[Sidenote] “Globe,” Dec. 10, 1860, p. 36, 37.
These proceedings occurred on the second day of the session, December 4; two days later the Speaker announced the committee, placing at the head, as chairman, Thomas Corwin, of Ohio, and appointing such members from the different States as to make it of marked influence and ability; the disunion faction being distinctly recognized by several extreme representatives. The names were announced on Thursday, December 6; and at the close of the day’s session the House adjourned to the following Monday, the 10th, on which day the general discussion was fairly launched on the request of Mr. Hawkins, of Florida, to be excused from serving on the committee. He said he had asked the opinions of many Southern Members, and, with one or two exceptions, they most cordially agreed with the course he had taken. To serve on the committee would place him in a false position. Florida had taken the initiative; her Legislature had ordered an election to choose members to a convention to be convened on the 3d day of January, 1861. The committee was a Trojan horse to gain time and demoralize the South; he regretted that it emanated from a Virginia Representative. He would tell the North that Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina were certain to secede from the Union within a short period. Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas were certain to follow within the ensuing six months.
Three Democratic Representatives responded to this outburst, the Republican members of the House, as in the Senate, remaining discreetly silent. These Democratic speakers alleged an unfair composition of the committee, and joined in denouncing the Republican party. But upon the vital and practical question of disunion their utterances were widely divergent. As the name of each of them will assume a degree of historical prominence in the further development of the rebellion, short quotations from their remarks made at that early period will be read with interest. Daniel E. Sickles, of New York, said: