Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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CARLILE, John Snyder, senator, born in Winchester, Virginia, 16 December, 1817; died in Clarksburg, W. Virginia, 24 October, 1878. He was educated by his mother until he was fourteen years old, when he became salesman in a store, and at the age of seventeen went into business on his own account. He then studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1840, and began practice in Beverly, Virginia He was a state senator from 1847 till 1851, a member of the State constitutional convention of 1850, and in 1855 elected to congress as a unionist, and served one term. Mr. Carlile was a prominent union member of the Virginia convention of 1861, and did all in his power to prevent the secession of his state, opposing any action by which Virginia should place herself in an attitude of hostility to the general government. After the passage of the secession ordinance he was a leader in the union movement in western Virginia. He was one of those that issued a union address to the people of West Virginia on 22 May, and was prominent in the Wheeling convention of June, 1861. He was averse, however, to the formation of a new state, preferring that congress should recognize the unionist government at Wheeling as the true state government of Virginia. He was again chosen to congress in 1861, but kept his seat in the house only from 4 July till 13 July, when he was elected United States senator, and served until 1865. In the senate he was uniformly in favor of a strict construction of the constitution, opposing all measures recognizing that there existed a rebellion of states instead of individuals, and denying the right of congress to interfere in any way with the slaves.
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