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Valley of the Shadow

Franklin Repository: December 13, 1865

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-Page 01-

First Annual Message of Andrew Johnson
(Column 2)
Summary: A transcript of President Johnson's speech at the opening the 39th Congress.
Origin of Article: Washington

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Congress--The President
(Column 1)
Summary: The President's speech, asserts A. K. McClure, the chief editor of the Repository, "resolved the painful doubts" that have circulated since the end of the war. In his address, Johnson made clear his position that the former states in rebellion were never officially out of the Union, thus opposing Congress' stand on the issue. Although McClure acknowledges that "there is an apparent want of harmony" between the positions of the executive and legislative branches of the government on this question, he expresses the opinion that the chasm can be broached so long as Johnson recognizes Congress' primacy in determining the policy for readmission.
Full Text of Article:

Editorial Correspondence of the Franklin Repository.

Washington, December 6, 1865.

Monday last was a memorable day in the history of the Nation. It resolved the painful doubts which have for months past oppressed the faithful people of the country, and set at rest, in unmistakable language and purpose, the policy of Congress touching the proposed admission of the rebellious States. It was a proud achievement for the few who braved the, at times, apparently resistless current of sentiment that made half-subdued traitors insolent and confident in their demands for fellowship as law-makers in the highest legislative tribunals of the Nation; and it was decisive in its teachings as it was overwhelming in the unity of the majority, in pointing the future path of those who vainly sought by wanton war to destroy the government.

It was the crowning achievement of Thaddeus Stevens' life. He has out-lived ambition in its accepted signification. The high places of power which he has not reached, may one day have entered into his hopes; but for four years past he has devoted himself with a singleness of purpose rarely equalled and never surpassed in statesmanship, to give success to the true principles of government, and especially to make a resented and regenerated Nation true to its own high prerogatives, so dearly won by countless sacrifice. He was of the few who in the early stage of the war realized its terrible import and plead for the only adequate remedy. He did not stop to quibble on mere abstractions, but he recognized accomplished facts. He looked the fearful peril in the face, pointed to its vital power, and plead with an unwilling people to accept their own and their country's safety. Slowly but surely, as experience and mingled success and discomfiture, developed the appalling strength and purpose of treason, and the weakness that would protect its sustaining power while professing to conquer it, has he won the loyal States to his convictions, until on Monday last the Union representatives, as with one voice, declared that there is a conquered people, without government or law, demanding the protecting care of Congress.

The passage of Mr. Stevens' resolution at the time it was proposed, and without a single dissenting Union voice, is of uncommon significance. The hosts of brawling politicians who hang about the capital, from North and South, in search of spoils, are ready to assail the action of the House as an attempt to forestall the President. Such is not the fact. The House declared its purpose thus frankly and decisively at the very threshold of its labors, in order that loyal and disloyal alike might know at once that Congress meant to assume its conceded prerogatives touching the seceded States, and discharge its high duties without fear or favor. Whether the President should agree or disagree with Congress was not a question that en- the action of the Union majority. As the disposition of the conquered States is for Congress and for Congress alone to determine, it was obviously its first duty to meet the anxious expectations of all sections of the country by declaring its policy, particularly when that could be done with entire unanimity by the party in power. The message of the President was already printed and ready for delivery to Congress, so that no hope could have been entertained to compel its modification, had modification been deemed desirable.

The meaning of the House resolution admits of no doubtful construction. It in no sense reflects upon the efforts of the President to place the Southern States in a position to ask recognition. It does not confront his policy in any degree; but it teaches what the South would have done well to appreciate from the start that while the President can kindly aid them to take the preliminary steps for re-admission, he does not assume, and cannot assume, to determine the conditions precedent to their success. He did his duty earnestly, hopefully, fraternally and most generously; but his magnanimity has been rewarded with sullen, reluctant submission, or open, insolent defiance of his appeals. He begged of their hesitating, obstinate conventions, "For God's sake repudiate the rebel debt," or "I trust in God that you will ratify the proposed amendment of the constitution abolishing slavery;" but his success was but partial, and then only wrung from unwilling subjects. He hoped by thus pleading with them to induce them to place themselves in a position so acceptable that they could with justice and prosperity be re-united with us in the present Congress; but it was all in vain. Some of the States repealed the ordnance of secession thus declaring their right to re-enact it. Others repudiated the rebel debt by convention without a vote of the people, while the elections soon following gave signal success only to Executives and legislators who were pledged to its payment. Some adopted the proposed amendment to the constitution with conditions. Georgia and Louisiana desiring compensation, and one or two others protesting with their ratification of the same against a particular construction of it. Not one of these States has chosen a loyal Executive. Not one has failed to elect the most traitorous of the candidates presented, excepting only South Carolina, and there Wade Hampton had to decline running and exert all his power against himself to save Mr. Orr by a few hundred votes. Not one of these States has as yet conferred any rights whatever upon the emancipated negroes. They have in every instance where the question was considered, denied them the right to be parties to suits or witnesses in court--thus refusing them all rights necessary to enforce contracts with their employers or protect themselves from violence and wrong. Nine-tenths of the Congressmen elected in these States are disqualified to serve by a law of the very Congress in which they ask admission, and they were elected both with a full knowledge on the part of both voters and candidates that they were ineligible by their active participation in treason's war against the Republic. In many instances true men ran, and appealed to the people to recognize the results of the war in good faith by the election of men who could be qualified; but in an overwhelming majority of instances they were defeated solely because they had not been thorough traitors.

Such are the fruits of President Johnson's generous policy to reconstruct the rebel States, and he is sadly disappointed at the return for his faithful efforts. Two months ago he was hopeful, even confident that they would come with such evidences of sincerity and repentance as would justify him in asking and urging their admission; but now he recites his efforts, deals them some "glittering generalities," and submits their case to Congress, without even a word of endorsement. In this condition do the Southern States for the first time present themselves for the consideration of Congress, and the verdict of the popular branch on Monday last is the answer. That it is clear, positive, and conclusive, is its crowning wisdom, and there is not a traitor today who aimed to climb into Congress by half-way atonement and obedience to the government, who is not a wiser if not a sadder man. All such can go home, and learn anew that the North has won the Nation's deliverance through the blood of her noblest sons, and that its full fruition for freedom and perpetual Union cannot and shall not be arrested by restoring to power the treason that drenched a continent in fraternal blood.

The message of the President does not, in fact, antagonize the position of Congress although in theory there is an apparent want of harmony. He adopts as his theory that secession is an impossibility because forbidden by the organic law. Whether or not it is so forbidden, I do not discuss. The compact which united the States was a folly and a fraud if it did not go to the perpetual unity of the Republic. But when a body of States one-third the number of the whole deliberately rescinded their bonds of allegiance, with all the ceremony of law known to the people of the States, and for four years exercised all the functions of government, general and local; political, judicial and military, and devised and enforced the collection of revenues--all without the show of organized remonstrance, and, in addition, waged a war unparalleled in magnitude, at times thundering at the very gates of our capital, it is to my mind the refinement of an abstraction to deny the logic of such appalling facts. Theorize as we may, still the facts confront us, and no subtlety or reasoning will serve to dispel them. If even so, abstractly, still we must deal with the facts as they present themselves with their terrible realities. The fact that secession may be accepted as an impossibility constitutionally considered, does not take from treason one of its monstrous deformities, or restore a State to the condition in which the supremacy of treason found it. The facts [illeg], of wide spread desolation, and States wrung violently from their proper spheres into the bloody vortex of rebellion, still remain, and these facts--not the legal fiction of an unbroken Union--must be dealt with. Congress so accepted the condition of the States, and declared them beyond the pale of the Union. Their representatives were denied admission, their votes for President were, by almost unanimous vote of all parties, declared in advance to be void. The Executive has by various proclamations treated them as public enemies, and every important step taken for the suppression of the rebellion in aid of the military power of the government, discarded the idea that they were sovereign States in the Union. The Supreme Court harmonized with Congress and the Executive on this important point, and pronounced them, in its judicial decisions, to be public enemies, condemned their prizes as they would have condemned those of England or France had we been at war with them, and in all things held them--not as States and an integral part of the Union--but as public enemies by reason of the complete supremacy of the rebellion in the seceded States, and at war with the government of the United States, as a belligerent power.

Thus do stubborn facts and the no less stubborn records of the Nation, define the status of the seceded States, and ably and plausibly as President Johnson presents his theory, he fails to dispel the realities which now confront him and Congress. As a theory of government for the future guidance of the Nation, it would be well thus to define the relations of the States to the government by an amendment of our organic law; but with the present we have to deal. The President confesses this himself by every step he has taken to effect the reconstruction of the rebel States. If they are sovereign States, they have Executives, legislatures, and most other officers elected under laws which are not part of the rebellion. How are they displaced? By what authority? Are they traitors? If so, they must be tried, convicted and condemned before they can be removed, and then the law of the State supply the vacancy. If Virginia never was out of the Union, "Extra Billy Smith" is the lawful Governor of the State, as he was chosen in conformity with the laws which existed there for half a century. So is Vance Governor of North Carolina, quite a better man than Gov. Worth--and M'Grath is Governor of South Carolina. But President Johnson puts Gov. M'Grath in Fort Pulaski and appoints Gov. Perry to govern the people of what he would regard as a State never beyond the pale of the Union. Nor does he stop there. After displacing the Governors regularly chosen under laws enacted before the rebellion, he selects their successors, directs conventions to be called, and when called, instructs them to do thus and not to do so. He maintains in all of them martial law, and has quasi civil governments in operation subject to the will of his military commanders. If a judge decides a question in a manner unsatisfactorily to the military, he is assured of his State being in the Union by fluding quarters in some hospitable fort, and all other ministerial officers of the civil law perform their functions as instructed by the President of the "General Commanding."

In all this the President is right in fact, but how much it leaves of his theory of the independent sovereignty of the States, is not to my mind apparent. He finds these States in the hands of traitors--stubborn, relentless, unrepenting traitors. He has conquered them by force of arms, and has exercised the right of the conquerer to dethrone their rulers, and to govern them with the strong arm of military law, regardless of their once proud position as States in the Union, and in this he has but faithfully discharged his duty. That he hopes to restore them at an early day to full fellowship, and that he would thus restore them with less exacting conditions than Congress, is not to be questioned; but he wisely and patriotically refers the subject to Congress, where it rightfully belongs, and I am strengthened in the hope that they will cordially harmonize upon just terms of admission--terms which will insure the safety of the Nation and as the President says, make treason infamous. In this responsible work, he will be generously sustained by Congress and the country in every effort tending to the speedy restoration of a loyal and regenerated Union.

The message is upon the whole a State paper of rare ability. It is calm, dignified, able and in most things candid. I infer from his remarks upon the trial of traitors, that Jeff Davis will yet be tried; but I do not think him in serious danger of losing his life by capital punishment, I presume, since Congress has been so positive in its expression on the claims of traitors to civil power, that there may be rather fewer pardons hereafter than heretofore, and I look for Congress and the President to work harmoniously to teach the world that "mercy to traitors is cruelty to the Nation."

I did not see the President. Severe illness prevented me from filling an appointment to meet him on Monday morning, and three days of racking fever in Washington would make any man take the first train going hence in almost any direction.
A. K. M.

Trailer: A. K. M.
The Case of Gen. Koontz
(Column 3)
Summary: In a replay of the controversy that occurred in 1864, the congressional election between Gen. Coffroth and Gen. Koontz has been plagued by fraud and conspiracy, report the editors. The editors express the belief, however, that Gen. Koontz will emerge victorious once the competing claims are investigated.
Full Text of Article:

The sixteenth district of Pennsylvania is without a representative in Congress. The several counties composing it have not been reduced to a territorial condition that we know of, nor is their status as part of the United States just now questionable, however doubtful a portion of the territory has been in times past when treason plunged its armed battalions into the North; nor have the people failed to elect, for they went through the regular form of choosing a Congressman in October, 1864, after an animated struggle; nor is our failure to be represented for want of a claimant for the seat, for no less than two gentlemen are in Washington proposing to represent us--the one because he was elected, and the other because he wasn't elected. Still we have no several weeks to come we shall thus be disfranchised in the popular branch of Congress.

The laws of Pennsylvania provide that the qualified electors shall vote for members of Congress and other officers on the second Tuesday of October; that each election board shall select one of its number to meet in the county town on Friday following the election to compute the votes cast in the several districts, and where two or more counties compose a district, the return judges of each county select one of their number to bear the returns to the place appointed by law to compute the returns of the counties comprising the district. The law in express terms forbids such return judges to reject any part of the vote so returned; but they are required and sworn to compute it and certify in accordance therewith. They have no judicial powers--on the contrary they are in unequivocal terms denied such powers. It is their duty to compute the whole returns correctly, and leave to the tribunals appointed by law to inquire into frauds or illegal votes. In addition to this, the law providing for the vote of soldiers in the service, declares that no mere irregularity or informality shall prevent any return from being computed by return judges at home. Pennsylvania has no Board of Canvassers, or any other board but her courts, competent to inquire into the legality of a vote or a return after the vote is once in the ballot-box.

It happened in 1864 that the people of the 16th district were about tired of being represented by Gen. A. H. Coffroth, and they elected Gen. Wm. H. Koontz in his stead by a majority of some 74 votes. It also happened, however, that the Democrats, the friends of Gen. Coffroth, controlled the boards of return Judges in four of the five counties of the district, and when the army vote returned, settled his case by the election of Gen. Koontz, a systematic conspiracy was formed to defraud the people out of two Assemblymen, a President Judge and a Congressman of their choice, by rejecting a part of the soldiers vote, in insolent violation of the law, after it had been regularly returned so that they had no choice but to compute it or reject it by perjury. They accordingly certified two defeated candidates for Assembly as elected, one President Judge and one Congressman; but when the returns came before the Governor he at once refused to recognize Gen. Coffroth's certificate, as it bore on its face a palpable disregard of the law, but as judges had the power to withhold the certificate due to Gen. Koontz, the Executive, in the exercise of purely ministerial duties, could not correct, and both were denied recognition--Gen. Coffroth because his was a manifest fraud, and Gen. Koontz because he had been defrauded. The same fraud came up before the Governor when he had to issue a commission to the President Judge, and as he was competent to decide that case prima facia, he did not hesitate to reject the fraud and commission Judge King who had been clearly elected. It is due to Judge Kimmell, his Democratic competitor, to say that he did not ask the commission, and did not in any formal manner claim that he was elected. He had no hand in the fraud, and did not seek to take advantage of it.

In the only case, therefore, where the Governor could take cognizance of this fraud, he determined it against Coffroth and against his wrong, and no one complained that injustice was done thereby. In the case of the two members of the legislature who obtained a majority certificate by this fraud, the House summarily disposed of them by instructing the clerk to call the members who had received the highest number of votes in the district. Coffroth's friends of course were thereby left out, and instead of contesting and claiming that the majority was made up of illegal votes, they bent their steps homeward without delay, glad to escape the disgrace of an exposition of the villainy on which they founded their case. Thus was this same Coffroth fraud twice determined in Pennsylvania, and no one has had the hardihood to contest or ask any investigation.

Gen. Coffroth is alone of all those who conceived and perpetrated this fraud in now seeking to profit by it. Some allowance is to be made for him, because of the absence of ordinary moral perceptions in his organization; but we insist that where everybody, on every side, but himself confesses his defeat and would shrink from the contest he invites, he ought to begin to suspect that the day may come when he should stop. We are well aware that he grounded his hope of temporary success on considerations outside of the returns, and vainly dreams that because he was anxious to dispose of his vote for the constitutional amendment, he may be able to crawl in this session long enough to draw mileage and pay. The General made one grievous mistake in that operation. There were men in Congress willing enough to have him cast one righteous vote in the course of a congressional term, but when Gen. Coffroth supposed that he could get them to a corrupt bargain to sanction a monstrous fraud upon the 16th district, he reckoned badly. When he started on that mission, he went wooling with a moral certainty of coming home sheared, as he will learn by and by. We doubt not that a few Republicans gave him indefinite promises, predicated upon his false statement of the merits of his case, but they may be regarded as selling "short" for future delivery, and as the stock can't now be had, they can only be called upon to settle the difference. They will therefore, we doubt not, qualify Gen. Koontz in a few days as having the prima facia case beyond question, and Gen. Coffroth will realize the "difference" by contesting as long as possible and getting his per diem and mileage when he gets final notice to quit. This now seems to be his chief ambition, and as it will be his last appearance upon the public stage, it will probably be a cheap deliverance.

We ask the attention of Congress to this case. It is a wrong to our district to deny us representation. One of the two claimants must be entitled to be sworn as mentioned that Gen. Koontz received a clear majority of the vote cast, and that no power but Congress, in a contest, can reject any part of the vote so returned, it is clearly the duty of the House to qualify Gen. Koontz and allow Gen. Coffroth to contest if he has a fancy that way. If something must be done for Coffroth, let it not be done by a crushing wrong upon the loyal men of the 16th district.

(Column 7)
Summary: The article reports that Alexander M. Parker, "second son of our respected fellow citizen, John B. Parker," killed himself last Monday at this father's home. The junior Parker, 22, was a veteran who "served for several years in the army with credit to himself and advantage to our cause."
(Names in announcement: Alexander M. Parker, John B. Parker)
Origin of Article: Carlisle Volunteer

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Local Items--A New Clock
(Column 1)
Summary: Town commissioners have awarded a contract for a new clock for the Court House. The enterprise was largely the work of A. H. McCollogh, who, the article says, made the purchase possible.
(Names in announcement: A. H. McCollogh)
Local Items--Shot Himself
(Column 1)
Summary: On Dec. 2nd, Job Black, of Shippensburg, shot himself accidently, causing his death. Black, under the assumption that the his pistol's "caps were worthless and spent," struck the muzzle of the gun against a wall, which caused the firearm to discharge, sending a ball through his heart. He was about twenty-years of age.
(Names in announcement: Job Black)
(Column 3)
Summary: On May 28th, William Palmer and Maggie B. Rutt were married by Rev. John W. Jackson.
(Names in announcement: William Palmer, Maggie B. Rutt, Rev. John W. Jackson)
(Column 3)
Summary: On Dec. 7th, Daniel Shatzer and Lavina Gramm were married by Rev. S. H. C. Smith.
(Names in announcement: Daniel Shatzer, Lavina Gramm, Rev. S. H. C. Smith)
(Column 3)
Summary: On Dec. 7th, John Wagman and Margaret Kauffman were married by Rev. S. H. C. Smith.
(Names in announcement: John Wagman, Margaret Kauffman, Rev. S. H. C. Smith)
(Column 3)
Summary: On Dec. 7th, William H. Dull and Mollie E. Mentzer were married by Rev. S. H. C. Smith.
(Names in announcement: William H. Dull, Mollie E. Mentzer, Rev. S. H. C. Smith)
(Column 3)
Summary: On Dec. 7th, Jacob Bestwick and Kate Burcket were married by Rev. G. Roth.
(Names in announcement: Jacob Bestwick, Kate Burcket, Rev. G. Roth)
(Column 3)
Summary: On Nov. 30th, William G. Kirkpatrick and Nannie J., daughter of William Burk, were married by Rev. William A. West.
(Names in announcement: William G. Kirkpatrick, Nannie J. Burk, William Burk, Rev. William West)
(Column 3)
Summary: On Dec. 7th, David N. Jones and Hannah C. Donovan were married by Rev. F. Dyson.
(Names in announcement: David N. Jones, Hannah C. Donovan, Rev. F. Dyson)
(Column 3)
Summary: On Dec. 3rd, Sarah Orr, 79, died in Antrim township.
(Names in announcement: Sarah Orr)
(Column 3)
Summary: On Nov. 30th, Elizabeth, wife of William Koontz, died in Antrim township. She was 29 years old.
(Names in announcement: Elizabeth Koontz, William Koontz)
(Column 3)
Summary: On Nov. 30th, James, son of Jacob Wassen, died in Greencastle. He was 8 years old.
(Names in announcement: Jacob Wassen, James Wassen)

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