Friday, April 12, 1861, will be a marked day in the history of our country—in the history of the world; for on that day was commenced a civil war which sounds the knell of the great American Republic. Terrible is the responsibility which that great catastrophe devolves upon those who have brought it about, and woe unto those who have wilfully and from the most unworthy motives refused to employ the power they possessed to avert it! Much of that responsibility will rest upon the Administration and its advisers and friends; for however criminal may have been the course of others, the administration had the power to save the country from this terrible calamity, and every consideration of humanity and patriotism demanded the exercise of that power in that direction. This will be the verdict of impartial history. The black republican party, by its wicked and persistent interference with the rights and institutions of the South, provoked the rebellion there, and its administration, by a dogged and reckless adherence to its party platform and superior care for party interests, has allowed and caused that rebellion to ripen and culminate in civil war. That the administration might have saved the country from this great calamity and the countless evils likely to flow from it, no intelligent man will deny. We hold the course and conduct of the secessionists to be entirely wrong and unjustifiable; it is rebellion. But that fact does not require us to approve of a policy towards them which is sure to make that rebellion fully successful in its purpose, and at the same time bring upon all sections of our country all the untold horrors of civil war. Nobody here denies the abstract right of the Government to the full possession of the forts and arsenals which it has built; but the question whether, in the existing circumstances, that right shall be vindicated by force of arms, is a question of expediency; and when it is so apparent that the most deplorable consequences must follow the attempt to enforce that right, and that the opposite course would be followed by peace and a probable re-union of the country, we hold it to be as foolish as it is criminal for the Government to pursue the course it seems now bent upon. True wisdom and statesmanship dictate that when rebellion becomes too strong to be conquered, it should be submitted to and compromised with. And that is the case here. No intelligent man now believes that the South can be conquerred or that the Union can be restored by force. Why then is force resorted to? Why have not efficient and practical measures to avoid existing evils been adopted, instead of those sure to produce greater evils without the possibility of good? After war must come negotiation and compromise. Why not resort to negotiation and compromise without war, when it is certain that nothing but deplorable and wide-spread calamities can result from war—when existing evils are certain to be thereby rendered permanent and greater ones to be added?

Candid, reasoning, patriotic men, fail to see any good reason for the obstinate and persistent refusal of the administration to follow the counsels of peace—to remove from all reasonable Southern minds their just causes of complaint—to redress the grievances of which they justly complained; and at the same time they feel that the people of the seceding States have adopted a violent, criminal and unjustifiable remedy for evils which they might have peaceably averted. And while they continue to condemn and reprobate the policy of the former, they cannot allow themselves to be placed in the position of approving the course of the latter. A great crisis is upon us, a momentous exigency has been forced upon us by the insane and wicked course of those in authority in both sections of the country. But in one we see the legally constituted authorities of our country, elected under the forms of the Constitution, exercising the functions of the Government of the Union and rightfully bearing the old banner of the glorious Stars and Stripes; while in the other, we see illegal resistance to the Constitutional authorities of the Government, which in plain words is rebellion.

In such a crisis and such an exigency, we cannot hesitate as to the duty of patriotic men here. Their obligations are due to the legal and constitutional Government of their country, however impolitic and wrong they may regard its policy and course to be. To the measures of that Government they will make no factious opposition; to all its measures designed for the welfare of the country, they will yield a ready and cheerful support. At the same time they will spare no effort, omit the use of no honorable means and influence to induce that Government to forego its present wrong, suicidal and deplorable policy, and to resort to that policy of conciliation and compromise which will, at any time, give peace to the country, and may restore the Union to its former integrity. And to this end they will appeal to the people, whose intelligence and patriotism will prompt them to demand of their Government, what their vital interests so clearly require, an early and peaceful settlement of the conflict which now threatens to involve them in disaster and ruin.