It cannot be doubted that the pending struggle for the Presidency involves the fate of the Union, either immediate or proximate; and the sooner the people come to realize the fact, the better. Our present purpose is to review the attitude of the parties to the contest, as briefly as may be, and to suggest a practical exit from impending dangers and difficulties.

It is palpable to the least observant that the acerbity of feeling which prevails among a large portion of the people of the two sections of the country, has grown out of the agitation of the question relating to the institution of domestic slavery in what are denominated the Southern States. This agitation, as can be easily shown by tracing its history, in its inception and generally throughout its continuance up to the present moment, was and is intended more to subserve the interests of mere politicians than to advance the true interest and prosperity of the country or to answer a positive demand of the people of either section. Really but twice in our career as a united government under our present constitution has the question been presented in a shape involving practical results under circumstances of excitement and well-grounded alarm. Those two occasions were the application of Missouri for admission as a State in 1820 and the application of California and the simultaneous disposition of the territories acquired from Mexico, in 1850. On those two occasions the issues were practical and the popular excitement and apprehension and alarm were real and well-founded. The STATESMEN of those days succeeded in settling the differences in both instances peacefully and to the satisfaction of the people of both sections. In 1852, the two great antagonistic parties, the Whig and Democratic, each having distinguished representatives who were engaged in the last great pacification, each participating in the great achievement and sharing alike the glory of saving the Union from dissolution, solemnly agreed that the legislation of 1850 was just to both sections and ought to be a finality. Of course, there were malcontents both in the North and the South, but the great masses of the people everywhere were satisfied with the adjustment, and were in a majority so overwhelming that the opponents of the adjustment, except a squad of chronic abolitionists who voted for JOHN P. HALE, dared not show their faces in any quarter. Indeed so perfectly content were the great masses of the people with the settlement of 1850 that the chief topic of debate between the adherents of Mr. PIERCE and General SCOTT was as to which was the better friend of the measures through which the settlement was effected, and which was most likely to prove reliable in adhering to them and perpetuating the peace so happily restored to the country. Here, then—leaving out of view all disputes upon the subject anterior to 1850—we have a standpoint of safety, of peace, of satisfaction, of concord behind which we need not go to trace the immediate source of present danger.

But, notwithstanding, both the then existing parties had voluntarily placed themselves under bonds to keep the peace on this question, had given solemn pledges in their national party conventions to hold that peace final and sacred, it was ruthlessly broken up by one of the parties. The act was not demanded by either section of the Union—it was not necessary to secure the rights of the people in either section. We speak now only of the act of thrusting the subject upon the country—the act of resurrecting the tomahawk which had been buried. It was unnecessary, it was uncalled for, it was cruel; it displayed a faithlessness to pledges, a recklessness of the public peace and a disregard of the public weal, that is without a parallel in the annals of the country. Without going into detail, it is sufficient now to say that its immediate effect was to shiver the Whig party into fragments. It created from nonentity a huge organization, now known as the Republican party, based on the single idea of hostility to the extension of slavery. It was an application of blazing brands to dry stubble, and the fire which it kindled swept over the Northern States with such energy as to carry almost everything before it. The House of Representatives in the Congress in which the subject was thus introduced, consisted of 159 Democrats, 71 Whigs, and 4 Freesoilers; in the next one returned by the people the Democrats had dwindled down to 83, while the Freesoilers, under the name of Republicans had increased from 4 to 108. In 1856, this party of Freesoilers put forward its candidates for President and Vice President, on a platform of hostility to slavery extension, both selected from non-slaveholding States, not having an electoral ticket in any of the slaveholding States, and obtained a popular vote of one million three hundred and forty-one thousand five hundred and fourteen, in an aggregate of four million and fifty-four thousand.

This extraordinary state of things at the North, marked by great bitterness of feeling in that section towards the most important domestic institution in the South, aroused an opposite antagonistic feeling here. All remember how intense was the excitement which prevailed everywhere throughout that campaign—how it was argued in all the assemblies of the people that the issue has at length come direct between the two sections, and the South was urged to unite as one man against this great Northern party which carried destruction to Southern rights and institutions in its pathway. And though there was a middle party endeavoring to stay the advancing legions of both, which sought to overthrow both, and to restore the country once more to peace, it was overwhelmed in the turbulence of the hour, and was able to count but one State in the entire Union as a supporter. For some time the contest between the enraged sections was in doubt, and steps were taken by State Executives in the South for a dissolution of the Union, in the event of the election of the Republican candidate. Majorities in all the Southern States, save one, did unite on the democratic candidate, and, with the aid of five of the Northern States, he triumphed. The contest thus came within five States in the North, including California on the Pacific—within four in the North proper—and one in the South of being a united North against a united South. Thus was the verge of sectionalism pure and unrelieved, reached in 1856. No true lover of his country and of its union and its peace and safety can desire to see it go nearer than that.

The interval between the canvas of 1856 and the present has been devoted by the party managers of the two sectional parties to diligent efforts to complete the work of uniting the sections against each other. The Republicans, seeking power with an unholy lust, know that scarcely less than a united North will suffice them, and hence they are straining every nerve to bring about that result. On the other hand, an element of the South, desperate and reckless, desiring a dissolution of the Union, have bent their energies to bring about the result labored for by the Republicans, though with a far different motive. We have heretofore exposed the diabolical machinations of these men in these columns, and shown, by irrefragable proof, the scope of their design and the means to be used for its accomplishment. They have so far succeeded as to cleave the democratic party into two impotent parts, and are now urging a union of the South upon Mr. BRECKINRIDGE. The Northern Democracy, in the mass, are against the Southern wing of the party as directly and unalterably as they could possibly be upon the slavery question. They have as their champion, the man who, above all others, is responsible for reopening the box, so happily sealed in 1850, out of which all this strife has sprung. And lastly the FILLMORE men of 1856, still seeing the inevitable catastrophe approaching, are striving to beat back the maddened elements on both sides.

Having thus stated the attitude of the parties to the contest we proceed to offer some suggestions which should command the thoughtful attention of patriotic men of all parties and sections. It must be borne in mind that the contest of 1860, is vastly different from that of 1856. The Republicans stand in solid phalanx, as in 1856; the Democrats, then only a plurality, are now divided into two factions, irreconcilable amongst themselves, and wholly powerless so long as they are divided. The Union men, Mr. BELL taking the place of Mr. FILLMORE in 1856, are still standing firmly out against sectionalism everywhere and advocating peace. This state of things among the opponents of Republicanism must give that party the greatest advantages. It renews their hopes and strengthens their courage, enlists their enthusiasm and encourages them to put forth their utmost energies. If they succeed, we are clear in the conviction that it will lead to a direct attempt to dissolve the government. Though we do not believe that such an event, of itself, would be a justifiable cause for breaking up the Union, we have no sort of doubt that the attempt would be made, and that it would be so serious in its nature as to result in incalculable evil to both sections of the country. We can see nothing but evil and disaster in it. And whether they were successful in inaugurating an administration or not, nothing but strife and contention and confusion and bad feeling would come out of it. Peace, that which is most necessary, could not be hoped for. This our Southern readers already know, and the Republicans had as well be convinced of it first as last.

On the other hand it is impossible for either faction of the democratic party to elect its candidate, as parties now stand. This proposition admits of no manner of question. But let us grant that by a united South, a thing utterly impracticable, Mr. DOUGLAS could be elected over Mr. LINCOLN. It would be upon a very close struggle, and instead of breaking down the Republican party it would tend only to cement its forces and bring them out in still sterner array for the contest of 1864. Besides, his administration, on the basis of a fallacious doctrine of popular sovereignty, and devoted, as it would certainly be, to an effort to engraft that doctrine as the settled policy of the government, would only continue and aggravate an unprofitable strife, which is the very disease which now afflicts us.

In the next place, granting for the purpose of this argument, that Mr. BRECKINRIDGE could, by a complete union of the Southern electoral vote, triumph over Mr. LINCOLN, what would be the most favorable results that could be anticipated? He would, unquestionably, go into office as the exponent and embodiment of the views of the ultraists of the extreme South, at least it would be so held by the Republicans and the DOUGLAS democracy. His support by conservative Southern men could not release him from the influence of the Southern disunionists. The entire body of the Northern DOUGLAS democracy would certainly array themselves in opposition to him, and upon the issue of Congressional protection cooperate, for all practical purposes, with the Republicans to make that opposition effectual. There is not probably half a dozen Congressional districts in all the Northern States, which, upon the issue of protection to slavery in the territories, would return members in favor of such a measure. The attempt, under such circumstances, would necessarily prove a failure. This would have the effect to give the Republicans a permanent ascendency in the House, and possibly in the Senate, before the expiration of his term. This would, of course, still further inflame the Southern mind, and render still more confident and determined the great Northern anti-slavery party. The people would then be prepared to meet the final issue between the North and the South, and the speedy dissolution of the Government. The most, therefore, that could be expected or reasonably hoped for from the election of Mr. BRECKINRIDGE would be a prolongation of the struggle. Instead of securing the coveted boon of peace, the only thing that can save us as a nation of united people, his administration would be but a continuation of the turmoil with increased bitterness, and to place reconciliation out of the question. There is no candid man of intelligence of any party who will deny that all the tendencies and probabilities are as we have stated them, in relation to the Republican and two Democratic candidates.

Lastly, we have Mr. BELL. Unlike all three of the others, each of whom is directly mixed up, in his political history and personal schemes, with this agitation, Mr. BELL has let no opportunity pass, in an active public career covering the entire period of strife to within something over a year past, without doing all in his power, consistent with the constitution and the principles of State equality, to discountenance and quiet agitation on this subject. His course has been marked from the outset by a desire to promote peace and concord. He has never proved untrue to any section, but all his antecedents are elevated, national and conservative. By the circumstances of his nomination he is placed before the people in opposition to the extremists of the South and to the sectionalists of the North. His election would be not only the nominal defeat of both, but it would be an emphatic declaration on the part of the people, that on an issue between the North and the South, involving the fate of the Union, they were prepared to stand by, uphold and defend the Union on the basis of the Constitution and the Laws of the land. On what other ground can the Union continue? On what other can we have peace? On what other can the dangers which threaten to engulf us in ruin be averted? Cannot the friends of the Union, on the basis named, forget, for a time, party feeling and lay aside party prejudice? Cannot the conservative people of all parties and sections sacrifice, for the time being, something of past party recollections and love, to the impulses of a noble and generous patriotism and to the obligations it imposes? We do not ask the support of the disunionists, nor of the fanatical abolitionists; but we appeal to the true-hearted lovers of the Union everywhere to unite with us in crushing both—in our effort to extract the deadly fang which is rapidly penetrating to the vitals of the body politic. If done at all, it must be effectually done. It will not do to content ourselves with sending the election to the House of Representatives in Congress. In that case the work would be only half done. The sentence of condemnation upon the enemies of our repose must come from the PEOPLE. From politicians, who have brought the trouble upon us, we can hope for but little. If it could be made reasonably manifest that the great conservative States, such as Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, &c., in the South, would go for BELL and EVERETT, we are convinced that the corresponding conservative States of the North would unite with us in decisive majorities in a declaration of attachment to the Union and the equal and just rights of all the States under the Constitution. By this means, the vote of LINCOLN would be reduced to a few States, and the power and prestige of his party would be broken and its ranks scattered forever; while the disunionists, South, would be forced to hide their heads in very shame.—Thus, and thus only, can peace be restored to a land distracted and torn. Thus would the election of Mr. BELL be peace. His administration would set its whole power against a renewal of the slavery agitation, and its energies be directed into other channels of governmental economy, now long neglected. Thus would we heed and be benefited by the farewell warning of WASHINGTON, and thus would we obliterate parties based on “geographical discriminations.”

What true and loyal and conservative democrat of the South or the North can object? Its effect would be to deprive them of power for one term. On questions of national policy they may still differ with Mr. BELL. Having shut out the sectional controversy and re-instated the goddess of Peace in the National temple, we could afford to differ on questions of national economy. And the probability is that parties would soon be reorganized, one being for and the other against the administration, exclusively on those questions. Thus would the foundation be laid for broad and national parties. Thus the scattered democracy might be again re-united, and the country again be divided into parties of great national principles.

Is it not worthy of an effort? Can any man suggest a more practicable and effectual exit from our present difficulties and dangers? We ask that the PEOPLE, independently of leaders and politicians, take the subject under their thoughtful consideration, and answer at the ballot-box to their consciences and to posterity.