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Valley of the Shadow

Franklin Repository: April 24, 1867

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Description of Page: This page includes several short stories and anecdotes.

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[No Title]
(Column 1)
Summary: The article relates that A. K. McClure and his family will embark on a journey across the Rocky Mountains this summer as part of a "special engagement to write a series of letters for the New York Tribune." The trip is expected to take several months and cover an estimated 8,000 miles.
Shall We Have Reform
(Column 1)
Summary: Although they differ over the best method to accomplish the goal, the editors assert, Democratic and Republican journals throughout Pennsylvania do agree that reform must be undertaken to halt the "seething fountain of corruption in the selection of representatives." The editors contend that the "people should support no man for the legislature who does not positively pledge himself to allow the people to determine for themselves whether they want constitutional reform or not."
Full Text of Article:

The press of all parties in Pennsylvania, with one accord, demand a thorough, radical, sweeping Reform in the character of our legislators. They do not all agree upon the best method of protecting the people by organic amendment, against future repetitions of the shameless debauchery of last winter, but they all do agree that unless the character of our legislature is entirely changed, by the destruction of the seething fountain of corruption in the selection of representatives, there will be an end of all safety to person, property or public reputation in Pennsylvania.

We need not multiply evidences of the necessity of reform. They are as so overwhelming and so thicken about us on every hand, that party lines would be but as chaff in an effort to explain or defend them. To no class, condition or political persuasion of voters in Pennsylvania is this conviction confined; but the condemnation of the last legislature and the demand for a substantial improvement in their successors, is as wide spread as our commonwealth, and as universal as suffrage itself. Past legislatures have been remiss, doubtless measurably corrupt, and it may be had no more honest legislators than the last; but never before in the history of any legislature, in any State, did venality so openly and insolently crown itself supreme in the very temple of power, and persistently defy every earnest wish, and every vital interest of the people.

Had the legislature responded to the appeal of nine-tenths of the press that had supported them and allowed the people to say for themselves whether they wish reform, and to what extent they desired it, there would have been at least the shade of a silver lining to the cloud of obloquy that hangs about our law-making power; but, faithful to their corrupt instincts and to their habitual defiance of the wishes of their constituents, they would not so much as consider the proposition. Had they allowed the people to speak, there would have been a Convention called in October next by over one hundred thousand majority, and at the same time Delegates would have been chosen thereto of unspotted integrity and inflexible purpose, whose action would have ended the blistering stain of our system of legislation for all time to come. We would have received a largely increased representation, brought the representative into immediate relations with, and responsibility to, the people of his single district; limited the powers of the legislature solely to general legislation; denied it the right under any circumstances, to confer special corporate authority; limited its power over appropriations to public purposes; limited the time and pay of members, and transferred all its special powers, now exercised to the exclusion of public interests, to the judiciary of the State. With such a radical change in the organic law, future legislatures could not, if they would, become the mere instruments of corruptionists, and the interests of the people would be safe in their hands.

But the last legislature denied the people the opportunity to attain reform because to have granted it would have been a reflection upon itself. It was unwilling to confess, what its constituents could not conceal if they would, that the people had ceased to hope for good from its deliberations, and waited patiently until they could rejoice at its adjournment. Now the people have to act again. This great question will come up in review before them. They cannot reach constitutional reform this year; but they can attain it by another year. It will not do to attempt to redeem our legislative powers by the selection of better men. Good and true men should be nominated--indeed must be if any party would hope for success--but if the effort for reform shall stop there, it will be futile. The people should support no man for the legislature, who does not positively pledge himself to allow the people to determine for themselves whether they want constitutional reform or not, and even then they should not vote for any candidate, no matter by whom nominated, whose reputation for integrity is not a guarantee against debauchery and perfidy. This shameless, insolent defiance of the wishes of the people must end, or the party through which it is done must cease to legislate for the State.

We know that no party can plead exemption from this great crime against the people, but the Republican party has been the party of power for years past, and it therefore has a much larger measure of responsibility for the integrity of its acts. Whatever the Democrats may do in the matter, the Republicans must guarantee to the long shamed and betrayed people of our State the reform they so earnestly demand, and the time has come when, if we fail to do so, we must invite inevitable disaster.

Letters From Mrs. Swisshelm
(Column 2)
Summary: In her article, Swisshelm discusses the importance of the black vote in the post-war political realm, and maintains that the freedmen are more politically astute than most whites think.
Full Text of Article:

Correspondence of the Franklin Repository.

No. XXV.
Wilkinsburg, Pa., April 18, 1867.

There is considerable anxiety now to know how the enfranchised Freedmen will vote. Formerly negroes voted in New Jersey, and a candidate sent to an old negro preacher two barrels of nice potatoes. Next meeting day he exhorted his hearers on the duty of voting and difference between Whigs and Democrats. He told the story of the receipt of the potatoes and added:

"My Bredren, some tell you vote for de Whigs, some tell you vote for de Democrats, but I tell you, vote whar you git de taters!"

It is probable that most men "vote whar they git de taters," or in other words, as their interest prompts, and if there is a class of voters in this country, who can understand where their votes will most accrue to their pecuniary advantage, that class is the southern negro. Centuries of oppression have done for them, what they did for the Jews, viz.: made them sharp if not sharpers. The negro, in this country, has been excluded from all honors except very limited opportunities for getting wealth. In the South especially they have learned to estimate men by their wealth; and no class of our citizens set so high a value on money, or knew better where pecuniary advantage is likely to grow out of any particular policy. The party which makes it most the interest of the negro to vote for its men and measures, is the party that will get the negro vote. Small bribery or cajolery will not go so far with them, as most people think. It is doubtful if many of them would refuse a bribe, but equally doubtful if they would not sell the man who bought them, and vote directly opposite to contract.

The old question "can the negro take care of himself?" has, to me, long ago changed into that other question "can white folks take care of themselves on equal, legal footing with the negro?" I think I have never seen a wire-pulling politician so shrewd that an ordinary field hand could not circumvent him. They have an intuitive insight into character--a habit of looking for concealed motives--a tact in concealing their opinions and learning those of others, and a readiness in assuming a character to suit the occasion, which I have never seen equaled in any other people. They will let no sentimental ideas of gratitude, for past favors, lead them to throw away their votes on ideas not likely to pay, and if their vote will not make radicalism triumphant in their district, and radicalism is not most for their advantage, they will vote conservatism, and vice versa.

They are what oppression has made them, and if they were models of disinterested patriotism, it would be an unanswerable argument in favor of slavery. Fortunately their interests are identical with freedom and progress, and therefore the party of freedom and progress may count upon their votes. The party which gives them land and schools, is the party which most advances the prosperity of the country and gives them a chance, and they will vote themselves farms, as surely as they have learned, in the school of privation, the great need of them. If the Republican party expects their votes because it very unwillingly gave them freedom, and the power to vote, the Republican party has reckoned without its host. They want homes on the soil they have watered for centuries with their blood and tears, and there is not a man, woman or child over ten years old of them, who does not know that their ancestors have earned every acre of land in Dixie. They will not ask it all, or the half of it, and most of them would be content to buy, at low rates, but they have "land on the brain." They will pray for land, and work for land, and vote for land, and primers and spelling books, and school houses and meeting houses, and teachers and preachers, and something good to eat and something nice to wear, handsome furniture and gardens full of flowers. They are a sensuous people, and want all the good things of this life, and the most beautiful heaven in the next. They are a people of boundless wants and great capabilities. No use trying to satisfy them with words. They are accustomed to white men's promises, and deeds will be necessary to securing their support to any party. If the Republican party represents Mr. Stevens' policy of dividing the large estates and selling or giving them in small farms to honest, industrious men and Mr. Julian's policy of giving the freedmen homesteads on the public lands, the Republican party will have no trouble in getting the negro vote in the Southern States, but if its policy represents no material good to the negro, the negro will be very indifferent to its success.

The Republicans are somewhat divided in opinion just now, as to what Democrat they ought to elect as the next President; and a majority seem inclined to Gen. Grant. That delightful uncertainty about his political opinions, which makes him to be claimed by both parties and all parties, has a charm for Republicans, which appears irresistible. As the General is most likely to fight it out on this line of non-commitalism, it will scarce be worth while to raise an opposition to his nomination; for a Democrat who has given some reason to doubt his adherence to his party or its measures, has a fascination for Republicans. There is such a mystery about General Grant's opinions, on any and every question, that it keeps folk on the qui vive; like Signor Blitz's little ball and thimble, now it is here, now it is there, and now where is it? The General winks, and lo, some one has divined just what he thinks on the Reconstruction bill. He does not wink, and we have his ideas on negro suffrage; but presently he sneezes and alas, we were all wrong in our surmises!

General Grant's opinion is the "little joker" which the unsophisticated in vain try to follow from thimble to thimble. No one doubts that it is "all right," and if there is say one in the country with whom Gen. Grant does not agree in his political opinions, that one must be a rare specimen of himself. Wendell Phillips and Mayor Monroe can unite on Grant, and so he is the great pacificator, but the principal reason why the Republicans should elect him is that he is no Republican. If he had been identified with that party, and bore the scars of battle in defence of its principles, if he had won the enmity of its enemies by his devotion to its men and measures, of course he would be ineligible as a candidate of that party, whose policy it is to conciliate its enemies at the cost of its friends. As McClellan was kept in command eight months after Mr. Lincoln was convinced of his incapacity to conciliate his party, nineteen-twentieths of all the general officers of the army were appointed from that party, kept in office, through blunder after blunder, when, if they had been Republicans, they would have been dismissed; but both Southern and Northern Democrats were to be conciliated; and if the former had to be whipped, it was advisable to do it in the gentlest way for them, no matter what the cost to Yankees. Had Gen. Grant been a Republican he would in all probability have been superseded after the battle of Pittsburg Landing; but the fact of his being a Democrat, and so pro-slavery that he sent the slaves who staid in Fort Donnelson back to their rebel masters, made it probable that our Southern brethren would not think so hard to surrender to him as to one of different political faith. This supposition was quite correct for he certainly gave them very easy terms, terms which have cost the country all the trouble we have had since and which were quite equal in leniency to treason and much more sweeping than Andrew Johnson's pardoning policy.

It would require proof, I never expect to see, to convince me that Gen. Grant's victories did not cost many millions more of money, and thousands of lives, than they need have done, and he felt less sympathy for rebels. I never shall forget the hundreds, if not thousands, of wounded Union soldiers who died for want of the necessaries of life, while their comrades guarded these necessaries, belonging to rebels, and our commissaries dealt out rations to the enemy, and Gen. Grant was in command, just before us.

All the time I lived in Washington, and he there, I never saw him, would go out of my way to avoid the disagreeable sensation of a sight of him would have brought, and I could not be hired to touch his hand. If the Republicans elect him President, and do not find him a second Andrew Johnson I have mistaken the man.

Trailer: Jane G. Swisshelm
(Column 3)
Summary: "Horace" reports that Schuyler Colfax, the Speaker of the House, visited the state capital last week.
Trailer: Horace
The Republican Party in the South
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Summary: Led by movements in North Carolina and Alabama, the Republican party is gradually gaining a following among blacks and disaffected whites in the southern states, says the article.
Origin of Article: Jackson (Miss.) Clarion
Editorial Comment: "The Jackson (Mississippi) Clarion for April 11th, has the following interesting remarks upon the spread of the Republican party in the Southern States:"
Supplement to the School Law
(Column 5)
Summary: Prior to the end of its last session, the legislature passed a law that grants school directors the right to occupy land to build a school house if land cannot be obtained through regular channels, provides funds for county Teachers' Institutes to meet yearly, and requires all future superintendents to obtain a diploma from an institute of higher learning.
A Negro Orator in Tennessee
(Column 6)
Summary: In his address, Thomas Kane disputes the notion that blacks will prove incapable of properly exercising their suffrage rights, and reminds his audience that whites have long engaged in the unsavory and undemocratic practice of vote-buying.
Origin of Article: Cincinnati Commercial
Editorial Comment: "At a recent political meeting in Chattanooga, Tennessee, one of the speakers was a negro named Thomas Kane. His speech was a remarkable effort, full of practical good sense, and sometimes rising into genuine eloquence. We copy from the Cincinnati Commercial some specimen sentences:"
Prize Fighting
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Summary: The piece says the legislature passed a "stringent law" against prize fighting. The penalty for transgressing the measure is a fine of no more than $1,000, and solitary imprisonment not exceeding two years.

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Local Items--Important to Farmers
(Column 1)
Summary: Contains the instructions given to Assessors by the Commissioners of Internal Revenue relative to the income tax.
Local Items--Lecture By Mr. Colfax
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Summary: The article reports that Schuyler Colfax's lecture, "Across the Continent," was well-received by the "large and appreciative audience" that assembled in Repository Hall to hear him speak. Colfax was in "great demand" during his stay in Chambersburg, and was courted by a number of organizations in town that wished to have him address their members.
Local Items--Chambersburg
(Column 1)
Summary: In his account of his trip up the Cumberland Valley, the Harrisburg correspondent of the Philadelphia Sunday Transcript describes Chambersburg in glowing terms, and lauds the town's remarkable recovery from the July 30, 1864 raid by McCausland's forces.
Origin of Article: Philadelphia Sunday Transcript
Local Items--Anniversary
(Column 2)
Summary: Reports that the Fifty-first Anniversary Meeting of the Franklin County Bible Society was held last Sunday at the German Reformed Church.
(Names in announcement: Rev. Kerr, Rev. J. A. Kunkelman, Rev. Brady, Rev. B. S. Schneck, Rev. F. Dyson, Jacob Hoke)
Local Items--Court Proceedings
(Column 2)Local Items--Pocket Book Stolen
(Column 2)
Summary: Reports that J. McD. Sharpe's wallet, which contained $130, was stolen from his office last Thursday. Jesse Cain, from the vicinity of Fayetteville, was charged with the crime.
(Names in announcement: Jesse Cain, J. McD. Sharpe)
Local Items--Sermon to the Odd Fellows
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Summary: Rev. S. H. C. Smith will give a sermon to the Odd Fellows of Chambersburg next Friday at the M. E. Church.
(Names in announcement: Rev. S. H. C. Smith)
Local Items--Rejection and Confirmation
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Summary: Reports that B. Y. Hamsher, the editor of the Valley Spirit, was nominated for Postmaster of Chambersburg, but was rejected by the Senate, while M. P. Welsh's nomination for Postmaster was confirmed, despite being rejected earlier.
(Names in announcement: B. Y. Hamsher, M. P. Welsh)
Local Items--Arrested
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Summary: Notes that Henry Burnett, who stole a watch and some money from Isaac H. Keefer a year ago, was arrested in Waynesboro last Sunday.
(Names in announcement: Henry Burnett, Isaac H. Keefer)
Local Items--Found
(Column 2)
Summary: The body of "young Foreman" was found near Upton on Thursday. The youth drowned some three weeks earlier about two miles from where the body was discovered.
(Names in announcement: "young" Foreman)
Local Items--A New Congregation
(Column 3)
Summary: Announces the organization of a new congregation in Mercersburg under the control of the United Brethren in Christ.
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Summary: On April 17th, H. N. Eberly and Adelaine D. Chambers were married by Rev. Thomas Creigh.
(Names in announcement: H. N. Eberly, Adelaine D. Chambers, Rev. Thomas Creigh)
(Column 3)
Summary: On April 9th, Joseph W. Bowers, of Hagerstown, Md., and Mary Ann Frederick were married by Rev. J. Dickson.
(Names in announcement: Joseph W. Bowers, Mary Ann Frederick, Rev. J. Dickson)
(Column 3)
Summary: On April 17th, Mary, consort of Martin B. Wengerd, died near Fayetteville. She was 65 years old.
(Names in announcement: Mary Wengerd, Martin B. Wengerd)
(Column 3)
Summary: On March 27th, Jane Blood, "relict of Samuel Blood," died after a short and painful illness. She was 72 years old.
(Names in announcement: Jane Blood, Samuel Blood)

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Description of Page: This page contains advertisements.