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Valley of the Shadow

Franklin Repository: May 29, 1867

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Description of Page: The page contains a variety of anecdotes and semi-comical vignettes.

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The Bankrupt Law
(Column 1)
Summary: The editorial lauds the passage of the congressional bankruptcy bill, which creates a uniform standard, as a key measure to facilitate transactions that cross state lines.
Full Text of Article:

One of the most important measures as affecting the commercial relations of the country, passed by Congress during the last session, was the bankrupt law. It seems strange, considering the fact that every commercial country has some uniform system of laws regulating bankruptcy, that heretofore legislation on that subject in this country should have failed as often as attempted. The truth is, however, that the bankrupt laws heretofore passed by Congress have been framed to meet special emergencies, and not being adapted to the ordinary wants of the commercial public, have been repealed as soon as the emergency that required them was passed. In 1800 a bankrupt act was passed, but its object being simply to relieve creditors, it was soon discovered to be unwise and was repealed with little or no opposition. In 1841 another was passed to suit the necessities of debtors, but it was so inefficient and objectionable in its parts that it was even more short-lived than the former.

Since its repeal to the present time, we have been without a uniform system of laws on the subject, each State regulating the matter as it preferred. The necessity of a national bankrupt law that should operate uniformly throughout the country, and give the needed relief to the unfortunate debtor and at the same time afford protection to the creditor, has never been questioned to any considerable extent. The great difficulty has been to frame a law acceptable in all its parts to the different sections of the country. The present law was not passed without serious opposition, but it is such an improvement upon the former laws on the subject, and seems to be so well adapted to the ordinary wants of the public, that it is likely to remain in force. It has embodied in it all the improvements in English legislation, and provides first for voluntary and compulsory bankruptcy. It is impartial in its provisions and not more stringent than justice to the creditor requires. It aims to relieve the hopeless bankrupt, and at the same time to protect the creditor against dishonesty and fraud. The last section of the act provides that the law shall go into effect on the first day of June next, after which time all State laws on the subject will be negatory.

Our Common Schools
(Column 1)
Summary: The editors call attention to a provision contained within the school bill passed by the last legislature requiring teachers to have sound knowledge of "orthography, reading, writing, geography, English grammar, mental and written arithmetic, history of the United States, and the theory of teaching" to qualify to instruct children. An additional requirement mandates that teachers should not be in the habit of imbibing intoxicating beverages.
Letters From Mrs. Jane G. Swisshelm
(Column 7)
Summary: In her article, Swisshelm rails against the decision to free Jefferson Davis and questions the logic behind it.
Full Text of Article:

Correspondence of the Franklin Repository.

NO. XXVII., Wilkinsburg, Pa., May 21, 1867.

The way of the transgressor is said to be hard, and the way of the philanthropist is not always easy. This the eccentric philosopher of the New York Tribune will realize if censure is in any way disagreeable. His late exploit in becoming first bondsman for the head traitor, has done much to loosen, if it has not quite broken, his hold on the confidence of loyal men, and yet the fault is not individually his. This lies with those "Fathers" whose wisdom has been so lauded, as something quite superhuman. The government organized by those Fathers, with whom wisdom is supposed to have died, presented the curious anomaly of ranking its own life as of far less value than that of the humblest citizen. Nay, so worthless, and less than worthless is that government, as estimated by itself, that while a man forfeits his own life, for taking that of another, for any private enmity, he may take the lives of any number of men for the avowed object of destroying that government. The end sanctifies the means, and what, otherwise, would be murder most foul, is only a fineable, and so, of course, a bailable offence, if committed in the hope of overthrowing this government. Had Jefferson Davis induced any man, or set of men, to kill any other man, or set of men, for any purpose less praiseworthy than that of destroying this government, he could not have been admitted to bail under it while awaiting trial, but the only penalty attached to treason is an insignificant fine or imprisonment, and the emancipation of the slaves of the offender. Mr. Davis' slaves having been emancipated, he has, already, suffered the extreme penalty provided by law.

As the value of these slaves has been repaid to him a hundred fold, by the voluntary contributions of his admirers, and he himself has become the beheld of all beholders, the hero of the hour, there is no reason why he should not get up another rebellion, except the one argument that he has had glory enough to satisfy the most exorbitant ambition. Mr. Davis ought to bow himself off the stage and persistently refuse all calls for encore. It is not right that one man should have all the laurels of a century; and Brigham Young's time comes next. When he gets ready to turn this government upside down, inside out, or blow it to fragments, I, for one, will bid him God speed. Next to slavery nothing has so crushed our people as our ridiculous veneration for the wisdom of the men who organized this government; and it does not appear we shall ever get rid of it, until the old cob house is tumbled over. The present generation have saved it in spite of itself, and, at every step of progress in that salvation, have been confronted by it as its own worst enemy. It appears to have been constructed for the confusion of its friends, and comfort of its enemies. Every vital measure for the preservation of the Constitution, has necessarily been in violation of, or without the sanction of the Constitution. Every interpretation authorizing, or requiring its defence in the most dire extremity, is a strained construction. It is an instrument dangerous principally to its friends; and those who use it for its own preservation must take hold of the sharp end. If the people have not before learned this fact, they have a good opportunity in the release of Davis. That release is strictly in accordance with the law of this boasted government, for whose preservation hundreds of thousands of brave men have laid down their lives--it is Constitutional. Can we wonder that the recreant sons of Puritan sires, who, at the bidding of Infidel France, struck out the name, and all reference to the authority of God of their fathers from the fundamental law they framed for themselves and posterity, should have made a botch of their work? The men who, under the teachings of Tom Paine, and kindred writers, struck from the oath of office of their chief magistrate, all religious obligation, all reference to the Searcher of Hearts, and a future state of rewards and punishments, certainly paved the way for all the perjury which has characterized its officers.

The men who included slavery in the catalogue of wrongs forced upon them by the mother country; who appealed to God and the world, in their war for Freedom, and then turned around and outlawed men who fought side by side with them, on many a bloody field, were either very muddle-headed or very dishonest. In their war for Independence they laid a noble foundation of Freedom! In their Constitution and laws, they built thereon, straw, stubble, which will not endure the fire of trial. If we have learned nothing since their day, it may be well for us to go on with the prospect before us, of pouring out the best blood of the nation for the defence of the old pioneer cabin which these fathers erected before stump machines were invented. If we have learned anything we had better remove it, and build a more substantial edifice, something that will defend its defenders, and not require them to stand on the open field, while its enemies get such shelter as its walls afford.

Let us have a constitution that shall require traitors to pay the expense of every effort to overthrow it, and answer for the crime, not only with their property but with their lives. Until we have such an one we really have no Government worthy of the name. The thing called Government which releases Davis, and leaves the torture and starvation of her brave defenders unavenged, is unworthy of either respect or obedience. The people--the loyal people saved this so-called Government in its extremity. Let that same people see that they replace it with something not quite so hard to save.

Mr. Greeley may afford to be magnanimous. He lost no husband, or brother, or father, or son in the war. He lost no limbs and carries no bullets, or the scar of them, in his body. Neither he, nor his, shivered on Belle Isle, or prayed for death at Andersonville. It is easy to forgive injuries committed against other folks. The tax the war imposes on him, is a pittance to the addition it made to his business. Of the $100,000 he made by writing a record of the rebellion, he can afford to give $5,000 to the head of the rebellion, for furnishing material, and still make a profit. But every one was not so fortunate.

Trailer: Jane G. Swisshelm
(Column 8)
Summary: Horace discusses the paradox of honoring past Indian chiefs at the same time that settlers in the plains are being victimized by Sioux and Cheyenne Indians. The Repository correspondent also recounts the current gossip making the rounds: Rumors are circulating in the state capital and in Democratic journals that several legislators brought their sons to Harrisburg during the last session to work for them, which has provoked a considerable outcry among those offended by the reported acts of nepotism.
Trailer: Horace

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Local Items--Odd Fellowship
(Column 1)
Summary: In Philadelphia last week, the Grand Lodge of Odd Fellows held its annual session. Jacob Spangler, of Columbus Lodge No. 75 was elected District Deputy for Franklin county for the ensuing year.
(Names in announcement: Jacob Spangler)
Local Items
(Column 1)
Summary: The piece announces that Dr. Valentine, the "celebrated electropathist," is now in Chambersburg and is "drawing great crowds of the sick and ailing." Valentine cares for his patients "without the use of medicine or surgery by laying on of hands." Some are "cured in a few minutes, others in few hours or days," even those who have "diseases heretofore considered incurable."
Local Items--To School Directors
(Column 1)
Summary: The editors admonish the district's School Directors to publish the account of receipts and expenditures, as called for by the laws of the state.
Local Items--Recording Soldiers' Discharges
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Summary: From Henry Strickler, Register and Recorder for Franklin, it is learned that, contrary to the report issued by the Repository, the law authorizing the recording of soldiers' discharges did not pass Congress. The bill was approved by the House, but was rejected by the Senate.
(Names in announcement: Henry Strickler)
Local Items--Salaries of our Judges
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Summary: In the last session of the legislature, reports the article, the salary for President Judge of the district that includes Franklin county was fixed at $3,500 for the present year; associate judges will receive $5 per day, not exceeding $50.
Local Items--Thief Arrested
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Summary: John Duncan was arrested in Waynesboro last week, charged with robbing a man in Scranton, Pa. Chief of Police, Barney Campbell, of Harrisburg, caught Duncan while he was attending the circus; Campbell will bring Duncan back to Harrisburg to stand trial.
Local Items
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Summary: C. W. Ashcom was appointed Collector of Internal Revenue for the district that includes Chambersburg. Reportedly, Ashcom has indicated he will collect the taxes personally and "will visit the county at stated times for that purpose."
(Names in announcement: C. W. Ashcom)
Origin of Article: Valley Spirit
Local Items--Resigned
(Column 1)
Summary: Rev. W. A. Snively, formerly of Greencastle, has resigned his position at St. Andrews Church in Pittsburg to accept the charge of Christ Church, Cincinnati.
(Names in announcement: Rev. W. A. Snively)
The New Liquor Law
(Column 2)
Summary: The article is a copy of the new liquor law signed by Gov. Geary. Among the provisions contained in the legislation are prohibitions against selling intoxicating beverages to anyone below the age of 21, to all habitual drunkards, and to those whose spouses do not approve of drinking. Those who transgress the law are liable to a fine of up to $20 or five days imprisonment.
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Summary: On May 23rd, John P. Culbertson and M. Burd Sturgeon were married by Rev. James Harper.
(Names in announcement: John P. Culbertson, M. Burd Sturgeon, Rev. James Harper)
(Column 3)
Summary: On May 9th, Catharine Shuman died at the residence of her son-in-law in Hamilton township. She was 68 years old.
(Names in announcement: Catharine Shuman)

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Description of Page: This page contains advertisements.