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Secession Proclamation Draft, June 14, 1861

Convention of 1861, General Records, Box 2
Archival Collections, The Library of Virginia

By the Governor of Virginia
A Proclamation

Whereas the Convention of this Commonwealth on the 17th of April 1861 adopted an ordinance to repeal the ratification of the Constitution of the United States of America, by the State of Virginia, and to resume all the rights and powers granted under said Constitution; and by a schedule thereto annexed, provided for taking the sense of the qualified voters of this Commonwealth upon the ratification or rejection of said ordinance and directed the Governor to ascertain the vote so taken, and without delay to make proclamation of the result stating therein the aggregate vote for and against the ratification. And whereas, the returns of several Counties have not been received & of others cannot be obtained in consequence of the presence of a hostile force in the Northwestern & the blockade in the eastern portions of the State: and, by the returns which have been received, it appears, that an overwhelming majority of the people have voted for the ratification of the said ordinance: Now, therefore, I, John Letcher, Governor, in pursuance of the authority so given, do hereby proclaim the aggregate vote aforesaid to be as follows:

For Ratification 125950
For Rejection 20373
Majority for Ratification 105577

And to the end that the entire vote of the State, as far as it can be ascertained, may be known to the people, I have estimated the vote of the Counties from which returns have not been received, taking the same from local papers & from sources believed to be correct, or nearly so, & appended it to this proclamation.

I do therefore further declare that the said ordinance has been ratified by the qualified voters of this Commonwealth, and in conformity to its provisions, I do annex hereto, a copy thereof together with the schedule accompanying the same.

And whereas, by another Ordinance, "for the Adoption of the Constitution of the Provisional Government of the Confederate States of America," passed on the 25th of April 1861, it is provided, that the said ordinance shall cease to have any legal operation or effect if the people of this Commonwealth upon the vote directed to be taken on the ordinance of secession, shall reject the same. And it now appearing by the said vote, that the people have ratified the said ordinance of secession, therefore I do further proclaim that the Constitution of the Provisional Government of the Confederate States of America ordained & established at Montgomery Alabama, on the eight day of February 1861 is now in full force in this Commonwealth & must be respected & obeyed.

Given under my hand as Governor & under the Seal of the Comth this 14th day of June 1861 & in the 85th year of the Comth.

John Letcher

By the Governor

George W. Munford

Secy of the Comth