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Valley of the Shadow

Franklin Repository: April 17, 1867

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The Russian Acquistion
(Column 4)
Summary: Labeling the acquisition of "Russia-America" as "folly," the editors lambaste the government's decision to pay $10.2 million for a "territory that Russia does not want, that we will never want, and that nobody can ever hope to want."
Full Text of Article:

The Russian-American treaty has been ratified by the U. S. Senate, and, as the ratification by Russia is not a matter of doubt, it only remains for Congress to appropriate ten millions two hundred thousand dollars in gold, to pay for our new acquisition, to make the bargain and transfer complete. It is intimated that the House will hesitate before making such an appropriation, but we have no expectation of failure in that quarter. If the Senate could be manipulated to ratify the treaty with but two dissenting votes, (Fessenden and Ferry) we look for the same influence to control a majority of the members of the House and place money in the hands of Mr. Seward to consummate his contract. True it will be urged with great earnestness and force that nobody thought of purchasing Russia-America; that nobody wants it; that it will benefit nobody but Russia, and that it will be a constant and fearful drain on the treasury to protect and govern it; but in defiance of all such objections, the money will most likely be appropriated and the territorial possessions of the United States will be extended to the region of the North pole, with the classic countries of Kamtschatka and Tehucktchi as our nearest neighbors across Behring's Strait in the far Northwest.

Russia has long been the owner of a vast wilderness North-west of the British Possessions, containing nearly half a million square miles, and inhabited by some 3,000 Cossacks and 50,000 barbarian Indians. Beyond these valuable acquisitions to our social and political strength, the new territory gives lavish fruit in huge ice-bergs and impassable snows, and furnishes the highest mountain on the continent. The Southern border of the main body of the proposed acquisition touches the North Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Kamtschatka, and its Northern boundary is on the Antarctic Ocean. It is not connected by land with the United States, the nearest point of the main body being from fifteen hundred to two thousand miles North of the extreme North-western territory of Washington. A group of Islands which Russia has kindly thrown in have a tolerable climate and their Southern border approaches within six hundred miles of our present possessions. There are no white settlements in any part of the Russian territory beyond trappers and temporary sojourners in the fur interest, and it is not pretended that the time will ever come, when any considerable portion of the territory can be so peopled as to protect itself from the hostile tribes of the lowest and most barbarous character which now inhabit it.

When we glance at the map of the United States, and find that with all our progress we have yet to people to a self-sustaining point nearly two thirds of the territory we now own, the wisdom of adding to our uncivilized territory half a million square miles of land located five thousand miles from any government starting point, must be gravely questioned by the people. Just now the savages render labor and its products, and even life itself, insecure in all the territories, covering more than half the area of the Union, and for many years to come we must spend millions of money annually to protect those who are willing to develop the rich agricultural and mineral regions of the far west. To this heavy cost must now be added many millions more to protect the adventurers in additional territory one-fifth the size of the whole United States. True, it may be answered that nobody will go there, and therefore no army will be needed, but if so, for what have we paid our ten millions and more in gold? By the terms of the treaty this government is bound to protect the citizens of all nations there, and if a bevy of Russians, or North-polers, or Dr. Kane's Esquimaux conclude to settle there, or even to take a brief summer's hunt with the thermometer at forty degrees below zero, all they have to do is to call on our government, and they must be protected. We are bound by the stipulations of the treaty to govern and protect the inhabitants, and to do this we must have territorial Governors, Secretaries, Marshals, &c., each of whom must have a small standing army to protect himself from making a breakfast some fine frosty morning for some of the savages, who inhabit that delightful country. We must also have Delegates in Congress, and the Speaker of the House will soon recognize "the gentleman from Sitka" or "the gentleman from Equimaux," in the deliberations of our national legislature. In short, we have agreed to pay ten millions two hundred thousand dollars for territory that Russia does not want, that we will never want, and that nobody can ever hope to want; and we propose to do it, too, when we have a crushing national debt, and more than half of our present territory, exclusive of the South, requiring military protection. Could folly go farther? We confess now that it might, but until now, no one would have dreamed that it could make such gigantic strides in high places. We shall probably next be waked up some morning to learn that Seward and Johnson have purchased Greenland and the fee simple to the North pole, and why not? If the immense ice-bergs and interminable snows of Russian America are a luxury worth millions of money, why should not the still grander icy mountains and still deeper snows of Greenland be worth more?

It may be "manifest destiny"--the plea for every robbery we have ever committed and every territory we have bought, but have we not already paid dearly enough for our submission to "manifest destiny?" By this treaty we wrong no one but ourselves, but why must we do that? We have more than enough room for all the possible increase of our population for the next century, and if ever more should be wanted, it will not be in the region of Russian America. We hardly hope that Congress will refuse to appropriate the money to ratify this treaty, but if the wants of the nation, and the already heavy burdens of the people, are considered, Russia will be permitted to keep her American territory for another hundred years at least.

[No Title]
(Column 2)
Summary: The brief piece notes that the Senate killed the bill for "partial payment of military damages to the border counties" after garnering only five votes in its favor. Despite the rejection, the editors express faith that "the measure will yet prevail."
Letters From Mrs. Swisshelm
(Column 3)
Summary: Mrs. Swisshelm appeals to readers to heed Thad Stevens's words on reconstruction, arguing that the confiscation of rebel property "is the doctrine of common sense and common justice." Until such policies are adopted, the country will have no "genuine peace and prosperity."
Trailer: Jane G. Swisshelm
(Column 4)
Summary: "The people can breath again," says Horace, now that the legislature of 1867 "is no more." The Repository's correspondent suggests that the political maneuvering in the last week of the session embodied the tone of that body's rule.
Trailer: Horace
Gen. Grant in the South
(Column 7)
Summary: The article relates that Gen. Grant is held in high esteem in the upcountry of Georgia because of his gallantry on the field of battle and his "magnamity" during Lee's surrender.
Origin of Article: Augusta Chronicle

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Local Items--Court Proceedings
(Column 1)Local Items--Important to Tax Payers
(Column 2)
Summary: The articles provides an abstract of the principal provisions contained in the amended Internal Revenue bill.
Full Text of Article:

IMPORTANT TO TAX PAYERS.--The provisions in the amended Internal Revenue bill have not been published, and as they were of importance to all, we give an abstract of the principal provisions:

Costs of suits and other legal proceedings arising from ordinary business are to be treated as other expenses of such business, and may be deducted from the gross profits thereof.

If the members of a family have made separate incomes, the returns may be made separately by the proper parties, and a ratable portion of the $1,000 exempted from the income of each. The parent, as the natural guardian of the minor child, is required to make return for him. But where any other guardian or trustee has been appointed, the return should be made by the latter. If the minor has no guardian or trustee, he should make return himself. If he refuse or neglect, an independent assessment must be made as in other cases, omitting penalty.

For the purposes of the exemption of $1,000, husband and wife are to be regarded as members of the same family, though living separate, unless separated by divorce or other operation of law, so as to break up the family relation. Minor children and their parents should be counted members of the same family, whether living together or not.

If a tax payer has a minor child in the service of the Government receiving a salary, such parent should include in his income return so much of the salary of his child as is not subject to salary tax.

Gifts of money, when clearly not in the nature of payment for services rendered, or other valuable consideration, are not liable to taxation as income. Amounts received on life insurance policies and damages recovered in actions of tort are exempt from income tax.

Lawyers and physicians may return either the actual fees received during the year, without regard to the time when they accrued, or the amounts due to the business of the year. But when the taxpayer has heretofore adopted one method, he cannot be allowed to make use of the other.

If the manufacturer or dealer has been in the practice of estimating his annual profits by taking inventories of stock, he should take the cost value on such stock, unless he has taken the market value in making previous returns. Whichever method has been adopted by the taxpayer should be adhered to uniformly.

If interest accrued during the year on notes, bonds, &c., is good and collectable at the end of the year, it should be returned as income whether actually collected or not.

The fact that income is devoted to the payment of debts does not release the same from liability to income tax.

Local Items--A Market House
(Column 2)
Summary: Reports that the legislature has passed an act incorporating the Chambersburg Hall and Market Company; the organization was granted the power to erect a proper building and supervise the rental of the stall.
(Names in announcement: T. B. Kennedy, Jacob Zuck, D. O. Gehr, Jacob Stouffer, J. McDowell Sharpe, Peter Krichbaum, Augustus Duncan, George Flack, Charles Burnett, J. A. Reside, William D. Guthrie, G. R. Messersmith, A. H. M. McCulloch, Calvin Gilbert)
Local Items--Meeting of the Carlisle Presbytery
(Column 2)
Summary: At the Presbytery meeting held in Harrisburg on April 9th, resolutions were unanimously passed approving "the noble stand taken by Gov. Geary upon the temperance question" and the efforts to restrict the Sunday car travel.
[No Title]
(Column 3)
Summary: Notes that the Anniversary of the Franklin County Bible Society will be held next Sunday at the German Reformed Church. Rev. Kunkleman will give the sermon.
(Names in announcement: Rev. Kunkleman)
Local Items--New Direct Tax
(Column 3)
Summary: Informs readers that the legislature has repealed the tax on certain personal property, and has apportioned the sum of $300,000 on the counties of the Commonwealth. Under the bill, the apportionment for Franklin county amounts to $3,279.
Local Items--Call Accepted
(Column 3)
Summary: Rev. Cyrus Cort, of Altoona Mission charge, has accepted a position to lead the recently organized German Reformed Church.
(Names in announcement: Rev. Cyrus Cort)
Local Items--Died in Prison
(Column 3)
Summary: A black man named David Cain died in the Franklin county prison last Thursday after being arrested for larceny. Cain was veteran of the late war, as such he was buried "by his colored brethren with military honors."
(Names in announcement: David Cain)
Local Items--Rejected
(Column 3)
Summary: Matthew P. Welsh's nomination for Post Master of Chambersburg was rejected by the Senate last week.
(Names in announcement: Matthew P. Welsh)
(Column 3)
Summary: On April 10th, Albert Winton and Kate Keefer were married by Rev. S. H. C. Smith. The ceremony took place at the residence of Mrs. Hoke, in Stoufferstown.
(Names in announcement: Albert Winton, Kate Keefer, Rev. S. H. C. Smith)
(Column 3)
Summary: On April 9th, William Koons and Sarah Beamesderfer were married by Rev. G. W. Albaugh.
(Names in announcement: William Koons, Sarah Beamesderfer, Rev. G. W. Albaugh)
(Column 3)
Summary: On April 9th, Abraham K., eldest son of John Stouffer, died at his father's residence in Willow Grove. He was 22 years old.
(Names in announcement: John Stouffer, Abraham K. Stouffer)
(Column 3)
Summary: On April 12th, Hugh Mannon died in Marion. He was 81 years old.
(Names in announcement: Hugh Mannon)
(Column 3)
Summary: On April 8th, Minnie, only daughter of Lizzie and E. B. Winger, died in Quincy. She was 6 months old.
(Names in announcement: Minnie Winger, Lizzie Winger, E. B. Winger)

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