Virginia and West Virginia

January 19, 1866


Members of the Virginia State Legislature discuss the reunification of Virginia and West Virginia.


Mr. Woodson, from the Select Committee on the Restoration of the State of Virginia, and the Committee of Finance, to whom was referred the consideration of the expediency of appointing commissioners to proceed to Wheeling for the purpose of making an adjustment with the States of Virginia and West Virginia, made the following report: "You committee are satisfied that the people of Virginia deeply regret that from any cause the Commonwealth of Virginia should have been dismembered and the State of West Virginia created within her former limits- an event, in the opinion of your committee, injurious to the people of both States, creating the necessity of supporting two governments instead of one, greasy increasing the burdens of taxation, and calculated to produce alienation between the people of the two States by raising questions of controversy between them upon different questions, of which the chief are the proper adjustment of the public debt of the State of Virginia and a fair division of the public property. If, in the past, any real conflict of interest existed between the eastern and western portions of the State, the same has been obliterated by the events of the war, and there is no good reason why the people of both States should not be reunited, and live together again under the flag of the Old Dominion as children of the same illustrious ancestry and heirs of a common State renown. Cherishing a sincere affection for our brethren of West Virginia, and the truest anxiety for establishing and perpetrating the re-union of the States, we do solemnly and confidently appeal to the like disposition among our brethren of West Virginia that they will concur with us in declaring, as we do hereby declare, every desire, as soon as practicable, to adopt proper measures of co-operation to re-unite and maintain unimpaired the original integrity of old Virginia; and with this view your committee recommend the adoption of the following joint resolutions: "!st. Resolved by the General Assembly of Virginia, That the people of Virginia deeply lament the dismemberment of the old State, and are sincerely desirous to establish and perpetuate the re-union of the States of Virginia and West Virginia, to concur with them in the adoption of suitable measures of co-operation in the restoration of the ancient Commonwealth of Virginia with all her people and up to her former boundaries. "2nd. That commissioners, resident citizens of this State, shall be appointed by the joint vote of the two Houses of the General Assembly to proceed forthwith to the seat of government of West Virginia for the purpose of communicating to the Governor and General Assembly of that State a copy of the foregoing resolution and the report of the committee accompanying the same, with authority to treat on the subject of restoration of the state of the State of Virginia to its former jurisdiction and boundaries, provided that the result of such negotiations, if favorable to such restoration on any terms, shall be subject to the approval or disapproval of the Legislature and Conventions of the respective States, as may hereafter be mutually agreed upon. "3rd. The commisioners appointed under the foregoing resolution are also empowered and directed to treat with the authorities of West Virginia upon thee subject of a proper adjustment of the public debt of the State if Virginia due or incurred previous to the dismemberment of the State, and of a fair division of the public property, subject, however, to the approval or disapproval of the General Assembly. "4th. The said commissioners are herby authorized to treat upon either or both of the subjects mentioned in the two preceding resolutions as circumstances may demand, with instructions to suspend or forbear any action on the subject of adjusting the debt of the State, or a division of the public property, if, in their opinion the probably restoration of the State of Virginia to its ancient boundaries may render and effort at such adjustment necessary ' the action of said Commissioners to be subject to the approval or disapproval of this General Assembly." Mr. Garnett wished the report should be laid on the table until the committee should present a minority report. Mr.Pendleton wished to lay the report on the table until presented. Then the consideration of the subject would be made the special order of the day. Mr.Woodson urged the immediate consideration of the report. The report and resolutions were read for the first time an ordered a second reading.
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Justin Barlow




“Virginia and West Virginia,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed December 3, 2022,