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[71] United States. ‘Virginia,’ said he, ‘stands in the midst of her sister States, in garments red with the blood of her children slain in the first outbreak of the “irrepressible conflict.” But, sir, not when her children fell at midnight beneath the weapon of the assassin, was her heart penetrated with so profound a grief as that which will wring it when she is obliged to choose between a separate destiny with the South, and her common destiny with the entire Republic.’

Mr. Russell was not then prepared to answer, in behalf of his delegation, whether the events of the day [the defeat of the majority report, and the withdrawal of the seven States] were sufficient to justify her in taking the irrevocable step in question. In order, therefore, that they might have time to deliberate, and if they thought proper make an effort to restore harmony in the Convention, he expressed a desire that it might adjourn and afford them an opportunity for consultation.1 The Convention accordingly adjourned until the next day, Tuesday, May 1st; and immediately after its reassembling the delegation from Georgia, making the eighth State, also withdrew.2t

In the mean time the Virginia delegation had consulted among themselves, and had conferred with the delegations of the other Southern States which still remained in the Convention, as to the best mode of restoring harmony.3 In consequence Mr. Howard, of Tennessee, stated to the Convention that ‘he had a proposition to present in behalf of the delegation from Tennessee, whenever, under parliamentary rules, it would be proper to present it.’ In this Tennessee was joined by Kentucky and Virginia, ‘the three great middle States which stand as a breakwater against fanaticism on one side and disunion on the other. He should propose the following resolution, whenever it would be in order: “ Resolved,That the citizens of the United States have an equal right to settle with their property in the Territories of the United States; and that, under the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States, which we recognize as the correct exposition of the Constitution of the United States, neither the rights of person nor property ”’

1 Page 128, 8th day.

2 Ibid

3 Page 136.

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