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Evening session.

The Committee re-assembled at 4 o'clock, and Mr. Macfarland resumed his remarks.

He said he had, in the morning, invited the attention of the Committee to a practical view of the method by which the great question now agitating the country might be definitely settled. His object was to show that if the subject of slavery was to be taken out of the halls of legislation, and withdrawn from the fields of agitation, we might yet live on terms of friendship and respect with the North. Unless this could be done, he would not consent to remain in a Union with the people of that section, for it would be by no means desirable. He took the position that the Northern people were as much interested in perpetuating the institution of slavery as we were, and if the question of its extinction were presented to them, it would be decided in the negative.--They were dependent upon it for subsistence, and you might as well expect that the collieries of England would be abandoned, as that the Yankees would consent to their own impoverishment by the abolition of slavery at the South. There was, he assumed, a change going on in the sentiment of the world on the subject, as shown by the employment of coolies by France and England. We had a right to insist that the North should let us alone, and he believed that when the naked issue was presented, the North would recede from its aggressive position rather than encounter the evils which must result from a continued agitation of the slavery question. Alluding to the grandeur of the Union in the eyes of the world, he thought it would be time enough to pass sentence upon it after our best efforts for its preservation shall have failed. He looked upon it as altogether improbable, that war could be avoided in the event of separation; and one single war between the North and the South would entail upon each section an amount of suffering and waste which years of industry and successful commerce would in vain endeavor to repair. These considerations, he conceived, would have their due weight upon the Northern mind.--Bring them to the question, slavery or war, and no sensible man would decide in favor of the latter. He argued that the proper way to remedy existing evils was to close the door forever against agitation. If we could bring the North to agree that there should be no introduction of the slavery question in the halls of Congress, no effort to impair the relation between master and slave, the public mind would become quieted, and peace would return to the country. But suppose we were mistaken in this? Would anything be lost by making the experiment? Is it not as easy to separate twenty years hence as now? The relative positions of the two sections would not be changed. Everything encouraged us to make the effort. He conceived there would be no dishonor in saying to the North, we must have these guarantees, or disunion is the inevitable result. It may be said that this has already been done; but he apprehended it had not been done in the form and with the authority here proposed.

He argued that the Federal Government ought, and might now with propriety acknowledge the independence of the Confederated States, and that it was an indispensable step towards a settlement of the difficulty. He agreed with the gentleman from Middlesex, that the condition of the Confederated States was not to be disturbed by force. He held that the Committee ought to agree upon something that would speedily settle the pending difficulty, taking care to demand enough to meet the exigencies of the case.--He spoke highly of the resources of the Southern Confederacy, and the gallantry of her people, but must be permitted to say that he thought she acted with rather too much haste in going off without consulting with her Southern sisters. He was not, however, disposed to quarrel with her on that account.--He apprehended that, as strong as the Southern Confederacy was, she would not object to an addition to her strength, if it could be done with perfect security and without sacrifice of principle.

Mr. Macfarland went on with an elaborate argument on the question of the Tariff, to show that the Southern Confederacy was not entitled to any particular favor from Virginia upon the ground of her avowed policy of free trade; yet he was so firmly attached by every consideration to the Gulf States, that he would be unwilling, under any fair circumstances, to turn his back upon them. He was in favor of a further and final effort to reconstruct the Union; and whoever should have the good fortune to so shape the course of events as to bring about a peaceful solution of the great questions at issue, would be entitled to the lasting gratitude of posterity.

Mr. Scott, of Fauquier, said he understood the time had nearly arrived at which the Committee usually rose. He desired to give some views upon a subject so engrossing as the question under debate, but was reluctant to farther exhaust the patience of the Committee at this time. He therefore moved that the Committee rise.

The motion was agreed to, and the Committee rose and reported progress.

In Convention.

Mr. Early, of Franklin, presented a substitute, which he proposed to offer, for the report of the Committee on Federal Relations. He did so with a view to place himself on the record in such a manner that there should be no possibility of misunderstanding his position as a Union man, here or hereafter. He moved that it be printed. Agreed to.

Mr. Wise inquired what had become of the question of taxation, which had been heretofore under consideration?

The President said it was now properly before the Convention, and the gentleman from Doddridge (Mr. Stuart) was entitled to the floor.

Mr. Wise desired to avail himself of the opportunity to correct a misrepresentation under which many persons now labored, in regard to his position on the question in the Convention of 1850-'51. It was charged that he was the author of the clause exempting negroes under 12 years of age from taxation, but this he utterly denied. He wanted to make the guarantee, in the taxation of slaves, quadrate with the taxation of lands. He wanted no exemption — asked none — but was forced to take it. He then gave a history of the transactions in the Convention of 1850-'51, and went on to say that if this question was to divide us now, he would advise its relinquishment, as he advised his constituents at that period. If the proposed change were to be made, it would only make a difference in his taxes of about three dollars and sixty cents, on his twelve slaves under twelve years of age. He disclaimed any recognition of a bargain with the Western men, but appealed to them, if justice was done in this respect, to return the guarantee with protection on their part to the East. If they proved disloyal, they would sting him with a sting so deep that all the stings of Yankeedom could not compare with it in bitterness. It would be the sting which a brother might give to a brother — the sting of ingratitude; and if the war came between them, it would be more hostile than all the wars that hell itself could engender.

Mr. Summers, of Kanawha, said he was sure the gentleman from Princess Anne did not need his testimony in regard to the gallant and patriotic service which he rendered, not to Western Virginia alone, but to all the Commonwealth, in the Convention of 1850-'51.--He proceeded to make some slight correction in the history of that Convention, which Mr. Wise accepted. Mr. Summers said he did not despair of the Republic then, nor did he despair of it now.

Mr. Early trusted the Convention would pardon him for making a few remarks.

Mr. Stuart, of Doddridge, claimed the floor. He was willing to have the vote taken now, if there was to be no more discussion of the subject; but if there was, he desired an opportunity of presenting his views. He asked the gentleman from Franklin if he proposed to discuss the question under consideration.

Mr. Early only asked for a few moments.

Mr. Stuart then yielded the floor, and Mr. Early stated some facts in connection with the Convention of 1850-'51. He now acknowledged the justice of the principle contended for, and advised the passage of the resolutions for raising a committee, who could report at the adjourned session.

Pending the consideration of the subject--

On motion of Mr. Echols, the Convention adjourned.

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