out of the Union in an hour—the Convention of Virginia, in¬
timidated by the mob, adopted an ordinance of secession, sub¬
ject to the approval of the people at the polls. Then it was in¬
stantly the game of the secessionists to prevent a fair expression
of the popular will. A letter from Senator Mason—J. M.
Mason, now in England—dated Winchester, Virginia, May 16,
1861, and published in the Winchester Virginian of May 22,
1861, is a complete exposure of the whole plot. The letter was
in answer to the question which, he said, had been repeatedly
put to him—■ v
" What position will Virginia occupy should the Ordinance
of Secession be rejected by the people at the approaching elec¬
"The Ordinance of Secession withdrew the State from the
Union, with all the consequences resulting from separation.
* * * j?or mutual defence, immediately after the ordinance
of secession passed, a treaty or military league was formed by
the Convention, in the name of the people of Virginia, with
the Confederate States of the South, by which the latter were
bound to march to the aid of our State, against the invasion of
the Federal Government, and we have now in Virginia, at
Harper's Ferry, and at Norfolk, in face of the common foe,
several thousand of the gallant sons of South Carolina, of Ala¬
bama, of Louisiana, of Georgia, and Mississippi."
He proceeded to argue that if the State remained in the
Union, the troops from other States must be surrendered to the
United States authorities. And, in conclusion, he put in a
brief paragraph a full exposure of the modus operandi of se¬
" If it be asked, What are those to do who, in their con¬
sciences, cannot vote to separate Virginia from the United
States, the answer is simple and plain : Honor and duty alike
require that they should not vote on the question ; if they re¬
tain such opinions, they must leave the State."
So the pretended submission of the Ordinance of Secession
to the people was a farce. The Richmond mob, and the other
mobs, put the " Sovereign People" of the " Sovereign State,"
under their feet. If a citizen did not want secession, he must
leave the State. He had no business to vote against it.