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[230] news, issue in civil war. The rumor that the Southern Confederation intends to anticipate an attack by moving upon Washington, is scarcely likely to be true, for President Davis is too sagacious a man to take a step which would so enrage the North as to induce it to enter heart and soul into an internecine contest with the South. If he were wise, indeed, he would not have ventured any active collision at all, such as has taken place at Charleston. It would have been better to trust exclusively to blockade for the reduction of the Federal garrisons in the revolted States. The moral shock of any collision is most dangerous, as the accounts of the frantic excitement in Washington, on the arrival of the news of the collision at Fort Sumter and the surrender of Major Anderson, sufficiently prove. It is true that American rage even at its highest pitch usually manages to stop short where policy would direct, and that we in England are exceedingly liable to be deceived by its effervescent symptoms. Still there is now the gravest reason to apprehend a serious civil war; indeed all the Free States seem already to have intimated to the President, through the telegraph, their readiness to support a war policy; and, if it is prevented at all, it will only be by the unwillingness of the northern statesmen to risk the adhesion of the border States by an actual invasion. But if the Southern States should, as is rumored, be so foolish as to take the initiative by invading Washington, they would play directly into the hands of the extreme party in the North. All compunction would immediately be at an end, and in all probability the border States would themselves be induced by such a step to fight with the North. The situation is very similar to the attitude of Austria and Sardinia. The neutrals will inevitably throw their influence into the scale of the party attacked. Mr. Lincoln, as far as his own popularity and political position are concerned, can wish for nothing better than to be relieved by his antagonist of the responsibility of a decision. His difficulty has hitherto been, that the great power and wealth of the North have been passive and reluctant to foment a fratricidal strife. But let once the slave States take the guilt upon themselves, as in some degree they have already done, and Mr. Lincoln would find his hands strengthened and his cause enthusiastically supported by a power such as does not exist in the Southern States at all. We do not believe, then, in the reported invasion of Washington. A course so blind and insane is utterly inconsistent with the general ability shown by the Southern Government. But we do fear that the strife and defeat at Charleston will render it very difficult for Mr. Lincoln, in the attitude in which he now stands, to evade some attempt at reprisal, and that thus a regular war may soon break out.

Under these grave circumstances it is that Mr. Gregory proposes to ask the House of Commons on Tuesday next to affirm the expediency of an immediate recognition of the Southern Confederation. We can imagine no course more disgraceful to England, or less likely to command the assent of the popular body appealed to. Not that we desire to see a civil war in America, even though the North should be completely triumphant. We have often said that, unless there were a Union party in the Southern States considerable enough to make some head even without external assistance, the defeat of the newly-confederated States by the North could scarcely lead to any good result. It would be mere military conquest; and a power like the American Union cannot hope to hold together its territory by military force. And seeing that there is, unhappily, but little trace of a powerful Unionist minority among the seceded States, we cannot wish to see a fratricidal strife which would multiply indefinitely the mutual hatreds of North and South without solving the ultimate difficulty. But this is not the question for us to consider. It has been England's universal rule to acknowledge a de facto revolutionary government whenever it has established its practical independence by incontrovertible proofs — then and not sooner. Whatever be the wisdom or folly of the war, which there is but too much reason to believe is now declared between the Federal Government at Washington and the revolted States--it is not yet begun, or is only just beginning — there can be no question whatever of the constitutional right of President Lincoln to treat the hostile confederation as a treasonable rebellion, which, so far as it trenches on Federal property and laws, he may resist by force. This is his present attitude. He hopes, however little we may hope, to suppress the rebellion. He thinks, however little we may think, that he shall be able to enforce the laws enacted at Washington, and to redeem the United States property from the hands of the seceders. This may be sanguine; nay, it, may even be a mere hallucination. With that we have nothing to do. We profess always to abstain from judging the rights of a quarrel between a people and its rulers, and to guide our conduct by the plain results of political fact. We are now on the eve of seeing what these results will be. Either war or compromise seems now inevitable. If it be compromise, we shall know how to act. If it be war, we are bound to await the results of that war. A premature recognition of the Southern Confederation would be a departure from the recognized course of England, and could not but therefore express a political bias in favor of the seceders.--London Economist.

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