bulwark to slavery, and yet, despite its alliance and championship, the “peculiar institution” was being consumed in the fire of war. It had withered in popular elections, been paralyzed by confiscation laws, crushed by executive decrees, trampled upon by marching Union armies.
More notable than all, the agony of dissolution had come upon it in its final stronghold — the constitutions of the slave States.
Local public opinion had throttled it in West Virginia
, in Missouri
, in Arkansas
, in Louisiana
, in Maryland
, and the same spirit of change was upon Tennessee
, and even showing itself in Kentucky
The Democratic party did not, and could not, shut its eyes to the accomplished facts.
The issue was decided on the afternoon of January 311, 865.
The scene was one of unusual interest.
The galleries were filled to overflowing, and members watched the proceedings with unconcealed solicitude.
“Up to noon,” said a contemporaneous report, “the pro-slavery party are said to have been confident of defeating the amendment; and after that time had passed, one of the most earnest advocates of the measure said: ‘‘Tis the toss of a copper.’
” At four o'clock the House
came to a final vote, and the roll-call showed: yeas, one hundred and nineteen; nays, fifty-six; not voting, eight.
Scattering murmurs of applause followed affirmative votes from several Democratic members; but when the Speaker
finally announced the result, members on the Republican
side of the House
sprang to their feet, and, regardless of parliamentary rules, applauded with cheers and hand-clappings — an exhibition of enthusiasm quickly echoed by the spectators in the crowded galleries, where waving of hats and handkerchiefs and similar demonstrations of joy lasted for several minutes.
A salute of one hundred guns soon made the occasion