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[260] honor, and especially for integrity of character. He accepted the appointment of major-general, but especially spoke of the fact in public that he had not taken the oath of special allegiance to the State of Missouri, under the militia bill whilst he publicly declared that he was under oath to support the Constitution of the United States.

The importance of the position of General Price, and of his well-known character for integrity and honor, will be apparent from the following statement of the further proceedings of the Legislature.

Although the feeling in the Legislature was very strong in favor of secession, the members did not dare to proceed so far as to attempt to carry the State out of the Union by an act of its own body; and a proposition to call a Convention of the State, although very fiercely opposed, nevertheless prevailed; many members voting for it in a blind trust that the people would return members for the Convention who would favor secession.

The Legislature would not have authorized the Convention, except in the belief that they themselves, as representatives of the people, were representatives also of the feeling in the State on the question of secession, although that question had not been before the people at the time of their election.

The law authorizing the Convention, having received due sanction, went into operation, and members for a Convention throughout the State were elected — the question now being distinctly that of secession; and it was found, when the members assembled, that a very large majority was for the Union and against secession — thus manifesting the true feeling in the State against all the influences of the Governor and the Legislature.

It is impossible to recur to these proceedings without feeling that similar results might have grown out of a similar reference of the question of secession to the people of other States, which were carried out of the Union by the political chicanery of a few violent and desperate demagogues; but this is not a place for comment upon such questions.

Among the members returned for the Convention was Sterling Price, who immediately announced himself a Union man, and was elected as such to preside over the Convention which, in its very first proceedings, declared itself unmistakably for the preservation of the Union, and throughout its session continued to maintain that character.

The Convention had been in session for some weeks, and had temporarily adjourned, just prior to my resumption of the command in the Western Department.

On assuming the command, my attention was first drawn to a consideration of the state of parties and public opinion on the one absorbing topic of union and secession; and, taking the complexion of the recently-elected members of the Convention as a reliable guide, and having myself some knowledge of the growing opinion in the State in favor even of emancipation, I felt convinced that the elements of freedom in the State needed nothing more than to be treated with reasonable respect and attention to secure their predominance over the temporary frenzy of the excited Legislature, which was known to have been tampered with by agents sent expressly from the Southern States to invite and urge them to join in their wicked enterprise. Some of these agents, abusing the liberty of speech accorded to American citizens, publicly addressed the legislative body, making nflammatory appeals to it to drive or commit them into acts of treason against the Government.

In this state of things, on the suggestion of a judicious friend whose patriotism I knew was beyond suspicion, I determined to invite an interview with Major-General Price, the presiding officer over the Union Convention of the State, and the commanding general of the entire militia of the State, in the belief that if General Price would assure me that he would act in his public character in harmony with all of his avowed principles, there could be no great difficulty in preserving the State to the Union, in spite of all the machinations of the secessionists. Accordingly I caused it to be communicated to General Price, who was then at Jefferson City, the capital of the State, that I desired to confer with him personally in the city of St. Louis on questions of common interest to both of us. He at once accepted the invitation and came to St. Louis, where, the next morning after his arrival, I met him with a single friend, he also having a single friend with him. These two gentlemen who were witnesses to what passed were General Hitchcock and Major Turner, both of them formerly members of the army, but who were then residing as citizens, General Hitchcock in the city of St. Louis, and Major Turner but a few miles in the country. These gentlemen had both of them been long known to me in the army; they were also well known to General Price, and it was publicly known that they were old and attached friends of each other.

Nothing could exceed the harmony of this meeting. General Price appeared to rejoice in the opportunity of declaring his wishes, and his purpose to maintain the peace of the State of Missouri within the Union, and in subordination to the Constitution of the United States, and as that was also my purpose and duty, we mutually pledged each other to that object in the presence of the two gentlemen just named. General Price declared that he was under no obligations to the State, as such, which could impede him in the execution of his declared purpose. He expressed his conviction that he had a personal influence in the State which would enable him to put down all attempts at organizations designed to disturb the peace of the State, and he voluntarily pledged his honor that in case he should hear of any attempt at disturbance, he would himself go personally to the place and address the people, and, if necessary, would disperse

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