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Doc. 118. Conference at Russellville, Ky.

Russellville, Ky., Oct. 29, 1861.
In accordance with a notice previously given, a number of gentlemen from several counties in the State assembled in Odd Fellows' Hall, in the city of Russellville, on Tuesday, October 29, 1861, for the purpose of conferring together in reference to the situation of the country, and the steps to be taken to better preserve domestic tranquillity and protect the rights of person and property in the State of Kentucky.

On motion of Colonel George W. Johnson, of Scott County, Hon. H. C. Burnett, of Trigg County, was chosen temporary chairman of the Conference.

On motion of Colonel Blanton Duncan, of the city of Louisville, R. McKee, of the city of Louisville, was chosen temporary secretary of the Conference.

On motion of J. C. Gilbert, of Marshall County, T. S. Bryan, of Christian County, was chosen temporary assistant secretary of the Convention.

On motion of Colonel John D. Morris, of Christian County, the counties were called, and the following gentlemen answered to their names:--Caldwell--Dr. W. N. Gaither. CallowayE. Owen, D. Matthewson. Christian--J. D. Morris, T. S. Bryan. GravesA. R. Boone. GraysonJ. J. Cunningham. HardinH. E. Read, G. W. Maxson. HenryB. W. Jenkins. HopkinsL. M. Lowe, C. S. Greene. JeffersonJohn Jones. LarueJ. S. Churchill. LoganR. Browder, G. T. Edwards, W. M. Clark. City of LouisvilleJ. D. Pope, B. H. Hornsby, J. G. Gorsuch, W. Johnston, E. D. Ricketts, Blanton Duncan, Henry Gray, H. W. Bruce, R. McKee. MarshallI. C. Gilbert. MarionG. S. Miller. MeadeJ. P. Walton, J. S. Taylor. MercerPhilip B. Thompson. MuhlenburgH. D. Lothrop, R. S. Russell. NelsonJ. D. Elliott, J. C. Wickliffe. Oldham--Mr. Miller, J. R. Gathright. Ohio--Dr. W. G. Mitchell, F. W. Forman. ScottG. W. Johnson. Shelby--Colonel Jack Allen, J. F. Davis. SpencerT. L. Burnett. ToddJames A. Russell, W. B. Harrison. Trigg — Mat. McKinney, H. C. Burnett. WashingtonPat. Symmes. LyonW. B. Machen, R. L. Cobb. McCrackenW. Bullitt. McLean--Rev. Joseph Gregory, J. S. Morton. GarrardJ. P. Burnside, G. R. Davis.

On motion of Mr. J. C. Gilbert, the rules of the House of Representatives at Frankfort, as far as applicable to its proceedings, were adopted by the Conference.

On motion of Colonel Blanton Duncan, a doorkeeper was appointed. Mr. W. M. Clark, of Logan County, was elected doorkeeper.

On motion of Colonel Blanton Duncan, the Conference proceeded to the election of permanent officers, and the following gentlemen were unanimously chosen:

For Chairman, Hon. H. C. Burnett, of Trigg County.

For Secretary, R. McKee, of the city of Louisville.

For Assistant Secretary, T. S. Bryan, of Christian County.

For Doorkeeper, W. M. Clark, of Logan County.

On motion it was

Resolved, That the proceedings of the Conference should be private and confidential until ordered to be made public by a majority thereof, and that all participating in its proceedings, or present at its deliberations, should be held pledged to secrecy in reference thereto.

J. C. Wickliffe, of Nelson County, moved that the Conference adjourn to meet again to-morrow morning, at ten o'clock. Ayes twenty-three, nays twenty-two, and the Conference accordingly adjourned.

Wednesday, Oct. 30, 1861.
The Conference met pursuant to adjournment.

The journal of yesterday was read and approved.

The following gentlemen appeared and took seats in the Conference, viz.:

From Carroll County, H. L. Giltner; from Anderson County, J. H. D. McKee; from Muhlenburg County, W. U. Wand; from Woodford County, Sandford Lyne; from Monroe County, Z. McDaniel; from Christian County, Henry Young; from Campbell County, George B. Hodge; from Jefferson County, J. B. Bell.

Colonel G. W. Johnson, of Scott County, presented a series of resolutions for the consideration of the Conference.

R. McKee, of the city of Louisville, offered a substitute for the resolutions presented by Mr. Johnson.

H. W. Bruce, of the city of Louisville, offered an amendment to the original resolutions.

George B. Hodge, of Campbell County, offered an amendment to the substitute.

The various propositions before the Conference were discussed at much length, when

Mr. Bruce moved to refer all the resolutions before the Conference to a select committee of seven, of whom G. W. Johnson should be chairman, with instructions to report at three o'clock P. M. Carried.

The committee was appointed by the Chairman, as follows:--George W. Johnson, H. W. Bruce, P. B. Thompson, B. Duncan, T. L. Burnett, and George B. Hodge.

The chairman, H. C. Burnett, was added to the committee by a vote of the Conference.

And then the Conference took a recess until three o'clock P. M.


Afternoon session.

The Conference met at three o'clock P. M.

George W. Johnson, from the select committee, reported the following resolutions, which were, without debate, unanimously adopted by the Conference.

Whereas the majority of the Legislature of Kentucky have violated their most solemn pledges made before the election, and deceived and betrayed the people; have abandoned the position of neutrality assumed by themselves and the people, and invited into the State the organized armies of Lincoln; have abdicated the government in favor of the military despotism which they have placed around themselves, but cannot control; and have abandoned the duty of shielding the citizen with their protection; have thrown upon our people and the State the horrors and ravages of war, instead of attempting to preserve the peace, and have voted men and money for the war waged by the North for the destruction of our constitutional rights; have violated the express words of the Constitution by borrowing five millions of money for the support of the war without a vote of the people; have permitted the arrest and imprisonment of our citizens, and transferred the constitutional prerogatives of the executive to a military commission of partisans; have seen the writ of habeas corpus suspended without an effort for its preservation, and permitted our people to be driven in exile from their homes; have subjected our property to confiscation, and our persons to confinement in the penitentiary as felons, because we may choose to take part in a contest for civil liberty and constitutional government, against a sectional majority waging war against the people and institutions of fifteen independent States of the old Federal Union, and have done all these things deliberately against the warnings and vetoes of the Governor, and the solemn remonstrances of the minority in Senate and House of Representatives; therefore, be it

Resolved, That the unconstitutional edicts of a factious majority of a Legislature thus false to their pledges, their honor and their interests, are not law, and that such government is unworthy of the support of a brave and free people, and we therefore denounce their unconstitutional acts and usurpations, and bid defiance both to the Federal and State Governments.

Resolved, That abandoned and betrayed as we have been by the Lincolnite majority of the Legislature of Kentucky. and proscribed by the abolition party who have usurped the Federal Government and broken down the Constitution of the Federal Union, and being as yet no part of the Southern Confederacy, and therefore altogether without the protection of law, the people have, by the laws of God and the express letter of the Constitution of Kentucky, “at all times an inalienable and indefeasible right to alter, reform, or abolish their government, in such manner as they may think proper;” and, in the language of the same Constitution, we declare “that absolute and arbitrary power over the lives, liberty, and property of freemen exists nowhere in a republic — not even in the largest majority.”

Resolved, That we do hereby declare that the majority of the Legislature, by their acts, have abandoned, betrayed, and abdicated the government, and that the people have now a right to a fair representation of their will, and that the Governor be and is hereby invited to convene a Legislature to meet outside of the lines of the Lincoln army, to be composed of such members as are now elected and may attend, or new members to be chosen by the people.

And whereas, we have reason to believe that the Governor is unable to convene the Legislature outside the lines of the Lincoln army; therefore,

Resolved, That we recommend a Convention, to be chosen, elected, or appointed in any manner now possible by the people of the several counties of the State, to meet at Russellville on the 18th of November, and we recommend to them the passage of an ordinance severing forever our connection with the Federal Government, and to adopt such measures, either by the adoption of a provisional government or otherwise, as in their judgment will give full and ample protection to the citizens in their persons and property, and secure to them the blessings of constitutional government.

Resolved, That we recommend to the people in every county where they have the power so to do, to organize at once a County Guard of at least one hundred men, to be armed by the people in every county, and mounted if possible, to be paid as Confederate troops, and subject to duty in their own and adjoining counties, and subject also to the rules and regulations of the Confederate States, and to the orders of the commanding general.

Resolved, That we will never pay one cent of the unconstitutional loan of five millions of dollars obtained by the Legislature from the banks for the prosecution of this war, instituted for the coercion and subjugation of the slaveholding States, and that we will resist by force of arms, if necessary, the collection by the sheriffs of all taxes intended to be paid over to the Lincoln party in the Legislature, and that we denounce as enemies to their country and constitutional government, all those who may advocate the payment of the same to the sheriffs for the purpose aforesaid.

Resolved, That each one of us will go to work actively and energetically, to secure a full representation in such Convention, and that we will urge upon our friends everywhere to take such steps as will secure such a result.

Resolved, * * * * * *

Resolved, That Robert McKee, John C. Breckinridge, Humphrey Marshall, George W. Ewing, H. W. Bruce, G. B. Hodge, Wm. Preston, G. W. Johnston, Blanton Duncan, and P. B. Thompson be, and they are hereby appointed a committee to carry out the above resolutions. [261]

A motion offered by B. Duncan, in reference to the publication of the proceedings of the Conference, was adopted.

On motion, the thanks of the Conference were tendered to the Odd Fellows of Russellville, for the use of their hall.

And then the Conference adjourned sine die.

H. C. Burnett, Chairman. R. Mckee, Secretary. T. S. Bryan Assistant Secretary.

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