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THE VIRGINIA STATE CONVENTION.
The Virginia Convention.
Mr. Harris submitted a report advising secession, immediate and unconditional. Three signatures only were attached to this report.
The Virginia Convention.
force of arms, to resist such ex- | her property in, and pro-
Mr. Barbour submitted a minority report, to the effect that the Federal Government must immediately adopt measures to afford the people of the Slaveholding States a full constitutional assurance of their safety in continuing in an association with them under a common Government; also recommending the appointment of Commissioners to Montgomery, to confer with the Confederate authorities.
Mr. Baldwin submitted a minority report, indorsing the Peace Convention proceedings; recommending a Border State Convention at Frankfort, Kentucky, opposing coercion. It was in favor of removing all causes of complaint, and charged the excitement and revolutionary condition of things as entirely the work of designing politicians.
Mr. Wickham also exhibited a minority report, opposing coercion, recommending a Border State Conference at Frankfort, and favoring the Peace Convention propositions, as affording the basis of a fair and honorable adjustment.
Mr. Conrad advocated the majority report in a speech made Friday, March 15th. He maintained the legal right of secession, though good policy would be to make proper demands for amendments to the Constitution, to which he believed the North would accede. He said he would make these propositions in a future report, and he had no doubt they would be acceptable to the Convention.
It also declared the Union could only be restored by an amendment to the Constitution, originating in the Non-Slaveholding States, for the perfect security of Southern rights.
Mr. Goggin offered, as an amendment to the majority report, a series of resolves, in brief, as follows: Providing for the withdrawal of Virginia from the Union, without determining her future association; calling for a Border State Convention at Lexington, Kentucky, in May, to propose a plan for conThe discussion which followed the intro-structing a government to be comprised out duction of these reports, was characterized of said Border States and the Confederate by extreme personal feeling and excitement. Mr. Summers, on Tuesday, March 12th, made a very eloquent and impressive defence of the Peace propositions, and characterized the efforts of the Secessionists as calculated to bring overwhelming ruin on the State and the Union. His words were determined, but not defiant, and were reported as having produced a powerful impression. The controversy called out the venerable vacillator, John Tyler, who had hurried from the Peace Convention at Washington, to the Disunion Couvention at Richmond, to stultify himself, as quickly as possible, by repudiating the entire labors of a Congress of his own conception. Mr. Tyler's speech extended to Thursday, in its delivery. He took strong ground against the Peace Convention propositions, as affording Virginia no proper security for
The various propositions submitted as reports, amendments, &c., continued under discussion during March-the excitement and acrimony daily increasing. Up to April 1st no real progress had been made, except that the Secessionists had grown more violent and menacing and the Unionists less hopeful, even of the scheme of a Border State Conference, at Frankfort, Kentucky.
While the Convention was laboring in the travail of secession, the Virginia Legislature was not an idle spectator. The Secessionist feeling was strongly represented, both in its Senate and House of Delegates, as
Treason in the Virginia Legislature.
"Be it resolved by the General Assembly, That the Governor of this Commonwealth be authorized, and he is hereby directed, to order out the public guard, and to call out such of the militia as may be necessary to arrest the contemplated removal of the guns aforesaid; and that he be further instructed to employ all needful force to resist every and any attempt to remove the same beyond the reach and the control of the Government of the State."
Col. Segar's Anti-
'no association of men, no State or set of States has a right to withdraw from the Union of its own accord,' and that 'the first act of resistance to the law is treason to the United States;' the decisions
was proven by the passage, | fathers against it; the crushing in the former, of resolutions weight of opinion against it in of a highly offensive and our own State-her Jefferson treasonable character, regarding the removal declaring that even the old Confederation, a governof some guns manufactured for the United ment far weaker than the present Federal Union, possessed the power of coercion-her Madison, the States Government at Bellona foundry, near very father of the Constitution, solemnly asserting Richmond. The resolution adopted by the that its framers never for one moment contemplated Senate, and sent up to the House for its conso disorganizing and ruinous a principle-her great currence, read: and good Marshall decreeing more than once, from the bench of the Supreme Judiciary, that the Federal Constitution did not constitute a mere compact or treaty, but a Government of the whole people of the United States, with supreme powers within the sphere of its authority-Judge Spencer Roane, the Ajax Telamon, in his day, of her State-rights republicanism, endorsing the sentiment: 'It is treason to secede?'-her Thomas Ritchie, the 'Napoleon of the Press' and Jupiter Tonans of the modern deThe guns here referred to were manufac-mocracy, heralding through the columns of the tured by the founder, under a contract which | Richmond Enquirer the impregnable maxims that had been given out by Floyd, two years previously. The contract stipulated that the guns were to be delivered at Richmond for inspection, from whence they might be shipped to the depository at Fortress Monroe. The manufacturer wishing money, had advised the Ordnance Department that the guns were ready for delivery. Colonel Craige gave orders, accordingly, to have them delivered at Richmond for shipment to Fortress Monroe, when the order for payment would be drawn. This called forth the resolution above quoted. It showed the insurrectionary character of the Senate, to which the Gov-| ernor was understood to respond. In the House the spirit of loyalty to oath, to honor, to duty, and to the Government, was too strong to admit of its endorsement of the Senate's open treason. We may here give from the speech of Colonel Joseph Segar, in the House, an extract, as showing how fearlessly and how prophetically the Unionists spake of the nature and results of secession: "These Senate resolutions, Mr. Speaker, are evidently designed as a stepping-stone to the secession of the State-as the entering wedgethe preliminary notice a scheme to 'fire' the Virginia heart, and rush us out of the Union; and, so regarding them, I might inquire by what warrant it is we may retire from the Confederacy? But I shall not argue this doctrine of secession. The simple history of the Constitution; its simpler and yet plainer reading; the overwhelming authority of our
Col. Segar's AntiSecession Speech.
of some of the most enlightened of the State judiciaries in repudiation of the dangerous dogma; the concurrent disavowal of it by the Marshalls, and Kents, and Storys and McLeans, and Waynes, and Catrons, and Reverdy Johnsons, and Guthries, and all the really great jurists of the land; the brand of absurdity and wickedness which has been stamped upon it by Andrew Jackson, and Webster, and Clay, and Crittenden, and Everett, and Douglas, and Cass, and Holt, and Andrew Johnson, and Wickliffe, and Dickinson, and the great body of our truly eminent statesmen; these considerations and authorities present the doctrine of Secession to me with one side
"But I do wish to inquire of my colleagues, if they have seriously reflected on the consequences of secession, should it come?
"Do you expect (as I have heard some of you declare) that the power and influence of Virginia are such that you will have peaceable secession, through an immediate recognition of the separate independence of the South? Alas! you hug a delusion.
"Peaceable secession-secession without war! You can no more have it than you can crush in the rack every limb and bone of the human frame without agonizing the mutilated trunk. 'Peaceable secession! (said Mr. Webster) peaceable secession! Sir, (continued the 'great expounder') your eyes and mine are not destined to see that miracle. The dismemberment of this vast country with out convulsion! The breaking up of the fount
The Missouri State
troubles as will secure peace,
“Resolved, That the people of this State are devotedly attached to the institutions of our country, and earnestly desire that, by a fair and amicable and earnestly desire that, by a fair and amicable adjustment, the present causes of disagreement may be removed, the Union perpetuated, and peace and harmony be restored between the South and North. “Resolved, That the people of this State deem the
amendments to the Constitution of the United States proposed by Mr. Crittenden, with the extension of the same to. Territories hereafter to be acquired, a basis of adjustment which will successfully remove the causes of difference forever from the arena of national politics.
Resolved, That the people of Missouri believe that the peace and quiet of the country will be promoted by a Convention to propose amendments to the Constitution of the United States; and that
The majority resolutions of the Committee on Federal Relations, as above quoted, were debated up to March 22d, and adopted, with some slight modifications-the amendments rather toning down the elements of the originals to a spirit more in consonance with true Union sentiment. The Convention adjourned March 22d, leaving the revolutionary Legislature still in session. Gov. Jackson was thoroughly displeased at the want of sympathy shown Secession by the people's delegates to the Convention; and that restless coadjutor of the conspirators immediately began to concert ways for betraying his State in spite of the action of the Convention. The St. Louis Republican,one of the most inevitably plunge the country into civil war, and fluential papers in the Mississippi Valley editthereby extinguish all hope of an amicable settle-ed in behalf of the Slave interest, gave this ment of the issues now pending. résumé of the Convention's proceedings:
this Convention urges the Legislature of this State to take steps for calling this Convention.
Resolved, That in the opinion of this Convention, the employment of military force by the Federal Government to coerce the Seceding States, or the employment of force by the Seceding States to assail the Government of the United States, will in
"We therefore earnestly entreat the Federal Government as well as the Seceding States, to stay the arm of military power, and on no pretense whatever bring upon the nation the horrors of civil war.
Resolved, That when the Convention adjourn, it adjourn to meet at Jefferson City, on the third Monday in December.
Resolved, That a Committee be elected, a majority of which shall have power to convene the Convention at such time and place prior to the third Monday in December, as the exigencies may require."
Mr. Redd, while indorsing the spirit and words of the majority, still did not approve of the plan of adjustment proposed, and asked leave to present a minority report on the following Monday.
A correspondent, writing of the relative character of the Convention and Legislature, said: "The Union feeling in the Convention is strong; none admitting themselves to be Secessionists, but most of them avowing sympathy with the South, and quite ready to denounce the North. The Executive is a violent and avowed Secessionist, and though
"The voice of Missouri has been spoken through the Convention called for that purpose. That voice pronounced that further concessions should be made with a view to the restoration of the Union of the States, and, definitely, that these concessions should have the Crittenden resolutions for their basis.
"That voice declares that a reunion would be im
periled by the use of force on the part of the Federal Government, against the people of the Seceded States, and specially advises that Federal troops be withdrawn from the States where collision threatens.
Firm and steady in its expression, it declares for a National Convention, in the hope that its deliberations may result in measures which will secure that object.
"The same voice consistently pronounced that there is, at present no adequate cause for retiring from the Union, and refuses at this time to pledge Missouri in Secession, even in the event that the rest of the Border States secede, or that no plan of adjustment will be acceded to by the North.
"The inference to be drawn from the action of
the Convention is, that Missouri is in favor of every reasonable mode of adjustment calculated to call back the Seceding States, and, in default of obtaining
THE ARKANSAS STATE CONVENTION.
such measure, favors steps for bringing about a peaceable separation between the Union and the Southern Confederacy; and, also, that her mind is in a state of suspense as to the question of retiring from the Union upon the happening of the contingencies which have been mentioned."
Sworn delegates, viz., Hamilton B. Gamble, John B. Henderson, Wm. A. Hall, James H. Moss, Wm. Douglas, Littlebury Hendricks, and Wm. G. Pomeroy, were chosen to the Border State Convention, proposed in the 4th resolution of the series reported and adopted.
The revolutionary leaders had counted upon Missouri and Arkansas as certain for their schemes, but had, evidently, been mistaken in the means employed, which were not proportioned to the ends. Arkansas, however, was so wholly within the atmosphere of a Slave dominion, and was so closely identified in interest with the Confederate States, that her secession was but a question of time. In the previous chapter we have adverted to the result of her Convention, but may here refer to its special proceedings more specifically, to show the actual nature of the public sentiment of the State, during March.
The Arkansas State Convention.
The Convention discussed the Ordinance of Secession for thirteen days, when it was rejected, by a vote of 35 ayes to 39 nays. This instrument, had it been adopted, was to have been submitted to the people for their sanction. The rejection of the Ordinance was so far reconsidered, that, after two days further sitting, the Convention adopted an act, providing for an election throughout the State on the 1st Monday in August following, at which the people were to vote on the question of "cooperation" or secession;" also, another Ordinance, in the form of a resolution, providing for the sending of five Commissioners to a Conference of the Border States, proposed to be held at Frankfort (Kentucky) on the 27th of May, with a view to endeavor to effect an adjustment of the pending troubles. The Convention then adjourned to the 17th of August.
The Ordinance provided, in its 5th section, that, "if a majority of the votes (cast at the election named) shall be for 'secession.' then
The Arkansas State Convention.
such vote is to be regarded as instructing the Convention to pass an act of immediate secession, and the Convention is at once to pass such an ordinance; but if a majority of all the votes shall be cast for 'cooperation,' then the Convention is immediately to take such steps as may be deemed proper to further cooperation with the Border or unseceded Slave States, in efforts to secure a permanent and satisfactory adjustment of the existing sectional controversy."
Outside, as well as inside, pressure, was brought to bear on members of the Convention by those laboring in behalf of the interests of the Confederate States. anxiety of the chiefs of the new Government, to include Arkansas in their dominion, to make her bear her burden of the conflict for the "defence of Southern rights," may be seen in this appeal made by President Davis to the Convention, to which he dispatched a special commissioner:
"MONTGOMERY, Alabama, March
"To the President of the Convention of Arkansas: "SIR-The Government of the Confederate States of America having an earnest desire that the State of Arkansas should unite her destinies with ours, I have been authorized to appoint, and do hereby appoint, Williamson S. Oldham, a delegate in the Confederate Congress from the State of Texas, as special Commissioner of this Government to the State of Arkansas. And I have the honor to introduce him to you, and to ask for him a reception and treatment corresponding to his station and to the
purposes for which he is sent. These purposes he will more fully explain to you.
"I have learned with great satisfaction that you and the body over which you are called to preside have assembled for the purpose of taking into consideration your relations to the Government of the United States. Feeling that we have common interests, common wrongs, and common dangers, we cordially invite you to unite with us, and adopt the only mode of redress which, in our judgment, will secure our future tranquillity and safety-separa
tion from the United States.
Hoping that through his agency these objects may be accomplished, I avail myself of this occasion to offer to you the assurance of my most distinguished consideration.
"JEFFERSON DAVIS." This was laid before the Convention at the