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CAUSES OF THE CIVIL WAR [1861 that it was not deemed "advisable to initiate negotiations, when they had no desire or intention to promote the ultimate object in view"; that the separation of the state was final, and that she had "no further interest in the Constitution of the United States."1

The Peace Convention met February 4, with representatives from fourteen states-New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Iowa; delegates from Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Illinois, Tennessee, Missouri, and Kansas were shortly added, so that about two-thirds of the states of the whole Union were represented. The convention, in the character of its 153 delegates, was in every way worthy of the impressiveness and importance of its object. But the very terms of its call, the instructions of many of the legislatures appointing delegates, as well as the heterogeneous views of the members, made any valuable result impossible.

The convention was organized by the unanimous election of Ex-President Tyler as chairman, who made a rhetorical opening address destitute of any thought or suggestion, except to lament that the Constitution should not have arranged for a convention every fifty years to amend and reform it. In all questions each state was to have one vote.

1 National Intelligencer, January 29, 1861; resolutions of legislature, S. C. Exec. Docs., No. 4; Crawford, Fort Sumter, 245.

Immediately after organization, resolutions sent in by the several states, to be considered by the conference, were laid before it. Massachusetts authorized its seven commissioners "to confer with the General Government or with the separate States, or with any association of delegates from such States," and report their doings. Rhode Island directed her commissioners to meet such "as may be appointed by other States, . . . to consider, and, if practicable, to agree upon some amicable adjustment of the present unhappy national difficulties upon the basis and in the spirit of the Constitution." New York resolved that it did not approve of the Virginia propositions, but would not reject an invitation holding out the possibility of an honorable settlement. New Jersey declared the Crittenden propositions acceptable, and earnestly urged their support upon its senators and representatives. Pennsylvania declared that no reasonable cause existed for the extraordinary excitement, and, while willing to unite with Virginia in the effort to restore peace, did not desire any alteration or amendment of the Constitution; she would unite in the adoption of any constitutional measures to secure a more faithful observance of the second section of the fourth article of the Constitution regarding the privileges and immunities of the citizens of the several states and the return of fugitive slaves. Delaware was ready to sacrifice "all minor considerations on the altar of the Union." Ohio, while not prepared to assent to the

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Virginia proposals, and satisfied that a fair interpretation of the Constitution would amply provide for the evils complained of, was induced by a sincere desire to adjust all differences to appoint a commission as requested. The views of Indiana and Illinois were similar to those of Ohio. Missouri's delegates were "to endeavor to agree upon some plan of adjustment" which would "secure the honor and equal rights of the slaveholding States." The instructions of Kentucky and Tennessee were practically framed upon the Crittenden resolutions.1


The committee of one from each state brought in a report, February 15, which was discussed and amended until February 26. The most important section, relating to slavery in the territories, was passed, after previous failure, by but one vote. The general purport of the seven sections submitted as a thirteenth amendment to the Constitution was less favorable to the South than the Crittenden propositions; and this, combined with the want of anything approaching unanimity, and the certainty that it would not be regarded with general favor, north or south, made its defeat a certainty. It suffered from like opposition to that against the Crittenden compromise; there were those of both sides who would have no compromise.

On February 27, the day the report of the convention was transmitted to Congress, two letters

1 Am. Annual Cyclop., 1861, pp. 564, 565.

2 Senate Misc. Docs., 36 Cong., 2 Sess., No. 20.

were read in the Senate by Powell, of Kentucky, from Bingham and Chandler, the senators from Michigan, to the governor of the state; the former regarded the conference "as another effort to debauch the public mind, and a step towards obtaining that concession which the imperious slave power so insolently demands." The latter said: 'Governor Bingham and myself telegraphed you, ... at the request of Massachusetts and New York, to send delegates to the peace or compromise Congress. They admit that we were right and that they were wrong; that no Republican State should have sent delegates. . . . I hope you will send stiffbacked men or none. The whole thing The whole thing . . . will end in thin smoke. Still, I hope as a matter of courtesy to some of our erring brethren, that you will send the delegates." In a postscript he added: "Some of the manufacturing States think that a fight would be awful. Without a little blood - letting this Union will not, in my estimation, be worth a rush." Chandler's reply to the reading was an iteration of the sentiments of the letter. In the last hours of the session, Crittenden, after a pathetic speech, brought forward the resolutions of the Peace Conference; but with such a feeling prevalent among the Republicans, there was no hope. It received but seven votes, of which two were those of Crittenden and Douglas."

However much the failure of the Peace Conven2 Ibid., 1405.

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1 Cong. Globe, 36 Cong., 2 Sess., 1247.

VOL. XIX.-18


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tion and of the Crittenden compromise was in accord
with the wishes of the leaders in Congress, the coun-
try at large was bitterly disappointed. Hope had
run high, in the border states particularly, and the
continuance of "palaver," as it was termed by
Lowell,1 did much to withhold these states from
precipitate action. Many of the public men, of
whom Crittenden and Powell were excellent types,
were strongly Unionist, and it was true of the border
population in general, as has been said of the people
of Kentucky, that they "almost without exception
shrank from a dissolution of the Union with a real
But they were torn by a conflict of
emotion that those farther north could not feel;
the severance of the Union meant to them the
severance of nearly all the ties, social and sympa-
thetic, which bound them with other states. It
cost much more, from every point of view, to be a
Union man in the southern border-land than it did
in Massachusetts or Michigan.

The president was about to give up his now so unpleasant office. Seven states had declared themselves out of the Union and had formed a new and, as it proved, an effective governmental organization. Every fort south of Virginia had been seized, with the exception of Sumter, Taylor (Key West), Jefferson (Tortugas), and Pickens, at Pensacola. Nineteen sea-coast fortifications, which had been built

1 Atlantic Monthly, VII., 758 (June, 1861).

2 Shaler, Kentucky, 235.

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