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Proceedings of the House, April, June and July Special Sessions, 1861
Volume 430, Page 141   View pdf image (33K)
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So far as concerns the missions proposed to Washington
and Montgomery, the reasons, adverse to the resolution re-
ferred, are equally conclusive to the minds of the committee.
It is but a few days, since a commission of three of our most
discreet and distinguished citizens, visited Mr. Lincoln and
his cabinet, at the request of this General Assembly. It is
true, they were not charged with the duty of proposing a
cessation of hostilities ; but they were requested to ascertain,
and they did fully possess themselves—so far as it was con-
venient to the Administration to inform them—of its future
plans. The report made by the Commissioners to the two
Houses, at the informal meeting held in the Hall of this
honorable body, must have satisfied us all, that the Adminis-
tration has its own fixed purposes, not to be bent by nego-
tiation or persenal solicitation, and perhaps, indeed, hardly
within its own control, under the pressure of the commercial
hostility and jealousy at the North, which of late have be-
come such potent elements in the pending sectional crusade.
The committee do not believe that the President of the
United States would willingly entertain any further discus-
sion of his policy with representatives accredited by this
State, and they cannot but remember the vain hopes which
heralded, and the disappointments which attended and fol-
lowed, the noble and persistent efforts of Virginia to arrest
the then comparatively distant storm of civil war. What
Virginia could not do at that time. Maryland can scarcely do
now. It was for this reason that the committee, in reporting
the general Resolutions heretofore adopted by the House, con-
tented themselves with an earnest entreaty to the President,
on behalf of this State, to set a truce to the war he has be-
gun. They confess that they proposed it with more of de-
sire than hope, and they ask leave tq repeat their sincere con-
viction, that if the Senate will give its high sanction to the
resolution referred to and the series to which it belongs, the
State will have done as much, in the way not only of media-
tion, but of self-vindication, as she can practically compass
at this time.

If the committee are right, in their judgment as to the in-
expediency of the proposed mission to Washington, that to
Montgomery could have no practical result, however well in-
tended or cordially received. The Confederate States are
making war only in self-defence, and are ready to welcome
peace, and meet any overtures half way, but they cannot be
expected, and could not with propriety be asked, to arrest
their preparations, in the absence of a similar manifestation
on the aggressive side.


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Proceedings of the House, April, June and July Special Sessions, 1861
Volume 430, Page 141   View pdf image (33K)
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