Friday next has been selected by James Buchanan as a day of fasting, humiliation and prayer to the Most High, to save us from what Mr. Buchanan is pleased to designate “the awful effects of our crimes and follies.” The President recommends that upon that day the Great God shall be besought to save us from the consequences of “our ingratitude and guilt towards our Heavenly Father.” We are to humble ourselves “before the Most High in confessing our individual and national sins, and in acknowledging the justice of our punishment.” We do not desire to treat this matter in any manner which is inconsistent with the seriousness of the theme, but it is difficult, in considering it, to speak of the recommendation—when we remember the source from which it emanates—without indignation at what seems to be a wanton insult offered to the people of this country. Individual sins there are, undoubtedly, which call for the deepest contrition of those who have been guilty of them. If we can believe that private vice has caused the state of political affairs which now menaces the republic with destruction, the recommendation of Mr. Buchanan should be acquiesced in.

If a nation suffers for the offences of the persons connected with it, and suffers politically for crimes which the laws of the country denounce and punish, then we can truly be charged by Mr. Buchanan with “ingratitude to God.” If we run over the public history of the nation for the last four years, we will not find any evidence of the advance of infidelity, or of any great increase of crime. Our present troubles are not caused by violations of the code of good morals among the governed, but by the machinations of those who govern. To reduce the whole matter to the most direct and condensed fact, it may be said that, if all our troubles are due to crimes and follies against God, Mr. Buchanan is the perpetrator of those crimes and follies. Four years ago Mr. Buchanan was entrusted with the government, upon the pledge to adhere to certain principles during his continuance in office. One of those, the most important of all in the present aspect, was that the people of the territories belonging to the United States should have the privilege of settling their own institutions in their own way. The Democratic party had never accepted a doctrine different from this, and the platform adopted at Cincinnati was acceptable to North and South. Had Mr. Buchanan possessed the moral courage to adhere to his promises on this point; had he been faithful to those pledges which procured his election, he would not have been troubled now that the power is about to pass from the party that elected him. It is because Mr. Buchanan committed the “crime” of attempting to set aside the principle of popular sovereignty, which he was pledged to support—it is because he has been guilty of the “folly” and wickedness of attempting to prevent the people of the territories from settling their own institutions in their own way, that this torrent of bitterness has been let loose upon the country, and the very existence of the nation threatened. It is because we have had a treacherous, weak-minded man, at the seat of government, who basely forfeited his honor, and endeavored to use the whole energy and authority of the nation to defeat and punish the people of the territories for regulating their institutions in their own way, that we now suffer from the violence of traitors and factionists.

Mr. Buchanan’s policy towards the people of Kansas was odious and detestable. He attempted to coerce them from doing what he had promised they should freely do. He was so false, so arbitrary, and so foul, that the voice of the country cried shame upon him, and from a mere handful the Republican party swelled to thousands and hundreds of thousands. Even six months ago Mr. Buchanan had the destinies of the country in his hand, and could have prevented the serious consequences which ensued. Instead of standing up for the Union, he threw the whole force of the Federal Government in favor of those who threatened disunion and secession. The men who now declare that they will secede from the Union were his friends and supporters, and their cause received from him every aid and assistance that could be given. It was in the power of Mr. Buchanan to have put down at Charleston the fire-eating malignants, who boldly threatened to pull down the fabric of the Government unless their candidate for the Presidency was nominated. It was within the scope of the authority which he wielded over the federal office-holders to have produced other councils, and to have caused union and harmonious action there, the want of which he now pronounces a public calamity. He did not do so; he did his best to demoralize and distract a party which, united, could have carried the Presidential election with ease; and by so doing, he ensured an easy victory to a party, which the returns show is in a minority upon the whole vote.

If the calamities which threaten us are to result from these actions, the nation has but one “crime” and “folly” to repent of, which is the election of James Buchanan in 1856 to be President of the United States. This was the great sin, for which we now repent in grief and misery. This was the folly surpassing all in our national history, for it made as a ruler over us a man destitute of that honor which never retracts a promise solemnly made, of that fortitude which can resist the threats of the wicked, of that wisdom which guideth aright. Let us, then, if we humiliate ourselves on Friday next, deplore in tears, sackcloth and ashes, that James Buchanan was elected President of the United States, for that was the greatest “crime” and “folly” which the people of the United States ever committed.