Our country now presents one of the grandest spectacles which it is possible in civilized governments. Thirty days ago, while organized rebellion was menacing such strongholds as it had not already possessed itself of in States claiming to have absolved their allegiance to the Federal Government, and the Administration was debating the question of evacuating Fort Sumter, there was a hurrying to and fro at Washington; but it was for the spoil and plunder of a partisan triumph. While a momentous crisis was ripening at the South, we saw with alarm our citizens rushing to the Capitol—not for its defence but to engage in the scramble for place and spoil. It seemed as if our national bird had been changed into carrion, and that all the birds of prey from the four quarters of heaven were gathering to the repast. The genius of our Republic seemed prostrate in the dust beneath the tramp of swarming, hungry expectants and demandants of partisan rewards. Patriotism and Principle were apparently drowned in the clamor of greedy selfishness, the canker of patronage, growing more virulent quadrennially, threatened to eat out the heart of the Republic.

Suddenly the scene changes. The rebel cannon, belching defiance at the authority and majesty of the Republic, awakens it from its apparent lethargy, and the summons of “the man at the helm” evokes thousands of armed men as it were from the ground. The whole loyal North, as if by inspiration, springs to its feet, and the Flag of the Country that floated listlessly in the “piping times of peace,” now gives itself gloriously to the stirring breeze, and takes on a character and a beauty never seen or felt before. Its emblems are instinct with life, and its appeal, in the hour of its peril, strikes deep into the American heart, and waves to rescue and to victory. It is thrown out from the high places of the nation; it decorates the private dwelling and the domestic altar; Religion honors it with the sanction of her church and cathedral spires.

And why this transformation? Because the very foundations of our Republican government are assailed—all that the blood and treasure of the Revolution achieved—all that three quarters of a century of peaceful industry and national growth has done for us at home, and secured for us among the nations of the earth—is in peril by a formidable rebellion; because the glory of the past, the security of the present, and the hopes and just inheritance of posterity are threatened with annihilation—because the world’s best promise in the success of popular government is in jeopardy!

It is for this that the North is arming her teeming swarms of men; that her capitalists are bringing out their surplus millions; that all the industrial capacities are working, that the press is speaking, the pulpit is preaching, and fervent prayers ascending. The great and only business of the country is to settle now and forever, for ourselves, for posterity and the world, the momentous issue of the existence of the American Union, and in that to make good the covenant of our fathers when they framed the Constitution.—It is to verify the philosophy of Jefferson that popular government is the strongest among men. Blood will be poured out like water, treasure flow uncounted in the struggle. All that a man hath will he give for his life, and so it will be with the nation—

And must this Union die?
And must this Union die?
Then twenty million loyal souls
Will know the reason why!

Grand beyond conception is the issue before this generation, and sublime is the response of the people, the resurrection of patriotism, to the call. The might, the means, and the righteousness of the cause are on the side of the Government—on the side of Law and Order, and they must prevail.