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ciples he advocated upon the field of Corinth, and now, while I am writing these pages in a morning of beautiful spring, when tree, and shrub, and grass, and flower, are bursting into life and beauty; from the roar of cannon, the rattle of musketry, and the deadly storm of lead and iron, which bearing destruction upon its wings is waking the echoes of the “Wilderness," comes the mournful tidings that WADSWORTH has fallen. In that Conference or in the world, there was never a purer or a more ardent patriot. Those of us who were associated with him politically, had learned to love and respect him. His opponents admired his unflinching devotion to his country, and his manly frankness and candor. He was the type of a true American, able, unselfish, prudent, unambitious, and good. Other pens will do justice to his
memory, but I thought as I heard the last account of him alive, as he lay within the rebel lines, his face wearing that calm serenity which grew more beautiful the nearer death approached, after having given so abundantly of his goods, now yielding his life to his country in the hour of her trial, that hereafter the good and true men of the nation would emulate the illustrious example of his patriotism, and would prize the blessings of a free government the more highly, as they remembered that it could only be maintained and perpetuated by such expensive sacrifices.
L. E. C. May, 1864.
PROCEEDINGS OF THE CONFERENCE,
Washington, D. C.
MONDAY, February 4th, 1861. COMMISSIONERS representing a number of the States, assembled at Willard's Hall, in the City of Washington, D. C., on the fourth day of February, A. D. 1861, at 12 o'clock M.,
pursuance of the following preamble and resolutions, adopted by the General Assembly of the State of Virginia, on the nineteenth day of January, A. D. 1861 :
Whereas, It is the deliberate opinion of the General Assembly of Virginia, that unless the unhappy controversy which now divides the States of this confederacy, shall be satisfactorily adjusted, a permanent dissolution of Union is inevitable; and the General Assembly, representing the wishes of the people of the commonweath, is desirous of employing every reasonablo means to avert so dire a calamity, and determined to make a final effort to restore the Union and the Constitution, in the spirit in which they were established by the fathers of the Republic: Therefore,
Resolved, That on behalf of the commonweath of Virginia, an invitation is hereby extended to all such States, whether slaveholding or non-slaveholding, as are willing to unite with Virginia in an earnest effort to adjust the present unhappy controversies, in the spirit in which the Constitution was originally formed, and consistently with its principles, so as to afford to the people of the slaveholding States adequate guarantees for the security of their rights
, to appoint commissioners to meet on the fourth day of February next, in the City of Washington, similar commissioners appointed by Virginia, to consider, and if practicable, agree upon some suitable adjustment.
Resolted, That ex-President John Tyler, WILLAM O. Rives, Judge JOHN W. BROCKENBROUGE, GEORGE W.SUMMERS, and James A. Seddon are hereby ap
pointed commissioners, whose duty it shall be to repair to the City of Washington, on the day designated in the foregoing resolution, to meet such commissioners as may be appointed by any of said States, in accordance with the foregoing resolution.
Resolved, That if said commissioners, after full and free conference, shall agree upon any plan of adjustment requiring amendments to the Federal Constitution, for the further security of the rights of the people of the slaveholding States, they be requested to communicate the proposed amendments to Congress, for the purpose of having the same submitted by that body, according to the forms of the Constitution, to the several States for ratification.
Resolved, That if said commissioners cannot agree on such adjustment, or if agreeing, Congress shall refuse to submit for ratification, such amendments as may be proposed, then the commissioners of this State shall immediately communicate the result to the executive of this commonwealth, to be by him laid before the convention of the people of Virginia and the General Assembly: Provided, That the said commissioners be subject at all times to the control of the General Assembly, or if in session, to that of the State convention.
Resolved, That in the opinion of the General Assembly of Virginia, the propositions embraced in the resolutions presented to the Senate of the United States by the Hon. JOHN J. CRITTENDEN, so modified as that the first article proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, shall apply to all the territory of the United States now held or hereafter acquired south of latitude thirty-six degrees and thirty minutes, and provide that slavery of the African race shall be effectually protected as property therein during the continuance of the territorial government, and the fourth article shall secure to the owners of slaves the right of transit with their slaves between and through the non-slaveholding States and territories, constitute the basis of such an adjustment of the unhappy controversy which now divides the States of this confederacy, as would be accepted by the people of this commonwealth.
Resolved, That ex-President John Tyler is hereby appointed, by the concurrent vote of each branch of the General Assembly, a commissioner to the President of the United States, and Judge John ROBERTSON is hereby appointed, by a like vote, a commissioner to the State of South Carolina, and the other States that have seceded or shall secede, with instructions respectfully to request the President of the United States and authorities of such States to agree to abstain, pending the proceedings contemplated by the action of this General Assembly, from any and all acts calculated to produce a collision of arms between the States and the Government of the United States.
Resolved, That copies of the foregoing resolutions be forthwith telegraphed to the executives of the several States, and also to the President of the United States, and the Governor be requested to inform, without delay, the commissioners of their appointment by the foregoing resolutions. [A copy from the rolls.]
WM. F. GORDON, JR.,
The Conference was called to order by Mr. MOREHEAD, of Kentucky, who proposed the name of the honorable John C. WRIGHT, of Ohio, as temporary Chairman.
The motion of Mr. MOREHEAD was unanimously adopted.
Mr. WRIGHT was conducted to the Chair by Mr. MEREDITH, of Pennsylvania, and Mr. CHASE, of Ohio, and proceeded to address the Conference as follows:
My warmest thanks are due to you, Gentlemen, for the undeserved honor which you have conferred upon me, in selecting me for the purpose of temporarily presiding over your deliberations. We have come together to secure a common and at the same time a most important object-to agree if we can upon some plan for adjusting the unhappy differences which distract the country, which will be satisfactory to ourselves and those we represent. We have assembled as friends, as brothers, each, I doubt not, animated by the most friendly sentiments.
If we enter upon, and with these sentiments carry through, a patient examination of the difficulties which now surround the Government, the result will be, it must be, a success, earnestly hoped for by every lover of his country; a result which will establish the Union according to the spirit of the Constitution.
For myself, I may say that I have come here with the earnest purpose of doing justice to all sections of the Union. I will hear with a patient and impartial mind all that may be said in favor of, or against such amendments of the Constitution as may be proposed. Such of them as will give to the Government permanence, strength, and stability, as will tend to secure to any State, or any number of States, the quiet and unmolested enjoyment of their rights under it, shall receive my cordial support. My confidence in republican institutions, in the capacity of the people for self-government, has been increased with every year of a life which has been protracted beyond the term usually allotted to man. That life is now drawing to a close, and I hope, when it ends, I may leave the Government more firmly established in the affections of my countrymen than it ever was before. To this end I have always labored, and shall continue to labor while I live. I pray GOD that He will be with us during our deliberations, and that He may guide them to a happy and wise conclusion.
Mr. BENJAMIN C. HOWARD, a commissioner from the State of Maryland, was unanimously appointed temporary Secretary.
The Roll of the States was then called over, and commissioners representing the following were found to be present :
Mr. PRICE, of New Jersey :-I am informed that a number of Reporters for the press are at the door of the hall, desiring admittance to this Conference, for the purpose of reporting our proceedings. Whatever may be the ultimate action of the Conference in this respect, I can see no objection to the admission of reporters to-day, for our business will relate wholly to organization. I hope we shall admit them, and I make that motion.
Mr. SEDDON, of Virginia - I hope this motion will not prevail. I do not see that any good can possibly come of giving publicity now, to our proceedings. On the contrary, in the present excited condition of the country, I can see how much harm might result from that publicity. It is not unlikely that wide differences of 'opinion will be found to exist among us at the outset. These we shall attempt to harmonize, and if we succeed, it will only be by mutual concessions and compromises. Every one should be left free to make these concessions, and not subject himself to unfavorable public criticism by doing so. If our deliberations are to attain the successful conclusion we so much desire, it certainly is the course of wisdom that we should follow the illustrious example of the framers of the present Constitution, and sit with closed doors.
The motion was thereupon, by viva voce vote, decided in the negative.
Mr. MEREDITH:-I move the appointment of a committee to consist of one member from each delegation present, to be named by the delegation and appointed by the President, who shall recommend permanent officers of this body, and also report rules for its government.
Which motion was agreed to.