Richmond: William F. Ritchie, public printer, 1861
No. 3.óJoint Resolutions inviting the other States to send Commissioners to meet Commissioners on the part of Virginia, and providing for the appointment of the same.
Adopted January 19, 1861.
Whereas it is the deliberate opinion of the general assembly of Virginia, that unless the unhappy controversy, which now divides the states of this confederacy, shall be satisfactorily adjusted, a permanent dissolution of the Union is inevitable; 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 determined to make a final effort to restore the Union and the constitution, in the spirit in which they were established by the fathers of the republic: Therefore,
1. Resolved, that on behalf of the commonwealth of Virginia, an invitation is hereby extended to all such states, whether slaveholding or non-slaveholding, 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 formed, and consistently with its principles, so as to afford to the people of the slaveholding states adequate guarantees for the security of their rights, to appoint commissioners to meet on the fourth day of February next, in the city of Washington, similar commissioners appointed by Virginia, to consider, and if practicable, agree upon some suitable adjustment.
2. Resolved, that Ex-president John Tyler, William C. Rives, Judge John W. Brockenbrough, George W. Summers and James A. Seddon are hereby appointed commissioners, whose duty it shall be to repair to the city of Washington, on the day designated in the foregoing resolution, to meet such commissioners as may be appointed by any of the said states, in accordance with the foregoing resolution.
3. Resolved, that if said commissioners, after full and free conference, shall agree upon any plan of adjustment requiring amendments of the federal constitution, for the further security of the rights of the people of the slaveholding states, they be requested to communicate the proposed amendments to congress, for the purpose of having the same submitted by that body, according to the forms of the constitution, to the several states for ratification.
4. Resolved, that if said commissioners cannot agree on such adjustment, or if agreeing, congress shall refuse to submit for ratification such amendments as may be proposed, then the commissioners of this state shall immediately communicate the result to the executive of this commonwealth, to be by him laid before the convention of the people of Virginia and the general assembly: provided, that the said commissioners be subject at all times to the control of the general assembly, or if in session, to that of the state convention.
5. Resolved, that in the opinion of the general assembly of Virginia, the propositions embraced in the resolutions presented to the senate of the United States by the Hon. John J. Crittenden, so modified as that the first article proposed as an amendment to the constitution of the United States shall apply to all the territory of the United States now held or hereafter acquired south of latitude thirty-six degrees and thirty minutes, and provide that slavery of the African race shall be effectually protected as property therein during the continuance of the territorial government, and the fourth article shall secure to the owners of slaves the right of transit with their slaves between and through the non-slaveholding states and territories, constitute the basis of such an adjustment of the unhappy controversy which now divides the states of this confederacy, as would be accepted by the people of this commonwealth.
6. Resolved, that Ex-president John Tyler is hereby appointed by the concurrent vote of each branch of the general assembly, a commissioner to the president of the untied States, and Judge John Robertson is hereby appointed, by a like vote, a commissioner to the state of South Carolina, and the other states that have seceded, or shall secede, with instructions respectfully to request the president of the United States and the authorities of such states to agree to abstain, pending the proceedings contemplated by the action of this general assembly, from any and all acts calculated to produce a collision of arms between the states and the government of the United States.
7. Resolved, that copies of the foregoing resolutions be forthwith telegraphed to the executives of the several states, and also to the president of the United States, and that the governor be requested to inform, without delay, the commissioners of their appointment by the foregoing resolutions.
Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: January 1861