“The House has voted to create and admit Western Virginia as a State,” wrote Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy under President Abraham Lincoln. “This is not the time to divide the old Commonwealth [i.e., Virginia]. The requirements of the Constitution are not complied with, as they in good faith should be, by Virginia, by the proposed new State, nor by the United States. I find that [Montgomery] Blair [the Postmaster-General], with whom I exchanged a word, is opposed to it.” (Gideon Welles Diary, Dec. 4, 1862)
“Virginia” once constituted a land area including the so-called “West Virginia.” But then “Virginia” seceded from the Union (or thought it did) in 1861. Subsequently the area calling itself now “West Virginia” had a “Second Wheeling Convention” on June 11, 1861. That sub-section of the State of Virginia chose to secede from the larger entity of “Virginia.”
Article IV, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution is quite clear about the formation of a new State, such as the so-called “West Virginia.” That Section of the Constitution reads, in part: “New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new State shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the junction of two or more States, or parts of States, without the consent of the legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.”
My reading of the above is (1) no new State shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other State; and (2) no State can be formed by the junction of two or more States (thereby casting doubt on the legality of the FEMA “ten regions”).
No new State shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other State. And yet that is what the so-called “West Virginia” is: a new State formed within the jurisdiction of Virginia.
Some might argue: “Virginia had ‘left the Union’ at the time West Virginia proclaimed itself.” On the contrary, as Abraham Lincoln himself believed, the Union is perpetual and it would be impossible for Virginia to have ever really seceded. Virginia may have thought she left the Union, but this could not be, since the Union is perpetual.
Gideon Welles’ Diary, Dec. 12, 1862: “Some conversation in Cabinet respecting the proposed new State of Western Virginia. The bill has not yet reached the President, who thinks the creation of this new State at this time of doubtful expediency.”
Gideon Welles’ Diary, Dec. 23, 1862: The main subject of discussion at the Cabinet meeting was “the proposed division of Virginia and the creation of a new State to be called Western Virginia… My impressions are, under the existing state of things, decidedly averse. It is a disturbance that might be avoided at this time and has constitutional difficulties.”
Gideon Welles’ Diary, Dec. 29, 1862: Written opinions by Cabinet members on the question of “dividing the old Commonwealth of Virginia and carving out and admitting a new State” were presented. As Gideon Welles and Edwin Stanton strolled away after the meeting, Stanton “expressed surprise that I [Welles] should oppose division, for he thought it politic and wise to plant a Free State south of the Ohio [River].” But, countered Gideon Welles, “I thought our duties were constitutional, not experimental, that we should observe and preserve the landmarks, and that mere expediency should not override constitutional obligations. This action was not predicated on the consent of the people of Virginia, legitimately expressed; was arbitrary and without proper authority; was such a departure from, and an undermining of, our system that I could not approve it and feared it was the beginning of the end.” The carving out of a new State, West Virginia, amounted to “the breaking up of a State by the General Government without the prescribed forms, innate rights, and the consent of the people fairly and honestly expressed, [and] was arbitrary and wrong.”