It was a strong and representative committee, chosen from the four great political parties to the late Presidential election, and embracing recognized leaders in each, We shall see in a future chapter how this eminent committee failed to report a compromise, which was the object of its appointment. But compromise was impossible, because the conspiracy had resolved upon disunion, as already announced in the proclamation of a Southern Confederacy, signed and published a week before by Jefferson Davis and others.
THE HOUSE COMMITTEE OF THIRTY-THREE
[Sidenote] Compare Boteler’s statement
of origin of his resolution,
“Globe,” Jan. 10, 1861, p. 316.
[Sidenote] “Globe,” Dec. 4, 1860, p. 6.
While this discussion was going on in the Senate, very similar proceedings were taking place in the House of Representatives, except that declarations of revolutionary purpose were generally of a more practical and decisive character. The President’s message had no sooner been received and read, and the usual formal motion made to refer and print, than the friends of compromise, representing here, as in the Senate, the substantial sentiment of the border slave-States, made a sincere effort to take control and bring about the peaceable arrangement and adjustment of what they assumed to be the extreme differences between the South and the North. Mr. Boteler, of Virginia, seizing the momentary leadership, moved to amend by referring so much of the message “as relates to the present perilous condition of the country” to a special committee of one from each State. The Union being at that time composed of thirty-three States, this committee became known as the Committee of Thirty-three. Several other amendments were offered but objected to, and the previous question having been ordered, the amendment was agreed to and the committee raised by a vote of 145 yeas to 38 nays; the negative vote coming, in the main, from the more pronounced anti-slavery men.
[Sidenote] “Globe,” Dec. 4, 1860, p. 7.
[Sidenote] “Globe,” Dec. 4, 1860. p. 7.
[Illustration: JUSTIN S. MURPHY.]
Though this was the first roll-call of the session, the disunion conspirators, one after another, made haste to declare the treasonable attitude of their States. Pending the vote, Mr. Singleton declined recording his name for the reason that Mississippi had called a convention to consider this subject. He was not sent here for the purpose of making any compromise or to patch up existing difficulties. Mr. Jones, of Georgia, said he did not vote on this question because his State, like Mississippi, had called a convention to decide all these questions of Federal relations. Mr. Hawkins, of Florida,