The public mind has been in a state of feverish excitement ever since the unfortunate controversy between the North and South assumed such fearful shape. The tidings that another State has left the Confederacy chill the hopes of the patriot, as star after star is obliterated from the galaxy of States. That the South has been wronged, most grievously wronged, by the North, all admit, and the hope was entertained that the difficulties would be amicably adjusted and peace and harmony restored, but the determination of South Carolina to separate from the Union finally and forever, leaves but little room to doubt that other States will follow and join a new Confederacy. In this condition of things all eyes are turned to Virginia and the question asked what will Virginia do? That she will maintain her conservative position and cling to the Union as long as there is hope of honorable adjustment we cannot permit ourselves to doubt, but failing in that, she will unquestionably take her position with the seceding States. That such a dread alternative may be avoided is the ardent wish and prayer of every patriot in the land. We love and venerate the Union of these States—the Union as our fathers made it—the Union with the Constitution—a Union that guarantees equal rights to all the States—a Union whose compromises and whose Constitution will be faithfully and fully carried out by all the parties. Such is the Union our fathers made, and such a Union it ought to be the pride of every lover of the family of man to hand down to “the last syllable of recorded time.”

It matters but little what our abstract opinions upon the right of secession may be, neither is it necessary to enquire whether the right be “revolutionary” or “reserved.” No government is perfect that does not protect all the rights of all its citizens, and no Union can exist where bad faith is exhibited by the high contracting powers. A forced Union is a military despotism; hence the doctrine of coercion cannot be sustained.

The Convention so soon to assemble will speak the voice of Virginia. Let us hope that in dignity and calm deliberation it will be equal to the greatness of the occasion—tender the olive-branch to the offending parties—and in the language of the patriot Jackson ask nothing but what is right and submit to nothing that is wrong. Meeting in the spirit of conciliation and harmony, let wisdom and prudence guide its councils and may the God of Heaven preside over it. Meeting in such a spirit and under such guidance, the deliberations of that Convention must result in good. It is due to Virginia, it is clue to posterity, it is due to the friends of human liberty everywhere that in this great contest Virginia should lead the van, and as she has been the “mother of States and statesmen,” so may she become the mother of the Union as she has been its great Constitutional Expounder. What a position for a State to occupy! How insignificant do all purely party triumphs appear when the hopes of Constitutional freedom is made the issue? Let that Convention speak to the North and conjure it by the recollections of the past and the hopes of the future, to deal justly with the South, observe the requirements of the Constitution and unite in the administration of the Government in the spirit in which it was intended to be by its founders, and the Union of these States will be perpetual.

We appeal to the members of the Convention to do nothing rashly—act not with precipitation—the old “flag-ship of the Union” is freighted with the richest cargo ever vessel bore—the hopes of human freedom—you are the pilots, guard against the breakers and dangers that lie in the way and suffer her not to go down in the storm and the tempest—but bring her into port with all her pennants flying and all her crew on board. Discharging thus the high duty imposed upon you, the approbation of your own consciencies and the approving smile of your constituencies will be your rich reward, while from every hill and valley the shout will rever[ber]ate that Virginians will follow where Virginia leads!