August 8, 1870
Virginia is six years out of the Civil War and has survived Reconstruction. Therefore, the population must remain politically united and elect qualified leaders in order to encourage economic prosperity through agriculture and manufacturing and overcome the debilitating regulations and taxes imposed upon Virginian exports.
We are in the sixth year after the war of blood, and near the conclusion, it is to be hoped, of the war of political persecution and punishment. We have been given to understand by recent events that the i relation of the States to the General Government is entirely changed, and for a time possibly we may be held to be more amenable to interference in our local affairs by the Federal Government than New York or any northern State. But gradually all distinctions among the States are being obliterated, and in a short time there will be no such inequality. Used to hard treatment, and having been tried by passing through the most humiliating ordeal that ever a community was subjected to, we can at least be comfortable under the same discipline that all the States in the Union are subjected to. We arc therefore in comparative ease and security. We can all vote, and we have succeeded in electing men of capacity and honesty to administer the Government, and public confidence has greatly recovered. The people have stronger hopes and their energies are more full of life than they have been since the beginning of the Congressional war upon the South. It would be disastrous to the prosperity of the State were our people to separate now upon political issues, and thus so weaken their strength as that the Government would pass into the hands of men who cannot be trusted, and we become again a prey to tears and troubles which restrain enterprise, cripple energy, and seriously impair the growth and improvement of thestate. We are in a position from which we can advance rapidly, if we remain firmly devoted to our domestic welt are without dividing upon questions upon which it isnot at all Important that our voice should now be heard. What are the objects to be secured by union and harmony at home now? Good government - the best men to represent us- the preservation of older- the inspiring of confidence - the stimulation of enterprise and industry- the encouragement of investments, and the inviting of immigration. These objects are above all others that can command our exertions now. They involve the growth and prosperity of the Commonwealth and the peace and comfort of society, as well as the safety and support of the women and children of the State. And shall we give up these and go to war - partisan war - for the purpose of giving a few politicians places ? Is it more important that we should caucus and canvass for the propitiation of these men than that we should protect the local well-being of Virginia and the very peace and comfort of every family fireside We imagine the people of Virginia will be united on this point. They have too much to do at home in clearing away the debris of the war, restoring order, getting ahead in their stores for subsistence, and preparing to rebuild their fortunes, to go to sea on Federal politics. Virginia has not made money as fast as the cotton States, and her staple has been the subject of heavy taxation, to the serious injuy of her agricultural industry and also of her manufacturing interests. And this injustice, which fails so heavily upon the colored population, must be made to bear upon the next election. But while Virginia has not made money as fast as her sister States further South have done, her improvement has been steady and substantial. Her increase is upon solid foundations. Whether we consider her temperature, soil, waters, forests, or minerals, she stands prominent the State of all others that will confer the best rewards upon industry and the greatest degree of health and happiness upon her people. With the highest hopes, then, let us be united, and with all our energy and industry let us wipe out the scars and desolationsof war and make our dear old State blossom as the rose.
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“Virginia.,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed May 17, 2022, https://reconstructingvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/1798.