The telegraph last night bore to all parts of the Union the welcome revelation of the government’s purpose to defend its property and maintain the laws. We know at last—what men have for four weeks cherished as their fondest hope—that we have a President who will not, like his predecessor, permit the Union to fall to pieces. We are assured, and those who best knew the Administration never doubted it, that Mr. Lincoln and his advisers will do what befits any government beset by rebels and traitors. He will defend against all odds the trust the nation conferred upon him on the 4th of March. He will maintain the Constitution of the United States, which but a short month ago he swore to “preserve, protect and defend.”

Desirous now, as it has been from the beginning, to avoid by every means possible to an honest government the shedding of even rebel blood, the Administration frankly gives notice that its design is simply to provision a destitute garrison, famishing in a fort which is the undoubted property of the United States government, and must remain so and be defended as such until it is lawfully ceded away or by force of arms captured.

Supplies must be lodged in Fort Sumter at all hazards and against all opposition from armed rebels. It is carrying conciliation to its extreme when the government gives fair notice of its purpose, and contents itself with only sending the needed provisions. If the rebels fire at an unarmed supply ship, and make a perfectly proper act the pretext for shedding the blood of loyal citizens, on their heads be the responsibility.

The time has come when the government must assert itself. The people are wearied with five months of suspense and inaction. The interests of the country demand the settlement of the question without further loss of time. It can be settled only in one way. Rebellion must be put down; constitutional government must be maintained; and the laws which are expressly declared the “supreme law of the land” must be enforced.

In this the people will fully and thoroughly sustain the President. To-day the determination to put down rebellion at once and for ever, if boldly proclaimed throughout the nation, would rally round Mr. Lincoln, if he needed them, a million of men and a hundred millions of money. The heart of the people throbs fiercely with impatience of treason. The thought uppermost to-day in the popular mind is “Down with rebellion!” The prayer most anxiously sent above by a long-suffering people is for a leader equal to our great emergency, who shall call out all loyal men to exterminate treason from the land.

The time for half measures has gone by. At Charleston, to-morrow, the rebels will elect between peace and war. If they declare for war and shed the blood of loyal men, it remains only for the President to take measures to put down rebellion. Every day lost involves the shedding of more blood. Every trace of hesitation on our part, after this, will only encourage to longer resistance. If they force the government to blows, it is the part of mercy to make the conflict short and severe.

The country waits in breathless anxiety upon the President. If he is master of the occasion—if he proves himself as firm and unfaltering in action as he has been energetic and .reticent in counsel, he will put down the southern treason, and re-establish this government on a firmer basis than ever; he will save this nation from the most unhappy and disgraceful of futures, and will gain to himself the gratitude and support of lovers of constitutional liberty throughout the world.

On Mr. Lincoln depends to-day the future of this continent. The hour has come—the people wait—let him prove himself the man.