A Turn of the Tide.
No thoughtful observer, who regards with unprejudicial eye the rapid progress of events, and watches the movement of those apparently insignificant straws which indicate with unerring precision in what direction the current of public sentiment is setting, cannot fail to perceive that there is a manifest change in the opinions and feelings of the people, both at the North and at the South, as evinced in conversation, in letters, in the press, and in the spirit of public documents and political addresses.
Sober-reason for a time dethroned, the violent passion has at length began to resume its sway over the minds of men; and the carnage and devastation of the war — now fully understood — are fast developing in both sections an earnest desire for peace. At the South and at the North the all engrossing question which agitates the public mind is, For what purpose is this war prosecuted, and in what manner can peace be secured?
The point has been reached beyond which the people will not go. The drafts in men and money are growing heavier. — Three years of war has satisfied the South that they cannot subjugate the North, and satisfied the North that they cannot subjugate the South. It has been shown as was predicted by Jefferson Davis and Abraham Lincoln, that whenever the war shall come to an end, the identical questions — which might before the war commenced have been settled by negotiation — will, then confront the people and demand a solution.
Such being the lessons which they have so clearly learned, the people are wearried of the war, and yearn for the restoration of peace. This feeling in the North is by no means confined to the ranks of the democracy. It finds an utterance through the most moderate and respectable of that portion of the press that has, until now, cordially supported and administration. Men hitherto prominently identified with the abolition party, are daily coming out and assuming a tone of consonance with that of the great body of the people, and repudiate the policy of the administration. In this country, as in all other democratic communities, politicians do not lead but follow the people; and it is only among the masses of the abolition party, just casting from their eyes the delusion which has blinded them for the last few years, that the power and extent of this reactionary sentiment can yet be plainly seen. They are ready for an honorable and legal adjustment of difficulties, on the basis of restoration of the Union; and are willing to make any sacrifice of feeling or prejudice to effect that result.
For obvious reasons, it is more difficult for us to appreciate the exact condition of public opinion at the South. Yet, there is good reasons to believe that there, as at the North, the desire of the people for peace is becoming stronger and more openly manifested.
Resolutions were introduced into the Confederate Congress a few weeks since by J. T. Leach, of North Carolina, requesting Mr. Davis to propose to the Federal authorities an armistice of ninety days, in order to negotiate a peace and, in case the proposition was accepted, to appoint commissioners to enter upon negotiations. The Confederate Congress has issued a manifesto declaring "the disposition of principles and purposes of the Confederate States in relation to the existing war with the United States." This manifesto expresses strong desire for peace. Mark the significant language of the following paragraph:
"If these be questions which require adjustment by negotiation, we have ever been willing, and are still willing, to enter into communication with our adversaries in a spirit of peace, of equity, and of manly frankness. Strong in the persuasion of the justness of our cause, in the manly devotion of our citizen soldiers, and of the whole body of our people, and, above all, in the gracious protection of Heaven, we are not afraid to avow a sincere desire for peace on terms consistent with our honor and the permanent security of our rights."
It being thus certain that the people of both sections ardently desire peace, the only remaining point to be considered is how that peace can be obtained.
There are various means by which it can be done. Restore the democratic party to power. The South are ready to return into the Union with their rights under the constitution. A democratic administration would grant it. There can be no further difficulty. The demand and the grants are reciprocal. The Union is restored.
Another method by which it can be restored is through an armistice, and the constitutional agency of a constitutional Convention. If the people can only get together and confer upon the questions involved in the present struggle, no doubt can exist of a permanent peace in thirty days, honorable and just to all parties.
From Lincoln and his socalled administration we can expect nothing but war for emancipation and subjugation. Its consistent aim is to prevent the possibility of any negotiation between the North and South that does not involve the honor of his party and justification of his administration.
When our banners are crowned with success, we are told that it is no time to make peace, for the rebellion would speedily be subdued if we went on with the carnage.
On the other hand, when victory has aligated on the banners of the rebels, we are told that "our national honor" will not allow the conclusion of peace at such a time.
Under this rule, the war cannot but be interminable, or, at least, continue until mutual exhaustion paves the way for permanent separation.
In this emergency, the people turn toward the democratic party. To it the people look with hope — to the inauguration of peace, the preservation of the constitution, and the restoration of the Union. Under its triumphant banners, which have so often led the way to victory, the people of the North are ranging themselves for the coming political conflict, determined to drive at the ballot box those who are tampering with the rights and lives of the people, and whose continued away will cast down the fabric of our free government in irretrievable ruin.
A change of measures, and change of men, our country can be saved, and be made once more a peaceful, happy, prosperous, and united nation.
Contempt for the Constitution and hatred of the Union are the ties which blind the Republican party togather. The restoration of the Union is the destruction of that party, and its leaders know it. – The government of the Constitution is one which they are morally incapable of administering.