still in its possession, the surrender of which had been demanded by authorities of the States in which they were situated.
In the midst of this stirring and rapid sequence of events, Gov. John Letcher
, by proclamation, convened the general assembly of Virginia
in extra session, on the 7th of January, 1861, to consider the critical political condition of the country.
On the 14th that body ordered an election, on the following 4th of February, of delegates to a convention of the State, the people at the same time to vote on the question as to whether any ordinance changing the relations of Virginia
to the other States of the Union
should be submitted to a popular vote for approval or rejection.
On the 19th the general assembly invited the other States of the Union
to meet it in a peace conference, at Washington
, that should endeavor to heal the dissensions then prevailing, and appointed ex-President John Tyler
William C. Rives
, John W. Brockenbrough
, George W. Summers
, and James A. Seddon
, some of its most distinguished citizens, as delegates to that conference.
It also appointed ex-President Tyler
a commissioner to the President
of the United States
, and Judge John Robertson
a commissioner to the States that had seceded, to request each of these to abstain from acts likely to bring on a collision of arms pending Virginia
's efforts to secure peace.
On February 4th this peace conference met in Washington, D. C.
, with representatives present from thirteen of the free States and seven of the border slave States.
On the same day the Southern
slave States, with the exception of the seven border States that had not seceded, met in convention at Montgomery Ala. Subsequently, during the conference at Washington
, delegates appeared from other States until twenty-one were represented.
That conference submitted a plan of reconciliation to Congress which was rejected, and soon thereafter Congress adjourned.
On February 13th the delegates that had been elected to the Virginia convention met at Richmond
On March 4th Abraham Lincoln
was inaugurated President
of the United States
On the 6th the Virginia
commissioners to the peace convention at Washington
submitted a report, through Governor Letcher
, to the Virginia convention, setting forth the unsatisfactory results of the conference.
On the 8th of April the Virginia