The Staunton Spectator, January 15, 1861, p. 2, c. 1
Convention and Secession.
For some time after the propriety of holding a State Convention had begun to be mooted, we were unable to bring our mind to a positive conclusion in reference to it, but as soon as the evidence became very strong that it was the purpose of the warmest advocates of the call of a Convention to use if for the purpose of secession, we felt it to be our patriotic duty to oppose it, and to raise our voice in warning that the people might be apprised of the danger to be apprehended.
We felt perfectly convinced from the beginning that a Convention would be called, but that did not prevent us from forming and expressing the opinion that it would be unwise.--We feel that we would be unworthy the position of Editor of a public journal if we did not possess the firmness to oppose whatever measures we might believe to be impolitic, however popular they might be. Majorities have no terror for us, and our opinions in reference to any question are controlled by what we may deem its true merits, and are totally unaffected by its popular or unpopularity. We know that it is easy to float with the tide of popular opinion, but we think it is more manly and patriotic to row against the stream when the current is running in the wrong direction-to be wafted up by the stream till launched into the gulf of error, requires to skill and implies no merit, but to stem the current of the stream till you reach the pure and crystal fount of truth requires toil and sacrifice, and implies the highest degree of merit. We have looked upon the call of a Convention as a "foregone conclusion," for we fear that it will prove to be this good "Old Commonwealth" what Achilles' wrath was to Greece-- "the direful spring of woes unnumbered." We fear it will be a "spring" from which waters more bitter than those of Marah will flow--the poisonous source of a stream made saline with the tears and crimsoned with the blood of our people, and which, in its destructive and desolating flood, will wither the hopes and destroy the prosperity of our now blessed and happy country. The mystic Convention veil, tinselled with the glittering and delusive brilliants of popular rights, is made to conceal the features of the monstrous "Mokanna" of secession whose diabolical office it will be to victimize the "mother of States and of Statesmen"--before she will be aware of the character of the "veiled prophet" to which she, "devoutly blind," will yield her faith and obedience, she will find that she has been lured into an error and been betrayed to irreparable ruin. We know that the good people of this county have too much sound sense to be imposed upon by the shallow devices of the secessionists, and too much sterling patriotism to sanction their unhallowed purposes. They have voted against a resolution recommending the call of a Convention, in public meeting, and they will vote against it at the polls, if the opportunity be allowed them to do so.