The troubles which prevail at present, involving the continuance of the Union and the peace of the country, belong not to the province of legislation and are not to be a[l]leviated by any emo[l]lients that Congress and its committees can contrive.

A vicious public sentiment has poisoned Congress as well as Northern society, and no remedy which does not reach the great producing cause, can be expected to furnish any relief whatever. We have never expected Congress or its Crisis Committee to restore peace. The most that Congress can do is the passage of Union resolutions, what Carlyle would call “beautifullest sheet-lightning,” but no thunder-bolt to rive and split the upas tree of fanatacism.

Negotiation, and not legislation, alone can restore peace; the States, as parties to the Constitution, must be brought into direct negotiation, with the ultimatum of separation distinctly and unmistakably tendered by South Carolina, as an earnest of what will certainly result from a failure of pacific negotiations. The effort to refer the matter to Federal Legislation, is a cunningly devised resort to preserve the form of the Government, which all men see has already, to all intents and purposes, gone to pieces; it is an effort to preserve an organized power, to attempt coercion in the name of the Federal Government, but really on behalf of the Northern States; it is an attempt to involve all men at the North in the conflict that must soon convulse the country, and to array the Northern conservatives against the Southern States, by holding up the form of the Federal Government, as the object to which each citizen owes allegiance, in a conflict with a revolting State. Hence, all coercionists are looking to Congress for relief, hoping to maintain a power which shall combine all the Northern States against any seceding State. In this they will find themselves disappointed. Individuals throughout the North have for several weeks been in decided opposition to any attempt at coercion; they have, in many cases, tendered their aid and services to South Carolina in anticipation of any attempt at subjugation. The North is divided, and will become the scene of civil war should their mad folly induce them to attempt an assault upon any State.

Legislation might as well, then, abandon all efforts at the restoration of peace. The cause of quarrel is beyond its province and cannot be reached by any of its remedies. The most that Congress can do is to provide quickly for bringing the States into direct communication with each other. Congress should second the efforts of the President to preserve the peace, by immediately taking such steps as may be necessary to hand over to the authorities of the seceding States the forts, &c., that may be situated within their limits. There is hope as long as the peace is preserved. And had the President precipitated a collision by attempting to strengthen Fort Moultrie, he would have been held directly responsible before man and God for involving his country in the horrors of civil war. He has acted wisely and prudently, and if peace cannot be preserved except by abandoning the forts at Charleston, the President had far better issue orders to the commanding officer to deliver up the forts rather than have them taken by assault and the country involved in civil war.

This matter comes home to Virginia, in the disposition of Fortress Monroe. Shall the fortress remain in the hands of our enemies?—a depot for troops, arms and munitions of war for the subjugation of the people of Virginia. These are questions which to the people of Virginia are becoming more and more important as the 4th of March approaches—and which we fear must be determined by a bloody conflict, unless the present administration shall preserve the peace by depriving the Federal Government of all power to attempt coercion. Should Mr. Buchanan deliver over to the States all the forts, &c., situated within them, thus depriving the Black Republicans of all means of provoking a conflict—the States will, by negotiation among themselves, adjust all differences, and final reunion may result from the negotiation. But to deliver over to Lincoln the defenses of the States is to offer to him opportunities of aggression, and to aid in producing civil war. It is the duty of every patriot to embarrass the new administration at every point; to deprive those who have produced the present state of affairs of all means to further involve the country in civil war. The inauguration should be prevented by Maryland, and, if necessary, Virginia should aid her. All financial aid should be withheld; the army and navy should be so distributed according to the birth place and predilections of officers, that the Federal Government, emasculated and shorn of power, may be unable to involve the country in civil war. The financial depression will be a sufficient incentive to the States to quietly harmonize and adjust matters; and, in restoring peace, the power of the Federal Government would be restored.

Negotiation should be commenced immediately, and by the Northern States. They should invite conference and provide for all the States uniting in consultation. If the Northern people really desire the preservation of the Union, let them move in this matter of negotiation; let them say to Mr. Lincoln, remain away from Washington city; you shall not precipitate civil war, by presenting yourself to an outraged people; remain at home until the States have restored peace by calm negotiation. And, if Mr. Lincoln should then attempt to be inaugurated, let the consequences be on his head and those of his friends who may come to witness the scene.

The States can alone remedy the evils that now threaten the country with ruin. If they will act promptly they may restore peace and union; but every day of delay, not only postpones peace, but tends to civil war.