The President has found a more excellent way than the common for settling a great family quarrel. Ordinarily when brothers come to hard words by reason of a difference of opinions conscientiously held on both sides, the pacificator does not begin his work by saying to the one, when in the heat of passion, that he is an impertinent meddler and that his conduct has been insulting and atrocious from the outset. Neither does the pacificator say to the other that if his opinions are not accepted throughout, he will be justified in changing the quarrel into an open battle. Common experience shows that there are few quarrels either among individuals or among States, in which either party is wholly right or wholly to be condemned. If Mr. Buchanan’s own observation is not enough to satisfy him that such may be the case now, the fact that so many of our best and wisest, and whom he will acknowledge as such, declare it to be so, ought to make him cautious in urging any sweeping charge against either party. But if this could not influence him, still mere policy ought to teach him that at this moment the contending parties must be brought together again, not by one who assumes the position of a partisan, but by a mediator.

Mr. Buchanan starts with the declaration that all our present troubles proceed from the “long continued and intemperate interference of the northern people with the question of slavery in the southern States.” Saying this, he knows that he says that which a majority of the northern people conscientiously believe to be untrue. Grant that he is right and they are wrong; the arrogance of the assertion is scarcely calculated to incline them favorably to his subsequent proposition. Mr. Buchanan elsewhere declares that all that the slave States want “is to be let alone and permitted to manage their domestic institutions in their own way,”-as if any of the other States desire to interfere with them; he argues that the northern States are not responsible for slavery,-as if any considerable party says that they are so responsible;-and speaks of the candidate for whom those States voted, in terms which carry a strong implication, that the President elect is disposed to invade the constitutional rights of the South and will only be restrained by his position. Such gross perversion of facts which are within the knowledge of all, is little calculated to conciliate the feeling or appeal to the reason of the northern people, while it does feed the excitement of the South. In every respect Mr. Buchanan’s statement of the case is conceived in a partisan spirit. As might be expected, this leads him into fatal mistakes as to history. A law prohibiting slavery in a territory, he terms a law “impairing the rights of the South to their property in slaves;” and no such law he says has ever passed Congress “unless we may possibly except the Missouri compromise.” He forgets the ordinance of 1787 and its subsequent ratification, and the extension of its prohibition, to territories afterwards organized, as Wisconsin and Oregon. Had he recalled those acts it would have appeared, as was the case with the Missouri compromise, that it was in each case a southern President and a slaveholder who sanctioned what he terms an attack upon the rights of the South.

We need hardly say that if the partizanship of the message were all simple justice, and its error historical truth, still viewed as a matter of policy, it would hardly afford a promising foundation for the scheme which follows. And what is that scheme? The President proposes that the Constitution should be amended; that it should expressly recognize property in slaves in the States; that as there has been great doubt what the court decided in the case of Dred Scott, the view of that decision, most objectionable to the North and a large part of the South, should be made a part of the Constitution; and that the present fugitive slave law should be virtually incorporated into the Constitution. The first proposition touches a matter entirely foreign to the pending controversy; the second proposes an unconditional surrender by one-half of the country of the whole matter which is really in dispute at this time; the third, so far as it recognizes any right on the part of the South or declares void any State legislation impairing that right, is a mere repetition of what the Constitution already provides, and so far as it undertakes to incorporate specific legislation in the organic law, is as much at variance with the lessons of political experience and with a due regard for future changes, as with the feelings of the people in the nonslaveholding States,-a large part of whom it is true, share to some extent that repugnance to particular features of the law in question, which was expressed even by some of the legislators who voted for its enactment. In short, both in his view of the cause and position of the controversy, and in his scheme for its settlement, Mr. Buchanan can see no injustice or mistake on one side, and no prejudice to be overcome or conciliation to be attempted except on the other. This failure on his part argues [augurs?] ill for his success in the work of reconciliation.

We confess that it is with pain as well as indignation, that we see the chief magistrate thus destroy his own influence for good at this crisis. That a plan for reconciliation will be devised and carried out, we have never ceased to hope and believe. Such a plan might have been offered with good effect by a statesman, holding the chief executive place of dignity in the nation, enjoying the light of a long experience, and soon to retire forever from public life. But Mr. Buchanan’s disastrous administration began by disappointing the friends of peace, and it was fitting that it should close in like manner. The country must look to some one besides its present President for the means of safety, and it must relinquish its last hope of seeing any act, either of impartiality or of wise policy touching our present disputes, to illustrate the dreary annals of his official career.