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DELEGATES IN THE PEACE CONVENTION.
appointed by Legislatures, they were chosen by the Governors. Many of these delegates were instructed, either by formal resolutions of the appointing power or by informal expressions of opinion. Much caution was exercised, because there were well-grounded suspicions that the Virginia politicians, who had proposed the Convention, were adroitly playing into the hands of the conspirators. One of the resolutions that accompanied their invitation to a conference declared that the Crittenden Compromise, so modified as to apply to all the territory of the Republic south of latitude 36° 30', and to provide that "Slavery of the African race" should be "effectually protected as property therein during the existence of the Territorial government;" also, to secure to the holders of slaves the right of transit with this property, "between and through the non-slaveholding States and Territories," constituted a basis of adjustment that would be acceptable to Virginia. This avowal of their demands at the outset was candid, if not modest and conciliatory.
Massachusetts instructed its delegates to confer with the General Government, or with the separate States, or with any association of delegates from such States, and to report to the Legislature. Rhode Island said:
"Agree, if practicable, upon some amicable adjustment of present difficulties, upon the basis and spirit of the National Constitution."
New York wished it not to be understood that, in acceding to the request of Vir
ginia, it ap
proved of Virginia's desires, as expressed in the resolutions of its Legislature. It was willing to do all in its power to bring about an honorable settlement of the national difficulties. New Jersey earnestly
Virginia. John Tyler, Wm. C. Rives, John W. Brockenbrough, George W. Summers, James A. Seddon. North Carolina.-George Davis, Thomas Ruffin, David S. Reid, D. M. Barringer, J. M. Morehead. Tennessee.-Samuel Milligan, Josiah M. Anderson, Robert L. Caruthers, Thomas Martin, Isaac R Hawkins, A. W. O. Totten, R. J. McKinney, Alvin Cullum, William P. Hickerson, George W. Jones, F. R. Zollicoffer, William H. Stephens.
Kentucky.-William O. Butler, James B. Clay, Joshua F. Bell, Charles S. Morehead, James Guthrie, Charles A. Wickliffe.
Missouri.-John D. Coalter, Alexander W. Doniphan, Waldo P. Johnson, Aylett H. Buckner, Harrison
Ohio.-Salmon P. Chase, John C. Wright, William S. Groesbeck, Franklin T. Backus, Reuben Hitchcock, Thomas Ewing, V. B. Horton, C. P. Wolcott.
Indiana.-Caleb B. Smith, Pleasant A. Hackleman, Godlove S. Orth, E. W. H. Ellis, Thomas C. Slaughter.
Kansas.-Thomas Ewing, Jr., J. C. Stone, H. J. Adams, M. F. Conway.
ORGANIZATION OF THE PEACE CONVENTION.
urged the adoption of the Crittenden Compromise. Pennsylvania declared its willingness to make any honorable concession for the sake of peace, but did not desire any amendment or alteration of the Constitution. It was ready to fulfill every duty prescribed to it by that Constitution, even to the full execution of the Fugitive Slave Act. Delaware simply declared its devotion to the Union, and instructed its delegates to do all in their power for its preservation. Ohio was willing to meet its fellow States in convention, but felt satisfied with the Constitution as it was; while Indiana instructed its delegates not to commit that State to any action until nineteen of the States should be represented, and until they had communicated with the General Assembly of their State, and received permission to commit it to proposed measures. Illinois wished it to be understood that its willingness to confer was not a committal of the State to any proposed policy. It was anxious for conciliation, but saw no reason for amending the Constitution for the purpose. Kentucky would be satisfied with the Crittenden Compromise, according to the Virginia model. Tennessee was willing to adjust all difficulties by the same process, but with enlarged franchises for the slaveholders; while Missouri instructed its delegates to endeavor to agree upon some plan for the preservation or reconstruction of the Union. Its delegates were always to be subordinate to the General Assembly or the State Convention of Missouri.
The Convention was permanently organized by the appoint- a 1841-1845.
ment of John Tyler, of Virginia (once President of the Republic),"
as the presiding officer, and Crafts J. Wright, of Ohio, son of one of the delegates from that State, as secretary. Mr. Tyler delivered a short address. on taking the chair, in which he said:
"The eyes of the whole country are turned to this assembly, in expectation and hope. I trust that you may prove yourselves worthy of the great. occasion. Our ancestors probably committed a blunder in not having fixed upon every fifth decade for a call of a general convention to amend and reform the Constitution. On the contrary, they have made the difficulties next to insurmountable to accomplish amendments to an instrument which was perfect for five millions of people, but not wholly so for thirty millions. Your patriotism will surmount the difficulties, however great, if you will but accomplish one triumph in advance, and that is a triumph over party. And what is party, when compared to the work of rescuing one's country from danger? Do this, and one long, lourd shout of joy and gladness will resound throughout the land." At the conclusion of this address, Mr. Wickliffe, of Kentucky, offered a resolution that the Convention should be opened with prayer. It was agreed to, and the Rev. Dr. P. D. Gurley officiated.
The regular business of the Convention was opened by Mr. Guthrie, of
AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION PROPOSED.
Kentucky, who offered a resolution that a committee of one from each State be appointed by the delegates thereof, to be nominated to the President of the Convention, and to be appointed by him, to whom should be referred the resolutions of the State of Virginia, and the other States represented, and all propositions for the adjustment of existing difficulties between the States; the committee to have authority to report what it might deem right, necessary, and proper, to restore harmony and preserve the Union. The resolution was adopted; the committee was appointed,' and the subjects laid before it were duly discussed, sometimes with warmth, but always with courtesy. On the 15th, Mr. Guthrie, Chairman of the Committee, made a report, in which several amendments to the Constitution were offered. It was proposed
First, To re-establish the parallel of 36° 30′ north latitude as a line, in the territory north of which Slavery should be prohibited; but in all territory south of it Slavery might live, without interference from any power, while a territorial government existed. It also proposed that when any Territory north or south of that line should contain the requisite number of inhabitants to form a State, it should, if its form of government should be republican, be admitted into the Union on an equal footing with the original States, either with or without Slavery, as the constitution of the new State might determine.
Second, That territory should not be acquired by the United States, unless by treaty; nor, except for naval and commercial stations, unless such treaty should be ratified by four-fifths of all the members of the Senate.
Third, That the Constitution nor any amendment thereof should be construed to give Congress power to interfere with Slavery in any of the States of the Union, nor in the District of Columbia, without the consent of Maryland and the slaveholders concerned; and, in case of the abolition of Slavery, making compensation to those who refused to consent; nor to prohibit representatives and others from taking their slaves to and from Washington; nor to interfere with Slavery in places under the exclusive jurisdiction of the United States, such as arsenals and navy-yards, in States where it was recognized; nor to interfere with the transportation of slaves from one Slave-labor State to another; nor to authorize any higher rate of taxation on slaves than on land.
Fourth, That the clause in the Constitution relating to the rendition of fugitive slaves should not be construed to prevent any of the States, by appropriate legislation, and through the action of their judicial and ministerial officers, from enforcing the delivery of fugitives from labor to the person to whom such service or labor should be due.
1 The following are the names of the delegates who composed the Committee:-Maine, Lott M. Morrill: New Hampshire, Asa Fowler; Vermont, Hiland Hall; Massachusetts, Francis B. Crowninshield: Rhode Island, Samuel Ames; Connecticut, Roger S. Baldwin; New York, David Dudley Field; New Jersey, Peter D. Vroom; Pennsylvania, Thomas White; Ohio, Thomas Ewing; Indiana, Caleb B. Smith; Illinois, Stephen F. Logan; Iowa, James Harlan; Delaware, Daniel M. Bates; North Carolina, Thomas Ruffin: Virginia, James A. Seddon: Kentucky, James Guthrie; Maryland, Reverdy Johnson; Tennessee, F. R. Zollicoffer; Missouri. A. W. Doniphan.
2 The National Constitution says:-"New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union." The proposed amendment said, any new State "shall, if its form of government be republican, be admitted into the Union." The importance of this difference in phraseology, as well as its intent, is obvious.
Fifth, That the foreign Slave-trade should be forever prohibited. Sixth, That the first, second, third, and fifth of the foregoing propositions, when in the form of ratified amendments to the Constitution, and the clause relating to the rendition of fugitive slaves, should not be amended or abolished without the consent of all the States.
Seventh, That Congress should provide by law that the United States should pay to the owner the full value of his fugitive from labor, in all cases where the law-officer, whose duty it was to arrest such fugitive, should be prevented from doing so by violence or intimidation, or when such fugitive should be rescued after arrest, and the claimant thereby should lose his property.
Two members of the Committee (Baldwin, of Connecticut, and Seddon, of Virginia) each presented a minority report. Baldwin proposed a general Convention of all the States,' to consider amendments to the Constitution; and Seddon, afterward the so-called "Secretary of War" of the confederated traitors, affirming that the majority report would not be acceptable to Virginia, because it conceded less than the Crittenden Compromise, whereas Virginia wanted all that and more, proposed, in addition to an absolute guaranty of Slavery south of 36° 30', an amendment that should not only give the slaveholder a right to take his slaves through Free-labor States, but allow him protection for his slaves, as property, while on the sea on such journey. He also proposed an amendment that should forever exclude from the ballot-box and public office, "persons who are in whole or in part of the African race." He also proposed another that should recognize the right of peaceable secession. He offered his propositions as a substitute for the majority report, well knowing that they would not be adopted by the Convention.
In the open Convention, Charles A. Wickliffe, of Kentucky, proposed that that body should request the several States which had passed obnoxious Personal Liberty Acts to repeal them, and to allow slaves to cross their territory when being taken from one Slave-labor State to another. On the 18th, Amos Tuck, of New Hampshire, submitted an address and resolutions. In the former, the distractions of the country were deplored and the right of secession denied; in the latter, it was proposed that the Convention should recognize the fact that the National Constitution gives no power to Congress, nor any other branch of the General Government, to interfere with Slavery in any of the States, and that neither of the great political organizations of the country contemplated a violation of the spirit of the Constitution; that the Constitution was established for the good of the whole people, and that when the rights of any portion of them are disregarded, redress can and ought to be provided; and that a convention of all the States to propose amendments to the Constitution be recommended. Salmon P. Chase, of Ohio, proposed that the Convention should adjourn to the 4th of April, to enable all of the States to be represented in it.
These various propositions and others were earnestly discussed for several
1 The Legislature of Kentucky had made application to Congress to call a convention of all the States to consider amendments to the Constitution, and Mr. Baldwin proposed that the several States should join Kentucky in this request.
ADOPTION OF GUTHRIE'S REPORT.
days, and votes were taken upon several proposed amendments to the Constitution. These votes were by States, each State having one vote.' • February 26, Finally, on the eighteenth day of the session, David Dudley 1861. Field, of New York, moved to amend the majority report by striking out the seventh section and inserting the words: "No State shall withdraw from the Union without the consent of all the States convened, in pursuance of an act passed by two-thirds of each House of Congress." This proposition was rejected by eleven States against ten.'
On the same day, Mr. Guthrie's majority report was taken up for final action, when Mr. Baldwin offered his proposition as a substitute, and it was rejected by a vote of thirteen States against eight. Mr. Seddon then offered his substitute. It was rejected by a vote of sixteen States against four." James B. Clay then offered as a substitute Mr. Crittenden's Compromise plan, "pure and undefiled, without the crossing of a 't' or the dotting of an 'i.'" It was rejected by a vote of fourteen States against five. Mr. Tuck then offered his resolutions as a substitute, and they were rejected by a vote of eleven States against nine."
When these substitutes were thus disposed of, Mr. Guthrie's report was taken up, considered by sections, and, after some modifications, was adopted. Then T. E. Franklin of Pennsylvania, moved, as the sense of the Convention, that the highest political duty of every citizen of the United States is his allegiance to the Federal Government, created by the Constitution of the United States, and that no State of this Union has any constitutional right to secede therefrom, or to absolve the citizens of such State from their allegiance to the Government of the United States. This was indefinitely postponed by a vote of ten States against seven. Mr. Seddon proposed as an amendment to the Constitution that the assent of the majority of the Senators from the Slaveholding States, and a like majority of Senators from nonslaveholding States, should be required to give validity to any act of the Senate; as also recognizing and legalizing State secession from the Union. This was laid on the table. Mr. Guthrie then offered a preamble to the propositions agreed to, which was adopted; and President Tyler was requested to present that plan of adjustment and pacification to the Con
- The eighteenth rule for the action of the conference prescribed this, and added:-" The yeas and nays of the members shall not be given or published--only the decision by States."
2 Ayes-Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, New York. New Hampshire, Vermont, Kansas-10. Noes-Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Virginia-11.
3 Ayes-Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, New Hampshire, Vermont-8. Noes-Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Virginia, Kansas-13.
4 The four States that voted for Seddon's resolution were Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, and Virginia, The five that voted for it were Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.
• Ayes-Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, New Hampshire, and Vermont-9. Noes-Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Virginia—11.
7 The following is Mr. Guthrie's plan. as adopted, with the preamble:
"To the Congress of the United States:-The Convention assembled upon the invitation of the State of Virginia, to adjust the unhappy differences which now disturb the peace of the Union and threaten its continuance, make known to the Congress of the United States, that their body convened in the city of Washington on the 4th instant, and continued in session until the 27th.
"There were in the body, when action was taken upon that which is here submitted, one hundred and thirty-three commissioners, representing the following States:-Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachu setts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North