Vicksburg is a city on the east bank of the Mississippi, in the state of Mississippi; and twenty five years ago stood at the head of the class of infamies in this western world. So full was it of gamblers, robbers, and murderers, that it was considered an act of desperation to attempt to live within its limits. At length it was visited by a spirit of regeneration, or ineffaceable shame, which, with the help of “Judge Lynch,” worked out such a reform that for twenty years the city has behaved itself quite decently. Recent events, however, show a disposition in the Vicksburgers to relapse into a condition of disorder and contempt for things that are decent.

Within a few days the fact has transpired, that the Vicksburgers, in imitation of the folly and bad manners of the Carolinians, have set the world at defiance, and especially the millions of good people who inhabit the upper valley of the Mississippi, the valley of the bigger Missouri, and the smaller valleys of the Ohio &c. They have set up a fort on the banks of the Mississippi river, and put several large guns in it, and gone to amusing themselves by firing at steamboats passing down or up the river. A steamer called “The Imperial,” on its way from Memphis to New Orleans, loaded with western produce, was fired into a few days ago because it attempted to pass by the Vicksburgers without “making its manners.” And it was announced, with a pompous air of authority, that every vessel that attempted to pass the Vicksburgers would be treated in the same way.

So the war has begun on the Mississippi; and what the end is to be, he must be more than wise who can predict. That river is already the highway of nearly ten millions of people. Down it they have been accustomed, to carry their many millions of produce, and to pass freely on its bosom without hindrance or molestation. Mississippi is one only of the sixteen states that claim a sort of ownership of the mighty river; and for her to set up a control over it, is a species of folly that will not be submitted to by the other states. If she does not back down from her bold presumption, there will be fighting about the freedom of the river; for the great northwest has in its composition too much of the dauntless spirit of old William Tell of Altorf to pull off its cap to this Gessler at Vicksburg. A hundred thousand men from the upper Mississippi and its tributaries will be down upon them in fierce indignation; and although they have good fighting men in those lower states, they will fight under the terrible disadvantage of having hundreds of thousands of slaves at their heels! Mr. McClernand, (an Illinois democrat,) told them in congress, the other day, what they might expect from the northwest, if they set up any obstructions to the free use of the Mississippi;—nothing less than an army that would cut its way through fire and blood, if need be, before it would surrender one iota of its right to the free use of the Mississippi. The river belongs not to Mississippi alone; certainly not to this Gessler who has stuck up his cap on Vicksburg hill, and demands reverence, if nothing more from Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, Missouri, the seven free commonwealths of the north-west, besides western Virginia and Pennsylvania, Kansas and Nebraska, and much of the territory that makes the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains.

We have been flattering ourselves, all along, that we had too much fraternal feeling ever to become engaged in a civil war; but that delusion is being dispelled by passing events. It is manifest that when our temper is up, we can fight among ourselves as ready as any people ever did, and with even more vindictiveness; for if we get into the fray we shall be fighting our own battles, and not battles for kings, despots, and petty tyrants, as has been the case with almost all the civil wars that have devastated other countries.

The government can manage matters in Carolina, &c. without difficulty; for, as we have often said, all it would have to do, would be to station war vessels on their coasts, with a revenue officer on board, and permit no vessel to enter any of their ports until she had paid the duties which the laws of the Union require. If South Carolina does not want any foreign commerce, she is not obliged to have it. If she does not want any mails, then let them stop at her boundary line. There is no need to send an army there; and even all the forts on her coast might as well be given up as retained, were it not for the humiliation of seeing the national government yield up a single point of its supremacy. But on the Mississippi it is far otherwise. The seceding states can not be let alone there in the quiet enjoyment of their assumptions; for they thrust their usurpations in the very highway over which the mighty north-west must travel, or sacrifice its essential interests. So there comes a conflict which will compel the interference of the national government. There can be no escape from it; and unless something, not now apparent, shall display power enough to avert the great calamity, it will be upon the Mississippi that this contest between different sections of the country is to be met, and perhaps decided.