The Late Movement
January 7, 1869
A new constitution has been drafted and all of the newspapers in Virginia have read it and generally believe that it is more agreeable than any other proposed so far. Encourages fellow Virginians that the defeat of the Underwood constitution is necessary for the survival of Virginia.
The Late Movement The exigency of the State required that something should be done by our own people to ward off threatening danger. What that something should be was the question. Few men could frame any plan that could even meet their own entire approval much less other people's ; and none could have been determined upon that would not have encountered some degree of opposition. At this juncture the gentlemen composing the recent conference, after patient deliberation upon several schemes, adopted one, which they are endeavoring to carry out It is our opinion that it meets with less objection than any other, that promised any advantage, would have encountered. It has been approved by all the newspapers of the State that have appeared since this plan was published save six. We believe that the large body of the people approve it. But debate on these matters and warm discussion the plan of the conference would now be very unwise and very untimely. A very short time will test the wisdom, or rather the success, of the mission of the "nine.". It may do good. It is hailed by the most influential Radical papers at the North in a conciliatory and cordial spirit, and thus far promises well. Should it fail, why we can but do what we would have done without it- prepare to defeat the constitution made last winter in the capitol. On this point we shall be united as one man. It would be better if we could avoid the assembling of another " constitutional convention" by such charges in the pending constitution as may make it tolerable, or by adopting another constitution presented to us in competition with that. But if we are offered no alternative, of course we shall defeat the Underwood-Bayne constitution and take all the risks of conventions, delays, and waste of the public funds; for that is absolutely unendurable. Leading Radicals have declared that it is not fit for Ojibbeway Indians. It would be unwise, however, to excite feeling by discussion just at this time. We are all actuated by the same patriotic motives ; and harmony and concord are indispensable. The mission of the " nine " may do good, and cannot do harm. It rests with the dominant party in Washington to treat the committee with respect, or coldly to disregard their remonstrances against the shackling of the white man while enfranchising the negro. If they pursue the latter course, the motive for opposing the -constitution with fill our strength will be stimulated, and we shall find in the eyes of the nation a justification that will not allow our act to be distorted into contumacy by the most ultra Radical partisan. But the period of this test will be short. Let us wait patiently until it is concluded.
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“The Late Movement,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed June 18, 2019, https://reconstructingvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/1237.