War is now upon us. The time for talk and efforts at pacification is gone by, and war, bloody and destructive, is now to arbitrate between the conflicting sections. To talk of peace now would be to talk to the tempest and reason with the hurricane. Men’s passions are aroused, and not until passion has exhausted itself will reason resume control of the public mind. The President has proclaimed war and called for an army of 75,000. He has intimated to the Virginia Commissioners that the first services of this army will be directed to the recovery of the Federal property; but of course such a vast number must be intended for land engagements with the Southern forces, in a general war. Congress has been called, but not until war is proclaimed, and the only duty left to the representatives of the people is to provide the necessary men and money; to tax the northern States with a war debt, and raise armies of their citizens to slay and be slain. Having resolved, as declared in his inaugural, to cling to the Chicago platform as the “law” of his conduct, he had no resource left but war. To yield the tenets of his party would be to secure its ruin; to compromise with the South would repel the support of the abolition element, and split the party cross the middle.

To retain and retake the Southern forts, and pursue the policy he has pursued, promised to unite the North and bring a majority of its people to the support of his standard. By contriving to have the South strike the first blow he has won over a number of vacillating minds, and secured the adhesion of that class of moral cowards who truckled to Southern demands while political expediency justified the abasement, and who wish to swim with the tide and are glad to have a show of reason for changing about. This policy has been skilfully carried out. The capture of Fort Sumpter, which must have been foreseen, inflicting the humiliation of defeat on the Federal forces, will no doubt intensify the war feeling at the North, and inspire the idea that such a repulse must be balanced by a victory over the Southern forces, at all hazards, and the war be prolonged until Northern prowess is vindicated. At the South, too, the easy victory will intoxicate the insurgents, and render them anxious for fresh encounters. War then is commenced, its continuance is almost inevitable. We hardly expect to see the friends of peace at the North assume a prompt and bold attitude, and adopt that decisive tone which would arrest hostilities and remove the conflict to the region of negotiation. One of the worse consequences of our form of government, is the slavery to public sentiment which an unrestricted democracy imposes on every public man and every private citizen. Not what is right and will conduce to the well-being of society, but what is popular, what will chime in with the present mood of the ever-changing multitude, is what decides the speech and action of the candidates for office, the speculator in money making theology and pew premiums, the newspaper, straining every nerve to outsell its competitors, and the citizen anxious to alienate no influence that can serve his social or business interests to cultivate. Under the worst form of despotism there is more room for the free play of opinion than under a government whose institutions rest on the fluctuating quicksands of popular sentiment. Where everything is fixed and solid, nonconformity of opinion is of little account; but where the gust of momentary passion sweeps the demagogues who trim their sails to catch its propelling power, into the high places of legislation, to give to ignorant crudities the form of law, the ruling power is the sentiment of the moment. Hence war will now be the cry; and it will awaken a response, both here and at the South, sufficient to ensure a struggle that will devastate the country and make the example of the last attempt at a Republican form of government a beacon light for all future generations, which, like the light house on a rocky coast will warn all to steer clear of the dangers it points out and illuminates.

We have denounced every step that led to this wretched consummation of our national destinies. We foretold the consequences of the agitation against slavery, which split up one political party after another, one religious association after another, and which culminated in the dissensions and divisions of the Democratic Convention when the rotten and demoralised Democracy fell to pieces from its inherent decomposition; and the most disreputable demagogue that ever disgraced American politics, divided the conservative party of the country because the South, in whose service he swallowed mountains of dirt, not only unbidden but to the infinite disgust of the whole country, refused to pay the price he placed on his voluntary abasement. But war is now inevitable, and it is folly to quarrel with accomplished facts. What will be the result of the war and what will be the probable consequences it will carry in its train? Every man who possesses property or has any stake in society should sit down and ponder these questions: In the first place, who will be the victor? In answer to this question we believe the impending strife will enable the two sections of the country to understand and appreciate each other better than they have done for some time past. So successful have been the preachers of anti-slavery, the pulpits, and papers and agencies for the dissemination of anti-slavery ideas, that their followers have come to consider the South not only incapable of repelling aggression on their institutions, that they really believed that society there rested on a volcano, and it was only through Northern magnanimity that it could exist at all. We had only to withdraw the protection afforded by the Union and the slaves would rise up and cut the throats of their masters. So thoroughly has this idea become rooted in the popular mind at the North that the result of the invasion of John Brown—who entertained the belief to its fullest extent, and imagined he had only to erect his flag-staff to have an army of insurgent negroes rally around it—did not shake it in the slightest degree. If the war goes on that idea will be speedily blown to the winds. It was a cowardly and atrocious sentiment on which the belief rested—that anti-slavery aggression might go on with impunity because its victims were environed by dangers which rendered them helpless to resist. This is one calculation upon which those who expect to witness a speedy conquest of the South form that expectation, which will prove perfectly groundless. The issue of the conquest will depend on the relative means at the command of the respective combatants, the men and money, and above all the spirit with which the people take up the cause. If the Border States remain neutral and permit the States identified in their chief institution and general interests with themselves to be overrun by an invading force, the confederated States will very probably be reduced to subjection, the negroes may be liberated, and the white inhabitants reduced to the bondage always consequent upon military conquest. If, on the other hand these States join the South, and we can hardly conceive it possible for them to take any other course now, then the contending forces will be so nearly balanced that no human foresight can anticipate the result. Of one thing” we may be certain, and that is, if the war goes on until some one of the belligerent parties is so weakened or exhausted as to be compelled to yield, before that time arrives, the country, the north as well as the South, will be drained of its most vigorous and effective population, loaded with debt, its commerce the prey of pirates and privateers, every form of industry shattered and destroyed, the public sentiment debauched by a long contemplation of the atrocities, the brutalities, the rapes, robberies and inhumanities of a protracted and unnatural war, the fair political fabric erected at such cost by the men of a former and better generation, reduced to a heap of ruins and a despotism erected on the debris whose intolerant brutality is already foreshadowed in the threats the war organs and mouthpieces already breathe against any one who dares dissent from their malignant ferocity, and denounce a war whose progress can only gratify fiendish malevolence and whose results must be evil and evil only, no matter what party gets the worst of the battle. This is the prospect before us. No dread of popular clamor has restrained us from raising our voice against it. It now seems inevitable, and on the heads of those who instituted it be all its evil and guilty consequences.