Read NINTH DAY of A Report of the Debates and Proceedings in the Secret Sessions of the Conference Convention, free online book, by Lucius Eugene Chittenden, on ReadCentral.com.

WASHINGTON, FRIDAY, February 15th, 1861.

The Convention was called to order by President TYLER, and prayer was offered by Rev. Mr. RENNER. The Journals of the 13th and 14th were read and approved.

The PRESIDENT: I have this morning received several communications from different persons, which will be laid before the Convention. One is an invitation from HORATIO STONE, inviting the members of the Convention to visit his studio; also, a resolution of the House of Representatives, authorizing the admission of members of this Convention to the floor of the House. Also, a letter from J.E. SANDS, offering to the Convention certain flags which possess historical interest, from the fact that they were used in the convention which adopted the present Constitution of the United States. Also, a communication from HORATIO G. WARNER.

The communications were severally read and laid upon the table.

Mr. SUMMERS: I am instructed by the Committee on Credentials to inform the Convention that the committee has received satisfactory evidence of the appointment by the Executive of Ohio of C.P. WOLCOTT, as a delegate to this Convention, in the place of JOHN C. WRIGHT, deceased.

Mr. ORTH: I desire to offer the following resolutions, which I ask to have read for the information of the Convention. I have no purpose to admit spectators to seats on this floor, but in my judgment it is the right of the country to know what we are doing here. My constituents will not be satisfied with my course, unless I take means to give the public knowledge of all our transactions. I am aware that this is an invasion of the rule already adopted, requiring secrecy, but in my opinion no possible harm can come from the daily publication of our debates. It is far better that true reports of these debates should be made, than that the distorted and perverted accounts which we see daily in the New York papers should be continued.

The resolutions were read, and are as follows:

Resolved, That Rules Sixteen (16) and Eighteen (18) of
this Convention be, and the same hereby are, rescinded.

Resolved, That the President is hereby authorized to grant cards of admission to reporters of the press, not exceeding in number, which shall entitle them to seats on the floor of the Convention, for the purpose of reporting its proceedings.

Resolved, That no person be admitted to the floor of the
Convention, except the members, officers, or reporters.

Mr. WICKLIFFE: I do not wish to prolong this discussion myself, nor to cause it to be prolonged by others. I am sure that if we permit our debates to be reported, we shall never reach a conclusion which will in the slightest degree benefit the country. Every member will in that event wish to make a set speech, some of them three or four. I wish to have our time used in consultation and in action, not consumed in political speech-making. I do not care what the newspapers say of us. I know their accounts are distorted; but they would be distorted if we admitted reporters. Some of them assail us as a convention of compromisers as belonging to the sandstone stratum of politics.

Mr. CHASE: That is the formation which supports all others.

Mr. WICKLIFFE: I know it, and I hope this Convention will prove to be the stratum which supports and preserves the Union and the country. Let us go on as we have begun, preserving secrecy; keeping our own counsels; making no speeches for outside consumption or personal reputation. Let us all keep steadily in mind the accomplishment of the great and good purpose which brought us here, and nothing else.

Mr. RANDOLPH: New Jersey does not wish to have time consumed in making speeches. I think we should proceed at once to hear the report of the committee. I move that the resolutions offered be laid upon the table.

Mr. ORTH: I suppose this motion cuts off debate. I should much have preferred to discuss the resolutions. I hope the motion will not prevail.

The motion to lay on the table passed in the affirmative by a viva voce vote.

The PRESIDENT: Is the General Committee upon Propositions prepared to report? If it is, their report is now in order.

Mr. GUTHRIE: That committee has given earnest and careful consideration to the subjects and propositions which have from time to time been presented to it. It has held numerous and protracted sessions, and the differences of opinion naturally existing between the members have been discussed in a spirit of candor and conciliation. The committee have not been so fortunate as to arrive at an unanimous conclusion. A majority of its members, however, have agreed upon a report which we think ought to be satisfactory to all sections of the Union, one which if adopted will, we believe, accomplish the purpose so much desired by every patriotic citizen. We think it will give peace to the country. In their behalf I have now the honor to submit, for the consideration of the Conference, the following:

PROPOSALS OF AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED
STATES.

ARTICLE 1. In all the territory of the United States not embraced within the limits of the Cherokee treaty grant, north of a line from east to west on the parallel of 36 degrees 30 minutes north latitude, involuntary servitude, except in punishment of crime, is prohibited whilst it shall be under a Territorial government; and in all the territory south of said line, the status of persons owing service or labor, as it now exists, shall not be changed by law while such territory shall be under a Territorial government; and neither Congress nor the Territorial government shall have power to hinder or prevent the taking to said territory of persons held to labor or involuntary service, within the United States, according to the laws or usages of the State from which such persons may be taken, nor to impair the rights arising out of said relations, which shall be subject to judicial cognizance in the federal courts, according to the common law; and when any territory north or south of said line, within such boundary as Congress may prescribe, shall contain a population required for a member of Congress, according to the then federal ratio of representation, it shall, if its form of government be republican, be admitted into the Union on an equal footing with the original States, with or without involuntary service or labor, as the Constitution of such new State may provide.

ARTICLE 2. Territory shall not be acquired by the United States, unless by treaty; nor, except for naval and commercial stations and depots, unless such treaty shall be ratified by four-fifths of all members of the Senate.

ARTICLE 3. Neither the Constitution, nor any amendment thereof, shall be construed to give Congress power to regulate, abolish, or control within any State or Territory of the United States, the relation established or recognized by the laws thereof touching persons bound to labor or involuntary service therein, nor to interfere with or abolish involuntary service in the District of Columbia without the consent of Maryland and without the consent of the owners, or making the owners who do not consent just compensation; nor the power to interfere with or prohibit representatives and others from bringing with them to the City of Washington, retaining, and taking away, persons so bound to labor; nor the power to interfere with or abolish involuntary service in places under the exclusive jurisdiction of the United States within those States and Territories where the same is established or recognized; nor the power to prohibit the removal or transportation, by land, sea, or river, of persons held to labor or involuntary service in any State or Territory of the United States to any other State or Territory thereof where it is established or recognized by law or usage; and the right during transportation of touching at ports, shores, and landings, and of landing in case of distress, shall exist. Nor shall Congress have power to authorize any higher rate of taxation on persons bound to labor than on land.

ARTICLE 4. The third paragraph of the second section of the fourth article of the Constitution shall not be construed to prevent any of the States, by appropriate legislation, and through the action of their judicial and ministerial officers, from enforcing the delivery of fugitives from labor to the person to whom such service or labor is due.

ARTICLE 5. The foreign slave-trade and the importation of slaves into the United States and their Territories, from places beyond the present limits thereof, are forever prohibited.

ARTICLE 6. The first, second, third, and fifth articles, together with this article of these amendments, and the third paragraph of the second section of the first article of the Constitution, and the third paragraph of the second section of the fourth article thereof, shall not be amended or abolished without the consent of all the States.

ARTICLE 7. Congress shall provide by law that the United States shall pay to the owner the full value of his fugitive from labor, in all cases where the marshal or other officer, whose duty it was to arrest such fugitive, was prevented from so doing by violence or intimidation, or when, after arrest, such fugitive was rescued by force, and the owner thereby prevented and obstructed in the pursuit of his remedy for the recovery of such fugitive.

Mr. BALDWIN: I have not been able to concur in opinion with those members of the committee who have presented the propositions just submitted. I do not deem them fair or equitable to the Free States, nor do I think they are likely to secure approval in those States. As one member of the minority, I have drawn up a report embodying my own views and perhaps those of some of my colleagues, which I now present for the consideration of the Conference:

MR. BALDWIN’S MINORITY REPORT.

The undersigned, one of the minority of the committee of one from each State, to whom was referred the consideration of the resolutions of the State of Virginia, and the other States represented, and all propositions for the adjustment of existing differences between the States, with authority to report what they deem right, necessary, and proper to restore harmony and preserve the Union, and report thereon, entered upon the duties of the committee with an anxious desire that they might be able to unite in the recommendation of some plan which, on due deliberation, should seem best adapted to maintain the dignity and authority of the Government of the United States, and at the same time secure to the people of every section that perfect equality of right to which they are entitled.

Convened, as we are, on the invitation of the Governor of Virginia, in pursuance of the resolutions of the General Assembly of that State, with an accompanying expression of the deliberate opinion of that body that, unless the unhappy controversy which now divides the States shall be satisfactorily adjusted, a permanent dissolution of the Union is inevitable; and, being earnestly desirous of an adjustment thereof, in concurrence with Virginia, in the spirit in which the Constitution was originally formed, and consistently with its principles, so as to afford to the people of all the States adequate security for all their rights, the attention of the undersigned was necessarily led to the consideration of the extent and equality of our powers, and to the propriety and expediency, under existing circumstances, of a recommendation by this Conference Convention of any specific action by Congress, whether of ordinary legislation, or in reference to constitutional amendments to be proposed by Congress on its own responsibility to the States.

A portion of the members of this Convention are delegated by the Legislatures of their respective States, and are required to act under their supervision and control, while others are the representatives only of the Executives of their States, and, having no opportunity of consulting the immediate representatives of the people, can only act on their individual responsibility.

Among the resolutions and propositions suggesting modes of adjustment appropriate to this occasion which were brought to the notice of the committee, were the resolutions of the State of Kentucky recommending to her sister States to unite with her in an application to Congress for the calling of a Convention in the mode prescribed by the Constitution for proposing amendments thereto.

The undersigned, for the reasons set forth in the accompanying resolution, and others which have been herein indicated, is of opinion that the mode of adjustment by a General Convention, as proposed by Kentucky, is the one which affords the best assurance of an adjustment acceptable to the people of every section, as it will afford to all the States which may desire amendments, an opportunity of preparing them with care and deliberation, and in such form as they may deem it expedient to prescribe, to be submitted to the consideration and deliberate action of delegates duly chosen and invested with equal powers from all the States.

The undersigned did not, therefore, deem it expedient that any of the measures of adjustment proposed by the majority of the committee, should be reported to this body to be discussed or acted upon by them, and he respectfully submits as a substitute for the articles of amendment to the Constitution, reported by the majority of the committee, the following preamble and resolution, and respectfully recommends the adoption thereof.

ROGER S. BALDWIN.

Whereas, unhappy differences exist which have alienated from each other portions of the people of the United States to such an extent as seriously to disturb the peace of the nation, and impair the regular and efficient action of the Government within the sphere of its constitutional powers and duties;

And whereas, the Legislature of the State of Kentucky has made application to Congress to call a Convention for proposing amendments to the Constitution of the United States;

And whereas, it is believed to be the opinion of the people of other States that amendments to the Constitution are or may become necessary to secure to the people of the United States, of every section, the full and equal enjoyment of their rights and liberties, so far as the same may depend for their security and protection on the powers granted to or withheld from the General Government, in pursuance of the national purposes for which it was ordained and established;

And whereas, it may be expedient that such amendments as any of the States may desire to have proposed, should be presented to the Convention in such form as the respective States desiring the same may deem proper;

This Convention does, therefore, recommend to the several States to unite with Kentucky in her application to Congress to call a convention for proposing amendments to the Constitution of the United States, to be submitted to the Legislatures of the several States, or to conventions therein, for ratification, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by Congress, in accordance with the provision in the fifth article of the Constitution.

Mr. FIELD: I do not concur in the conclusions to which the majority of the committee have arrived. I may say that I wholly dissent from them. I have not deemed it necessary to make a separate report. At a suitable time I shall endeavor to make known to the Conference my views upon the topics which have occupied the attention of the committee.

Mr. CROWNINSHIELD: I occupy substantially the same position as Mr. FIELD, and shall make my views known at a proper time.

Mr. SEDDON: The report presented by the majority, I think, is a wide departure from the course we should have adopted. Virginia has prepared and presented a plan, and has invited this Conference to consider it. I think we ought to take up her propositions, amend and perfect them, if need be, and then adopt or reject them. To avoid all misconstruction as to my individual opinions or position, I have reduced my views to writing, which, with the leave of the Conference, I will now read.

No objection being made, Mr. SEDDON proceeded to read the following:

REPORT OF MR. SEDDON.

The undersigned, acting on the recommendation of the Commissioners from the State of Virginia, as a member of the committee appointed by this Convention to consider and recommend propositions of adjustment, has not been so happy as to accord with the report submitted by the majority; and as he more widely dissents from the opinions entertained by the other dissenting members, he feels constrained, in vindication of his position and opinions, to present on his part this brief report, recommending, as a substitute for the report of the majority, a proposition subjoined. To this course he feels the more impelled, by deference to the resolutions of the General Assembly of his State, inviting the assemblage of this Convention, and suggesting a basis of adjustment.

These resolutions declare, 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 36 deg. 30’, and provided 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 or 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.”

From this resolution, it is clear that the General Assembly, in its declared opinion of what would be acceptable to the people of Virginia, not only required the Crittenden propositions as a basis, but also held the modifications suggested in addition essential. In this the undersigned fully concurs. But, in his opinion, the propositions reported by the majority do not give, but materially weaken the Crittenden propositions themselves, and fail to accord the modifications suggested. The undersigned therefore, feels it his duty to submit and recommend, as a substitute, the resolutions referred to, as proposed by the Hon. JOHN J. CRITTENDEN, with the incorporation of the modifications suggested by Virginia explicitly expressed, and with some alterations on points which, he is assured, would make them more acceptable to that State, and, as he hopes, to the whole Union. The propositions submitted are appended, marked N.

The undersigned, while contenting himself, in the spirit of the action taken by the General Assembly of his State, with the proposal of that substitute for the majority report, would be untrue to his own convictions, shared, as he believes, by the majority of the commissioners from Virginia, and to his sense of duty, if he did not emphatically declare, as his settled and deliberate judgment, that for permanent safety in this Union, to the slaveholding States, and the restoration of integrity to the Union and harmony and peace to the country, a guarantee of actual power in the Constitution and in the working of the Government to the slaveholding and minority section is indispensable. How such guarantee might be most wisely contrived and judiciously adjusted to the frame of the Government, the undersigned forbears now to inquire. He is not exclusively addicted to any special plan, but believing that such guarantee might be adequately afforded by a partition of power in the Senate between the two sections, and by a recognition that ours is a Union of freedom and consent, not constraint and force, he respectfully submits, for consideration by members of the Convention, the plan hereto appended, marked N.

Whether he shall feel bound to invoke the action of the
Convention upon it, may depend on the future manifestations
of sentiment in this body.

All which is respectfully submitted,

JAMES A. SEDDON.
Commissioner from Virginia.

February 15th, 1861.

N.

Joint Resolutions proposing certain amendments to the
Constitution of the United States.

Whereas, serious and alarming dissensions have arisen between the Northern and Southern States, concerning the rights and security of the rights of the slaveholding States, and especially their rights in the common territory of the United States; and whereas, it is eminently desirable and proper that those dissensions, which now threaten the very existence of this Union, should be permanently quieted and settled by constitutional provisions, which shall do equal justice to all sections, and thereby restore to the people that peace and good will which ought to prevail between all the citizens of the United States: Therefore,

Resolved, by this Convention, that the following articles are hereby approved and submitted to the Congress of the United States, with the request that they may, by the requisite constitutional majority of two-thirds, be recommended to the respective States of the Union, to be, when ratified by Conventions of three-fourths of the States, valid and operative as amendments of the Constitution of the Union.

ARTICLE 1. In all the territory of the United States, now held or hereafter acquired, situate north of latitude thirty-six degrees and thirty minutes, slavery or involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime, is prohibited, while such territory shall remain under territorial government. In all the territory south of said line of latitude, slavery of the African race is hereby recognized as existing, and shall not be interfered with by Congress, but shall be protected as property by all the departments of the territorial government during its continuance; and, when any territory, north or south of said line, within such boundaries as Congress may prescribe, shall contain the population requisite for a member of Congress, according to the then federal ratio of representation of the people of the United States, it shall, if its form of government be republican, be admitted into the Union on an equal footing with the original States, with or without slavery, as the Constitution of such new State may provide.

ARTICLE 2. Congress shall have no power to abolish slavery in places under its exclusive jurisdiction, and situate within the limits of States that permit the holding of slaves.

ARTICLE 3. Congress shall have no power to abolish slavery within the District of Columbia, so long as it exists in the adjoining States of Virginia and Maryland, or either, nor without the consent of the free white inhabitants, nor without just compensation first made to such owners of slaves as do not consent to such abolishment. Nor shall Congress at any time prohibit officers of the Federal Government, or members of Congress, whose duties require them to be in said District, from bringing with them their slaves, and holding them as such during the time their duties may require them to remain there, and afterwards taking them from the District.

ARTICLE 4. Congress shall have no power to prohibit or hinder the transportation of slaves from one State to another, or to a Territory in which slaves are by law permitted to be held, whether that transportation be by land, navigable rivers, or by the sea. And if such transportation be by sea, the slaves shall be protected as property by the Federal Government. And the right of transit by the owners with their slaves, in passing to or from one slaveholding State or Territory to another, between and through the non-slaveholding States and Territories, shall be protected. And in imposing direct taxes pursuant to the Constitution, Congress shall have no power to impose on slaves a higher rate of tax than on land, according to their just value.

ARTICLE 5. That, in addition to the provisions of the third paragraph of the second section of the fourth article of the Constitution of the United States, Congress shall provide by law, that the United States shall pay to the owner who shall apply for it, the full value of his fugitive slave, in all cases, when the marshal, or other officer, whose duty it was to arrest said fugitive, was prevented from so doing by violence or intimidation, or when, after arrest, said fugitive was rescued by force, and the owner thereby prevented and obstructed in the pursuit of his remedy for the recovery of his fugitive slave, under the said clause of the Constitution and the laws made in pursuance thereof. And in all such cases, when the United States shall pay for such fugitive, they shall reimburse themselves by imposing and collecting a tax on the county or city in which said violence, intimidation, or rescue was committed, equal in amount to the sum paid by them, with the addition of interest and the costs of collection; and the said county or city, after it has paid said amount to the United States, may, for its indemnity, sue and recover from the wrong-doers, or rescuers, by whom the owner was prevented from the recovery of his fugitive slave, in like manner as the owner himself might have sued and recovered.

ARTICLE 6. No future amendment of the Constitution shall affect the five preceding articles, nor the third paragraph of the second section of the first article of the Constitution, nor the third paragraph of the second section of the fourth article of said Constitution, and no amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress any power to abolish or interfere with slavery in any of the States, by whose laws it is or may be allowed or permitted.

ARTICLE 7, Se. The elective franchise and the right to hold office, whether federal, State, territorial, or municipal, shall not be exercised by persons who are, in whole or in part, of the African race.

And whereas, also, besides those causes of dissension embraced in the foregoing amendments proposed to the Constitution of the United States, there are others which come within the jurisdiction of Congress, and may be remedied by its legislative power: and whereas it is the desire of this Convention, as far its influence may extend, to remove all just cause for the popular discontent and agitation which now disturb the peace of the country, and threaten the stability of its institutions: Therefore,

1. Resolved, That the laws now in force for the recovery of fugitive slaves are in strict pursuance of the plain and mandatory provisions of the Constitution, and have been sanctioned as valid and constitutional by the judgment of the Supreme Court of the United States; that the slaveholding States are entitled to the faithful observance and execution of those laws, and that they ought not to be repealed, or so modified or changed as to impair their efficiency; and that laws ought to be made for the punishment of those who attempt, by rescue of the slave or other illegal means, to hinder or defeat the due execution of said laws.

2. That all State laws which conflict with the fugitive slave acts, or any other constitutional acts of Congress, or which in their operation impede, hinder, or delay the free course and due execution of any of said acts, are null and void by the plain provisions of the Constitution of the United States. Yet those State laws, void as they are, have given color to practices, and led to consequences which have obstructed the due administration and execution of acts of Congress, and especially the acts for the delivery of fugitive slaves, and have thereby contributed much to the discord and commotion now prevailing. This Convention, therefore, in the present perilous juncture, does not deem it improper, respectfully and earnestly to recommend the repeal of those laws to the several States which have enacted them, or such legislative corrections or explanations of them as may prevent their being used or perverted to such mischievous purposes.

3. That the act of the 18th of September, 1850, commonly called the Fugitive Slave Law, ought to be so amended as to make the fee of the Commissioner, mentioned in the eighth section of the act, equal in amount, in the cases decided by him, whether his decision be in favor of or against the claimant. And to avoid misconstructions, the last clause of the fifth section, of said act, which authorizes the person holding a warrant for the arrest or detention of a fugitive slave, to summon to his aid the posse comitatus, and which declares it to be the duty of all good citizens to assist him in its execution, ought to be so amended as to expressly limit the authority and duty to cases in which there shall be resistance, or danger of resistance or rescue.

4. That the laws for the suppression of the African slave-trade, and especially those prohibiting the importation of slaves into the United States, ought to be made effectual, and ought to be thoroughly executed, and all further enactments necessary to those ends ought to be promptly made.

N.

Proposed Amendments by Mr. Seddon.

To secure concert and promote harmony between the slaveholding and non-slaveholding sections of the Union, the assent of the majority of the Senators from the slaveholding States, and of the majority of the Senators from the non-slaveholding States, shall be requisite to the validity of all action of the Senate, on which the ayes and noes may be called by five Senators.

And on a written declaration, signed and presented for record on the Journal of the Senate by a majority of Senators from either the non-slaveholding or slaveholding States, of their want of confidence in any officer or appointee of the Executive, exercising functions exclusively or continuously within the class of States, or any of them, which the signers represent, then such officer shall be removed by the Executive; and if not removed at the expiration of ten days from the presentation of such declaration, the office shall be deemed vacant and open to new appointment.

The connection of every State with the Union is recognized as depending on the continuing assent of its people, and compulsion shall in no case, nor under any form, be attempted by the Government of the Union against a State acting in its collective or organic capacity. Any State, by the action of a convention of its people, assembled pursuant to a law of its Legislature, is held entitled to dissolve its relation to the Federal Government, and withdraw from the Union; and, on due notice given of such withdrawal to the Executive of the Union, he shall appoint two Commissioners, to meet two Commissioners to be appointed by the Governor of the State, who, with the aid, if needed from the disagreement of the Commissioners, of an umpire, to be selected by a majority of them, shall equitably adjudicate and determine finally a partition of the rights and obligations of the withdrawing State; and such adjudication and partition being accomplished, the withdrawal of such State shall be recognized by the Executive, and announced by public proclamation to the world.

But such withdrawing State shall not afterwards be readmitted into the Union without the assent of two-thirds of the States constituting the Union at the time of the proposed readmission.

Mr. COALTER: It is proper that I should say a word in relation to the position of Missouri in this Conference. It is expressly referred to in the resolution under which we hold our appointment, passed by the Senate and House of Representatives. It is believed by the people of Missouri that the rights and privileges of the slaveholding States are in danger, and that the time has arrived when they should be secured by additional guarantees. Those guarantees must be such as will secure the honor and equal rights of the slaveholding States.

I wish to say, further, that we, as Commissioners, must act at all times under the control of the General Assembly or the State Convention of our State. Before we can act definitely upon either of the propositions submitted, I think it will be our duty to transmit them to the General Assembly for instructions.

Mr. WICKLIFFE: The several reports are now before the Conference. I presume it will be the desire of every member to give them a careful examination. In order to prevent all unnecessary delay, I move that the several reports be laid upon the table, that they be printed at once and distributed to the members, and made the special order of the Conference for 12 o’clock to-morrow.

The motion of Mr. WICKLIFFE was agreed to.

Mr. WICKLIFFE: I have drawn up a preamble and a resolution which I wish to offer for the consideration of the Conference. I shall not press action upon them to-day, but desire to have them laid on the table and printed. I shall call them up after the report of the General Committee is disposed of. It would gratify me much, and I think greatly tend to the peace and harmony of the country, if they could be adopted at once, and published. It is well known to most of you that there is nothing in all the legislation or action of the Free States, which has created so much excitement and alarm among the people of the slaveholding States, as the passage of the so called “personal liberty” acts. They are regarded as deliberate infractions and breaches of the Constitution, and as attempts to nullify the operation of a constitutional enactment of Congress. But I do not wish to invite discussion upon the subject now; I hope my motion will not meet with objection.

The motion of Mr. WICKLIFFE was adopted, and the preamble and resolution were presented as follows:

MR. WICKLIFFE’S PREAMBLE AND RESOLUTION.

Whereas, the second section of the fourth article of the Constitution of the United States declares, “that no person held to service or labor in one State, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due.”

This clause is one of the compromises without which no Constitution would have been adopted. It was a guarantee to the States in which such labor and service existed by law, that their rights should be respected and regarded by all the States; and it is not within the competency of any State to disregard the obligation it imposes, or to render it valueless by legislative enactments. And whereas, the House of Representatives of the United States did, on the day of February, by unanimous vote, declare that neither the Congress of the United States nor the people or government of any non-slaveholding State, has the constitutional right to legislate upon, or to interfere with slavery in any slaveholding State in the Union.

This declaration is regarded by this Convention as an admission that the statutes of those States, passed for the purpose of defeating the provision of the Constitution aforesaid, and the laws of Congress made to enforce the just and proper execution of this constitutional guarantee, are in violation of the supreme law of the land.

The provisions of the statutes in many of the non-slaveholding States, commonly known and called “personal liberty bills,” amount in their consequences to a practical nullification of the acts of Congress of February 12th, 1793, and September 18th, 1850, and are in violation of the second section of the fourth article of the Constitution, as before stated. That the spirit of those statutes appears to be repugnant to the principles of compromise and mutual and liberal concessions which dictated the section of the Constitution in question, and which pervades every part of that instrument. It is, therefore, respectfully requested by this Convention that the several States abrogate all such obnoxious enactments.

That the spirit of comity between the States, and the spirit of unity and fraternity which should actuate all the people of these United States, require that complete right and security of transit with all persons who owe them service or labor should be allowed to the citizens of each State by the laws of every other State.

Resolved, That a copy of the foregoing be sent by the President of this Convention to the Governors of each of the free States, as the deliberate judgment and opinion of this Convention, and that he request the same be laid before their respective Legislatures.

Mr. CHASE: I move that all the resolutions, of the States, under which Commissioners have been appointed, or relating to subjects to come before this Conference, be printed. I think this course convenient and necessary, and one reason that I may assign is this: The opinion of the Legislature of the State of Ohio, as expressed in one of the resolutions adopted by that body, is, that it would have been wiser and better if the time for holding this Conference had been deferred until a later period. Ohio has expressly said in her resolutions that she is not prepared to assent to the terms of settlement proposed by Virginia, and has expressed the opinion that the Constitution as it now stands, if fairly interpreted and obeyed, contains ample provision for the correction of all the evils which are claimed to exist. Nevertheless she is willing to meet in a friendly spirit and consult with her sister States. But the opinion extensively prevails that this Conference ought not to have been called upon so short a notice and before the inauguration of the incoming administration. We, the Commissioners from that State, are instructed in the resolutions, to which I have referred, to use our influence to procure an adjournment of this Conference, before final action is taken, to the 4th of April next. I shall feel it my duty, at some future time, to make a motion to that effect. The extent to which I shall urge its adoption will depend in some measure upon the course of events and the opinions of my colleagues. In the mean time I wish to see all the resolutions printed.

The motion of Mr. CHASE was agreed to. The resolutions as printed will be found in the appendix.

Mr. ALLEN, of Massachusetts: Before the adjournment to-day I desire to know what will be the order of business when these various reports come up for discussion. By the general rules governing parliamentary proceedings, to which I suppose we are subject, I understand the first question will be upon the substitution of the minority report presented by the gentleman from Connecticut (Mr. BALDWIN) for the report of the majority; and that, upon that question, amendments may be offered, and either accepted or rejected, both to the reports of the majority and the minority. I think it would be well to have this matter understood. Am I right in this?

The PRESIDENT: The Chair understands that the gentleman from Massachusetts has correctly pointed out the manner of proceeding.

On motion of Mr. HACKLEMAN, the Conference then adjourned until 12 o’clock to-morrow.