Again as in 1798–99, have Virginia and Kentucky interposed in harmonious action for the vindication of the American Constitution and for the protection of the American people. In the first case their action was to prevent the establishment of a Federal Monarchy. In the present instance it is to arrest the violent dismemberment of a common country, the horrors of civil war and of fratricidal strife, and the ultimate establishment of monarchical institutions in their most intense and aggravated form.

We have always looked upon the Kentucky character with pride and pleasure. But in our humble judgment the profound wisdom, the true statesmanship, the noble patriotism, the rare capacity to hold the even balance between the most vicious extremes of opinion, and the manly firmness to resist and beat back the contagious madness of wide-spreading fanaticisms, exhibited by the people of Kentucky within the last twelve months, are without a parallel in the history of nations.

Hopeful as we are of auspicious results from the commission of conference at Washington, we cannot avoid seeing that in the movement, as originated in Virginia, there is one element of disastrous omen. All the force and efficacy of what we believe to be a foul conspiracy against the country and its government is contained in the one pregnant confession of the conspirators—precipitation. All that has been done in execution of the conspiracy has been under the inspiration and by the power of that single idea. To take advantage of the furious excitement and maddening disappointment of the Presidential election, and then to drive the people onward from step to step without allowing them time for one week of calm and cool reflection, has been the pernicious, and, alas! too successful policy of the Disunion leaders. In every seceding State the wildly excited passions of the people, not their deliberate judgments, have pronounced the fatal sentence of destruction upon the noble and beneficent government which in a wonderfully short period has made us one of the foremost nations of the earth, and altogether the most prosperous. In every one of these States there has been a large proportion of reflecting men, whether a minority or a majority is uncertain, appalled at the progress of events, and overawed into silence and submission by the tumultuous and mobocratic violence of the destructive. A gentleman in Louisiana, sadly contemplating the scenes around him, writes that, whatever in other respects may be the issue of this revolution, the question of the capacity of the people for self-government by these proceedings is irreversibly decided in the negative.

Unhappily the Virginia plan of conference and conciliation is tainted with this same malignant poison—precipitation. No time is to be allowed for the passions of the people, North or South, to cool. Even now the canvass for the Convention is in progress in Virginia, and the faith of the people is imposed upon, and their excited feelings still further exasperated by lying despatches from Southern Disunionists, and by intense provocatives from the Northern wing of the Disunion faction. And there is no time or chance for correction. A competent knowledge of the facts of the case and dispassionate consideration of them are utterly and absolutely precluded in the trial of this, the most momentous issue ever submitted to the determination of any people.

And what is to be expected from the present Congress, or from the State Legislatures now in session? For the most part, the members of these bodies are the very froth from the top of the waves of the Slavery excitement. If the issue of the continuance or the destruction of this government, and of this Union, is to be fairly tried, upon its merits, by a competent tribunal, time must be given for the people, North and South, to speak, after they have recovered from the intoxicating effects of the late disastrous election:—disastrous alike to the victors and to the vanquished. To permit a final decision without an appeal to the sober second thought of the whole people, to give up in despair, to destroy this government, to dissolve this Union, to launch this country upon the untried and unimaginable horrors of revolution and intestine war, because the narrow-souled representatives of a rabid fanaticism do not, at the first summons, retrace their steps, and take back all their words, is to allow its fullest operation to the very essence and. venom of the foul Disunion conspiracy.

It is with painful apprehension, therefore, that we have seen the Legislature of Virginia permitting the Disunion conspirators, Messrs. Garrison, Philips, Toombs, Yancey, & Co., to insert the small end of their riving wedge in the very plan of conciliation which that Legislature so patriotically conceived.

What wise and good purpose can be answered by haste and precipitation? What decent pretext is there for an extemporaneous revolution? Why should the enlightened people of these States assimilate themselves to the half-naked savages of Mexico and Central America, who change their governments with as much facility as they change their few and filthy garments? Cannot the question of Union or Disunion be much more effectually tried and rationally determined, one, two, or three years hence, than now, on a sudden and unreflecting impulse? Or, are we afraid that we shall be deprived of the power of thinking and acting by that time? Is it so indeed that we are frightened from our propriety as men in their great controversy? Have we been scared by the dreadful nightmare of the man Lincoln coming down upon us with his regiments of Suckers from Northern Illinois? And are we running away now from our rights in the Union, and from our duty as thinking and intelligent men, because of that horrid vision? Oh! shame, shame upon the false traitors who have persuaded the people of so many noble States so to dishonor themselves and their lineage as to throw away in one wild freak of tumultuous passion the glorious heritage transmitted to them by their fathers, and in the same terrible delirium to determine forever the destiny of their country! The same cheating game is being played now in Virginia, and, if successful there, it will of course be tried again in Kentucky; with all the advantage of that unhappy success.

If the Commission to meet in Washington on Monday next can do nothing more or better, we ask them to make a strong and unanimous appeal to all the constituencies they may represent, to adjourn the final determination of this mighty issue for at least one year. Let the same opportunity be given for wise counsel and deliberate judgment in the determination of a nation’s existence, as our jurisprudence secures for the decision of any great question of personal right. In the meantime all parties can prepare, not only for the reasonable trial of the issue, but for the possible determination of that issue in a final separation. This is the only course that becomes the American people as intelligent and brave men. In counseling otherwise, the advocates of Disunion most emphatically declare their own consciousness of the badness of their cause; that they dare not submit to the calm, deliberate scrutiny of the people.