While the Kentucky Legislature had made overtures to the Union, they were clearly not ready to embrace abolition.
"THE Legislature of Kentucky, by a very large majority, has pronounced in favor of the disfranchisement of any citizen of that State who advocates the emancipation of the negroes. The majority was not large enough—two-thirds—to give to the expression of opinion the force of law. But in a moral and philosophical point of view it was enough. A generation since, Kentucky came within two or three votes of being a free State. Now, to propose such a thing involves ostracism. Such has been the effect of cotton culture, and of the rapid increase of the negro population.
We should like to have a fresh vote on this question taken in a Legislature newly elected by the people of Kentucky. When the present Legislature was chosen, the rebels were contending for the mastery of the State. Possibly the subsequent progress of the Union army may have effected a change in public sentiment; though, we confess, we hardly dare think so.
This vote of the Kentucky Legislature seems the most discouraging event of the day."
~Harper's Weekly, April 12, 1862