Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 36.djvu/303

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Brilliant Eulogy on General W. H. Payne.

were fraternal, and with power became fratricidal, who, in fear, sought clanship for protection against foreign invasion, and in the consciousness of strength by numbers repudiated their faith, and with imported allies, denied right canonized in the hearts of the country's founders.

William H. Payne, in young manhood, foresaw the fate of Virginia in continuing partnership with a people heedless of honor, conscious of rapidly increasing growth, and to whom treaty was troth, "more honored in the breach than in the observance," if it could be broken for their advantage and without danger to them. It was plain to him that swarms from the continent were so swelling the myriads of the North its majority would be omnipotent, and unless the South should rescue herself, ere too late, from the section never sympathetic except for self-preservation, never congenial except in calculation, always covetous of control, it would be a minority without protection and with a destroyed civilization, imbued with such conceptions, he was impatient with argument, and urged action. That duty to the South demanded dissolution was the conviction of his sagacious devotion. He distrusted delays, not as dangerous only, but as parricidal. Though he cared not for the form of separation, be it one way or the other, he repelled the presumption that any right was conferred upon the Federal government —the agent of the States—to invade Virginia for any reason, no matter what her action. He could not conceive that Virginia could commit insurrection. General Lee proclaimed that "Virginia; in withdrawing herself from the United States, carried him along as acts and her laws were binding upon him." His paramount allegiance was to her. She was to him supreme. Her cause was righteous to him. The shiboleth of the North that "this country could not remain half slave and half free, was enunciation to young Payne, that aggression upon the South would be pursued until the negro should be emancipated, not for love of the slave, not for abhorrence of slavery, but in jealousy of the South for her possession of stable labor. He understood that the crusade against the South was at the instigation of hatred, in the realization that property in person was power in owner, and protection to his property. He says that immigration was crowding the North with alien suffragans, who, feeling