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Valley of the Shadow

Franklin Repository: July 25, 1866

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(Column 6)
Summary: The Repository's correspondent details the history and climate of Kansas in this report.

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[No Title]
(Column 1)
Summary: Announces that legislature of Tennessee has ratified the amendments proposed by Congress last Thursday, and was re-admitted to the Union the following day.
Studied Injustice
(Column 1)
Summary: The editors criticize the Harrisburg Telegraph, "the central Union organ of the State," for "misrepresenting" the facts as they relate to Gov. Curtin's decision not to move forward on the ratification of the proposed amendments. The Telegraph, they contend, has been disingenuous in its coverage of the matter; it has asserted that the majority of the state's Union men support calling an extra session of the legislature when, in fact, "they were not united in favor of it."
Full Text of Article:

The Harrisburg Telegraph is the central Union organ of the State. It is so accepted and is without a rival in its sphere. The Union party has, therefore, a right to expect of it at least fairness to a State administration whose achievements are the pride of the people who have so nobly created and sustained it. They might even expect that it should be generous in its dealing with an Executive whose name is a house-hold word with the Union people of the State; but it has latterly seemed to cherish no higher ambition than to attack covertly, and defame by innendo and the suppression of the truth, the Union State administration. What infatuation or factious passion has seized it, we do not pretend to explain, but it shudders at the devotion of a loyal people to a faithful Governor, and seeks in vain to create alienation and distrust.

A few weeks ago, when it was announced that the Executives of the other leading States had refused to cooperate with Gov. Curtin in calling extra sessions to ratify the constitutional amendments, the Telegraph treated the question as settled. It made no demand for an extra session in Pennsylvania, because it could give no reason therefor. Subsequently, when it was definitely ascertained that an extra session in this State would be a fruitless expense, and a palpable confession of our distrust of the people in the coming election, because the action of Pennsylvania would not hasten the success of the amendments, Gov. Curtin answered a note from Col. Jordan in which he stated the facts fully, and defended his own position in clear and patriotic terms. That letter, we learn, was furnished to the Telegraph for publication on the 10th inst. in advance of its publication elsewhere; but it has until now been suppressed. And not content with concealing from its readers the letter of Gov. Curtin on a question so important, not only to the administration but to the party, it published an article several days after the Governor's letter was in its possession, denouncing him for not acting in the matter, and grossly misrepresenting the material facts connected with the determination of the question.

The assertion of the Telegraph that a majority of the Union members had requested him to call an extra session, has no foundation in fact. On the 4th of July a number of Union members, certainly not exceeding twenty-five, met in Philadelphia and consulted on the question. A majority seemed to prefer an extra session, but they were not united in favor of it. The writer hereof was in the city at the time and consulted with a number of the members on the subject. We speak advisedly therefore when we say that the majority of Union members did not ask an extra session, nor did they propose to meet without compensation. Individual members were doubtless willing to do so, but no one pretended to speak for the legislature.

The course Gov. Curtin pursued as to an extra session was adopted after full consultation with leading Union men throughout the State, and it was earnestly desired by Col. Jordan, Chairman of the Union State Committee, who doubtless judged the question in a great degree by probable political results. In addition, the entire Union press of the State--the Telegraph only excepted--either advised such a course or cordially acquiesced in it after the publication of Gov. Curtin's unanswerable letter. He defined the position of affairs so clearly, both as regards political policy and practical results, that no Union journal has attempted to question its wisdom but the Telegraph, and it is careful to suppress the Governor's reasons for his action.

If the Telegraph is aiming to forfeit the confidence of the Union party, and the respect of all lovers of truth and fairness, it promises to achieve a brilliant success; but if it means to claim to be a Union organ, it cannot too soon learn that it owes to the representative men of that party at least a decent respect for veracity. It has an undoubted right to choose whichever path it prefers. We take it for granted that it has counted the cost and is prepared for the logical results of its policy.

All Honorito Congress!
(Column 2)
Summary: Despite President Johnson's continued intransigence, Congress overrode his fifth veto of a major policy initiative and approved the Freedmen's Bureau bill last Monday by an overwhelming majority, which, the editors suggest, is "a tribute" to its "patriotism and fidelity."
A Word To Union Officers
(Column 3)
Summary: The piece cautions Union men who hold office to prepare for the worst. With President Johnson set on giving patronage positions to sycophants, copperheads, and rebel sympathizers, all those who hold true to their convictions will most likely be replaced.
Gen. Koontz Admitted
(Column 3)
Summary: After much controversy, and several months of debate, Congress has finally admitted Gen. Koontz to his seat, a development the article proclaims as a "righteous verdict."
Full Text of Article:

The contested election case of Koontz against Coffroth was called up in Congress on Wednesday last, and Gen. Koontz was admitted to the seat without a call of the yeas and nays. This is but a righteous verdict, and renders long delayed justice alike to Gen. Koontz and the loyal men of this district who elected him.

The fraud by which Gen. Koontz was deprived of his seat for over seven months was a most reckless attempt to overthrow the plainly expressed will of the people in utter disregard of law. It was not even plausible or excusable on technical grounds. It was an insolent effort by perjury on the part of certain election officers, under the lead of a few unscrupulous politicians, to defraud our brave soldiers of their votes. In the face of the positive command of the law that election officers should count such votes regardless of informalities, they assumed judicial powers and rejected enough to give an apparent majority to a Democratic Judge, a Democratic Congressman and two Democratic Assemblymen in the Bedford district. But the fraud was so palpable that Kimmell refused to claim the Judgeship, and the Assemblymen returned by the villainy were never allowed to be sworn by the House, nor did they venture to contest. Of all those who aided in conceiving and executing the fraud, only Gen. Coffroth was able to profit by it so as to gain temporary position, and he did it by a second fraud upon his party. The people the next year decided against the tricksters by an overwhelming majority, electing Union Assemblymen and giving nearly 800 in the Congressional district.

The people of both parties at home equally appreciate this monstrous wrong. Coffroth will be cast aside by his party notwithstanding his tireless efforts to get a re-nomination, and Gen. Koontz has been indicated as the Union candidate for re-election by the united voice of the Unionist. We congratulate Gen. Koontz and the faithful people who have been wronged by the injustice he has suffered, upon his admission, and we can assure Congress that the people will settle the issue the next time in unmistakeable terms by the triumphant re-election of Gen. Koontz.

[No Title]
(Column 3)
Summary: The piece remarks on the in-fighting among the district's Democrats over the party's nomination for Congress.
[No Title]
(Column 4)
Summary: Legislators defeated a motion by Thad Stevens that would have enabled the presiding officers of both houses to convene Congress any time before December 1st. The article approves of Congress's decision and declares that any wrong-doing on the part of the President should be countered by the people.
The Way The Money Goes
(Column 7)
Summary: "Bobtail" decries the government's handling of the economy, particularly its methods for raising revenues.
Full Text of Article:

To the Editors of the Franklin Repository:

The people of these States--Union loving and patriotic, patient, trustful, and long-suffering--have, during the past three years been taxed on every article upon which human ingenuity could devise that a tax might be levied. In the belief that such taxation was absolutely necessary, to raise a revenue wherewith Government could meet the great demands made upon its exchequer, the people to a man have stood up to the rack--every one a hero--and paid these taxes with alacrity, even at the expense of stinting themselves in a hundred absolute essentials. But, Government having consequently been enabled to hold disintegrate our nobly heritage, by conquering a lasting peace, the people naturally expected of the present Congress measures calculated to effect one of two things, viz: Either a decided and permanent increase in the value of our currency, or a reduction of the list of taxes, to end that, in view of peace being restored, some let-up might be felt in the privileges of living in this happy land of republican institutions.

What, on the contrary, is the result? Taxes have not been reduced, but, instead, except to the rich who least feel their weight, they have been increased. Little, if any, of our national debt has been paid, while the value of our currency has not increased to any appreciable extent during the twelve months which have elapsed since peace was proclaimed, and the armed hosts of the enemy transformed into friends and brethren.

Naturally we ask with Artemus, Ward, Esq. Why is this true? Have the officers of the ship of state no bowels of compassion for the passengers, or do they consider that by such flagrant breaches of trust and departures from good faith as our financier-in-chief has been convicted of within the past few weeks, they are sowing the seeds of another revolution that will be far more general and vindictive than that which has just been overcome?

When Mr. Chase was Secretary of the Treasury it used to be a pre-arranged and decided thing among the gamblers on Wall Street and Exchange Place, New York, to "copper" him, whatever he said or did. When he tried to contract the currency they extended it; when he tried to put gold down they put it up, and when he endeavored to advance the price of government securities, they sold such securities freely, and, consequently, depreciated the price. Mr. Chase was a philosopher in his way, and a philanthropist in fact. He knew little about money beyond this, which to him had the force of a law, viz: that Government was, or ought to be, able to rule the money market, and to rise superior to the combination of banking cliques and broker's coteries. In this he meant well and worked honestly, but he was mistaken in his estimate and conclusions; for he could no more combat the laws of trade than King Canute could the waves of the ocean. He invariably hurt himself every time he interfered with the currency, and the only thing he might be considered aut fait in was manufacturing plenty of "greenbacks," and thus "making things pleasant."

But when Mr. M'Culloch became Secretary, better things were expected. He was acknowledged par excellence a financier and banker. Had he not been President of the State Bank of Indiana, and did he not engineer that institution to the death--of all the Free Banks which the foolish legislature of 1854 passed a law to organize, and which in 1854--5--6 had let loose like a flood their worthless promises to pay all over the country? Certainly, if any person had the ability to manage satisfactorily the Treasury of the United States, it was he and no mistake about it. Well he has been over a year in the position, and what better has he done than Mr. Chase? He told us in his Fort Wayne speech, and also in his Treasury Report, that the currency was going to be contracted and, consequently, its value would be enhanced. He has kept his word by retiring greenbacks, for which the people paid no interest, and multiplying largely national bank notes, for which the people who use them have to pay two interests--one to get the use of them and the other in the shape of taxes, due and payable on the bonds which back them. And thus, instead of the currency being contracted, it is expanded to such a degree that on Wall street to-day it is cheaper than it has been in fifty years, and the prices of life's necessaries are so high that we have nothing whatever to export to Europe, but must pay our debts contracted there in gold.

He promised that a return to specie payments might be expected to take place at an early day; and, to bring this desirable consummation about, he hoarded gold until he had amassed sixty millions, and the price of this article in the money market ruled below the thirties as premium. Then he determined to sell a portion of this gold to the end that he might force the price down below the twenties--guaranteeing that it should not rise above 30 per cent. premium in any event. So, one day, a few months ago, through the agency of one Peter M. Myers, Esq., he began peddling out the government gold at the rate of two or three millions a day at 120 1/8, being just that eighth of one per cent above his guaranteed figure beyond which it should not be allowed to go, and that eighth going into the pocket of Mr. P. M. Myers, as his pay for the job. This gentleman found no difficulty in selling all he wanted to daily, when suddenly, the monotony of the operation was broken by the news from London which, on the 21st of May last, was flashed over the wires from Halifax, viz: that the condition of affairs in Europe was very threatening, and that the banks of England had ran up its rate of interest to 10 per cent. per annum. In view of these facts a child might have told what the result would be for gold. The rush made upon Mr. Myers that morning nearly choked him; but, instead of advising the Secretary upon the instant of the altered condition of things, he kept on selling gold at 120 1/8 with a knowing look, as if he knew and knew alone what he was about, and the gold speculators who crowded and jostled him and each other were a pack of fools. The consequences were that before night he had sold fifteen millions of gold dollars, equal about twenty millions of our currency, and, a few minutes after five, as soon as he had left the room, the excited buyers put up the price to 132 1/2.

Here was a pretty fix. The Secretary had sold of his sixty some thirty-one millions, and yet the speculators controlled the market! Where was Secretary McCulloch's guarantee? What was it good for?

But, softly. It is true the Secretary has been beaten, in fact euchred; but, as yet, the gold is not paid for! Ah, mi boy! it is here where our financier has taken the grip that will throw you. On Tuesday, May 22, Mr. P. M. Myers had the right to demand pay in U. S. Greenbacks for every dollar's worth of gold sold on Monday, or no sale. The banks were in the wildest trepidation. A renewal of the panic of 1864 was expected. The gold speculators, so exultant the day before, now trembled. Thirty-two millions, nor half that sum were not to be obtained within the corporation boundary of New York, nor elsewhere to be borrowed within the time, except as a share that would make quite a difference in the footing of the speculators in gold. They would have to sell at a loss expectant of 2 to 5 per cent; and it was with long faces and very blue they took their position in the goldroom, that unhappy Tuesday morning. But let us not anticipate.

Until Mr. Myers came into the room the rate of gold was 132 1/2. When that gentleman appeared it fell to 131 1/4. At that price he offered fifty thousand. It was immediate taken, and in a few minutes he had sold a million. Then he fled, utterly whipped, from the room! The premium instantly leaped to 34 1/2, and the day passed with no demand being made for beyond about one-third of the gold sold by the government. Oh! happy day though opening so portentous of evil. The next day another third; and, the succeeding day, the balance. Oh! lame and impotent government officials. Mr. Peter Myers had about three thousand gold certificates signed on Tuesday. He was unable to sign more upon that day; but, between the Wednesday and Thursday following he did get through the arduous occupation, and, by the evening of the latter day, the last certificate for $5000 was duly handed over to its purchaser and paid for in greenbacks. The job was ended, nobody hurt, and the speculators enabled to hold their gold at the purchase figure of 130 1/8.

But in this pretty operation the Secretary was not happy enough with favoring the speculators to the extent of giving them three days to make the turn in, but took in payment for his gold not greenbacks but compound interest bearing notes, deposit and debt certificates, none of which were due for months and some not for over a year, to amount of nearly twelve millions. In other words our financier, par excellence, not only sold the government gold to speculators at from five to ten per cent below the price which they would have to pay for it, had he not been bent on keeping down the premium to a fixed figure, but he actually furnished them with the means of paying for nearly half their purchases by discounting government paper long before maturity! Of course the speculators took advantage of such complaisance, and on Thursday, May 24, gold stood for some little time at 140 1/2 at which price not a few of the lucky buyers realized their profits, and we lost by this transaction, just three millions of dollars, not to speak of whatever sum had been paid to hoard this very gold thus sacrificed!

Now this is what may be called "Financiering Extraordinary," and may well be held up as one of the heaviest operations of modern times.

But I believe you wanted to know if there was any possibility of what out west is known as "shenanaging" in the operation. Well, let us see. P. M. Myers, Esq., is Secretary H. M'Culloch's brother-in-law. He made an eight of one per cent on the amount he sold viz: thirty-two millions--eight into thirty-two four times--forty thousand dollars. Not so bad for about a week's work. You remember how the county was electrified in 1861 when a certain N. Y. merchant made about that sum in chartering vessels for government. Well no one is electrified now. You see we get used to this sort of thing, as the cook said, the eels did to being skinned. Well, to continue, as to P. M. M. Esq. It is possible he has some intimate friends among the "heavy men" of New York or elsewhere, further South, to whom he may have imparted the funny intelligence that he was empowered to make a run upon the gold speculators and--burst them; and in view of this possibility, both himself and such heavy men, his friends, must have known that after he had sold ten or twelve millions, buying gold of P. M. Myers, Esq., was a sure operation. Of course no one, Myers included, who saw this, bought. Ah, no! The name and fame of the Secretary as a public functionary must be sustained.

Yes; the Secretary has said, in his report of the transaction, that the sale would have been stopped sooner but for a difficulty in communicating with New York. It is believed that one of the heavy men aforesaid, with the laudable intention of preventing the Secretary stopping the sale, and thus pay and immediately, bribed a small boy to run over to Jersey, climb an isolator, and cut the telegraph wire.

O yes, you are quite right, he did also say that in the opinion of leading New York bankers the transaction was in every way satisfactory, and, in fact no one will doubt it was for them.
Yours to command,
BULL TAIL RUN, PA., June 25, 1866.

Trailer: Bobtail

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Local Items--Political Conventions
(Column 1)
Summary: The Union delegate election will be held on August 4th, and the Union convention will be held three days later. The Democratic delegate election is scheduled for August 25th, and the Convention two days following. The Democrats have determined the representation by allowing each ward to have two delegates and an additional one for every one hundred Democratic votes cast in 1864. Accordingly, the North Ward has three delegates while the South may select four.
(Names in announcement: John A. Hyssong, William H. M. McDowell, T. Jeff Nill, K. Shannon Taylor, Hiram Keyser, Leonard Alleman, Henry Strickler, A. L. Coyle, H. G. Greenawalt, John McLaughlin, Daniel Gelwix, Jacob Cook, Thad. McMahon, Lewis W. Deitrick, William G. Mitchell, J. L. P. Deitrick, B. A. Carmany, Joseph Booz)
Local Items--Death of An Aged Citizen
(Column 1)
Summary: Informs readers that James Henderson died at his home in Fayetteville on June 30th. Henderson, 90, came to America from Ireland in 1801 and lived in several parts of Maryland and Pennsylvania before settling in Franklin county in 1831. He is survived by his wife of 61 years.
(Names in announcement: James Henderson)
Local Items--Gen. Geary in Shippensburg
(Column 1)
Summary: Gen. Geary visited Shippensburg last Thursday evening where he was "cordially received by the people." During his stay there, Geary gave an half-hour long speech in which he described the Democrats' position on a number of issues in "scathing terms." Additional addresses were delivered by A. K. McClure, of Chambersburg, and Mr. Weakly, of Carlisle.
(Names in announcement: A. K. McClure, Weakly)
Local Items
(Column 1)
Summary: John Noel, "an old and respected citizen of Chambersburg," died in Hagerstown last Thursday. Noel served as the Post Master during Buchanan's tenure as president.
(Names in announcement: John Noel)
Local Items--Nominated
(Column 1)
Summary: Last Friday, President Johnson nominated J. W. Deal to the Senate to be confirmed as Post Master for Chambersburg. The Senate's decision is yet unknown.
(Names in announcement: J. W. Deal)
Local Items--Soldiers' State Committee
(Column 1)
Summary: Reports that Gen. Owen has named Capt. John Walker, of Fannettsburg, to the Soldiers' State Committee.
(Names in announcement: Capt. John Walker)
Local Items--Collectors Appointed
(Column 1)
Summary: The Town Council has appointed Christian Eckles Collector of the Borough tax, and the School Directors have selected Frank Henderson Collector of School tax.
(Names in announcement: Christian Eckles, Frank Henderson)
(Column 2)
Summary: On July 18th, Alice Belle, infant daughter of George and Mary Palmer, died in Chambersburg. She was 6 months old.
(Names in announcement: Alice Belle Palmer, George Palmer, Mary Palmer)
(Column 2)
Summary: On July 4th, Alexander McClelland, 87, died in Mercersburg.
(Names in announcement: Alexander McClelland)
(Column 2)
Summary: On July 15th, Mary Edmonson, 23, died in Mercersburg.
(Names in announcement: Mary Edmonson)
(Column 2)
Summary: On June 30th, James Henderson, 90, died at his residence in Fayetteville. The cause of his death was paralysis.
(Names in announcement: James Henderson)
(Column 2)
Summary: On July 19th, Frederick Humelsine, 53, died in Chambersburg after suffering the effects of a lingering illness.
(Names in announcement: Frederick Humelsine)

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