Admission Not All

December 11, 1869


Virginia not only wants admission, but also wants equality amongst other states within the Union. This equality is something both parties and citizens of Virginia ought to agree upon considering the growth and wealth it can bring to the state.


The admission of the State of Virginia into the Union is not all that we at present want, and the policy that we have pursued for her restoration to equality among the States and the enfranchising of her people should be continued, to promote her growth and wealth. This policy was based entirely upon public devotion, and was governed by practical wisdom. It ignored partisanry and past political differences. Every obligation of a public and social nature imposes upon us the duty of continuing to act in this manner at least until the State is a sharer to a liberal extent in the practical benefits of the Union. Her opportunities to enjoy this participation should not be marred by any indiscretions and personal ambitions. No man who properly appreciates his relations to the State and to society would be a party to such indiscretion, and the man who would permit his own personal aspirations to mar the general interest of his fellowcitizens cannot be too severely condemned or too generally detested. The policy of which we speak above will be best at all times. It is not inconsistent with integrity. Indeed, a just view of integrity and honor is its foundation. The highest duty we owe in worldly affairs is to promote the prosperity and welfare of the State, and no other policy but that to which we allude can succeed in this Then, our policy is now to continue to be sensible and faithful--to avoid national party politics-- to arouse no new preju-dices--but to cultivate good feeling and reciprocal respect, so that no obstacle such as malice or revenge may obstruct the way of Virginia to a full and fair participation in all the advantages which grow out of that general government placed over all the Mates and firmly fixed over them by the result of the late civil strife. The result of that war settled the question of the right of the Federal Government to disburse money for public improvements within the States. Virginia formerly opposed that authority, and never got--nay would never take--a cent from the Treasury for such objects within her borders. She now submits, as in duty bound, to the new condition ; and it is both her interest and duty to get all the means that are necessary to complete the works within her territory having sufficient dignity and national interest to make their construction promotive of the " general welfare " of the country. It is to this great object that the attention of our representatives in Congress should be directed with the greatest possible energy and discretion. And to cripple them by follies at home would be a crime against the State and nation. We want no Federal politics now. We want a tinion of the practical and sensible people who are not aspirants for office, and who think more of the prosperity of the state and the happiness of the people (the men, women, and children,) than they do of the office-hunters. A union of such men will be a strong support to our representatives, and will, to an incalculable degree, promote the success of their patriotic efforts. The age is changed. The heroic, sentimental, and ornamental, age has been so far ended as that courage becomes combined with energy, sentiment with utility, and heroism with practical resolution and that unflagging fortitude which triumphs in the great undertakings of Peace that are to swell the power of the nation and give employment and sustenance to the rapidly increasing population of the State. "We greatly admired the stateliness of the times that are gone--we almost worshipped It ; but let us not be blind to the fact that that sentiment of self-interest which chivalry is too prone to condemn was certainly not well concealed in the days that are gone. Ambition, a form of selfishness not least to be condemned of the several shapes it takes, cast its bripht hues quite profusely over society. Men went far to gratify their love of distinction. A mission to the Court of St. James or that of St. Cloud was an object of untiring exertion. "We believe that (leave out the late venerable Joseph C. Cabell) more hard labor and undying perseverance have been expended by our statesmen upon a scheme to pet a foreign mission than was ever spent by tbhem upon the water-line to connect the Chesapeake and the Ohio, now conceded to be the greatest project in the United States. And yet these men would not take a dollar in the way of appropriation to a work within the borders of the State became that was unconstitutional! That was a virtuous, and ambition for official distinction was--what? Well, it matters not. We have now, we trust, a new ambition. We are ambitious to make Virginia great, and we are, as a community, anxious that she should have her share of the disbursements and care of the common government of all the States. If our people can only screw themselves up to that noble self-denial that will induce them to subordinate their personal aspirations to the welfare of the State we shall have a sign of a kind of nobleness of spirit that certainly mipht inspire a feeling of respect ; and if we may show after a time that sort of vigilance, perseverance, and fortitude, that are proportioned to the dignity of the great objects of promoting the wenlth tnd prosperity of the whole State, we may console ourselves that if we have passed away somewhat from the day of personal pomp and stately personal ambition, we have incentives and phases of human action which will fully compensate us for what we have lost, and will give far more power and political weight to the State we call ours in a dtv when we have been brought very near to the rule that " might makes right." let us, then, be practical. Let us not hink that we have gone back into the Union only to carve out offices for aspirants ; but to make a great State through the improvement of her solid interests, and thus not only to promote our own security and well-being, but to add to tlie grandeur and power of that Federal Government which will be ours, and whose dignity nud force it will be as much our interest to support nnd advance as that of any people within the borders of the Union
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Jermaine Reynolds




“Admission Not All,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed June 1, 2023,