The Restoration of Virginia
April 29, 1869
The restoration of Virginia to the Union will be the most important event of all that have occurred in the "lamentably slow" process of reconstruction. Virginia will regain its prosperity and growth to exceed its place in antebellum America. It is "to enable us to do all this for the State and the nation that General Grant desires us to vote down the proscriptive clauses of the constitution and set our people free.
The Restoration of Virginia. Virginia occupies an important position on the map of the Union. She was in the front of the slave States, and her wisdom, calmness, and national devotion, enabled her to restrain the indignant and impulsive spirit of the South, and preserve this Union until it was able to put down all resistance. When at last the breach came, Virginia was compelled by every consideration to stand with the States identified with her, and which she had so long controlled. Failing with them, she was prompt to acknowledge her fealty to the Union, and she has observed it with a sincerity and steadiness that has extorted from the general officers sent here to govern her the highest encomiums. Her past record, her contributions to the common cause of the Union and the renown and glory of the nation have not failed to exert a moral influence upon the national mind even in the heat of strife. When to this we add her central position and the fact that she is the link which bound the southern States to the Union in times past, and must be the bond of union in times to come, we cannot fail to see that her restoration to the Union will be the most important event of all that have occurred in the lamentably slow process of reconstruction. Freed from slavery, commerce, manufactures, and arts, will flourish in Virginia as soon as this restoration is achieved. Her climate, her soil, and resources, have attracted the attention and excited the admiration of men from all quarters of the Union, and it needs only well ordered civil government, under the direction of trusted and capable men, to insure the immigration of a very large population of energetic and sagacious men, introducing a large capital for the maintenance of industry and the prosecution of commerce and the arts, giving to Virginia herself a new destiny, with vastly increased wealth and population, and securing to tho nation an immense tribute to the national wealth. It is to enable us to do all this for the State and the nation that General Grant desires us to vote down the proscriptive clauses of the constitution and set our people free, and at his instance the Congress, hitherto inexorable, granted the privilege to the people of voting down these clauses.
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“The Restoration of Virginia,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed May 18, 2022, https://reconstructingvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/1324.