Gloom pervades the country—despair of a settlement of the differences between the North and the South is taking deep root in the minds of the People. Those who were sanguine a month ago that the good sense of the leaders of opposing sections would work out a peaceful and satisfactory solution of questions which in themselves ought to be adjusted in a day’s time, now begin to give up in despair, and to look to the consequences of a disruption of the Union and civil war. Brave men though they be, as all Americans are, they yet do not contemplate the alternative without shuddering and abhorrence. It is no ordinary thing to look at such an array as this country will present if instant measures are not taken to prevent a resort to arms. Men who are now tranquil and even indifferent—men who, in the quietude of their homes, rest under the delusion that these questions are to receive an amicable solution—will, when aroused to the dread reality of the dash of arms, be as prompt to resist coercion of the slave States as any citizen of any one of the Cotton States. Blood ought not to be—must not be—shed, if patriotism and love of country can prevent it. The Governor of Virginia, in a manly, noble message, has said to Virginia, and to the country, that no hostile army designed to coerce any one of her sister States, shall set foot upon or pass over Virginia soil without meeting with resistance. That sentence is, of itself, indicative of the determination of fifteen States of the Union, and they will find hundreds of thousands of supporters in the Free States. We of Missouri have always held close relations to Illinois. We see each other every day—we administer to each other’s wants—we buy each other’s products—we intermarry with each other, and cultivate the most kindly social feelings: think you, Sir, it will be a pleasant sight to see people holding these relations arming for the deadly strife—the carnage and destruction which is to follow civil war? And yet, no man who looks at public affairs as they now stand, can avoid any other conclusion than that, unless there is a speedy and final settlement of these difficulties the country, must be deluged with blood. South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida have declared their separation from, and independence of the United States. Two other States, Louisiana and Georgia, will soon follow. Thus, six States have virtually gone out of the Union—so far as their own action is concerned—hastily, without sufficient cause as we believe, but still they have assumed an attitude of independence of the Government of the United States—and what is to be done? To attempt to coerce them back, by military force, will bring ruin upon every State in this Union. One-half of your own State will resist any attempt to organize or march an army for the subjugation of Mississippi, or any one of the revolting States, and Kentucky and Tennessee, when the worst comes to the worst, will again become “dark and bloody ground,” before they will suffer their soil to be polluted by the tread of armed hosts marching to the slaughter of their neighbors and friends and kinsmen in the Southern States.

You, Mr. LINCOLN, have it in your power to stop all this disorder and possible civil war.—Upon you will rest the responsibility if it be not done. You have only to say the word, and two weeks need not elapse before all these difficulties may be healed, and harmony and fraternity are restored. It will not do to say that you are not President, or that it will be presumption in you to move before you are sworn into office. Men of good impulses are moved to do whatever is right, whenever and wherever the occasion arises. You claim to be, and we concede that you are, a Patriot, and that you desire to restore the harmony and the prosperity of these States. We doubt not that you would sacrifice your life, if by so doing you could bring back these States to the condition in which they were six months ago. Can it be regarded as a very great sacrifice, then, when you are asked to advise your political friends at Washington, in Congress, to give up their opposition to the measure of adjustment known as the CRITTENDEN proposition. A word from you is sufficient for that purpose, and as you have said that you are willing to do anything that is honorable to secure a restoration of fraternal relations between States, why not do it now, before men become more exasperated than they are, and when settlement is yet possible?

Mr. LINCOLN—the people of St. Louis spoke trumpet-tongued, two days ago, in favor of the Union, and of the adjustment of all difficulties on the basis of the CRITTENDEN proposition. Your own political friends took no part in that meeting. We commend the resolutions then and there adopted to your consideration. You will note, if you read them, that they are no common expressions of opinion, but that every word was well weighed before it was adopted. Had you been present, and witnessed the calmness, the decision and the fixedness of purpose which marked every countenance, you would have seen that they were in earnest. So far, Missouri has shown less of bravado, less of intemperate action, than any other State in the Union; and she has a right to ask, and she does ask, that you will interpose with your friends to put a stop to all these troubles between the North and the South, and which, if not adjusted, will lead inevitably to civil war—in which fifteen States will have to be subjugated before the shadow of peace can be restored. Will you do it?