The homely old adage, “Where there’s a will there’s a way,” applies as well to the settlement of our political difficulties as ever it did to the countless little incidents that have demonstrated its truth in the past. It is now clearly apparent that if the political disputants who can quiet the troubled elements, feel any honest desire to do so, they may effect the object without any serious sacrifice to their own interests or honor. While patriotic hearts all over the country are prayerfully yearning for a restoration of the lost peace and quiet, they are misrepresented by the designing schemers who will not permit such a result till their own selfish purposes are accomplished. These are unconsciously sustained by a more honest, but equally impracticable set, who, mistaking policy for principle, are kept up to an inflexible purpose, of refusing any compromise that does not fully realize their extremest ideas, and completely humiliate those who oppose them. So long as this spirit prevails there cannot be any satisfactory settlement. Like all true business transactions, the bargain must be on such terms that both the parties will feel the benefit of it. It is a real misfortune that the men who now control our destinies appear to have completely ignored the experiences of their whole lives. Their business transactions, as well as their domestic relations, have required a daily and hourly yielding of some personal object for a more general good—the sacrifice of some immediate interest for the prospect of greater ultimate advantage. Concessions are constantly made to feminine caprice or juvenile folly for the peace of the family; and even our stern courts of law often find it expedient to yield something from their extreme judgments through mitigating circumstances. This experience seems to have been completely forgotten by a large body of well-meaning people in one section, while another very dangerous set in the other secretly appreciate the truth, but play upon their firmness for the promotion of their selfish schemes [f]or the prostration of the Union with their own fall.

If we had more patriots than partizans in the National Councils the difficulties which now perplex the public mind and paralyses its industry would have been settled long ago, in a manner perfectly satisfactory to just minded men of all sections,—and without serious violence to any right principle or policy. While the great mass of the people are anxious for some such settlement, every proposition for that purpose in Congress is met by some insurmountable objection, or some amendment is offered which involves a direct and humiliating abandonment of principle on one side or the other. Hence there is no compromise in the leading projects which bear that name, the efforts are wasted, and the great interests of the people crushed, while they—the original source of all political power—are not permitted by their mere agents to decide the question for themselves.—Thus far no real progress has been made by the contracting parties in Washington. The South are divided into many classes, with so many objects, that no one of them is yet sufficiently prepared to accept any reasonable terms of settlement that may be offered, and many of our desponding people of the North are just as much mistaken in grasping at every proposition to appease them, as the invalid who swallows all the nostrums of the drug shops, without any definite knowledge that they will even approach the seat of the disease.—Though many propositions have been made, touching almost every point in controversy, there is no indication that any of them will satisfy the extreme ideas of the section opposed to that from which they came. Those of the South have too inflexibly involved a radical abandonment of the popular principle of the North; while those from the latter have not gone far enough for the advancing demands of the former—meanwhile, as time rolls on, the breach appears to widen. If the South could now agree upon almost any plan not absolutely inconsistent with the spirit of the Constitution, and pledge themselves to abide by it, it would greatly simplify the controversy, and they would doubtless receive an overwhelming response from the North in its favor.

The Crittenden amendments, which sprung from a truly patriotic purpose, will probably fail to realize their object, because they make the constitution, which does not now mention the subject, declare that slavery shall be protected in territories south of 36° 30′, and the mover has since consented to an amendment extending the provision to all territory hereafter to be acquired. This strikes so squarely at the leading principle of the Republicans that they refuse to go to that length—especially as they foresee that the acquisition of Mexico, Central America, and the islands, would place the slave power forever in the ascendant. This consideration will doubtless account for the recent votes of our Senator, Mr. Ten Eyck, on this subject, and also induces a vast body of conservative men, who are really in favor of a compromise, from endorsing Mr. Crittenden’s proposition.

If it could be divested of the protective clause—so as to merely restore the Missouri line, and extend it to the Pacific—leaving slavery to its own fate, as the Constitution leaves that and other property—for local laws to manage—it would doubtless receive a hearty support from our own members, and, their whole constituency. Mr. Rice’s plan, to get rid of the whole territorial question, by admitting the territories as States at once, would be equally agreeable. But before any compromise can be made, there must be a more earnest and honest desire for it than has been thus far manifested. The extremes of the two sections must consent to meet each other half way, and whatever agreement may be made in that spirit will command the applause of the people. Such a hoped for result is not yet impossible.