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Valley of the Shadow

Franklin Repository: June 28, 1865

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-Page 01-

The Milk-Weevil
(Column 3)
Summary: In the span of less than a month, note the editors, the prospect of Franklin county's farmers producing a successful wheat harvest has dwindled considerably. The arrival of the wheat weevil had occasioned the sudden change. In an effort to minimize the damage caused by the insect, the editors provide detailed information about its history and tips about the best way to handle an infestation.

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Negro Suffrage
(Column 1)
Summary: The debate over the issue of enfranchising the freedmen, admit the editors, is perplexing. Yet, despite the fact that there is no easy solution to the dilemma, it is clear that the right cannot be conferred upon them by the federal government. That decision, they maintain, is the province of the states.
Full Text of Article:

Several correspondents have addressed us recently on the question of universal enfranchisement, without distinction of color. We have not discussed the question hitherto because we could see no solution of the issue, and even now we cannot pretend to define a policy and its probable results. We have noticed much discussion of the question in public journals, and have read impassioned speeches in behalf of extending the right of suffrage to the negro; but no one has as yet pointed out the way by which the desired result can be readily attained.

President Lincoln studiously avoided the issue, not because he was unwilling to have his views known on the subject; but because he could see no means, within the scope of the law, by which the general government could enlarge or abridge the elective franchise. In his last address, just before his assassination, he expressed the wish that the right of suffrage could be extended to all who fought to preserve the life of the Republic; but he felt powerless to enforce his own convictions of rights without fearful peril to our institutions. President Johnson has but followed in the steps of his predecessor, and discards the policy of treating the revolted States as conquered provinces or territories. He holds that no State can secede, or obliterate its organic existence. Its government may be in abeyance, by the temporary triumph of treason, just as a mob may for a time override the municipal authorities in a town or city; but the existence of the sovereignty of the State remains perpetually, and resumes its powers whenever the disturbing cause is removed. Preserving the existence of the States, Congress is thus without power to define the qualifications of the citizen; and the laws in force when treason usurped power, resume their supremacy as soon as the power of the insurgents is broken. Upon this principle, State governments have been re-established by the loyal people in Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee and Virginia, and in all of them there has been no extension of suffrage to the freedmen whose disenthralment all acknowledge; and provisional governments have been organized in North Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Texas, simply to restore the civil rule in the various departments, and each, under the proclamations of the President, is to chooses officers by the exercise of the elective franchise in accordance with the laws in operation before secession--excluding of course such as have, by their overt acts of treason, made themselves public enemies.

While this policy seems to defeat negro suffrage, at least for the present and perhaps indefinitely, in the revolted States, we can see no remedy within the scope of law. It would have been a flagrant usurpation had President Johnson by an arbitrary exercise of power, proclaimed that in the organization of the State governments persons should vote who were denied the right of suffrage under the laws of those States. Under no circumstances whatever could the President exercise such a power. If the States are to be treated as conquered provinces and subject to the laws which govern territories, Congress, and not the President, must define the qualifications of citizenship; and if they are to be treated as States, whose legal power was for a time overwhelmed by treason but not obliterated, then the President has no more authority to proclaim the enfranchisement of the negro in North Carolina or Texas than he has to do it in Pennsylvania. In any aspect of the question, the Executive has no power whatever to enlarge the right of suffrage. We think that he has acted wisely, because lawfully, in the determination of the question, and the issue must in time be decided by the competent power of the respective States. To do aught else would be to confront the constitution; to bring about the change by violence to law and precedent, and the evils resulting therefrom would counterbalance the good an hundred fold.

We share none of the feeling that revolts at the exercise of the elective franchise by the negro. He who protests against it merely because the negro is black, or because he has been wrongfully enslaved, bows to unmanly prejudice or unpardonable ignorance. We have committed the crime and paid the terrible penalty of their enslavement for three-quarters of a century, and thousands of them have participated in the great struggle for the preservation of the Republic, and sealed their devotion to free institutions with their blood. They entered the struggle in the darkest hour of the war--when treason was victorious, defiant and threatening them with pitiless butchery; and they have won from every unprejudiced mind the respect due to undaunted valor. To deny the soldier of the Republic the right of suffrage because of an exceptional race and color, would be an act unworthy of a free people; and we hope to see the day when there shall be such distinction among our common defenders.

We appreciate the force of argument that it is perilous to confer suffrage indiscriminately upon a million of men, who are just rescued from the cruel bondage that made it a crime to teach them the simplest rudiments of education. It is an objection not to race, not to the color, nor to the condition of the freedmen; but to the prevailing ignorance of the principles of government which must obtain with such a people. True, we confer suffrage in exceptional cases much less meritorious and with no higher degree of intelligence; but the existence of such a wrong is rather an argument against than in favor of its enlargement. We should welcome the standard of intelligence--ability to read and write--as the parent of citizenship in all classes. With such a qualification ignorance would soon fade away, and a nation of over thirty millions would present the sublime spectacle of scarcely an exception to the universal education of its people. But in stumbling on the question of the ignorance of the emancipated slave, let us not be unmindful of the cause of his pitiable deficiency. It is chargeable to the predominating race rather than to the victim of slavery. It is our act, our law, our social, political, and business ostracism, that has plunged and held him remorselessly in mental darkness, and when the crime thereof has just avenged itself in a most fearful baptism of blood, it becomes not us to stand aside and perpetuate his enslavement in another form because we have denied him the fitness for citizenship. Our first duty to the freedmen is to enlighten, encourage and strengthen them in their new state; and the problem of their citizenship will in time solve itself lawfully and justly. That they will become citizens or practically slaves, or extinct as a race in the United States, we regard as inevitable. They cannot remain as they are now. They will progress or retrograde--increase under enlightened and liberal laws, or degrade and diminish under the despotism of caste, as the States may be just or ungenerous; and the solution of the great question we do not pretend to foresee.

Looking practically at the proposed enfranchisement of the freedmen, we see true hope for it at an early day. It cannot be brought about, as things are, except as time may prove their fitness for citizenship and dissipate the causeless prejudices which are cherished against them. The general government cannot, by any possible means, lawfully secure to them the right of suffrage. To the States alone belongs that power and duty; and thus far not one of the regenerated States has proposed it. A national convention has been suggested; but that would require the States to ratify its action, and the States would thus hold the issue in their hands in any event. In Pennsylvania it could not even be formally proposed for three years, and it would require five years to strike the word "white" from our organic law. By the 1st section of article 3d "every white freeman of the age of twenty-one years" is a voter, and article 10th provides that "no amendment or amendments shall be submitted to the people oftener than once in five years." Last year the people ratified the amendment enfranchising our soldiers, and no other amendment can be offered before 1869, unless by calling a constitutional convention. Regardless of the doubtful issue in this State on the merits of the question, Pennsylvania is thus precluded from formal action on the question at present.

We have thus presented the question rather as it is than as we would have it, and must be content to abide the fruition of time for its solution.

Shall The Leaders Be Pardoned?
(Column 2)
Summary: Although the editors have advocated a "liberal policy" toward the "revolted States" and their leaders, they insist that it would be "positively criminal" for the federal government to restore citizenship to anyone who had a commission in the Army or Navy, or had been a Senator or Congressmen, and subsequently joined the rebellion.
Full Text of Article:

Robert E. Lee, late commander-in-chief of the rebel armies, and Alexander H. Stephens, late Vice President of the so-called confederate government, have filed applications with President Johnson for special pardon. There are doubtless scores of similar applications from rebels of lesser note, who have held important positions under the government before the war, and under the Davis usurpation during the war. Ex-United States Senators and Congressmen, ex-Governors, and ex-Army officers of all grades, seem to have flooded the Departments of Washington with petitions for their restoration to all the rights of citizenship.

This journal has advocated a liberal policy toward the revolted States, and magnanimous dealing even with leaders of the rebellion, now that they have failed disgracefully and must be impotent for evil henceforth if merely let alone, but to pardon them and make them again citizens would be a degree of clemency positively criminal on the part of the general government. No man who has held a commission in the Army or Navy of the United States, or who has been a Senator or Congressman and subsequently joined in the rebellion, or who accepted office as a Senator or Congressman or member of the cabinet under the government of treason, or who as Governor of a State aided in its secession, or accepted the position of Executive under the rebel constitution, should ever be restored to citizenship under any circumstance whatever! There can be nothing to extenuate the treachery of such men, and it would be suicidal to the interests of the Republic just rescued from their bloody grasp, and a crowning wrong to the loyal people of the Nation, to make them again eligible to the trusts which they need to betray the government by shameless perfidy.

By their own deliberate acts they have wantonly arrayed themselves against the government under which they enjoyed the honors of the people, and they requited the confidence reposed in them and the distinction conferred, by causeless war to destroy the noblest fabric of free government ever reared by faithful men; and it is enough, quite enough of leniency on the part of the government they have sought in vain to overthrow, if it permits them to live. This it must do. Its faith is pledged to every surrendered rebel officer and soldier from Lee down that their lives shall not be demanded in expiation of their crimes. Quibble as we may about technical distinctions, the terms proposed by Gen. Grant to Gen. Lee, and which he accepted by his capitulation, preclude the punishment of those men either in the civil or military tribunals as traitors. No one misunderstood the spirit and plainly expressed language of Gen. Grant's proposal, and no nation can afford to violate its solemnly plighted faith. It placed Lee and his armies in the position of public enemies, and as such they remain for all practical purposes. They have no part, no lot, no interest in the government against which they have revolted and deluged the land in fraternal blood to give anarchy to thirty millions of people. They are aliens to the Republic, strangers to its beneficent rights, and so they must remain. Their homes have been sacrificed on the bloody altar of their treason, and the fratricide must not be restored to luxury and power while every State is dotted with the graves of his victims. As they have wantonly, wickedly, murderously made themselves aliens and strangers to the countless blessings they enjoyed as citizens, so let them remain. Let them live to wander through the land they have stained with gore from the Potomac to the Rio Grande, homeless and citizenless, as monuments of the mingled power and justice and magnanimity of the great Republic of the World.

Gen. Lee was the child of favour under this government. He was educated, promoted and honored by it; and he left the head-quarters of the commander-in-chief to draw his sword against the Republic. We do not known that his military career is stained by any immediate act of cruelty at variance with the laws of war; but he was the trusted chieftain of the rebel cause. No campaign was undertaken without his assent. No policy touching the war was adopted without his sanction. His council was potential in the very temple of treason's power, and he must at least share the guilt of the starvation of prisoners--the crowning crime of treason's fullness of crime, unless he shall show that he protested against such monstrous barbarity in vain. As yet no evidence has been produced to relieve him of this damning charge, and until his skirts are cleared, the government can exercise no clemency whatever in his case. If he shall satisfy the unprejudiced judgement that he labored fruitlessly to make the rebel government humane, it will relieve him of a fearful blot that now stains his reputation; but even then we should protest in the name of a Nation that only saved its existence by his overthrow, and in the name of the thousands of gallant soldiers he has slain, against his restoration to citizenship. Such mercy would be a crime. Every consideration of justice forbids it, and the future safety of the Republic demands that its discomfited but deadly foes shall henceforth have no voice in directing its destiny.

Seed Wheat
(Column 3)
Summary: The piece admonishes local farmers to pay closer attention to the seeds they select when planting their fields so as to avoid the problems that are currently afflicting the wheat crop.
[No Title]
(Column 4)
Summary: The editors sarcastically commend their rivals at the Valley Spirit for supporting President Johnson's "sound Union administration."
Full Text of Article:

The Spirit is attempting to capture President Johnson by gradual approaches, in imitation of its party. Each week it becomes a little stronger in its commendations of some of his official acts. In last week's issue is says that "the Democracy have seen in the course of the President much to approve and very little to condemn," and in a few weeks more it will probably declare him a second Jackson. We congratulate the Spirit in its lucid intervals, and bid it good speed in getting over in support of a sound Union administration. If it had leaned a little in that direction in the dark days of the Republic, when Johnson stood up against the surges of treason North and South like a wall of adamant, and when it counseled only in the interest of the country's foes, it would have done the nation some service. Now, when to go wrong would be hopeless folly, the Spirit crawls in under the shadow of a Union President, and like all new converts, seems more Union than Union men themselves. Go in freely.

[No Title]
(Column 4)
Summary: An announcement that Gen. Cameron, chairman of the Union State Committee, has postponed indefinitely the Union State Convention that was scheduled for July 19th.

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Local Items--Changes In The School Law
(Column 1)
Summary: The piece reports that several legislative changes pertaining to the state's schools were enacted during the last session of the Assembly.
Full Text of Article:

CHANGES IN THE SCHOOL LAW--The following changes in the School Law of Pennsylvania were adopted by the late Legislature:

1. Clerks of the Courts of Quarter Sessions are required to furnish the State Superintendent a certificate of the formation of any school district, whether by incorporation of a borough, the establishment of an independent district, or the creation of a new township.

2. The President of a school board is required to call a meeting of the directors upon a written request of three of their number. In case of refusal, two directors may call a special meeting, and the business transacted thereat shall be legal.

3. It is absolutely necessary, in order to secure a share of the State appropriation, that no teacher shall have been employed in the district during the year who had not a viable certificate from the County Superintendent, and also that the school shall have been kept open for the last four months subsequent to the first Monday in June preceding.

4. This section relates to the election of County Superintendent. It provides that the State Superintendent shall commission such subordinates as are certified to have been elected at the tribunal conventions, provided that objections be not made, signed by one fifth of the boards of directors of the County, and sworn to by at least three of the signers within thirty days after election.

5. The minimum age for admissibility into the Common Schools is raised from five to six years.

Another supplement practically abolishes the system of district institutes and re-established the school month at 22 days. District institutes may be held on two of these days, but they are permitted, not required.

The last supplement compels the County Commissioners to make return of the triennial enumeration of taxables in each district on or before the first Monday in June, 1865. Upon these reforms the distribution of the State appropriation is to be based.

Local Items--Insuring Against Accidents
(Column 1)
Summary: After falling from a board atop the court house where he was working, J. W. Seibert badly injured himself. Luckily for him and his family, Seibert's father had recently purchased insurance for his son from W. G. Reed. As a result, Seibert will receive a weekly compensation from the company until he is able to resume work. According to the editors, Seibert's case is an excellent example of the benefits of owning insurance, which, they insist, all tradesmen and laborers should do to protect themselves and their families.
(Names in announcement: J. W. Seibert, Samuel SeibertEsq., W. G. Reed)
Local Items--Contract Awarded
(Column 1)
Summary: Relates that County Commissioners have awarded the contract to rebuild the bridge at Antietam, which was destroyed by the rebels in June 1863, to J. H. Gordon and George Foltz, who are from the vicinity of Waynesboro. The contract is for $2,250.
(Names in announcement: J. H. Gordon, George Foltz)
Local Items--Returning Soldiers
(Column 2)
Summary: Reports that most of the men from Co. G. 17th Pa. Cavalry have returned home to the Franklin county area, including that "gallant townsman," Maj. L. B. Kurtz.
(Names in announcement: Maj. L. B. Kurtz)
Origin of Article: Waynesboro Record
Local Items--Look Out For Them
(Column 2)
Summary: The piece cautions readers that the valley is "infested with scores of burglars, horsethieves, pick-pockets, and vagabonds."
Origin of Article: Carlisle Volunteer
Local Items--Death Of A Soldier
(Column 2)
Summary: James D. Fitz, of Co. G, 17th P. C., died on April 29th from injuries he suffered at the Battle of Dinwiddie Court House on March 31st.
(Names in announcement: James D. Fitz)
Local Items--Soldiers' Celebration
(Column 2)
Summary: A soldiers' celebration will be held in Chambersburg on July 4th. W. S. Everett will give an key-note address at the affair.
(Names in announcement: W. S. Everett)
(Column 4)
Summary: On June 15th, George F. Miller and Mary A. Bigger were married by Rev. J. Hassler.
(Names in announcement: George F. Miller, Mary A. Bigger, Rev. J. Hassler)
(Column 4)
Summary: On May 18th, Theodore F. Wheeler and Anna M. Skillito were married by Rev. F. Dyson.
(Names in announcement: Theodore F. Wheeler, Anna M. Skillito, Rev. F. Dyson)
(Column 4)
Summary: On June 20th, John, son of Henry and Abigail Heffelman, died at age 3.
(Names in announcement: John Hoffman, Abigail Heffelman, Henry Heffelman)
(Column 4)
Summary: On June 19th, Samuel A., son of Samuel B. and Lydia Myers, died in the Sixth Army Corps Hospital in Washington. The younger Samuel was a member of Co. K, 87th, Regt. P. V. He was 28 years old.
(Names in announcement: Lydia Myers, Samuel A. Myers, Samuel B. Myers)

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