The Committee of Thirty-Three, comprising one House member from every state, had worked for a couple of weeks to find a compromise solution that would hold the union together. The Richmond Daily Dispatch of Dec. 17 printed this item from the Washington Star, dated Dec. 15, 1860:
The Committee of Thirty three.
The Washington Star, of Saturdayafternoon, speaking of the rumors about the Committee of Thirty-three, says:
We hear it said, and have confidence in the statement, that their deliberations yesterday made it apparent that they fail to harmonize upon but a single question, that of the protection of the right of the slaveholder in the United States Territories, having already arrived at what may be regarded a common understanding with reference to the disabilities of the South in connection with the non-observance and nullification of the fugitive slave law; and, indeed, as regards all other questions than that of the rights of the South in the Territories.
We have further to add that matters are believed to be tending rapidly in their sessions, to the adoption by an over whelming majority of a report that will initiate prompt movements in all the Northern States for their acceptance of the Supreme Court’s rulings concerning that vexed and vexatious question.–Thus do we look for its eventual peaceful settlement.
Two elaborate speeches are believed to have been made in the Committee room yesterday, where they sat from noon till near 5 P. M.–by Messrs. Corwin and Kellogg–and there was, doubtless, also much conversational debate upon many of the multitude of propositions before them. If we are not greatly mistaken, the end and aim of the two speeches above referred to was to disabuse the minds of the Southern members of the Committee of the idea that the great mass of the people of the North will not evince frank readiness to redress the grievances of the South so soon as they can be ascertained, and substantial, statesmen-like remedies, based on the true principles of the Constitution, can be arranged for them.
As was published recently in Daily Observations on the Civil War, the Southern representatives had already issued (on the 13th) a “Southern Manifesto”, giving up any hope that the committee would find an acceptable solution. The same issue of the Richmond Daily Dispatch also published that “Southern Manifesto”. It appears that, although the only sticking point (according to the Washington Star’s correspondent) was the extension of slavery into the territories, that was enough to kill any possible deal. And the President-elect had made it clear repeatedly that there was not going to be any compromise on that point.