Minority report from the Committee on the Restoration of Virginia

January 20, 1866


The proposed unification of West Virginia and Virginia serves as a heavy topic of debate in the two states.


"A minority of the committee to whom was referred to the subject of the restoration of the state of Virginia after duly weighing in and considering the subject submitted to them with all of its surroundings, differ to some extent from the majority of the committee in some of the conclusions at which they have arrived, and beg leave, respectfully, to present as the report of the minority," that whatever mortification and regret the people of Virginia may have experienced at the dismemberment of the still proud old commonwealth, they have the high and lofty consolation of knowing that it was by no act of theirs that this ungrateful deed was accomplished, that West Virginia has no cause to complain of her who has been the mother of so many states, which have not been slow to evince any other than a grateful remembrance of the fostering care and self-sacrificing spirit which she has ever manifested for their prosperity and general welfare. West Virginia can point to no improvement or advantage which she enjoys, or position to which she has attained, for which she had attained, for which she is not more or less, either directly or indirectly, indebted to her now impoverished mother. In support of this position the undersigned referrer with abiding confidence to statistics to show that for a long series of years some, if not many, of the counties now comprising West Virginia were unable to pay the cost of their organization and representation, but were aided, fostered, and sustained, and made all that they now are, by people who, in every vicissitude and under all trials, have shown themselves the most generous and magnanimous that not only this continent, but that the world has ever known. But West Virginia, forgetful of the past and all the ties which should have bound her as with hooks of steel to her who had given her life and being, in an evil hour elected for herself a separate state organization, with certainly no very friendly feelings towards those with whom she had been connected by such intimate, if not sacred, relations. West Virginia is a free and independent state, in the full and successful exercise of all the functions, organization and representation in her state legislature as well as the federal Congress, and it is gravely proposed that, as an impoverished people, divested of a large portion of their rights and privileges, ignorant alike of our present position and future condition, we should earnestly invite her to share our fallen state, gloomy prospects and uncertain fate. If the position and condition of the two states were reversed, then might Virginia, without any loss of self-respect, or dissent from the dignified position that she has always sustained, and in accordance with that noble philanthropy, this interested friendship and generosity which has always been a characteristic of her people, invite back and, with outstretched arms, received the wayward daughter. But poor and humiliated as the good old mother of us all maybe, she is not yet so poor but that there are some( and the undersigned claimed to be of that number ) who will still do her reverence, and they earnestly protest against her further humiliation by invading back those who without just cause, have become a separate, independent, prosperous, and, perhaps, and alienated people, until they shall manifest, in some formal manner, a disposition for reunion. The undersigned had not deemed it advisable to discuss the advantages or disadvantages which might result to either both states from the reunion, being of the opinion that will be quite time enough when the reunion is at all probable.
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Justin Barlow




“Minority report from the Committee on the Restoration of Virginia,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed February 19, 2019, http://reconstructingvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/34.