Will the Union be Preserved? We have adopted a certain course of proceedure to suppress rebellion, and whether that course was agreeable to individual parties at the outset or not, it being entered upon, there is but one thing left, to wit: to fight it to the end. Upon this all are agreed. What will be the result, it is impossible for any man to say with certainty. We can only now appreciate and applaud the patriotism that is ever ready at our country’s call, to sustain a government which has never oppressed but always blessed all that sought its protection. It is a terrible necessity that can demand war between brothers and countrymen; and we can only justify war upon the grounds of that very necessity—that all other expedients have failed, that nothing else will answer, and that this will restore the country to union and peace, to justice and order. Whether it will so result, depends upon facts not yet determined. Is this rebellion, or is it revolution? that is, is it the work of a few who have misled or over-awed the many, or is it the wish and fixed determination of a large majority at the South, that the Union shall be dissolved? is it the result of temporary and transitory excitement, or is it a conscientious conviction, for which they will suffer and endure?

In our revolution of 1776, Great Britain mistook the nature and character of the contest. They deemed it a rebellion that could be crushed, and thus loyalty restored. It was not simple rebellion, but the firm determination of the people to be separate, free and independent; and when afterwards all else could have been satisfactorily arranged, the colonies would not assent to a re-union to the British crown. They came here and blockaded our ports, defeated our armies, and subdued the country step by step from Bunker Hill to Savannah; but they did not accomplish anything in subduing the people—the unconquerable will still remained, and eventually triumphed. It remains for us to prove whether our conflict arises from a conspiracy on the part of political leaders, in rebellion against the federal government, or is such a struggle on the part of the people that we should denominate it a revolution. If it is the first, defeat in the field will quell it, and the states may return to their allegiance, as stars driven from their orbits for a day, by the laws of gravi[ta]tion on which our solar system rests, come back to repeat their endless rounds about the great center; if it is the latter, battles may be lost or won and it will not restore a government founded upon the voluntary action of the people, in which the states hold their places not as conquered provinces, but as co-equal partners. It is not to be presumed that great states, many of them equal in extent to powerful kingdoms—indeed much beyond any kingdom or empire of Europe, save Russia, and inhabited by millions of freemen, brave, high spirited, energetic and jealous of their rights, can be held together except by voluntary cohesion; and if they could be held together by any other means, it would not be the restoration of the union that had its birth from the revolution of 1776.

There never could be a doubt with any sane man of the ability of the North to march over the South. It cannot be done in a day, as some in their impatience would have it, for it is not so light a task that we may intrust it to raw recruits with a supply of one day’s rations; but it can be done, and if the war continues will be done, giving us possession of every important post in the country. If it were necessary, we could clear off the thousand millions of square miles so that not a city or cultivated field would remain; we could exterminate the nine millions of white people and re-settle—re-people the lands. There is no want of ability; and if such a work was demanded, there would be no want of a will. Never were twenty millions of people so strong and so well able to bear the losses of war as the twenty millions of the loyal states; never was a nation that could so speedily call into existence armies and fleets. Less than forty days have elapsed since President Lincoln called for troops, and already three hundred thousand have said—we are ready; ships have been offered of all classes and in any numbers; more than a million dollars a day have been actually contributed for the nation’s defence, and any amount tendered on call, while at the same time the national funds have advanced on the markets; arms have been flowing into the country and munitions of war have been accumulated more rapidly than was ever known in the history of any people; and we may therefore say without fear of contradiction, that we are a nation of unparelleled strength and resources.

There is no doubt at all, then, that we shall defeat the South. But that does not decide the question of the restoration of the union of co-equal States. That Union was not based upon compulsion, and it cannot rest upon force. England can conquer Ireland and hold it, without violence to her constitution; Austria can garrison and retain Venetia, without a change of laws; Russia can incorporate a subjected people, like the Poles, in accordance with her policy; but we cannot have States in such a condition. If the Union is ever restored, South Carolina must be the equal of Massachusetts, and Virginia of New York; and they must remain together of their own will.

Let us understand the nature and aim of this war. It is not one of conquest and subjection; for after peace we should not know what to do with a conquered and subjected people. It is not a war based upon prejudice, passion or revenge; if so, it were unworthy of us and would deserve no support. We have suffered enough and suffered long, but God forbid that we should seek redress in blood. It is not a war for changing any institutions of the seceded States; for that would be a revolution on our part and not theirs. They have the right of local self government and must retain it; and the peculiar institution of slavery could not be overthrown by arms without bringing ruin to the land. It is not a war that looks at disunion as a result. We have been surprised to hear people say—”we’ll whip them and then let them go;” “we will fight, but that fight must end the Union, for we shall never be on terms to live together again.” If disunion is an inevitable result, no man can justify himself in the waste of blood or treasure in war; nor would the different sections at the close of the war be in so good a condition to arrange terms of separation, as they would to-day.

The only grounds upon which we can justify civil war—so unnatural a war between twin States, between families of the same lineage and blood, who have a common country, a common history, and the same language and religion—is on the ground of its necessity to sustain a government for the good of the whole, that is now threatened by the rebellion of a part. The object is not to overthrow, but to build up; not to destroy, but to restore; not to conquer the people of any State, but to relieve them from the domination of rebel chiefs. If the people deliberately and intelligently determined upon their action in the dozen States that are in rebellion, as did our fathers in the revolution, or if without that deliberation and intelligence, disunion had become a “fixed fact,” from which war could not rescue us, then we might hesitate; but so it is not. Fanatical and ambitious leaders counted upon the weakness of the central government, and upon the aversion of the North .to sacrifice in war; and usurping power they precipitated secession. The people were not consulted; they were threatened, and terrified, and bowing themselves for the time submitted. It is to free the people from military despotism and the prevailing terror that our troops are facing southward, that they may bring States back untrammelled to anchor in the Union and fasten to the Constitution. We see how this is being done; Baltimore has been relieved of mobs, and Maryland swings back to her old place in the line; St. Louis was rescued from the grasp of a traitor governor, and Missouri resumes her upright position; Col. Anderson goes to Kentucky, and before he reaches the State the legislature requires the troops to swear allegiance to the national constitution; Western Virginia hails the stars and stripes and is sanguine that she can bring back that State; Tennessee is in the secession net, but Johnson and Etheridge and Nelson feel sure of the people. All through the Border States the tide has turned; and our troops instead of being surrounded by enemies as they advance, will be hailed as friends and deliverers. North Carolina that went out unanimously, will find an uprising of her own people; and so it will be in every State till the home of Sam Houston is reached, and his bugle notes call the people to duty along the valley of the Rio Grande.

We feel that our government is in the right and must succeed, though not with a light struggle or a speedy victory; and this is the only ground—that they go as deliverers of the people of the South, and the defenders not only of the National Constitution and of all their local interests on which we could be right. If we admit that it is to restore them to any thing less than that full and perfect condition in which they have heretofore been, as co-equal states and self-governing communities, then we should have no more justification for the shedding of one drop of human blood than has Jefferson Davis or Beauregard.