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[144] Had this been effected and the Crittenden resolution adopted by the Senate, as it might have been by the votes of the recusant Senators, this would have awakened the people of the country to their true condition, and might have aroused them into action in sufficient time before the close of the session to avert the impending danger. As it was, they remained in a state of suspense, and still continued to hope until the very day before the termination of Congress, when all hope was finally extinguished. Such conduct on the part of these six Senators cannot be too severely censured. They thus deserted the Democratic Senators from the border slaveholding and other States, at the hour of their utmost need. It is but a poor excuse for their defection to say, as they did, that the Republican Senators, whose votes were necessary to any effectual compromise, had steadily repudiated the Crittenden propositions in every form, and for this reason they were already on the eve of abandoning their seats in the Senate.

Whilst the lovers of peace were almost despairing for the fate of the Crittenden amendment, their hope of its final triumph was revived by the interposition of Virginia.1 The General Assembly of that Commonwealth, on the 19th January, 1861, adopted resolutions expressing ‘the deliberate opinion’ ‘that unless the unhappy controversy which now divides the States of the Confederacy shall be satisfactorily adjusted, a permanent dissolution of the Union is inevitable.’ For the purpose of averting ‘so dire a calamity,’ they extended an invitation ‘to all such States, whether slaveholding or nonslaveholding, as are willing to unite with Virginia in an earnest effort to adjust the present unhappy controversies, in the spirit in which the Constitution was originally framed,’ to appoint Commissioners for this purpose, to meet on the 4th February, 1861, at the City of Washington. The resolutions expressed a favorable opinion of the Crittenden Compromise, with some modifications, and the belief that ‘it would be accepted as a satisfactory adjustment by the people of this Commonwealth.’ Such was the origin of the Peace Convention. The best hopes of the country were now fixed on the border slave States, ineluding

1 Con. Globe, 180-61, p. 601.

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