February 1, 1867
Virginia is looking to elect a new governor that will not abide by the rules of the Northerners but to serve the people of Virginia. The officials of the North do not want a "rebel" elected, and the Southern officials counter this by stating that is an inappropriate term as they are not rebels anymore.
In electing a new Governor of Virginia, one important point we trust will be steadily kept in view : we must elect, not the kind of man who is most eligible in the eyes of the people at Washington, but the kind of man who is most eligible to us, the people of this State. We have bad enough of compliance and of self-denying ordinance, and have gained nothing by it. Nobody, not even in Washington, will respect us the more for passing by and ignoring those very men whom we (and they too) know to be the best of our citizens. The new Governor will have an anxious and very important term of office. It is possible that a new question may be pressed upon us similar to the "constitutional amendment," in which the quiet, passive firmness of the southern States may once more stay the revolutionary march of the Radical Congress; may bulwark for awhile the Constitution and the law against this tempest of demagogue rage, and may earn the thanks of all true American citizens hereafter. We shall need, then, a Governor not only able, firm, moderate, and cautious, but also in full harmony and accord with the Legislature and the people. Of course the northern press will at once cry out, this is recommending the election, not of a loyal man, but of a "rebel." It is time to have done with all such slang. There are no rebels in these southern States; not one. When the southerners were in arms for what they felt to be their right, there was no mistake about it: the whole South stood up girt with steel and lire, and the solid continent shook to the tramp and the roar of that "rebellion." When it was all over, and we laid down our arms, there was just as little mistake about it: no cause in all history, which was as fought for so long and so well, ever accepted defeat, and the legitimate conseqnences of defeat, so suddenly, so quietly, so completely. So we beg to inform our northern brethren that there are no rebels here at present, and when there are, the fact will be quite apparent. As for "loyal men," we hold ourselves much more loyal than they are. Loyal, in its meaning, signifies attachment to law and respect for law: and herein precisely in our sole hope and chance at present. It is we who are standing upon the law, and the reconstructors of the Supreme Court and parricides of the Constitution presume to term us "disloyal men." In saying, then, that we must elect this time for Governor a man who is eligible to us, not to them, we mean to say a man who is loyal, loyal to the laws of the land and to the Constitution of the United States, and who will do all that man may do to keep them inviolate during his term of office. In other words, we mean a man who was a devoted and faithful Confederate, dum fuit Ilium, and who, by the zeal and ability with which he did his duty to he will do his duty now again in these altered circumstances. The main essential is to make sure that our Governor be a representative Virginian of the highest type. Then, come what may, the Commonwealth will feel assured
About this article
“Gubernatorial,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed August 21, 2019, http://reconstructingvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/510.