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A complete reign of terror had, by this time, been established throughout Eastern or Old Virginia. Immigrants from Free States were hunted out on suspicion of Unionism, unless they chose to enlist at once in the Rebel army; and only the most violent and obstreperous sympathy with Secession could save them from personal outrage. Appeals from those who had formerly figured as inflexible Unionists were circulated through the journals, calling upon all true Virginians to stand by the action of their State, and thereby preserve her from the horrors of an intestine war. Thus, Mr. A. H. H. Stuart--a leading Whig of other days, an eminent member of Congress, afterward Secretary of the Interior under President Fillmore--who had been elected to the Convention as a Unionist from the strong Whig county of Augusta, and had opposed Secession to the last, now wrote a letter to The Staunton Spectator, maintaining this position:

In my judgment, it is the duty of all good citizens to stand by the action of the State. It is no time for crimination or recrimination. We cannot stop now to inquire who brought the troubles upon us, or why. It is enough to know that they are upon us; and we must meet them like men. We must stand shoulder to shoulder. Our State is threatened with invasion, and we must repel it as best we can. The only way to preserve peace is to present a united front. If we show divisions among ourselves, the enemy will be encouraged by them, and may make them the pretext for sending armies into our borders for the purpose of sustaining the hands of the disaffected. Our true policy, then, is to stand together as one man in the hour of danger, and leave our family feuds to be adjusted after the contest is over.

To the same effect, but a little more boldly, Mr. James M. Mason, late a Senator of the United States, wrote as follows:

To the Editor of the Winchester Virginian:
The question has been frequently put to me--“ What position will Virginia occupy, should the Ordinance of Secession be rejected by the people at the approaching election?” And the frequency of the question may be an excuse for giving publicity to the answer.

The Ordinance of Secession withdrew the State of Virginia from the Union, with all the consequences resulting from the separation. It annulled the Constitution and laws of the United States within the limits of this State, and absolved the citizens of Virginia from all obligations and obedience to them.

Hence, it follows, if this Ordinance be rejected by the people, the State of Virginia will remain in the Union, and the people of the State will remain bound by the Constitution of the United States; and obedience to the government and laws of the United States will be fully and rightfully enforced against them.

It follows, of course, that, in this war now carried on by the Government of the United States against the seceding States, Virginia must immediately change sides, and, under the orders of that Government, turn her arms against her Southern sisters.

From this, there can be no escape. As a member of the Union, all her resources of men and money will be at once at the command of the Government of the Union.

Again: for mutual defense, immediately after the Ordinance of Secession passed, a treaty or “military league” was formed by the Convention in the name of the people of Virginia, with the Confederate States of the South, by which the latter were bound to march to the aid of our State against the invasion of the Federal Government. And we have now in Virginia, at Harper's Ferry and at Norfolk, in face of the common foe, several thousands of the gallant sons of South Carolina, of Alabama, of Louisiana, Georgia and Mississippi, who hastened to fulfill the covenant they made, and are ready and eager to lay down their lives, side by side with our sons, in defense of the soil of Virginia.

If the Ordinance of Secession is rejected, not only will this “military league” be annulled, but it will have been made a trap to inveigle our generous defenders into the hands of their enemies.

Virginia remaining in the Union, duty and loyalty to her obligations to the Union will require that those Southern forces shall not be permitted to leave the State, but shall be delivered up to the Government of the Union; and those who refuse to do so will be guilty of treason, and be justly dealt with as traitors.

Treason against the United States consists as well “in adhering to its enemies and giving them aid” as in levying war.

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