"The immediate secession candidates have been badly whipped"
Editorial in the Abingdon Democrat, February 8, 1861.
The editor of the Abingdon Democrat judged that in the election of delegates to the Virginia Convention on February 4, 1861, "The immediate secession candidates have been badly whipped—in fact, have been almost annihilated,—and the gentlemen representing the 'wait-a-bit' ticket triumphantly elected." John Arthur Campbell and Robert E. Grant, who were elected to the convention from Washington County, both opposed secession at that time. The editor had anticipated that Washington County and the other southwestern counties would have elected more supporters of secession than they did, but his characterization of the victorious candidates accurately represented the attitudes of a majority of all of the delegates elected on that day. He took heart, though, that opponents of secession were not inclined to submit without objection to what he and supporters of secession believed would be the intolerable policies of Abraham Lincoln and the Republicans.