February 24, 1861: The Peace Conference still trying.

The Peace Conference, after laboring mightily, gave birth to the same old thing — it’s basically the Crittenden Compromise. No chance it would pass Congress, of course. And despite their hopes, Lincoln was set against allowing slavery in the territories, including this sort of “popular sovereignty” solution.

The Peace Conference succeeded, at a late hour last evening, in getting a vote on the proposition of Mr. FRANKLIN, of Pennsylvania, offered as a substitute for Mr. GUTHRIE’s. This substitute provides that involuntary servitude shall not exist in the present territory North of 36° 30′ while it is in a territorial condition. South of the line, in the “present” territory, settlers with persons held to service shall not be prohibited by territorial or other laws from entering while in a territorial condition, and the status of persons held to service shall be cognizable in the Federal Courts under the rules of the common law. It will be perceived that this makes no provision for the admission of States, nor does it give to Slavery the benefit of a recognition by the laws of the State from which it emigrated, as did Mr. GUTHRIE’S proposition. It only allows slaveholders to go into the Territory south of the line while it is territory and look to the common law for both their rights and their remedy. This substitute was adopted by a vote of seventeen to five, two of the seven Slave States, Maryland and Kentucky voting with the North. The vote to-morrow will be on the passage of the substitute as adopted. This may be defeated by a proposition to call a general Convention of all the States. The Virginia, North Carolina and Missouri Commissioners profess to regard Mr. FRANKLIN’S proposition as a mockery to the South, and say that the Convention is played out.

The city is full of rumors relative to the effect of Mr. LINCOLN’s presence on the Peace Conference, one of which is that some casual remarks of his last evening foreshadow a policy which will make the vote nearly unanimous to-morrow on the adoption of Mr. FRANKLIN’s proposition. I give this, only as a rumor, for my impression is that he has been exceedingly careful not to commit himself in any direction thus far. Nevertheless, there is no disguising the fact that the radical Anti-compromisers look dispirited to-night, and the conservatives of all parties very happy. There evidently is conciliation and peace in the atmosphere.

A member of the Virginia Convention arrived here this afternoon, and reports that the State is firm for Union, unless a coercion policy be adopted. He thinks that any attempt to collect the revenue or recapture the Forts, will carry Virginia out unanimously, but that a failure of the Peace Congress amounts to nothing.

An important consultation of Republican members of Congress was held last night relative to the course to be pursued the coming week. It was generally agreed to take no positive step until the report of the Peace Conference is submitted, when they propose to act on that immediately. Another consultation is going on to-night. Many members say the wishes of Mr. LINCOLN will control their action.

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