Pierpont's inaugural address
Excerpts from the inaugural address of Governor Francis H. Pierpont before the convention in Wheeling, on June 20, 1861, printed in the Wheeling Daily Intelligencer, June 21, 1861.
On June 20, 1861, Francis H. Pierpont took office as governor of Virginia. The convention that met in Wheeling to restore Virginia to the Union declared the principal state offices vacant and elected new officials. In his inaugural address to the convention that had elected him, Pierpont blamed political leaders in eastern Virginia for forcing western Virginians to take that action. Near the end of his speech he said that they had "been driven to assume this position; and now we are but recurring to the great fundamental principle of our fathers, that to the loyal people of a State belong the law-making power of that State. The loyal people are entitled to the government and governmental authority of the State. And, fellow-citizens, it is the assumption of this authority upon which we are now about to enter."