Much has been written, more spoken, in regard to the issues at stake in the Great Rebellion. The question has been discussed in an endless variety of forms; as a commercial question, as a[n] economical question, as one involving policy merely, as one concerning principle only, or both policy and principle; and again as a contest involving liberty of speech, the liberty of white men, or even freedom to four million slaves. All these issues, and many more, may enter into this struggle, more or less. But after all that has been said, how seldom, if at all, do these discussions rise to the “hight of this great argument,” and how often have we the feeling that the fearful magnitude of the issues and the awful grandeur of the struggle, have not been realized by our minds.

Business has been prostrated in all the Southern and most of the Northern States, commercial intercourse has in a manner been interrupted with foreign nations, trade between States has been forbidden, hostility with Great Britain has been threatened, but these are matters of comparatively minor importance.

Vast sums of money have already been poured out, heavy taxes are to be paid and enormous treasures are yet to be expended, social ties are to be sundered, thousands are to endure untold hardships and other thousands are to meet death, but even these things are trifling compared with what is really at stake.

It is not only now to be decided whether government shall put down insurrection, or insurgents shall put down government, but it is a struggle in the decision of which is involved the cause of constitutional liberty the world over. It is not only in issue whether we have a government or not, here, but we believe it is now being decided whether a free government shall again spring up in any quarter of the globe. I£ under circumstances as favorable as those under which we have made the experiment, a republican form of government is a failure, what nation will have the audacity to test again an experiment which has so often been tested, and has in every instance so signally failed?

The only answer ever given to the arguments of European statesmen showing the instability of republics, has been, that such was the intelligence, the loyalty and the patriotism of our people, that we formed an exception to the rule, and that we had reared a political fabric that would last as long as time itself. If they cited us to Greece, to Rome, to France, to learn the end of Republics, we asked them to behold America.

If this rebellion is successful our mouths are closed. We shall then be forced to admit, that in a government like ours, any party or cabal, after having voluntarily entered the contest at a popular election, and have been fairly out voted, can then denounce the rulers elected by the majority as usurpers, can destroy the government that they could not control, and can bring on all the horrors of civil war at the close of each presidential election.

We believe that this struggle rises to a magnitude, equalled by no former struggle, recorded in history. It is a contest of rightful authority against rebellion, of order against anarchy, of law against lawlessness, of constitutional liberty against those trampling under foot all constitutions. It is to be decided whether we shall have Courts of justice or madmen to try American citizens for alleged crimes; whether Presidents constitutionally elected, or mobs are to rule; whether vessels on the sea are to be governed and protected by the humane law of nations, or pirates and plunderers are to infest our seas and prowl about our coasts; whether we are to have the security guarantied by law, to life, to reputation and to liberty, or are to suffer a despotism more galling than that of Algiers or Morocco.

It shall forever stand out to the disgrace of seceding States, that citizens of this republic, can travel with greater safety, through the territory of any half civilized or even barbarous nation on the globe, than through the States of Mississippi, Georgia or South Carolinal

The struggle is to wipe out the disgrace on civilization which this charge implies. The gang of usurpers, who reign, or rather rob, all over the face of this miserable section, with their lawless mockeries of justice, must give place to a manly, moral, regulated liberty. The reign of order will be restored, and that tranquillity will be given to human life, which a great statesman has said, is the scope of all government and law.

Edmund Burke would seem to have been describing the condition of these States, when he said, that “every thing seems out of nature in this strange chaos of levity and ferocity, and all sorts of crimes are jumbled together with all sorts of follies.” But every freeman in the Union has said, that so help him God, his dearest rights shall never remain at the mercy of the fanatical fury of a traitorous mob!

Give liberty and law to America: then the oppressed in Europe shall be free. Not before.