We have entered the month of October, and Tuesday, the 6th day of November, will be signalized by the most momentous Presidential contest in the history of the United States. One month and one week will bring us face to face with the day and the struggle which will determine, perhaps forever, the issue of Union or disunion, peace or war, between the free labor system of the North and the slave labor system of the South. But how stand the belligerents in regard to this momentous issue, and what is the prospect of the battle?

There are four great parties in the field, represented by the four tickets of Lincoln and Hamlin, Breckinridge and Lane, Bell and Everett, Douglas and Johnson. The party of Lincoln and Hamlin—a progressive, offensive, sectional anti-slavery organization—is practically limited to the Northern States. It will not receive a solitary electoral vote from a slave State, and thus, in the outset, we have positively secured against it 120 electoral votes, requiring the addition of only thirty-two of the 183 electoral votes of the North to defeat Lincoln and his sectional antislavery party, by casting the election into Congress.

The official returns of our Northern elections of the last four years also show that in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York there is a very large majority of the popular vote arrayed in opposition to the republican party; that this party never has approached anything near a popular majority in either of said States; and yet, singularly enough, these are the very States which the republicans count upon carrying by the heaviest pluralities. We say pluralities, because the common enemy is confident that in these three aforesaid States the overwhelming conservative forces opposed to Lincoln will be frittered away between the Douglas, Bell and Breckinridge organizations.

In support of this anticipation, it must be conceded that the stumping tour of Mr. Douglas, now drawing to a close in the West, has betrayed his object to be not so much the defeat of Lincoln as the prostration of the Breckinridge democracy. Thus, while he has instigated the nomination of independent Douglas electoral tickets in some of the Southern States, the only effect of which, if they have any effect at all, will be to divert the vote of those States from Breckinridge to Bell, we find Mr. Douglas at every point the persistent enemy of any coalition with the Breckinridge democracy in the North, a policy which, if followed up, can only result in the election of Lincoln by the solid electoral vote of the Northern States.

The plea of Mr. Douglas in support of this singular course on his part is, that the Southern Breckinridge democracy are scheming and reckless disunionists, and that the defeat of their candidate, therefore, is as essential to the peace of the country as the defeat of Lincoln. But as Lincoln cannot be defeated except through the assistance of the Northern Breckinridge democracy, Mr. Douglas, in repudiating this assistance, is simply laboring to elect Lincoln. This can hardly be doubted when it is considered that in no possible event can Mr. Douglas, or Mr. Johnson, in the settlement of this imbroglio, become the next President of the United States.

The Douglas democracy of the North, however, in a choice between half a loaf and no bread at all, are very wisely inclined to take the half a loaf. With Lincoln’s election they are at once adrift, and without a local habitation or a name; with Lincoln’s defeat they are at once identified with the victorious alliance which will thenceforward become the party in power. Grant that in casting the election into Congress there will be no choice of a President, for want of time, by the House, is it not morally certain that, in the Vice President, who will be elected by the anti-republican Senate, whether Lane or Everett, we shall have a President who will organize his administration upon the Union basis issues and elements of his elevation to the White House?

Actuated by this idea, and properly estimating the Southern disunionists in this canvass as a negative quantity, the Douglas democracy of this State and of Pennsylvania have shown a proper inclination to come together in behalf of the paramount object of Lincoln’s defeat. Here and there, however, a few factious and wrangling Douglas and Breckinridge politicians continue to stand in the way, upon what they call democratic principles, when the only principle at stake is that of the peace of the Union against the disunion “irrepressible conflict” of the republican party.

We apprehend that, from this state of things, we must, for relief, await the issue of the State elections, which come off on Tuesday, the 9th instant, in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Iowa and Minnesota. In all these States we anticipate republican majorities, excepting Pennsylvania. She has the materials for a Union victory against the republicans—these materials are combining upon Foster, the democratic Union candidate for Governor, and with the hope of his triumphant election. Thus, in 1860, as in 1856, Pennsylvania may turn the tide of the battle, and settle in October the issue of the November election.

In the meantime the anti-republican factions of New York, laying aside all their paltry personal considerations in reference to Breckinridge or Douglas, or Bell, or in regard to Dean Richmond, Dickinson, Washington Hunt or Booby Brooks, or in relation to squatter sovereignty, or Congressional intervention, or the obsolete heresies of Know-Nothingism, should at once choose between Lincoln’s election, whereby all the factions opposed to him will be ground to powder, and Lincoln’s defeat, whereby all the elements combining to effect it will share in the organization of the new party which will be organized under the new administration. This is the only real issue in this canvass—Lincoln’s election or Lincoln’s defeat; and while there can be no hope of his defeat so long as his opponents are divided in the great Central States, it is only necessary that they should be united in Pennsylvania or in New York to dispose of him. They are cordially uniting in Pennsylvania. Let New York follow their example, or let all the odds and ends concerned cease their useless clamor, fold their arms and await the consequences.