previous next

[353] such constitutional amendments as will secure to slaveholders their legal rights, and allay their apprehensions in regard to possible encroachments in the future.

2d. If this should fail to bring about the results so desirable to us and so essential to the best hopes of our country, then let a voluntary convention be called, composed of delegates from the people of all the States, in which measures of peaceable adjustment may be devised and adopted, and the nation rescued from the continued horrors and calamities of civil war.

To our fellow-citizens of the North we desire to say: Discard that sectional and unfriendly spirit, manifested by teaching and action, which has contributed so much to inflame the feelings of the Southern people, and justly create apprehension on their part of injury to them.

To our fellow-citizens of the South we desire to say: Though we have been greatly injured by your precipitate action, we would not now reproach you as the cause of that injury, but we entreat you to re-examine the question of the necessity for such action, and that if you find it has been taken without due consideration, as we verily believe, and that the evils you apprehended from a continuance in the Union were neither so great nor so unavoidable as you supposed, or that Congress is willing to grant adequate securities, then we pray you to return promptly to your connection with us, that we may be, in the future, as we have been in the past, one great, powerful, and prosperous nation.

Indications have already been afforded that a Divine power is ready to interpose and prevent brethren from slaughtering each other. While the bombardment of Fort Sumter continued, no life was lost. When a Providential interposition was no longer needed to prevent the effusion of blood in civil strife, several lives were lost in the performance of a mere ceremony. We would invoke the presence and aid of that Power to preserve our fellow-citizens, on both sides, from slaughter, and we would commit the interests of our distracted country to His hands who can bring forth peace and order out of strife and confusion when man's wisdom utterly fails.

To the people of Kentucky.

Having been elected by you as your delegates to “A Convention of the Border Slave States and such other slave States as have not passed ordinances of secession,” with power to meet with delegates from other States in convention, “to consult on the critical condition of the country, and agree upon some plan of adjustment ;” and having met, at Frankfort, on the 27th of May, in pursuance of the act; we deem it proper to inform you, briefly, of what was done by us in the Convention.

It was a matter of regret to us that while the call for this Convention originated in Virginia and had, apparently, the concurrence of all the Border Slave States, yet there were delegates in attendance from Kentucky and Missouri only. One representative chosen by the counties of McMinn and Sevier, in Tennessee, appeared, and, although not coming with such credentials as were necessary to constitute him a delegate, lie was invited to participate in our deliberations.

After a continuous session from day to day, during which the condition of the country, and the various causes that led to it were maturely considered, it was resolved that the Convention should address an appeal to the people of the United States, and the delegates from Kentucky determined to present to you a separate address, in which views of your members should be embodied. In the discharge of this duty we now attempt to address you.

Your State, on a deliberate consideration of her responsibilities — moral, political, and social — has determined that the proper course for her to pursue is to take no part in the controversy between the Government and the seceded States but that of mediator and intercessor. She is unwilling to take up arms against her brethren residing either North or South of the geographical line by which they are unhappily divided into warring sections. This course was commended to her by every consideration of patriotism, and by a proper regard for her own security. It does not result from timidity; on the contrary, it could only have been adopted by a brave people — so brave that the least imputation on their courage would be branded as false by their written and traditional history.

Kentucky was right in taking this position — because, from the commencement of this deplorable controversy, her voice was for reconciliation, compromise, and peace. She had no cause of complaint against the General Government, and made none. The injuries she sustained in her property from a failure to execute laws passed for its protection, in consequence of illegal interference by wicked and deluded citizens in the free States, she considered as wholly insufficient to justify a dismemberment of the Union. That, she regarded as no remedy for existing evils, but an aggravation of them all. She witnessed, it is true, with deep concern, the growth of a wild and frenzied fanaticism

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
May 27th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: