Union to consider the condition of the country and provide some remedy for the existing state of political affairs, since, in his opinion, there must be a speedy settlement of the slavery controversy if the Union
was to be preserved, to which end everything should be done ‘consistent with honor, patriotism and duty.’
At the same time he urged the promotion of the efficiency of the military organizations of the State
, the enlargement of the Virginia military institute, and the purchase of munitions of war. The general assembly invited Col. R. E. Lee
, of the United States army, who was at Arlington
on furlough, to come to Richmond
and give advice concerning the organizing of the Virginia
By official reports submitted to this general assembly, it appears that in 1859 the real estate
in the commonwealth was valued at $374,989,889; the slaves at $313,--148,275; and all the property of the people, including the preceding, at $1,143,676,088, which, if equally divided among the whites of the State
, would give to each $1,005. The debt of Virginia
, incurred for public improvements, in most of which the State
owned a three-fifths interest, was $29,106,559.
The beginning of 1860, the year for the election of a President and Vice-President
of the United States
to succeed Buchanan
, found the House of Representatives still unorganized, after a month of effort, and Congress and the general assembly of Virginia
, as well as the legislatures of the other States that were in session, engaged in the excited discussion of the questions of slavery, State rights and secession, to the exclusion of nearly all other topics.
Upon these issues the people divided and subdivided, until four parties, instead of the usual two, prepared to nominate candidates for President
The Democratic party in Virginia
met in convention at Richmond
, February 16th, and after a discordant session appointed delegates, with a diversity of opinions upon the vital questions of the day, to a national convention.
The Constitutional Union party in Virginia
, the one embracing most of the Whigs
and all those opposed to disunion and secession, met in Richmond
, February 28th, and elected delegates to a national convention.
The Democratic party met in national convention, at Charleston, S. C.
, April 23d, and, after many ballots and