There appears to be a misconception to some extent throughout the country, but especially in the Southern States, respecting the position and present views of the Conservative men of the North, on the issues now attracting the public attention. The tone of the Southern press indicates a strong feeling of disappointment, approaching to indignation, on account of what they are pleased to term the desertion, by Northern men heretofore friendly to the South and advocates of their rights, of the cause which they have upheld and endeavored to promote; and the fatal error is committed of confounding all who do not now stand by the Confederate States, with those whose sectional policy has largely contributed to existing difficulties. This is the mistake of the South at the present moment, and in the flush of indignation attendant upon the commencement of hostilities. At the North a mistake no less groundless is made in many quarters, by assuming that all whose duty prompts them to stand by the Government in the present crisis, thereby endorse the action of the Administration in all respects, and give in their adhesion to the doctrines of the Republican party.

We have no authority to speak for others in a matter involving individual opinion, and the remarks which we shall make upon these subjects are to be understood as illustrating the course which has governed and will continue to govern our action, rather than that of others. We have reason, however, to suppose, that while many well meaning but impulsive men formerly identified with the conservative sentiment of the North, appear to have new revelations and to have become more ultra than their former political adversaries, the masses of sound patriotic and true friends of the Union are animated by the same purposes and guided by the same views of duty which have controlled our action throughout the trying scenes which have lately agitated the country. We have seen no occasion to change our opinions, maturely formed and long advocated, respecting the great questions involved in the relations between the North and the South, but the important change in the attitude of the parties to these relations, opens up a new line of duty and presents considerations not hitherto connected with the subject.

It may be difficult for the South to appreciate and understand the changed relations to which we refer, and judging from the reproaches in which they indulge, we think they have failed, in the moment of excitement and of disappointment, adequately to comprehend them. These reproaches have been less frequently leveled at us than others, but so far as intended for this journal we accept them, as we have the similar language of menace and denunciation from the North, as evidence of a passionate ebullition which will cool down, and perhaps altogether disappear, when time shall have worked its certain cure of this and similar evils. The duty of conservative men everywhere at the North, meantime, is clear and well defined, viz—to perform the obligations of citizens, obedient to the laws and loyal to the Constitution of the Government under which they live, avoiding identification with rebellion on the one hand and preserving, on the other, a distinct line of demarcation between their principles and those of the sectionalists with whom they have ever been at variance.

While the Southern States remained in the Union and claimed their rights as members thereof, it was in the power of conservative men at the North to co-operate with them in promoting those principles of justice to all sections which form the ground-work of our government. We were enabled to urge upon the people of the country the vital importance of according to the slave States all the rights to which they were constitutionally entitled, and to press upon Congress and upon the people of the free States the solemn obligation which rested upon them to cease warring upon the institutions of the slave States, and to leave questions arising under the disputed powers to the proper judicial tribunals. The opposition encountered by the friends of the Union and the Constitution in the Northern States has been bitter and unyielding, far exceeding in malevolence and bitterness any which those for whose behalf they labored were compelled to meet in their own section, but they met it manfully, sometimes with a measure of success, sometimes with overwhelming defeat. Whether successful or defeated, they preserved their consistent attitude as upholders of the Constitution and defenders of the rights of the people, in every section of the Union.

The last election, while it resulted in the choice of a sectional President and thus destroyed the hopes of the extreme men of the South, on the other hand furnished to the Union men of the North hope and encouragement. It restored the conservative majority in Congress, and thus placed it in their power to arrest, so far as legislation is concerned, the Abolition movement, and it rendered powerless any undertaking to which the other departments of the Government might be moved, in furtherance of the sectional policy. Thus the conservatives of the North congratulated themselves on a decided advantage secured, and looked forward to the final success of those principles of equality and constitutional right which the South have so earnestly demanded. Thus far the action and policy of the State rights men in the South and the conservative Union men in the North had followed the same direction. But at this important juncture further co-operation was rendered impossible, by the precipitate action of the South, in severing the bonds which united them with the other States, and setting up an independent Government. They struck out for themselves a path which we could not be expected to follow—which we could not follow if we would, and would not if we could. However we may have sympathized with their wrongs and labored to redress them, however willing we may have been and were to let them go in peace, since harmony and good fellowship could not be maintained while the connection remained, the commencement of hostilities between the sections settled the question against our power to go further, with those whose rights within the Union we have so earnestly labored to establish.

A state of war supposes but two classes of people—friends and foes. Our creed has always been to stand by the constituted authorities—to sustain the Government acting through its legally and constitutionally chosen agents, seeking remedy for wrongs in a legal and constitutional way. When a war between the Government and those who rebel against its authority is commenced, by the laws of this and every other nation, we would be regarded as traitors, were we to espouse the cause of the enemy, and we have no idea of doing so in the present case. We can and do counsel justice, moderation and right; nay more, we would prefer to see the States which have seceded allowed to go their way in peace, but we can give them no aid, no encouragement, no hope, beyond the doubtful and terrible consequences of a war, in which the whole power of the Government and people will be directed to their discomfiture and defeat. They rejected our counsel for moderation and a further appeal to the people,—thus they have placed themselves beyond the possibility of assistance from the conservative sentiment of the North, and cannot, ought not to complain, if that sentiment and those who represent it, fail them in so dreadful an emergency.

There is a tendency in many quarters to take advantage of the strong outburst of patriotism among Democratic and conservative citizens of the Northern States, by representing the united sentiment in support of the Government as an endorsement of the policy and principles of the Republican party. Nothing can be more unjust or more impolitic—nothing better calculated to lead to complications and create divisions and heart-burnings, which during the war should, if possible, be avoided. We will not, however, pursue this subject [f]urther than to say that by no fair deduction can our position or that of other independent conservative men of the North be construed into an approval of the principles and policy of the party to whose action, more than to any one cause, the war may be fairly traced. [It] is enough that we support the Government in the maintenance of its power and dignity and defense of its soil, without being held responsible for the blunders and the pernicious principles of the dominant party.