In the present temper of the public mind North and South, it seems to have been lost sight of that the only means by which this excitement can be allayed, the authority of the government restored, and the country saved from civil war, is by conciliation and concession. The public mind is fast drifting into the idea that a collision is inevitable between the two sections of the country, the North and the South; and as this idea seizes it more strongly, there is defiant language, bitter taunts, a disposition to shut out all compromise, and preparation for war. It is an easy thing to rush into a conflict—ill-temper can bring us to blows at any time. But after blows are exchanged between equals, and war has desolated the land, and the belligerents cease from mere exhaustion to do each other mischief, they have to come back again to reason and compromise to settle the original cause of quarrel.

The question then occurs, is it not wiser to begin with reason and compromise, and avert the dreadful catastrophe of war? Is the object sought by such contention so much greater in its benefits as to outweigh all the evils of conflict, and make men talk of going to war with their fellow men as if it were some pastime or exercise of rivalry where skill, activity and courage were to be exhibited? Few of us can realize the destruction to life and property a war would cause among a people as intelligent and as skilful in arms as the people of the United States—so resolute, courageous and self-willed. The most atrocious crime against humanity would be to array such a people in hostility to each other. And yet we are drawn so near the extreme verge of this catastrophe by the fanaticisms of the day, that at any moment we may hear the terrible announcement that war has begun. Passion seems to rule the hour. The Government is defied on one hand by rebellion, and on the other subjected to the most unsparing and acrimonious censure and abuse. Half the pains that men take to work themselves into a fury over every seeming insult or circumstance they do not understand, would serve, in a calmer mood, to judge correctly of the value of that which has produced all this contention, and to suggest whether they are not fighting more for an idea than for any practical reality.

What is there about this question of slavery in the Territories which at this time forces it upon us as one of such a momentous issue? And supposing that there were no restrictions now or at any time upon the spread of slavery in any Territory of the United States, how small a part of it would ever have that as one of its social institutions? One by one the States now free have abolished slavery as one of their domestic institutions, till the free States outnumber the slave. One by one the Territories have entered the Union, and the vast majority of them as free States, till free territory extends from the Pacific to the Atlantic. These things occurred when the influences were less adverse to slavery than they now are, and if freedom could grow to such formidable dimensions then, why may it not be left to take care of itself now that it has everything, population, emigration, the peculiarity of soil and climate in the Territories, to help its growth?

Questions like these, we think, would be better discipline for the mind at the present time, than all the talk of war which indiscretion and recklessness may utter. Wars are sanctified only when they are undertaken for a nation’s salvation. But when they are commenced for the destruction of a free people, enjoying themselves all the blessings which good government, unexampled prosperity and a future of freedom and happiness can present, they are the result of criminal and reckless infatuation. Instead, therefore, of inflaming our passions against each other, or giving more than their due importance to the acts and speeches of people in a state of excitement and revolution, as in South Carolina, let us endeavor to satisfy the other portion of the South, which remains true to the Union and the Constitution, that we mean to be just in our action and friendly in our spirit, and, while regarding the Union as the greatest blessing to the people of the North, will make it equally a blessing and security to those of the South.