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‘ [71] and the General Assembly, representing the wishes of the people of the Commonwealth, is desirous of employing every reasonable means to avert so dire a calamity’; and then proceeds to call upon the States to send commissioners to what has been known in history as the ‘Peace Congress.’ To this Congress Virginia sent as her representatives ex-President John Tyler, William C. Rives, John W. Brockenbrough, George W. Summers and James A. Seddon.

The Peace Congress accordingly met in Washington in February, 1861, where representatives from twenty-three States assembled and took part in the deliberations, though there were, of course, no representatives present from the seven Commonwealths who had already formed the Southern Confederacy. John Tyler, of Virginia, was elected its president, and his speech accepting the position thrilled with sentiments of patriotism and devotion to the country. He declared:

‘The voice of Virginia has invited her co-States to meet her in council. In the initiation of this government that same voice was heard and complied with, and the result seventy odd years has fully attested the wisdom of the decisions then adopted. Is the urgency of her call now less great than it was then? Our Godlike fathers created! We have to preserve. They have built up through their wisdom and patriotism monuments which have eternized their name. You have before you, gentlemen, a task equally grand, equally sublime, quite as full of glory and of immortality: you have to snatch from ruin a grand and glorious confederation; to preserve the government, and to renew and invigorate the Constitution. If you reach the height of this great occasion, your children's children will rise up and call you blessed.’

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