No disunion but no concessions
Report of a public meeting in Romney, Hampshire County, on January 19, 1861, printed in Alexandria Gazette, January 29, 1861.
Newspapers during the winter of 1860–1861 reported on the numerous meetings held in many parts of the country at which workingmen adopted resolutions about the secession crisis. A large meeting in Romney, Hampshire County, on January 19, 1861, denounced assertions that white Southerners were of divided opinions about slavery. In Hampshire County, on the Potomac River border with Maryland, 8.7 percent of the population was enslaved. The men endorsed the compromise proposals that Senator John J. Crittenden, of Kentucky, had proposed in December, including a constitutional amendment that prohibited Congress from abolishing slavery in the District of Columbia without the consent of Maryland and from interfering with slavery in the states where it then existed. The Romney workingmen stated that they would "deplore the dissolution of the Union as one of the most terrible calamities that can possibly befall us; yet, whilst they would avoid so direful a consequence, they are unwilling to make any concession to the North inconsistent with the rights and interests of the South." On February 4, 1861, the county's voters elected two firm opponents of secession to the Virginia Convention.