It may and doubtless must appear singular to many persons that so extraordinary and rapid a change of sentiment in regard to the Union should have taken place in a city as proverbial for its staunch nationality as was wont to be New Orleans. But we here have simply been subjected to the same wonderful process of transformation which is visible all over the South. If prior to the election of Lincoln the majority of our citizens were warmly attached to the Union, and believed sincerely that a Black Republican triumph would not justify a separation of the States, it was because they could not possibly imagine that such an event would be followed by a violent and almost unparalleled revolution in public opinion. The result of the contest of the 6th November was scarcely made [known] ere thousands of citizens who had previously proclaimed themselves conservatives hastened to rally under the standard of Secession, while prominent among them were men who, a few days previous, had been uncompromising advocates of the “Constitution, the Union and the Enforcement of the Laws.” It was evident, indeed, that amid all the lip service professed for the Union, there had dwelt in the hearts of Southerners a tacit determination to regard the election of LINCOLN as proof of a settled and immutable policy of hostility and aggression by the North towards the South, and to refuse further political affiliation with those who by that act should declare themselves our enemies. In no other way can we account for the perfect whirlwind of public feeling which swept everything before it, either utterly annihilating conservatism and nationality, or reducing to impotence the few who still ventured to make a timid appeal in behalf of the Union.

We ourselves were slow to give away. For very many years we had been attached to a party which had ever claimed the proud distinction of sustaining the Union and the Constitution. We knew that popular opinion in Louisiana had been invariably against schemes of secession and ultra State Rights doctrines, and in all honesty we were far from anticipating the terrific explosion which succeeded the announcement of LINCOLN’s success. We thought for a while that the perturbation of the political elements would gradually subside, and that the voice of calm reason and friendly expostulation would again be heard. We underestimated the strength of Southern feeling, and the irresistible excitement produced by the conviction of the hatred of the South by the North. In times like these men are more apt to be guided by emotion than by unimpassioned logic. They behold the evil nearing them; they see it advancing with gigantic strides, and they naturally and instinctively look around for the swiftest and surest means of repelling its approach. The secession movement which sprung up in Louisiana almost simultaneously with the vibration of the telegraphic wires as they flashed upon us the catastrophe of the first Tuesday in November, grew too fast from the gristle of infancy to the firmness and well knit proportions of manhood, to warrant the faintest hope of retarding its progress. We became satisfied of the impossibility of turning back the overpowering tide of resistance. All that could be done by moderate, dispassionate, patriotic and experienced men was to go with the current, endeavoring to subdue its boiling and seething energies, and direct it into channels where it might flow without danger of inundation and mischief.

At this period it is entirely safe to declare that there exists no Union party in Louisiana, and that New Orleans, formerly the most conservative portion of the State, is now the hot-bed of Secession. Doubtless there are thousands amongst us who, with that lingering love of country which, even when she proves a heartless stepmother, becomes a noble infirmity, to be viewed with sympathy instead of censure, regard the existing crisis with extreme solicitude and painful apprehension, and anticipate the final separation of the North and South with feelings akin to those they would experience at witnessing some crushing national calamity. We are not free from emotions assimilating these, and which, in spite of our better judgment, fill our hearts with regret at the prospect of disunion. But we are satisfied that there is scarcely a hope of a remedy. The South has assumed a position from which she cannot and will not recede. It is universally acknowledged even by the few who still profess to care for the Union, that the sole hope of its preservation is based upon the possibility of securing from the North the most ample and satisfactory guarantees of future safety and equality. Now there is no impartial citizen who pays any attention to the general tone and temper of the Northern exponents of public sentiment but must perceive that, with isolated and inconsiderable exceptions, the Northern people have no idea whatsoever of malting any material concessions to the South. Many of their statesmen are unwilling or incompetent to appreciate the proximity of disunion; and those of them who are better informed are either indisposed to redress our grievances, or proffer mere palliatives and temporizing expedients, such as are unworthy even of consideration. Under these circumstances it may be easily understood how the former lovers of the Union now despair of its preservation. All they can do, and all indeed for which they are striving, is concert of action between the several States of the South; so that, if possible, we may not wander away, each like a flying meteor, from the central sphere, without settled aim or object, but may unite our strength and influence, and organize ourselves into a political Confederation possessing power, prodigality of resources, and dignity of position in the eyes of the world. Whether this or the theory of separate action be deemed most expedient, we hold the advocates of both to be equally honest and sincere, and that the question should be argued in neither a captious nor a dogmatic and dictatorial spirit.