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[383] Crittenden proposition; which was then defeated: Yeas 19 [‘Conservatives’]; Nays 20 [Republicans]; as before. Several more Southern Senators had meantime seceded and left.

Mr. Lazarus W. Powell, of Kentucky, having moved1 the appointment of a Select Committee of Thirteen on the crisis at which the country had now arrived, the Senate assented, and Vice-President John C. Breckinridge2 appointed Messrs. Powell, Hunter, Crittenden, Seward, Toombs, Douglas, Collamer, Davis, Wade, Bigler, Rice, Doolittle, and Grimes on said Committee-five of the thirteen Republicans (in italics). Mr. Davis [Jefferson] asked to be excused from serving, but finally consented. The Committee met two or three days thereafter, and held several animated sessions, but to little purpose. Mr. Crittenden's main proposition — the line of 36° 30′--was voted down after full discussion: Yeas Messrs. Bigler, Crittenden, Douglas, Rice, and Powell-5; Nays, Messrs. Davis, Doolittle, Collamer, Wade, Toombs, Grimes, and Hunter--7: absent, Mr. Seward. Messrs. Hunter, Toombs, and Davis, it is said, would have supported it, had it been proposed and sustained by the Republicans. The remaining propositions of Mr. Crittenden received generally a majority of the whole number of votes, but were not considered adopted; the Committee having agreed upon a rule that nothing should be so considered that did not receive a majority both of the Republican and the anti-Republican votes. When the Committee met again,3 Mr. Seward submitted the following proposition:

First. No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress any power to abolish or interfere, in any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to service or labor by the laws of such State.

This was adopted by the following vote:

Yeas--Messrs. Powell, Hunter, Crittenden, Seward, Douglas, Collamer, Wade, Bigler, Rice, Doolittle, and Grimes-11.

Nays--Messrs. Davis and Toombs-2.

Second, The Fugitive Slave law of 1850 shall be so amended as to secure to the alleged fugitive a trial by jury.

This, having been amended, on motion of Mr. Douglas, so as to have the alleged fugitive sent for trial to the State from which he was charged with escaping, was voted down-all the Republicans and Mr. Crittenden sustaining it; all the rest opposing it.

Mr. Seward4 further proposed, and the Republicans sustained, the following :

Resolved, That, under the fourth section of the fourth article of the Constitution, Congress should pass an efficient law for the punishment of all persons engaged in the armed invasion of any State from another by combinations of individuals, and punishing all persons in complicity therewith, on trial and conviction, in the State or District where their acts of complicity were committed, in the Federal Courts.

This was negatived by the solid vote of the anti-Republican members.

It can hardly be necessary to trace further the abortive proceedings of this Committee. They came to nothing, through no want of good — will on the part of a majority of its members, but because most or all of those from the South could or would accept nothing as sufficient short of an utter and shameful repudiation by the Republicans of the vital principle of their party — the consecration of

1 December 5, 1860.

2 December, 20, 1860.

3 December 24th.

4 December 26th.

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