The Obstacles to Peace.
Three years of civil war forces upon every candid observer the inquiry "What are the obstacles to peace?" These obstacles are two — the rebel leaders of the South and the abolition leaders of the North. — If these two classes of political demagogues were out of the way and the hostile sections be permitted to act untrammeled, the Union could be restored on a constitutional and enduring basis in thirty days. Whenever there has been talk of negotiation between the North and South, it has been met by vehement asservations by the rebel organs of Jeff Davis that no compromise, short of recognition can ever be accepted. This declaration is caught up by the Abolition organs of the North and flung with an air of triumph into the faces of the friends of compromise. If it was true that the whole body of the southern people endorsed the sentiments of their leaders, then the argument would be conclusive, and no hope left but war until five millions of the Anglo-Saxon race were swept from the face of the earth.
It is a fact, which we endorse, that if the South will accept nothing short of recognition, the war ought to go on. But evidence is coming to light that this assumption is false; that the defiance of the southern leaders is not shared by the people. — This has become strong, and is finally admitted by abolition organs. The New York Evening Post lately said:
"It is not the southern people, but the southern policions; not the southern workingmen, but the southern planters, who are bent upon destroying the Union."
Now, assuming this view to be supported by facts, what is the dictate of sound policy? Is it to persist in such a course? — The Union party of the South will have no ground to stand upon to make effectual opposition to the rebel government? Upon the other hand, is it not the plainest dictate of wisdom, humanity, and patriotism to give southern Unionists our moral support, and furnish them with moral weapons of resistance? Suppose that this course had been pursued towards Alex. II Stephens when he resisted with unanswerable logic the secession of Georgia, who can doubt but it would have saved to the Union a majority of the States and thousands of lives? We should take advantage of the despondent state of the southern mind by offers of constitutional conciliations. On the contrary, this radical administration is pursuing directly an opposite course, and tends to conform those in rebellion; that, their hopes and interests are there. No inducement is offered to return. If they seek it under the Amnesty Proclamation, they must first become slaves, and swear off all the rights of respectable and manly citizenship. Who, but an insignificant slave, will ever swear to support this administration in its partasan schemes for continuance in power? It is better to die freemen than to live slaves, is the sentiment of every breast.
Again, if the Union is ever saved, it will be through the agency of an opposite party in the South.
The rebel government will stand while the people support it. The South can never be governed while the people are in rebellion. They may be defeated and scattered, but cannot be governed. No jury will convict; no property can be sold to collect national taxes. In fact, no government. Yet, who do we find at the South determined to oppose a settlement of our difficulties? The rebel leaders. Who at the North? The abolitionists. May these infernal kindreds be overpowered, defeated, and overthrown, that the Union may be saved and the supremacy of the constitution maintained.