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Collection Title: Virginia Governor's Communication Enclosing a Communication from the Commissioner from Mississippi

Collection Number: M188

Dates: February 1860

Volume: 1 Item

Provenance: Purchased, May 1981

Copyright: This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code).

Biographical/Historical Sketch:

Peter B. Starke served in the Mississippi House of Representatives, 1850-1854, and in the Mississippi Senate, 1856-1862. In March 1860 he made a trip to Virginia, his birthplace, to ask the Virginia General Assembly if they would agree to send delegates to a convention of all slave-holding states. In February 1862, Starke enlisted in the Confederate as colonel of the 28th Cavalry. He was commissioned Brigadier General in November 1864 and served the Confederate States of America very well, by all reports. From 1866 to 1872, he was appointed from Bolivar County asa a member of the Board of Mississippi Levee Commissioners. There is a passing mention that he later moved to Virginia and lived to a ripe old age.

John Letcher (1813-184) was the Governor of Virginia immediately before and during the Civil War. Initially he opposed Virginia's secession, but changed his mind when President Lincoln called for troops. He then became a vigorous supporter of the war. Although his property was damaged by Union troops, after the war he urged his fellow Southerners to accept their defeat with grace and to put the experience behind them. From his political background, it would seem that he probably urged the Virginia General Assembly to accept Starke's invitation.

Scope and Content:

This collection consists of a printed communication, in pamphlet form, from Peter B. Starke, commissioner from Mississippi, to the Virginia General Assembly, dated March 1860. Starke is requesting the Virginia General Assembly to give him an answer as to whether Virginia will participate in South Carolina's proposed convention of Southern states to be held in Atlanta, Georgia. The purpose of the proposed convention was to discuss a union (not disunion or secession) which the North would respect. Starke also mentions a recent abolitionist raid into Virginia and the refusal of the northern states to apprehend or punish the criminals, thereby neglecting the federal law. The governor of Iowa, in particular, had refused to extradite one of the known perpetrators of the raid. Starke was anxious to receive a definite reply before the General Assembly ajourned. At that point, South Carolina and Mississippi had been the only two states to agree to the proposed convention. It was hoped that an affirmative reply from Virginia would influence other states. Prior to secession, the only conventions held were for economic purposes.

In the preface, John Letcher, Governor of Virginia, urges the General Assembly to respond however they saw fit, but to respond. His political background would indicate that he personally favored the convention.

This item is Virginia State Document No. 83, March 1860.

Related Collections:

Virginia Governor's Communication Enclosing the Credentials of the Commissioner from Mississippi, M 189

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