Virginia Memory, Library of Virginia

Union or Secession
  • "Sustain a paper zealous for your rights"
In April 1861, the editor of the Floyd Southern Era appealed for financial support for newspapers friendly to the Union.
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"Sustain a paper zealous for your rights"

Undated editorial from the Floyd Southern Era reprinted in the Wheeling Daily Intelligencer, April 11, 1861.

On February 4, 1861, voters in Floyd County elected an opponent of secession to represent them in the Virginia Convention. The editor of the Southern Era, the local newspaper, continued to oppose secession even after many other editors, and perhaps many of his readers, embraced secession. One week after the Virginia Convention defeated a motion to secede by a two to one margin, the Unionist editor of the Wheeling Daily Intelligencer reprinted the Floyd editor's appeal for financial support for Union papers, "Unless the people support their Union men and Union papers," he had written, "all is lost."

Undated editorial from the Floyd Southern Era reprinted in the Wheeling Daily Intelligencer, April 11, 1861.

Will the people of Southwestern Virginia sustain us in our efforts to keep up a paper devoted to their best interests? If you want your interests guarded you must sustain a paper zealous for your rights.— There are but three or four Union papers, now, in the State, the balance are for plunging us into civil war, the secession of Virginia will accomplish their designs. Unless the people support their Union men and Union papers, all is lost, and the people may prepare for war, for come it will, unless they act in the matter.— We have just learned that the Richmond Whig, the last Union paper in the city, has changed hands and come out for disunion; and unless they are sustained better, there will not be a single Union paper left in the State. This is altogether owing to the carelessness of the people, and by this carelessness they may be brought to the shedding of blood; you can see that they are buying up all the Union papers in the State, and with such a power as that against you, you are hopelessly lost. People of Virginia, will you not look to this matter?— we know this appeal is very strong, but not without a cause. In a latter a few days ago, a gentlemen said to us: "Sir, I say to you, it is as true as the Gospel, that the secessionists are moving Heaven and earth to carry the spring elections." Is it not time then; we, too, were moving in this matter. All that want the Southern Era can get it; if you can't pay money, pay us from your farms, all the money we need is just enough to buy our paper and ink, and pay our little debts—all kinds of country produce will be taken.
We shall confidently expect the friends of the union to take hold of this matter in good earnest.