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Valley of the Shadow

Franklin Repository: December 04, 1876

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Resources of Walrussia
(Column 6)
Summary: The article describes the true conditions in Alaska and seeks to persuade easterners of the territory's utility for America.

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Shall Congress Recede
(Column 1)
Summary: The editor scoffs at Democratic assertions that Congress should back down from its reconstruction policies in light of the recent election results, maintaining they represent a minor setback in the "brief, but thrilling history of our great struggle for Human Rights."
Full Text of Article:

Editorial Correspondence of the Franklin Repository

UNION CITY, Montana T., Nov. 12, 1867.

"Congress must recede!" is heard on every hand from those who, in times past, have rejoiced at our country's disasters and heard of its triumphs with sadness. "Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey have so declared," is the ready argument of every faithless heart; and the failure of Manhood Suffrage in several Republican States, and the diminished Republican majorities given this fall, have inspired with fresh hopes those who hate their nationality because it is advancing slowly but surely to the full stature of Freedom. Vallandigham comes forth with the laurels of victory encircling his brow. Pendleton waves the dark banner of Repudiation triumphantly, and points to ruined credit and the overthrow of our solemnly plighted faith as the choicest fruits of the "great reaction." The Buchanans and Reeds of Pennsylvania; the Woods and Seymours and Morriseys of New York; the Walls of New Jersey; the Pierces and Tonceys of New England, and the Milligans and Brights of the West, with one accord pronounce the fiat that "Congress must recede!" Nor are they alone in their rejoicings, or in their imperious demands. The arch-rebel who leaves to his followers the desolation and woe he has wrought, while he revels in ease and luxury in Canada; the refugees from their country's scorn in England and France; the victors of Fort Pillow; the keepers of Libby, of Belle Island, of Salisbury, of Andersonville, and the murderers of Memphis and New Orleans, all swell with the chorus of barren Democratic victories, and mingle their intensest maledictions against the Republic they failed to overthrow in blood with the shout that "Congress must recede!"

The brief, but thrilling, history of our great struggle for Human Rights is again measurably repeating itself. The same clamor assailed our ears in other and darker days than now. When Bull Run bowed the nation in deepest humiliation, it came in defiant terms from the councils of treason and was faintly echoed in the North. When the bloody battles, and McClellan's retreat on the Peninsula, spread the pall of mourning and despair over the land, the sluggard chieftain sat down in the midst of his discomfited army and asked in abject, pitiable tones, as did the victorious leaders of crime in proud command, that the nation must recede. Cedar Mountain, the second Bull Run, Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville, all gave birth to the same faithless clamor; and even after the memorable field of Gettysburg, when Lee receded under his bold banner of national retrogression, the "friends" of Seymour and Wood, of New York, and of Buchanan and Reed in Pennsylvania, convulsed their sections by lawlessness to prevent the filling up of our shattered armies. They demanded, as did their leaders, that Congress must recede, and they made brigades recede from the Army of the Potomac, under the very thunder of the enemy's guns, to teach the receders obedience to the laws in the loyal States. It was the same banner, with the same strange device, that made Grant recede at Shiloh, at Cold Harbor, and Fort Steadman, and forced Sheridan twice to recede at the Five Forks; the same that made Buell recede from the Tennessee to the Ohio, that made Rosecranz recede at Chickamauga, and more than once made Sherman recede in his march to Atlanta. But the Peninsula retreat has its Malvern Hill; the second Bull Run has its Antietam; Chancellorsville has its Gettysburg; Steadman has its receding victors; Cold Harbor has its Petersburg and Richmond; Five Forks has its Appomattox; Chickamauga has its Missionary Ridge; Atlanta was reached, and the shores beyond; Perrysville has its Nashville, and in the fullness of His time, the captains and armies of despotism receded as prisoners of war. It was the same blotted banner that made Fort Pillow a carnival of barbarous slaughter; that made Memphis stream with unoffending blood, and that made New Orleans give scores of martyrs to Freedom. "The nation must recede," was their battle cry. It was the same sentiment that sent thousands of shivering maniacs to their God from the pest prisons of Libby and Andersonville. "The nation must recede" was their inspiration as each starved or murdered prisoner was sent to his rude grave unshrived and unpitied, save in distant lands; and the same fiendish purpose triumphed as they murdered the freedmen by hundreds because they were created of another race.

"The nation must recede" was the cry of traitors north and south when Emancipation was emblazoned on the then unblotted flag of the Republic. Unwilling generals wasted armies by inaction, or led them only to disaster. They wanted to recede. In the gloom of despair, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Ohio and Indiana declared that the nation must recede. The loyal armies were reduced, dispirited and unequal to the mighty struggle for advancement. They could not assail the battalions of treason; the call for men was answered with the cry to recede, and to recede was to surrender a continent to anarchy, and blot from the world's history the great government of the People. One strong, patriotic heart was at the helm. To recede was not written in his destiny. From the impenetrable clouds which enveloped the loyal cause he advanced, and the freedmen came forth clad in his country's blue and armed for its defence. He filled the deep gaps left vacant by the faithless, and he was greeted by traitor voices north and south, and by the thunders of traitor guns, with the demand to recede. But Freedom was nailed to his flag, and inspired his manhood, and he answered the first bloody demand to recede as he hurled his malignant foes back in confusion and shame at Millikin's Bend. He guarded the only channel that treason had to victory, and he receded not. Advancement bore up its banner of light, and earnest chieftains took command and gave the nation victory; and the cry for the freedmen to recede died out as three hundred thousand sable warriors rallied to share the sacrifices and triumphs of the redeemed Republic.

Peace came by victory, and the heroes of the Republic, of every race and color left the graves of their comrades and the scenes of their sanguinary conflicts to enjoy the freedom they had won. The "Lost Cause" was consigned to its blurred and blackened history; but the spirit of treason was not yet subdued. It sat sullenly in the withered desolation it had brought upon its votaries demanding that the Nation should recede. To accomplish its wicked purpose it fired the brain and nerved the arm of the wretched assassin, and placing within his hands its banner of shame, sent him on his unholy mission into the very sanctuary of power. His work was murder, and by the atrocious deed he plunged the loyal millions into profoundest bereavement as he called upon them to recede over the bodies of their slain into the darkness of Slavery.

Another ruler came, with fair speech upon lip and tongue, but with deceit and treachery in his heart. Freedom and Impartial Justice were the favorite themes on which he harangued in and out of season. Behind these enduring principles the loyal people of the land had entrenched themselves and were safe against any and all assaults of the enemy. None knew this better than the enemy himself. He dared not approach with banners unfurled and bayonets gleaming. Even the courage of despair could avail him nothing against such an enemy behind such entrenchments. Instead thereof he came with devilish cunning, bringing gifts to him who held command and to his mean ambition softly whispered--"recede." He hesitated--faltered--fell, and under this new inspiration there were united voices from old enemies in disguise clamorous for the nation to recede. Repression was made the policy of a perfidious Executive, and he stamped it upon every official act in awkward flaming characters, and preached it in maudlin, incoherent speech from the death bed of Lincoln to the tomb of Douglas. As he turned against his country's cause and attempted to recede he bowed the country in silent shame and disappointment and called it Peace. Traitors filled every place of honor and trust and he called it Restoration. The Freedmen were practically re-enslaved by local statutes, and he called it Freedom and Law. Murders, wanton and shameless, for the single crime of devotion to the Republic in this day of trial, stained the land without pretence of punishment, and he called it Justice. Senators and Congressmen were chosen, conspicuous for the services in causeless rebellion, and he bid them welcome as law makers, though steeped in perjury and blood, and called it the will of the People. His base nature having thus yielded to the wicked designs of the enemy, the loyal millions looked no longer to him to lead them up, but to Congress. Their cry went up--Advance! and Congress did so--slowly, fearfully, tremblingly, and gave as the fruits of its advances the proposed constitutional amendments. In wrath the President declared that Congress must recede, and in harmonious chorus the traitors of the south and their allies of the north joined him. He appealed to the south to reject and spurn the amendments, and they obeyed. The nation must recede and they advance to wield the destiny of the government they had deluged in blood in vain to compass its overthrow. Congress appealed to the People, and they answered again million-tongued--Advance! Strengthened and instructed by the sovereign power of the Republic, they made the Slave a Man, and his oppressors bowed to his new attributes. A perfidious and debauched Executive, bereft of power and respect, still cries recede, but the nation could not recede if it would, it would not recede if it could.

The enfranchisement of a race is an achievement that cannot be undone by any temporary political revulsion. The solemn verdict of the nation could not thus reverse the order of enlightened progress. When the voice of the Republic shall be heard, the freedman will mingle his voice with that of his friends and his accusers, and he will be the peer of oppressor at the ballot. "Revolutions take no steps backwards." Manhood Suffrage was the cap stone of the perfected column of Freedom in the Western World. It is the full fruition of the cause so nobly won by incalculable sacrifices, and having gained its place in the vindicated justice of the Republic, it must endure so long as the Republic remains.

To recede is no more possible than to recall to life our martyred dead whose untimely graves ridged the plains and slopes of the South in the effort to advance our nationality to the full measure of Human Rights. They have done their part--have bravely fought and nobly died that the nation might not recede. They have left peaceful advancement as the first great duty of the living. The implacable foes of our free institutions, who have life and home by the generous forbearance of the people they shadowed in mourning, and the less manly of the North, who "with malignant heart and deceitful speech strove to hinder the great consummation," will still demand that Congress must recede. The instincts which make men most hate those they have most wronged, will earnestly, perhaps desperately, protest against advancement. Even when the rebellious States surrender the struggle, and cease to cherish the vain hope that the greatest of nations may recede from its greatest duties, ignorance, prejudice and passion may protract the conflict in the States where example should have kept pace with precept. They may gain their triumphs, and thus postpone their own vindication from a despotism for which their posterity will blush; but steadily, step by step, justice will come, and intelligence and virtue will be the test of merit as the hateful lines of caste are obliterated from our national history. States may falter as did Ohio and Kansas, and as would Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and other states to-day; but they will be the Bull Run, the Fredericksburg, the Chancellorsville and the Chickamauga of the struggle, and the Gettysburg, the Vicksburg, the Nashville and the Appomattox will as surely follow in the fullness of time, as the patriotic judgment of the People declares--"That the nation shall, under God, have a new birth of Freedom; and that the government of the People, by the People, and for the People, shall not perish from the earth!" A.K.M.

Trailer: A. K. M.
Our National Credit--Mr. Stevens
(Column 3)
Summary: The editors tackle the thorny issue of how the government should pay back its bonds: in coin or not. To their dismay, Thad Stevens is adamantly opposed to the policy of issuing payment in coin, which they contend amounts to "repudiation."
Full Text of Article:

We are pained to see the great name of Thaddeus Stevens thrown into the now trembling balance against the maintenance of our national faith and credit. He has, however, the merit of consistency, and meets the question now, as he met it when our national loans were authorized. He declared on the floor of Congress, that the nation should not, and would not, pay its bonds in coin; but it was well understood, both at the time and since, and by both the government and the people, that his construction of the law was not the intention of Congress or the government, and that it would not prevail. Certainly the administration regarded the bonds, excepting the seven-thirties, as payable in coin, not merely because it preferred to have them so, but because the provisions of the law were accepted as conclusive on the point; and for several years the Secretary of the Treasury presented these loans to the public with every possible official assurance that they would be paid in coin, with the approval, or at least the practical assent of Congress, for not even an inquiry was instituted by Congress to question the construction of Mr Chase and his ancestors.

We do not assume to argue the question from a technically legal stated point. Bulter has done that in an exhaustive manner on one side, as he would argue a demurrer in court, and made the worse appear the better part, as he involved our sacred national faith in the plausible but fatal sophistries of repudiation. Pendleton, too, has done his part, because he would rejoice at the overthrow of our credit, and Vallandigham joins the chorus with the vain hope of yet overthrowing the Republic that arouses his intensest hate as it advances in Freedom. With these men, the practical repudiation of our debt is an after thought--the dictate of ambition or perfidy, but with Mr. Stevens it is the persistent maintenance of a policy he has unsuccessfully advocated in every stage of our national trials.

But is Mr. Stevens any the less excusable? We think not. True he maintained all the time that we did not assume to pay our five-twenties in coin; but the government has insisted, and insists now that we did assume to pay them in gold. The legal rule applicable to individuals who ct by another, may not be strictly applicable to governments; but can Mr. Stevens doubt that the National faith was solemnly pledged, so far as even the most intelligent possessors could judge, to redeem these bonds in coin? He may have protested--we believe he did on the floor of Congress--but did his individual construction even create a doubt in the popular mind against the positive and repeated assurances of the government's highest official agents, that both the law and the policy of the government, meant otherwise? It was known that he was not in sympathy with the financial policy of the administration. Although Chairman of Ways and Means, he never was equal to the task of moulding the financial affairs of the government to harmonize with his views, and while the country conceded his ability and patriotism it regarded him as in error, both in conviction and in his construction of the law. We do not now discuss the wisdom of the policy he then proposed. It may be true, as he says, that many millions have been wasted by the policy we did adopt; but we did not adopt his views, and there is no number of millions that can be measured against the destruction of our national credit. We must maintain our faith not merely as a Butler would distort a law with the skill of a subtle, technical attorney, but we must maintain it as the nation, by its recognized officials and with the acquiescence of Congress, made it universally understood to the people who were called upon to invest in our loans.

While Mr. Stevens cannot be discharged with repudiation of his individual acts we cannot exculpate him entirely from his great share in the attempt to repudiate the faith of the nation. He is no voice from the faithless as is Pendleton's and Vallandigham's, nor a reckless but for fame as is Butler's; but it is more fearfully potential than all combined, and will be productive of immeasurable evil. It will strengthen the timid and the dishonest, and the disloyal, in their insidious, ceaseless efforts to paralyze the very life of the nation by sapping its credit; and, however otherwise intended, it is a most effectual appeal to the cupidity of the people to lighten their burdens temporarily only to double or quadruple them in the dark hereafter. For these reasons we profoundly deplore the manifesto of so great and so true a man as Mr Stevens in favor of what we must call by the name of Repudiation. If we can,--after authorizing our highest officials to promise payment in coin, or silently assenting thereto,--repudiate thirty or forty per cent of our promise, the repudiation of the whole debt would be but the full fruition of the same principle, and no more reprehensible.

We do not hold or deal in government bonds. Few of those who drank the cup of desolation to the dregs as did the people of Chambersburg, have any great personal profit from the payment of bonds in coin. When the government was begging for money to save its life, we contributed our mite to sustain it, and would have done so whether it promised coin or depreciated currency in return. We have therefore nothing to do with the payment of these bonds beyond giving our little share to provide the means wherewith to pay them; but we have a great, abiding interest in the maintenance of our national faith, for the credit of the Republic is a common patrimony, in which the humblest and the most opulent have their common interest. Nor is it merely a question of unblotted fame for our redeemed nationality. It is the most vital measure of National Economy that has been raised since the commencement of the war. Partial repudiation now, as is proposed, would save the government a few millions--how many hundreds of millions would it cost? English consuls now command 95 cents on the dollar. They leave but three per cent in gold, and the principal is not promised at any definite period. On the same market our six per cent five-twenties demand but 70 cents on the dollar. Why this great discrepancy? During the war, when the issue of the Rebellion was regarded abroad as doubtful, it was natural that our securities should be depressed in foreign markets; but since the government has not only vindicated its supremacy, but also vindicated, beyond the possibility of doubt, its ability to pay its debt, our securities would be equal to English consuls if our national faith was regarded as equally sacred. But first came the whispers of the foes of the government in favor of repudiation--one by one weak and ambitious politicians joined in the crusade from the loyal ranks, and finally comes the thunders of Stevens to stagger the faithful and inspirit the faithless. The result is that, instead of commanding a large premium in markets both home and foreign, our bonds are from thirty to forty per cent under par abroad, and command but little more than currency bonds at home. This loss,--the legitimate result of the unwise assaults upon our national faith and credit--must fall upon the people when the bonds are to be paid or renewed, and it will cost them ten, twenty or perhaps fifty fold all they will gain by payment in currency. If our faith should be sacredly maintained, as common honesty requires, our five-twenties could be taken up at the earliest option of the government and three or four per cent bonds would be promptly taken in their stead; but with violated faith staring capitalists in the face, the government could not replace them with ten per cent bonds. We are therefore, not only asked to sacrifice credit, the very mainspring of our nationality, but with it we must sacrifice untold millions which must be born by the tax payers.

We warn the people against the fearful perils of this spurious repudiation, and appeal to them, and to our law-makers, to remember that "honesty is the best policy," and that in this instance it is the only policy that will pay!

Impeachment Report
(Column 4)
Summary: The article lists the various offenses chronicled by the Judiciary Committee as grounds for the impeachment of the President.
Editorial Comment: "Our limited space precludes us from publishing in full the report of the Judiciary Committee in favor of impeaching Andrew Johnson. The following are the main facts:
Far Off Chats With Old Friends
(Column 5)
Summary: McClure discusses his encounter with John X. Bielder, a former resident of Chambersburg who now lives in Montana and is employed as a detective. McClure also describes the political workings of the Montana legislature and the onset of winter in the frigid region.
Trailer: A. K. M.
On Lecktors
(Column 6)
Summary: Obidiah articulates his views on what makes a good public speaker.
Trailer: Obidiah Snodgrass

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Local Items--County Institute
(Column 1)
Summary: The article provides a synopsis of the proceedings of the meeting of the Franklin County Teachers' Institute.
(Names in announcement: J. Y. Atherton, P. M. Shoemaker, S. M. Shilito, J. W. Coble)
Local Items--Sale of Lurgan Township Farms
(Column 2)Local Items--Wolf Caught
(Column 2)
Summary: The article reports that a female wolf was caught in Horse Valley, on John Weaver's land, in a trap set by Abraham Rosenberry. Upon hearing the wolf's cries, neighbors went to dispatch her with an axe, but they were set upon by a pack of 18 wolves lurking in the woods and were forced to flee. The wolves are blamed for a series of attacks on sheep.
(Names in announcement: Abraham Rosenberry, John Weaver)
Origin of Article: Valley Spirit
Local Items--Pedestrianism
(Column 2)
Summary: Notes that Seth W. Payne, the "literary pedestrian," passed through Chambersburg last Monday on his way to the Pacific. He arrived in Pittsburg on Saturday. Another pedestrian, F. W. Symons, passed through town last Wednesday on his way from Philadelphia to Leavenworth, Kansas.
Local Items--Building Association
(Column 2)
Summary: The article relates that 300 of the 500 shares for the Building Association have already been sold. Once these shares are purchased there will not be another chance to buy shares in the company until 1869. "The company is in a prosperous condition and those wishing stock will have to hurry up."
Local Items--Row
(Column 2)
Summary: Reports that another fight between black and white residents took place last Saturday in Michael Miller's beer shop.
(Names in announcement: Michael Miller)
Local Items--Appointments
(Column 2)
Summary: The Town Council named Allen C. McGrath Chief Engineer of the Fire Department and Levi P. Lippy lamp lighter for the North Ward and John Greenawalt for the South Ward.
(Names in announcement: Levi P. Lippy, Allen C. McGrath, John Greenawalt)
Local Items--Smash Up
(Column 2)
Summary: Reports that two trains collided on the Cumberland Valley Railroad in Carlisle causing damage to eight or ten cars.
(Column 3)
Summary: On Nov. 27th, Joseph M. McClure and Alice A., daughter of George W. Hamersly, were married.
(Names in announcement: Joseph McClure, George W. Hamersly, Alice A. Hamersly)
(Column 3)
Summary: On Nov. 12th, Peter D. Fahrney, of Washington county, Md., and Roemona Good were married.
(Names in announcement: Peter D. Fahrney, Roemona Good)
(Column 3)
Summary: On Nov. 20th, William H. Wilson, of Delaware county, Ohio, and Mary E., daughter of Col. James B. Orr, were married by Rev. I. N. Hays.
(Names in announcement: William H. Wilson, Mary E. Orr, Col. James B. Orr, Rev. I. N. Hays)
(Column 3)
Summary: On Nov. 26th, Samuel Plum and Mary Ann Ruth, of Sinking Spring, Pa., were married by Rev. B. Bausman.
(Names in announcement: Samuel Plum, Mary Ann Ruth, Rev. B. Bausman)

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