Why We Cannot Have Peace.
The Register, immediately after the announcement of our victories at Vicksburg and Gettysburg, declared that now was the golden opportunity for the administration, without in the least degree compromising its dignity, to offer honorable and liberal terms of peace to the rebels. For this the "loyal" press denounced us afresh as "peace sneaks," "cowards," "compromisers," and every abusive epithet with which their vocabulary abounds. But it turns out that others in these states have dared to think of peace, and that the question is seriously agitated in the cabinet of the nation, and Horace Greeley, under his own name, in the Independent, uses the following language:
"We ought now to near the end of our great struggle, and our government may, without compromising its dignity, not merely welcome, but openly invite, proposals from Carolina, Georgia, Texas, and other revolted states, for a peaceful restoration of the Union. Let us all be prepared — nay, we shall, we must already be — to welcome peace whenever it can be achieved without a sacrifice of duty, of principles, of honor, of plighted faith."
Horace's heart is generally right, but he frequently blunders confusedly in his judgment. The above extract shows that his impulses are taking the proper direction, but we are fearful his prejudices would terribly warp his conduct, if left to arrange the details of peace.
The democratic party is, and has ever been, for peace. But it is also for the Union. Restoration is its ultimatum. It will accept nothing less, and to gain this all-important end, would make many sacrifices, not inconsistent with the honor and dignity of our beloved republic. The Union is all they want. But the administration demands something more. The abolitionists are unwilling to renounce the mischievous policies they have already inaugurated, no matter what may be the cost to the country of persisting in them. Were a restored Union, under the old constitution and the old flag, the sincere and only object of desire by the administration, we believe it could be secured, and peace restored, within thirty days. But it is not the object and end of the war, and therefore the party which controls the president will not allow the slightest overture of peace to go forth. The ship of state is under the control of pilots who will manage her as they see fit, at the imminent risk of sending the dear old craft and her precious freight to the bottom.