Richmond Peace Conference

January Peace Conference in Richmond, Virginia


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Chief Jones stands, trembling with anger.

ENOUGH! I did not travel the breadth of this country so as to listen to self-important men dismiss peace with flippant chuckles or soft feelings!

The Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation takes a moment to recollect himself before continuing.

Commodore Chamberlain brings up four points and I think it orderly to address them in an orderly fashion.

The first, slavery, you acknowledge as virtually irrelevant given the movement of the national debate. We can therefore disregard it in any consideration of the terms of reconciliation except in the maintenance of the current condition of state autonomy. That makes this debate slightly less complicated, and I encourage my fellow members of the Union to focus on the other points.

The second point, regarding military build-up, is not made in an unmerited fashion. Although it would be a mistake to characterize the hostile rhetoric or build-up as one-sided - such matters are rarely so clear cut - I think it not unreasonable to place a substantial portion of the blame on rash Northern gubernatorial action. A point to clarify: I would argue that militia build-up is not, in and of itself, unconstitutional if it is undertaken for legitimate reasons. The State of Sequoyah, for instance, established a militia so as to demonstrate commitment to orderliness and to make easier the legitimate and constitutional projects of the State. The railways have been partially constructed and fully safe-guarded by the State, which we assert to have been necessary in light of the largely undeveloped and occasionally rough nature of the former Oklahoma territory. There are legitimate reasons to have a militia that is loyal to the State and the Union operating in times of peace, and the constitution does allow for such occasions. This does not invalidate your point, Commodore, that the blindingly stupid reasons some states cited for build-up were legitimately objectionable, but I think it is important to stress.

The third point, regarding Texas, is incredibly serious. I wish to outline the situation from the as yet unrevealed perspective of the Administration, as these are highly intricate matters concerning the law, and considering their enormous impact on the future of this continent, they must be given their due. It can be argued that the Constitution was written with the intention of permanency, and the President's oath to uphold the Constitution therefore mandates he take such action as necessary to preserve the Union. Does a State have the right to consider action that might fundamentally violate the Constitution to which it has agreed? I do not know, but I think it is clear that there is a legal argument that can be made in favor of President Chamberlain's activities. I think it not unreasonable to assert that all actions were undertaken in good faith with respect to the matter of constitutionality.

However, I stress that legal right does not necessarily correspond to proper conduct, and the poor communication by the Administration and continued rhetorical stupidity espoused by certain Northern governors understandably shook the South's confidence in the Union. I would suggest that both sides would have been better off pursuing the matter through the Courts and the Legislature.

In regards to the matters of nullification and non-compliance: both sides are patently at false, as all parties agreed to surrender such power to the Federal Government upon entrance into the Union. The South is legally obligated to pay the tariffs, but it certainly enjoys the right to protest on the grounds of injustice. Such protestations appear to have had a positive outcome for the affected parties, as evidenced by the scale reduction. But, by the same reasoning, the North must comply with the Fugitive Slave Act. Until such time as the Act is repealed - and I do wonder whether it could be Constitutionally repealed without replacing it with a less severe code - the North has no right to ignore the Federal order. I suggest that both matters could be solved legislatively. Compromise on the matter of the Fugitive Slave Act, as was begun in regards to the tariff, is entirely plausible if both sides abandon their extremism.

From where I sit, the problems we face have been created by prideful men unwilling to use their God-given reason to formulate a sustainable circumstance. Sequoyah stands ready to lead the compromise effort, but all here must, I repeat, MUST, be willing to admit a modicum of culpability and accept the necessity of moderation. Commodore Chamberlain? Mr. Bullock? Congressman Style? Are you and your fellows willing to actually discuss these matters without pretension? We are not peacocks, and struttingly displaying our tail feathers will do nothing to improve the grave situation we currently face.

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27 Re: Discussion on Sun Dec 06, 2009 6:05 pm

I rise with the gentleman from Sequoyah in his sentiments, if not all of his words. Both sides of this issue have acted regrettably in a number of instances...perhaps it is being able to look to the east instead of to the north or the south that allows us to find criticism of the actions of sides, but it is becoming clear that nobody came here with any intention of reconciliation. In that vein, I want to propose a few items that, if we're really here to discuss instead of look good for the papers, will be at least taken into consideration.

1) A limit on the size of state militias that will ensure no state may pose a threat to another.
2) Legislation to ensure that the state in which a tariff is collected will receive at a minimum a substantial amount of the tariff collected.
3) Legislation to provide for federal enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Act.

Will any here accept this as a starting point?

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28 Conference on Sun Dec 06, 2009 6:06 pm


Pennsylvania Attorney General Charles Bullock rises

"Gentleman,

You complain about the tariff. We lowered the tariff. You complain about slavery, and as the gentleman from South Carolina stated himself, all attempts to change the status quo failed. You complain about our militias, I am sorry, but has a single southern state had its citizens bombed by a rogue man? I think not. My state is large, the Governor has much to protect. My militia has not entered another state with the intent of invading. This is America my friends, my militiamen are citizens of the USA first, and citizens of Pennsylvania second."

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29 Re: Discussion on Sun Dec 06, 2009 6:08 pm


Attorney General Bullock rises again

"Pennsylvania will not accept any calls to strengthen the fugitive slave law."

*Mr Bullock sits back down next to the gentleman from Connecticut.

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30 Re: Discussion on Sun Dec 06, 2009 6:09 pm

Oregon wrote:I rise with the gentleman from Sequoyah in his sentiments, if not all of his words. Both sides of this issue have acted regrettably in a number of instances...perhaps it is being able to look to the east instead of to the north or the south that allows us to find criticism of the actions of sides, but it is becoming clear that nobody came here with any intention of reconciliation. In that vein, I want to propose a few items that, if we're really here to discuss instead of look good for the papers, will be at least taken into consideration.

1) A limit on the size of state militias that will ensure no state may pose a threat to another.
2) Legislation to ensure that the state in which a tariff is collected will receive at a minimum a substantial amount of the tariff collected.
3) Legislation to provide for federal enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Act.

Will any here accept this as a starting point?

It is a good starting point, even if it fails to mention the actions taken by the President in Texas.

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31 Re: Discussion on Sun Dec 06, 2009 6:10 pm

Well I'm not sure what we could do to address an action taken in the past that would not potentially limit the ability of the President to act in an emergency. If Tennessee or any state has an idea of how to ensure such an unfortunate circumstance never again occurs, my ears and mind are open.

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32 Re: Discussion on Sun Dec 06, 2009 6:12 pm

Mr. Bullock, I strongly urge you to consider compromise on the issue of the Fugitive Slave Act. Mothers across Pennsylvania have no wish to see the blood of their sons spilled because of pure stubbornness.

I would find all proposals made by our friend from Oregon to be acceptable.

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33 Re: Discussion on Sun Dec 06, 2009 6:13 pm

Senator Lyman Trumbull glances from Congressman Styles to the delegate of South Carolina.

If I may state something briefly to begin, the insistence to negotiate with Vice President Wood would only serve as an impediment and delay to the negotiation process. President Chamberlain will ultimately be who has to not only approve, but enact any compromise that comes out of Congress. He is the legally elected President of the United States - while some states may have chosen to disregard that fact, it does not make it any less real.

Furthermore, I concur with Congressman Styles on the difference between non-compliance and nullification. I have no doubts that if asked to enforce the law by Federal authorities, northern states would comply in respect for the Constitution and the Union. I must ask, if the President were to ask the Southern states to do the same on the tariff, would they act the same?

On the note of militias - I must point out that out of all states in the Union, of the largest nine militias, seven of those are states found below the Mason-Dixon line, with only Michigan and Pennsylvania filling those positions. And while I cannot speak for the Governor of Michigan, Pennsylvania is more than within its rights to seek to protect itself after falling victim to a terrorist once already. That same right is availed to Tennessee or South Carolina, why should Pennsylvania - or any other state threatened by violence - be excluded?

If I may be so bold though, I have to ask what right do states of the South have to dictate the terms of federal policy, wherein they must be deferred to on every law in every instance in order for it to pass. That is how members of the North, including myself, see this latest set of demands - that the Fugitive Slave Act must be forcibly executed while the tariffs be eliminated; that the Northern states must reduce their militias, regardless of reason for being raised, while the Southern states are given free reign for their defense. With all due respect to my colleagues and brothers from the South, this must be a Union of equals - not a Union of privileged few with powers above the many.

I am committed to reconciliation so long as it is possible. But reconciliation must mean all states being placed on an equal standing with each other - not one or a group dictating federal policy from the end of the gun known as secession, and certainly not making the federal government subservient to that of the states.

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34 Re: Discussion on Sun Dec 06, 2009 6:13 pm

Oregon wrote:Well I'm not sure what we could do to address an action taken in the past that would not potentially limit the ability of the President to act in an emergency. If Tennessee or any state has an idea of how to ensure such an unfortunate circumstance never again occurs, my ears and mind are open.

What emergency situation could possibly arise that would warrant the arrest and detainment of a legitimately elected Government for daring to discuss an issue? No Action had been taken at the point the President sent in Federal Troops to arrest those individuals, and it resulted in the deaths of several troops in Texas. That blood must be atoned for, and we must ensure that the President does not act so rashly in the future.

There was no clear and imminent danger to the citizens of the United States, therefore I do not believe the President could be justified in his actions. Emergency Situations would obviously present a clear and dangerous threat to the United States or its citizens.

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35 Re: Discussion on Sun Dec 06, 2009 6:14 pm

"Governor Lee, I respect you greatly. The laws of virginia are respected by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Governor has sent me here to uphold the position of the Commonwealth. I can do no more."

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36 Re: Discussion on Sun Dec 06, 2009 6:16 pm

Tennessee wrote:
Oregon wrote:Well I'm not sure what we could do to address an action taken in the past that would not potentially limit the ability of the President to act in an emergency. If Tennessee or any state has an idea of how to ensure such an unfortunate circumstance never again occurs, my ears and mind are open.

What emergency situation could possibly arise that would warrant the arrest and detainment of a legitimately elected Government for daring to discuss an issue? No Action had been taken at the point the President sent in Federal Troops to arrest those individuals, and it resulted in the deaths of several troops in Texas. That blood must be atoned for, and we must ensure that the President does not act so rashly in the future.

There was no clear and imminent danger to the citizens of the United States, therefore I do not believe the President could be justified in his actions. Emergency Situations would obviously present a clear and dangerous threat to the United States or its citizens.

I was more referring to the general use of federal troops, but legislation could be put forth preventing the federal detainment of members of a legislature except for in the case of violation of criminal code?

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37 Re: Discussion on Sun Dec 06, 2009 6:17 pm

The Fugitive Slave Act already allows for federal enforcement, in fact that is the proper route for its enforcement. I can assure you that Connecticut has no intention to fire upon or otherwise harass a federal marshal serving his writ. To my knowledge, no free state has expressed that intention. The difference between that and nullification is wide. The state of Louisiana prohibited federal officers from enforcing a constitutional law. And, considering the Texas militia fired on federalized troops acting legally, I think we can expect how federal marshals enforcing the tariff would be greeted.

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38 Re: Discussion on Sun Dec 06, 2009 6:17 pm

Here are the demands of Georgia and without them being met are seccision stands.

1. A constitutional amendment is to be passed that will not allow the president to use force agianst the states.

2. The internal improvements paid for with the tariff are to distributed equally among the regions of the United States.

3. The tariff must be lowered to a less oppressive rate or the federal government must attempt to spur industralization in the South.

4. The enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Act by all states.

5. The issue of slavery will be left to the states themselves to decide and not the federal government.

6. The federal government of the United States recognizes that membership in its union is voluntary

Without the United States willingness of the United States to at least discuss meeting these demands we are wasting our breath and time in this convention.

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39 Re: Discussion on Sun Dec 06, 2009 6:18 pm

Illinois wrote:Senator Lyman Trumbull glances from Congressman Styles to the delegate of South Carolina.

If I may state something briefly to begin, the insistence to negotiate with Vice President Wood would only serve as an impediment and delay to the negotiation process. President Chamberlain will ultimately be who has to not only approve, but enact any compromise that comes out of Congress. He is the legally elected President of the United States - while some states may have chosen to disregard that fact, it does not make it any less real.

Furthermore, I concur with Congressman Styles on the difference between non-compliance and nullification. I have no doubts that if asked to enforce the law by Federal authorities, northern states would comply in respect for the Constitution and the Union. I must ask, if the President were to ask the Southern states to do the same on the tariff, would they act the same?

On the note of militias - I must point out that out of all states in the Union, of the largest nine militias, seven of those are states found below the Mason-Dixon line, with only Michigan and Pennsylvania filling those positions. And while I cannot speak for the Governor of Michigan, Pennsylvania is more than within its rights to seek to protect itself after falling victim to a terrorist once already. That same right is availed to Tennessee or South Carolina, why should Pennsylvania - or any other state threatened by violence - be excluded?

If I may be so bold though, I have to ask what right do states of the South have to dictate the terms of federal policy, wherein they must be deferred to on every law in every instance in order for it to pass. That is how members of the North, including myself, see this latest set of demands - that the Fugitive Slave Act must be forcibly executed while the tariffs be eliminated; that the Northern states must reduce their militias, regardless of reason for being raised, while the Southern states are given free reign for their defense. With all due respect to my colleagues and brothers from the South, this must be a Union of equals - not a Union of privileged few with powers above the many.

I am committed to reconciliation so long as it is possible. But reconciliation must mean all states being placed on an equal standing with each other - not one or a group dictating federal policy from the end of the gun known as secession, and certainly not making the federal government subservient to that of the states.

Except that it is more than just non-compliance. The State of Pennsylvania has gone as far as to release these fugitives from service and recognize them as Pennsylvanian Citizens, which is an extremely blatant violation of the Constitution. To claim this is simply non-compliance is just ignorant.

Furthermore, why should the South be forced to pay Tariffs that only go to benefit the North? Do we not have a right to funds staying in the South to benefit the South?

And to the Gentleman from Oregon, that is an acceptable solution for future instances.

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40 Re: Discussion on Sun Dec 06, 2009 6:19 pm

The State of Georgia must realize that compromise implies both sides surrender what they desire, usually.

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41 Re: Discussion on Sun Dec 06, 2009 6:21 pm

Mr. Bullock, please. Pennsylvania has no right to force disunion upon this continent.

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42 Re: Discussion on Sun Dec 06, 2009 6:22 pm

The Congressman listens as patiently as he can to the gentleman from Georgia before responding.

I can say without equivocation that, should such a compromise reach the US Congress, the Connecticut delegation would vote against it to a man.

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43 Re: Discussion on Sun Dec 06, 2009 6:22 pm

There is no federal law pertaining to how citizens are judged between the states! The State of Pennsylvania also requires slave owners receive a hearing on their claims of a runaway in a Pennsylvania court room. This assures justice is carried out."

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44 Re: Discussion on Sun Dec 06, 2009 6:22 pm

Virginia wrote:The State of Georgia must realize that compromise implies both sides surrender what they desire, usually.

I didn't come here to find a compromise, I came to avoid a war and maybe...maybe rejoin the Union. The South has been wronged and without fixing those wrongs then there is no reason to rejoin the Union

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45 Re: Discussion on Sun Dec 06, 2009 6:22 pm

Mr. Bullock, whatever your Governor's feelings on the fugitive slave law, it is and still remains a federal law. It is his place as Governor to enforce the law, not to ignore it. That is why Maryland's position has been that, for the time, we shall not seek extradition - but note, that we have not tried to nullify the law. And certainly, with the law we have passed, would still return a fugitive to, say, Virginia.

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46 Re: Discussion on Sun Dec 06, 2009 6:24 pm

I do have a question for Georgia. How do they divide the `regions` of the several states?

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47 conference. on Sun Dec 06, 2009 6:24 pm

The State officials have not impeded the ability of federal marshalls to carry out their duty. State officials simply refuse to comply with a law that goes against their Christian values."

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48 Re: Discussion on Sun Dec 06, 2009 6:26 pm

Maryland wrote:I do have a question for Georgia. How do they divide the `regions` of the several states?

North, South and West. And "equally" need not mean dollar amount. It can per capita based on the number of citizens

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49 Re: Discussion on Sun Dec 06, 2009 6:26 pm

Tennessee wrote:Except that it is more than just non-compliance. The State of Pennsylvania has gone as far as to release these fugitives from service and recognize them as Pennsylvanian Citizens, which is an extremely blatant violation of the Constitution. To claim this is simply non-compliance is just ignorant.

Furthermore, why should the South be forced to pay Tariffs that only go to benefit the North? Do we not have a right to funds staying in the South to benefit the South?

And to the Gentleman from Oregon, that is an acceptable solution for future instances.

Senator Trumbull
Then if Tennessee finds this to be a violation of the Constitution, follow the proscribed methods for grievances between the states - which is not, I will point out, threatening to dissolve the perpetual Union that is the United States while making demands.

And considering the industry in the North creates goods and products needed for the South to continue their own economy, especially with agricultural equipment, iron works, and rail lines, it is certain that there are benefits going to the South as well from internal improvements.

Likewise, should Georgia's... farce of a compromise proposal, one based on a very confused version of recent history, reach the United States Congress, I will personally do everything in my power to defeat it.

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50 Re: Discussion on Sun Dec 06, 2009 6:27 pm

Georgia wrote:Here are the demands of Georgia and without them being met are seccision stands.

1. A constitutional amendment is to be passed that will not allow the president to use force agianst the states.

2. The internal improvements paid for with the tariff are to distributed equally among the regions of the United States.

3. The tariff must be lowered to a less oppressive rate or the federal government must attempt to spur industralization in the South.

4. The enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Act by all states.

5. The issue of slavery will be left to the states themselves to decide and not the federal government.

6. The federal government of the United States recognizes that membership in its union is voluntary

Without the United States willingness of the United States to at least discuss meeting these demands we are wasting our breath and time in this convention.

If I may, I would like to address a few points from the representative from Georgia in particular and one point on a broader scale: the enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Act.

I believe a constitutional amendment prohibiting the deployment of federal troops against a state would be imprudent. Consider, if you will, that one state would have raised its hand against another in this recent tension. I do not believe that our states should be allowed to fight each other with a federal government powerless to intervene in the matter and end it quickly. Laws limiting the use of federal troops in sovereign states? Certainly. But a Constitutional amendment would simply be too restrictive.

The second point is one I believe should be addressed by allowing the states collecting the tariff to keep a sizable portion of it. The third has already been accomplished with the recent lowering of the tariff. I will skip the fourth for now and come back to it at the end. The fifth and sixth are murkier, as Oregon is likely to support any attempts at abolition not out of spite for the south, but our own beliefs. The sixth is a matter for lawyers.

Now, on the Fugitive Slave Act. I ask my brothers in the south to understand that within the free states, the fact is that the escaped slaves are not slaves...slavery does not exist within these states. Non-compliance is not a matter of spite, I should hope, but one of our principles and our legal codes. For us to take these people in captivity would recognize them as being in a state which does not exist within the state of Oregon and others. As such, it is proper that if this law is to be enforced that enforcement be done in these states by a government which recognizes slavery: the federal government.

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