Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 36.djvu/339

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Brilliant Eulogy on General W. H. Payne.

the case. He followed this by illustrations, demonstrations rather, from the laws of New England and other States, and it may be the demonstrations were irritations. What made them peculiarly offensive was the impossibility of refutation. The dictum of Taney was incontrovertibly true. This incorruptible jurist, "in early life manumitted all the slaves he inherited from his father. The old ones he supported by monthly allowances of money till they died." He differed by the distance which puts the poles asunder from them whose absorbing passion is to emancipate something which belongs to others; differed toto coelo from the philanthropy—feted, crowned, exultant—whose most conspicuous trait is omnipresence of self. He is in the roll of those great judges who have discharged the grandest of human duties; first with intrepid vision to ascertain the truth; then, with a moral courage that knows no danger to fearlessly announce it. For the supreme cause of justice he was not afraid nor ashamed to live and to die poor: "The worthiest kings have ever loved least state." But could he appear once more on this earth, and could the old tests of elevation of mind and manners, purity of life, conviction and the courage of conviction, be again invoked, then of all his defamers there could not be found one worthy to so much as stoop down to unloose the latchet of his shoe.


In 1846 the economic battle had been won so completely that in 1857 tariff burdens were still further reduced; Massachusetts voting with Virginia to this end. The leaders of both parties then joined in enacting the lowest revenue tariff which had been known since 1820. The result was an era of prosperity, not for a part, but for the whole. Dogma was put to rout by the event. The fallacy of hostile views was transfixed by the result. The retort to the prophecy of evil was the superlative satire of fact. Experience had been the great expounder. From the end of the war with Mexico to the beginning of the war between the States, had it not been for the war waged by one-half of the States upon the domestic institutions of the other, the Union would have been in the happy state of having no annals; no financial, no economic issue; no broil with foreign parts; no anarchy at home. There is no pillow of rest for freedom.