It will be at the risk of being misunderstood, misapprehended and misrepresented that any lover of his country will under existing circumstances appeal to the deliberate judgment of his fellow citizens to decide upon the best course to be taken to preserve the Government fabric by which the States of this Union have been held together so long in peace, happiness and prosperity. Government, as we have said before is an Institution which should be adapted to the circumstances of the age. As people grow in prosperity and became enlightened; or as they may become impoverished and sink into barbarism, so must the institution of Government be adapted, to be of real utility to the governed, to such changes of condition.

Government too is like a material fabric in some respects. When a man builds himself a house he adapts it to his condition in life, to his means, sometimes prospective; and to such taste as he may have of the beautiful in architecture or of utility in the arrangement of details. No matter how well adapted such an edifice may be when first designed and erected to the condition of its owner and oc[cu]pant, to his means in life, or to his taste, in the course of time it will need some repair; and as the circumstances and condition of the occupant might change, it will need such alterations, and additions as might best comport with the purposes for which it is designed. So, precisely, it is with the fabric or Institution of Government. As first constructed every Government that ever existed was originally adapted to the condition which its founders conceived to be best for those who were to be affected by its institution; but all Governments that lasted long enough to experience a change in the condition, circumstances or position of the people in the scale of civilization and enlightenment, either conformed themselves by adaptation to such changes of circumstances, or suffered themselves to be overpowered and overthrown. Such has been the experience of all governments and such their fate. Such as have existed the longest till our own days are those which have kept pace with the progress of the governed in civilization, arts, science and general enlightenment; and those which have ceased to exist will, on careful study, be found to be those whose administrators refused to conform to the condition, circumstances, wants and desires of the governed. Just as a man might do, who rather than make needed repairs in his house to adapt it to his condition at a comparatively small cost would tear it down and rebuild it at far greater cost to himself and inconvenience and discomfort to his family.

Why should not we in these United States profit by the experience of ages[?] We did so once when after first establishing the Government by Articles of Confederation, and it was found to be a defective system, the patriotic men of that period although they hesitated to make a change, yielded to circumstances which were so control[l]ing in their influences that had it been insisted on by the administrators of the Government to perpetuate the Union on the basis first agreed to, it would long since have been dismembered into its original fragments.

The Federal Constitution succeeded the Articles of Confederation, as better adapted to the exigencies of the free and enlightened people who were to be governed by it. But even that instrument, after all the deliberation which its virtuous constructors could bestow upon it to adapt it to the various interests which were to be affected by it, appeared to be defective in some respects which was no sooner perceived than an effort was made to remedy it by amendments.

Such was the course of the founders of this Government. But now after the lapse of nearly fifty-seven years since the last amendment was made to the Constitution, when it must be plainly perceptible to every reasoning, candid observer that some repairs, alterations or amendments are necessary to be made in the fabric of Government, instead of imitating the patriotic example set us by its founders and profiting by their experience and by that of other Nations which have preserved their Government and their National integrity by yielding to the exigencies of the times as they changed the condition of mankind, some of the people of to-day resist it to the death and brand him as a traitor who would, for the sake of preserving the Government and the States, United, propose or suggest such alterations and amendments of the Constitution as would accomplish so desirable an object. They seem to prefer that the whole fabric should be torn into ruins and that universal destruction should befall the country, rather than make a single alteration or amendment which while it might affect no one State in the Union injuriously would so much affect several others beneficially in their own estimation as to attach them devotedly to the Union.

Ah, but, says the partizan professing all the time to be a friend of the Union and of its preservation and perpetuation, the suggested amendments are contrary to our principles, and it would be a backing down to grant them. Very well! then it must be inferred that rather than sacrifice an opinion by consenting to an amendment of the Constitution so as to adapt it to a change of circumstances, there are those who would suffer the Government to be overthrown, the Union dismembered, one section dissevered from the other and separate Nations, probably hostile to each other, established.

This, in our opinion, would not be true Patriotism. It certainly would not be our idea of the duty and obligations we owe to our country. We would to whatever extent we could emulate the virtues of the Patriotic founders of the Government and profit by their example and experience in making such modifications in the Constitution, and if need be for the preservation of the Government and Union, such radical changes in its fundamental principles to adapt it to the present condition of the country, as they found it necessary and expedient to do, in superseding the Articles of Confederation by the Federal Constitution, and by amendments to the Constitution itself at three different periods, ranging from the years 1789 to 1804.

Why not do this now, instead of plunging the country into a civil war? With the example and experience before our people of the wars of the roses in England, the thirty years wars in Germany, the wars of the Revolution in France, why will an intelligent people precipitate themselves into a barbarous war which does not appear to have any definite object in view, and which is incited more by passion and for the gratification of bad feeling than for the interest and happiness of the people and the preservation of the UNION[?] It is at least questionable whether the UNION can be preserved by war, no matter how successfully it may be waged against the seceded States. These States might be subdued, conquered and oppressed in a military point of view, but will that course, even if successful, restore them as willing members of the UNION? It is preposterous, it appears to us to hope for such an effect.

There is but one alternative left, and that is either to make such changes in the Government as will adapt it as universally as possible to the interests, assumed rights and desires of the whole people; or if this course be so objectionable as to prevent its being adopted, let the example of Abraham and Lot be followed to separate in peace and good will.

Conflicting armies cannot produce a better result after a protracted struggle, and after the expenditure of hundreds of millions of treasure, the sacrifice of hundreds of thousands of lives, the universal devastation of property and desolation of the country, the inevitable result of a fratricidal, internecine war. With such an alternative before the country, and with such inevitable results of pursuing a war policy, is it not the duty of good citizenship, enlightened statesmanship, virtuous patriotism to pause upon the brink of the rubicon, before giving loose rein to passions which once left uncurbed it might become impossible to restrain[?]

While admitting the right and duty of the Government to preserve its existence when assailed by force and to chastise the assailant, be he a foreign or domestic enemy, is it not nevertheless the duty both of the Government and of the people to reflect upon the probable consequences of an exhausting internecine war[?] The preservation of the UNION if that could be accomplished, is worth almost any sacrifice that could be made by the people of the United States to perpetuate its blessings to posterity, but if it cannot be preserved, of what avail are all the efforts, all the exertions, all the sacrifices of time, money and lives contemplated by the Government[?] We ask our readers to ponder upon these things, not in a spirit of factious opposition to the Government, but in that spirit, if it can be invoked to animate them, which inspired American Patriots in every trial and danger to which the Union has been subjected, and through which it has hitherto passed in safety by the protection and guidance, under Providence, of the Patriots, Sages and Statesmen of the past and whom every citizen respects and venerates.