George William Summers to John Letcher, January 25, 1861, Executive Papers of Governor John Letcher, Acc. 36787, State Government Records Collection, Record Group 3, Library of Virginia.
In January 1861, the General Assembly of Virginia called for a national Peace Conference. To represent the state, it elected five men who lived in different regions of Virginia, some of them Democrats and some former Whigs. George William Summers, of Kanawha County, was one of the most distinguished former Whigs in Virginia and had been the party's candidate for governor in 1851. A noted opponent of secession, Summers was one of the upper South Whigs whom Abraham Lincoln briefly considered appointing to his cabinet. The Peace Conference met in Washington, D.C., from February 4 through February 27, 1861, and recommended that Congress submit a comprehensive constitutional amendment to the states to settle the sectional crisis permanently.