and all the machinery of a parliamentary body was
soon in operation. The ideas and plans of the individual delegates were
soon disclosed by a torrent of resolutions. But amidst conflicting views,
one fact was developed beyond doubt, and that was that if there was any
approach to unanimity on any course, it was for a separation from the old
commonwealth and the formation of a new state out of the western counties.
This was the only specific scheme that had
been agitated among the delegates. John S. Carlile was the author and open
advocate of this measure, and he had done no little missionary work in its
behalf. The idea of severing relations with the old state seemed best to
satisfy the vindictive spirit of the hour. It became the rallying cry of
it soon came to be not so much a question of what the convention desired
to do, as how to do it. Here was a purpose and a proposition to erect a
new state. It was a movement without precedent in the history of the
states. Other states had been formed, but no state had been arbitrarily
carved out of the territory of another state.
Mr. Carlile came forward as the leader of the
scheme in the convention. His scheme for the formation of a new state was
purely revolutionary in its entire conception. The next day after the
convention opened he introduced the following resolution which became the
basis of the debate which ensued:
"Resolved, that the committee on state and
federal relations be instructed to report an ordinance declaring that the
connection of the counties of this state composing the tenth and eleventh
congressional districts, to which shall be added the county of Wayne, with
the other portion of this state is hereby dissolved, and that the people
of said counties are in the possession and exercise of all the rights of
sovereignty which belong and appertain to a free and independent state in
the United States and subject to the constitution thereof; and that said
committee be instructed to report a constitution and form of government
for the said state, to be called the state of New Virginia; and also that
they report a declaration of causes which have impelled the people of said
counties thus to dissolve their connection with the rest of the state,
together with an ordinance declaring that said constitution and form of
government shall take effect and be an act of this day when the consent of
the Congress of the United States and of the legislature of the state of
Virginia are obtained as provided for by Sec. 3, Article 4 of the
Constitution of the United States."
As already noted, the above proposition was
essentially and purely revolutionary in its character. It ran counter to
every principle and provision of our system of government for the creation
of a new state. But to the large majority of the members of this
convention, matters of constitutional law and government were new and
unpalatable at this time. Yet there were a few men among the delegates who
looked beyond the present and who knew that the scheme of Mr. Carlile,
carried to its ultimate end, would only result in defeat and failure of
their cherished object.
In this exigency, Hon. W. T. Willey was put
forward to stem the tide and undertake the bold and seemingly hopeless
task of getting the convention to think. Mr. Willey was the opposite of
Mr. Carlile in character and temperament. He was less optimistic, more
conservative, and as a lawyer he had a clear view of the issues involved,
as well as a natural bias for a legal and orderly proceeding. He and Mr.
Carlile were fresh from the Richmond convention, where they had together
wrestled manfully to prevent the secession of Virginia, and while they
were now equally earnest in their desire to thwart the secession movement
in the East, they were to become the chief opponents in a memorable
appearance in the role of an opponent of the pending proposition was the
signal for an outburst of angry denunciation both from the convention and
the crowds in the lobby and in the streets. They called him a traitor and
a secessionist. Mr. Willey threw himself into the debate with all his
native eloquence and clearness of statement, and finally gained the ear of
the convention. He declared that he would never lend himself to a
revolutionary or an insurrectionary means of accomplishing an object which
he thought could be accomplished according to law. He pointed out with
great force the provisions of the Federal constitution governing the
formation of a new state. He cited Sec. 3 of Art. 4, which declares:
"New states may be admitted by the Congress
into this Union; but no new state shall be formed or erected within the
jurisdiction of any other state; nor any state formed by the junction of
two or more states, or parts of states, without the consent of the
legislatures of the states concerned, as well as of the Congress."
He called attention to the fact that Mr.
Carlile's plan proposed to call a new state into existence by a simple
edict of the convention. He argued that the convention there assembled
could not predicate any authority for such a precipitate proceeding upon
the call of the people they represented; that the delegates had not been
appointed with that view, or empowered to act with such extreme vigor;
that this was but an informal meeting of the people, not legally convened,
and could not bind the people either in law or reason, or by any known
rule or precedent ; and above all, that the Federal government would not
recognize a state created thus, because it was not after the mode
prescribed by the Constitution of the United States. He said the
proceeding, if carried out, would be "triple treason" - treason against
the state of Virginia, treason against the United States, and treason
against the Confederate government if that should succeed in maintaining
itself. In other words, there was no existing government that did not
assume a legal status, except the one proposed for the new state.
This debate continued three days with great
earnestness, and the result was marvelous as an illustration of how a body
like that may be turned about from a fixed and resolute purpose to accept
and adopt that which it had almost unanimously and stubbornly opposed.
When the "Mass-Convention" had changed its
mind on the Carlile plan, it turned about to reach -the same object in
another way. Hon. F. H. Pierpoint came forward with some resolutions which
were in the nature of a substitute for the Carlile plan, providing for
holding a convention on June 11 following, to which delegates should be
regularly chosen by all the loyal counties and which should devise such
measures as the welfare of the people of the northwestern counties should
demand. This proposition left all questions open as to what that
subsequent convention should do. It was confidently believed that any
convention would favor a separation from the old state, but the particular
plan for accomplishing that object should be determined by the convention
proposition met with the approval of the convention, and it made a call
upon all the western counties disposed to cooperate to send delegates to
the convention appointed for June 11. The whole matter was put in the
hands of a well chosen executive committee and amidst a blaze of
enthusiasm, and the singing of the "Star Spangled Banner," this remarkable
and historic convention adjourned, after having set in motion events which
made the first chapter in the history of a new state.
Reorganizing the Virginia Government.
The convention of June 11 assembled in
accordance with the call of the "Mass-Convention."
Thirty-five counties of the northwest were
represented, and had sent an aggregate of seventy-seven delegates.
The convention having
organized, very much the same problems that had confronted the previous
body immediately arose. Two schemes were presented, that of immediately
forming a new state out of the counties represented in the convention,
after the Carlile plan, and the other of reorganizing the Virginia state
government and assuming that these counties represented in the convention
were the state.
were two weighty reasons for preferring the latter proposition. There were
enough farsighted men in the convention to see that they could not have a
new state until they could get control of the old state so as to give its
consent, as the constitution required, to forming a new state out of its
territory. Moreover, to assume that they were Virginia was the quickest
and easiest course to having a state government whether it were a new or
an old state.
majority of the convention soon shifted to the support of the proposition
for reorganizing the Virginia government out of the loyal counties,
vacating the offices, taking possession of the whole machinery, and
calling the organization the state of Virginia. They could thus have a
state already, made, already recognized, and quite sure of the recognition
of the Federal government in preference to that purporting to be the
government of Virginia at the city of Richmond. The shrewd and farsighted
men who had now come into control of affairs realized that they had
immediate need of a state government ready made, and they had special need
of control of the Virginia government. It was the state of Virginia that
was to be dismembered, and the consent of the state of Virginia was the
first essential step to the legality of this purpose. What hope had they,
indeed, of the consent of the Richmond government to anything like that?
But if they, west of the mountains, were the state, it was an easy
proposition to have the consent of Virginia even to dividing it in sunder.
To this end the convention adopted, with great unanimity, and promulgated
an address or declaration of their motives and purposes, and a statement
of the grievances which impelled them to this course. They framed and
passed, without a dissenting vote, an ordinance which set forth in detail
the scheme for reorganizing the state of Virginia. The convention was to
appoint a governor, lieutenant-governor and attorney-general, to continue
in office for six months; a test oath was required of all other officers
then serving under the Virginia government, and on refusal of the
incumbent to take the oath, the governor was to declare the office vacant
and appoint a successor. The legislature was shortly to assemble and
provide for a speedy general election to fill all the offices of the
this scheme the convention elected Francis H. Pierpont, governor; Daniel
Polsley, lieutenant-governor, and James S. Wheat, attorney-general.
The convention then formally declared all
ordinances, acts, orders, resolutions and other proceedings of the
Richmond convention illegal, inoperative, null and void. With a view of
taking up in earnest the work of erecting a new state, the convention
adjourned on June 20, to reconvene at the same place on August 6
Restored Government of Virginia in Operation.
In pursuance of the ordinance of the June
convention, the first legislature under the reorganized government of
Virginia met at Wheeling on July 1, 1861. Governor Pierpont sent in
an elaborate message, among other things, informing the legislature that
he had communicated to the President of the United States the purposes and
acts of the convention and people of the northwest counties in endeavoring
to preserve the state of Virginia to the Union, and had received his
assurance that they should have such assistance from the Federal
government as could be given under the authority of the constitution.
On July 9 the two houses proceeded to complete
the organization of the government by filling the offices that were
vacant. They appointed various state officers.
It appearing that R. M. T. Hunter and James M.
Mason, senators, representing Virginia in the United States Senate, had
vacated their seats and were engaged in the effort to overthrow the
Federal government, the legislature proceeded to supply their places, and,
accordingly, Waitman T. Willey and John S. Carlile were elected United
States senators from the state of Virginia. These gentlemen proceeded to
Washington, presented their credentials from the Virginia government at
Wheeling, and were duly admitted by the United States Senate as senators
was the first formal recognition by the National legislature of the
validity of the restored government.
On May 13, 1862, the legislature of the restored government passed an act
giving the formal consent of Virginia to the erection of anew state out of
territory included forty-eight counties of northwestern Virginia, and made
provision for including three more-Jefferson, Berkeley and Frederick-when
they should vote to come in. The first two subsequently voted in favor of
the proposition, but the county of Frederick never voted on it.
These fifty counties having given their assent
by a formal vote to the formation of a new state, the next step was to
make a constitution for the new state.
The delegates chosen for that purpose
assembled in convention at the city of Wheeling on Nov. 26, 1861. After
organizing, it entered upon the work of framing a constitution for the new
state, and was occupied with that work for about two and one-half months.
They made many radical changes in the constitution of the old
most exciting question which arose in the convention was that relating to
the position which the new state would take toward negro slavery. The
question of slavery was not a dead or indifferent issue even in western
Virginia. There were included in the population of the forty-eight
counties represented in the convention, at that time, 12,771 slaves in a
population of 334,921 whites-a very small proportion, it is true, but
enough to make the property value an item worth considering to those who
owned it. The convention determined that the constitution should be silent
on the question of slavery, and that at the time the constitution should
be submitted to a vote of the people on its adoption, a kind of side vote
should be taken for emancipation and against emancipation. When the vote
was taken it was 6,052 for emancipation to 610 against, or ten to one in
favor of a free state. The vote on the adoption of the constitution taken
at the same time was 18,862 in favor to 514 against it.
The legislature of the reorganized government
of Virginia assembled on May 6 following, and gave its formal assent to
the formation and erection of the state of West Virginia within the
jurisdiction of the state of Virginia, "according to the stipulations and
provisions of the constitution," which was laid before them by the
government as having been adopted by the people. The act of the
legislature was ordered to be transmitted to the senators and
representatives in Congress, together with a copy of the constitution,
with the request that they should endeavor to obtain the consent of
Congress to the admission of West Virginia into the Union.
The New State Issue in Congress.
On May 29, 1862, Senator Waitman T. Willey,
who, in connection with Senator John S. Carlile, represented the state of
Virginia under the restored government in the United States Senate,
presented to the Senate the application for the formation of a new state,
the act of the legislature giving its assent thereto, a copy of the
constitution adopted by that portion of Virginia which proposed to erect a
new state, and a certified copy of the returns of the vote showing the
adoption of that constitution, and Mr. Willey accompanied the application
with an address in which he recited the conditions which prompted the
application was referred to the Territorial Committee, and this committee,
after much difficulty in agreeing upon the terms of a bill, reported on
June 23, Senate bill number 365, which contained the usual specifications
and some unusual conditions upon which the consent of Congress would be
granted to the admission of the proposed new state.
The chief of these conditions related to the
question of slavery. It will be remembered that the constitution adopted
by the convention which framed it was silent on the subject of slavery.
The convention had voted down a proposition to insert a clause for gradual
emancipation, or submit it to a vote of the people, although an informal
vote was taken at the same time. But there were 12,000 negro slaves in the
territory out of which the new state was to be formed, and if these
counties were admitted as a state with no provision for the emancipation
of the slaves, it would continue to be slave territory. Therefore, as had
been anticipated, Congress was not disposed to admit another slave state,
unless provision was made for making it a free state in the near future.
The committee reported the bill with a
condition requiring gradual emancipation. Senator Willey offered an
amendment relating to some other condition of the bill, and also providing
for reconvening the convention for the purpose of adopting a provision for
gradual emancipation of the slaves. Senator Wade, of Ohio, offered an
amendment that the clause of the new constitution relating to slavery
should provide that "all slaves within the said state who shall, at the
time aforesaid, be under twentyone years of age, shall be free when they
arrive at the age of twenty-one."
The Willey amendment as thus amended was
adopted, and this settled the feature of the bill relating to slavery so
far as the Senate was concerned, and all cause of opposition from the
majority of the Senate having been met, the bill was put upon its passage
on July 14, 1862, and adopted by the Senate by a vote of seventeen for, to
twenty-three against - Senator Carlile casting one of the votes against
The Senate bill
became the order of the day in the House of Representatives on December 9
following. The debate on the bill occupied two days, and traveled along
the lines that had been traversed by the Senate, except that the
conditions regarding slavery did not become a question. But the
constitutional questions involved were discussed with great ability on
of the House on the passage of the bill resulted in ninety-six in favor
and fifty-five votes against it. The bill was approved by the President,
and became a law on Dec. 31, 1862.
But it must be noted that the passage of the
bill by Congress did not yet admit West Virginia as a state. The bill made
it conditional that the clause which Congress had prescribed relating to
slavery should be inserted in the constitution by the constitutional
convention, a vote be taken upon its adoption and ratified by a majority
of the voters, and that when all this was done and duly certified to the
President of the United States, it should be lawful for the President to
issue his proclamation stating the fact, and thereupon the act should take
effect and be in force on and after sixty days from the date of said
obedience to this act the constitutional convention was reconvened on Feb.
12, 1863. The "Willey Amendment" relating to slavery was, after much
debate, adopted by the convention almost unanimously. It was submitted to
a vote of the people on March 26, 1863, and adopted by a majority of
27,749 - there being only 572 votes cast against it.
The result of the vote was certified to the
President of the United States, in accordance with the act of Congress,
and thus the last step, but one, toward the consummation of the long
contest for a new state had been successfully taken.
The State of West Virginia, as a fixed star in
the galaxy of the Union, only awaited the proclamation of President
Lincoln Starts the Machinery of the New State.
The proclamation of President Lincoln ushering
in the new state was at this stage, of course, a mere matter of form. But
Mr. Lincoln had not reached this point in the proceeding easily and
without hesitation. He had had his fight between the patrons and opponents
of the measure when the bill came to him from Congress for his signature.
The pressure that was then brought to bear to induce him to veto the bill,
perhaps made him more careful in its consideration than he otherwise would
It is safe
to say that all Mr. Lincoln's inclinations were toward giving the
executive sanction to the new state movement. He had promised the people
early in their struggle that they should have his support as far as the
constitution would warrant. But now he was up against the question both
from a legal standpoint and as a measure of public policy. He took his
constitutional limit for determining this. He took the written opinions of
the members of his cabinet. It was during Christmas week while Congress
was taking a holiday that Mr. Lincoln was wrestling with the new state
bill. The friends and patrons of the bill were on the ground anxiously
awaiting the decision of the President, and the ear of all western
Virginia was turned toward Washington to hear the result. On New Year's
Day, 1863, the President approved the bill.
The battle had now been fought and won.
Henceforth the territory carved out of the mother state of Virginia was to
be a distinct and independent state of the Union. The issue had passed the
discussion of the two houses of Congress, the cabinet chamber, and had
received the approval of the Executive. Every requirement of the act had
been fulfilled on the part of the people of western Virginia. The forces
of opposition had been withdrawn, and only the formal declaration of the
President was necessary, under the act, to usher in the new state.
On April 20, 1863, President Lincoln issued
his proclamation declaring that all necessary provisions of the act of
Congress creating the new state having been complied with, the said act
should take effect and be in force from and after sixty days from the date
of said proclamation.
Thus, on June 20, 1863, the State of West
Virginia became a legal entity. It needed only to be organized and have
its governmental machinery set in motion. And it was not long about it.
Hon. A. T. Boreman was elected its first
governor. Governor Pierpoint and his staff quietly folded their tents and
transferred the government of Virginia, which they supposed was in their
keeping, to Alexandria. There he continued to administer the government of
Virginia in the interest of the Federal authority, while Governor Letcher,
at Richmond, continued to administer it in the interest of the Confederate
authority. The legislature of the new state met in Wheeling on the day
when, by the proclamation of the President, the new state was born, and
proceeded to organize the government. It elected two senators to represent
the new state in the United States Senate. Hon. W. T. Willey and Hon. P.
G. Van Winkle were chosen to these positions. They repaired to Washington
with their credentials, and although their appearance at the bar of the
Senate was the occasion for formal objection to their admission by those
who had opposed the new state project, and now held it had no legal
existence, this was only a form of graceful submission to the inevitable.
They were duly admitted, and the Senate of the United States, followed by
the House in admitting delegates, thus gave the formal, full and final
recognition of the Congress to the State of West Virginia.
BIBLIOGRAPHY. - Fast and Maxwell: Formation of
West Virginia; W. P. Willey: An Inside View of the Formation of West
Professor of Equity, Jurisprudence, and Commercial Law, West Virginia