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Valley of the Shadow

Franklin Repository: February 19, 1868

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Reconstruction. Speech of Hon. W. H. Koontz
(Column 04)
Summary: The paper prints and address delivered in Congress by W. H. Koontz, representative for the district including Franklin. Koontz defends a recent act to place reconstruction power in the hands of Congress and the General-in-Chief. He gives an elaborate justification for the bill, especially in his denunciations of the southern governments as invalid because of their prior treason. He also takes great pains to portray the Republicans as the party of the Constitution and the Democrats as traitors.
Full Text of Article:

Delivered in the House of Representatives, January 20, 1868.

The House having under the consideration the bill (H.R 439,) additional and supplementary to an act entitled "An act to provide for the more efficient government of the rebel States," passed March 2, 1867--

Mr. KOONTZ said:

Mr. SPEAKER: This bill has been pretty thoroughly discussed on both sides of the House, and I will endeavor, in as brief a time as possible, to present to the consideration of the House my reasons for supporting the measure. In discussing this bill there are three things to be considered: First, what is proposed to be done by the bill? Second, has Congress the power to pass it? Third, is there now such a pressing public necessity as calls upon Congress for the passage of the bill?

This bill proposes to declare that in the late rebellious States "there are no civil governments republican in form, and that the so-called civil governments in said States, respectively, shall not be recognized as valid or legal State governments, either by the executive or judicial power or authority of the United States."

The bill also proposed to confer upon the General of the Army the power "to enjoin, by special orders, upon all officers in command within the several military departments within said several States, the performance of all acts authorized by said several laws above recited, and to remove by his order from command any and all of said commanders, and detail other officers of the United States Army, not below the rank of Colonel, to peform all the duties and exercise all the powers authorized by said several acts."

The bill also confers upon the General of the Army the power of removal from and appointment to civil offices under those several provisional governments. It further declares that "it shall be unlawful for the President of the United States to order any party of the Army or Navy of the United States to assist by force of arms the authority of either of said provisional governments in said disorganized States to oppose or obstruct the authority of the United States, as provided in this act and the act to which this is supplementary."

Then there is added a section making it a penal offence for any person to attempt to prevent by force the execution of the orders of the General of the Army.

These, sir, are in brief the provisions of the bill. The next question is, has Congress the lawful power and authority to pass this measure? And, sir, in asserting the power of Congress over this question it becomes necessary to sustain the allegation of the fact contained in the first section of the bill, that in those States there are no civil State governments republican in form; for, sir, I concede that if it be not true in point of fact that there are no such civil governments in those States, then this proposed legislation and all the legislation of Congress pertaining to the question of reconstruction is wrong; but, if on the other hand, it be true in point of fact that there are no valid State governments in those States, then I apprehend that gentlemen on all sides of this House will concede that there is necessity for some legislation, either in the shape of this bill or some other.

Now, sir, is it true that there are no legal State governments in those States? I maintain that it is. I do not deny that prior to 1861 there were legal State governments in those States holding their true relation to the Government of the United States, and acting harmoniously with the other States of the Union, under the Constitution, the supreme law of the land. But I assert that those governments were overthrown by traitors; that they were seized by men whose hearts were filled with treason, and all, or nearly all, of the legislative, executive and judicial officers of those States assisted in carrying them outside of the Government of the United States.

It is necessary, sir, to briefly allude to some of the leading events of that period. A Republican President had been elected in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution of the United States; but because he and his party were of a different political faith to theirs, they seized upon what they considered a favorable opportunity to enforce their long cherished doctrine of State rights. For many years the political leaders of the South had been promulgating the wicked and dangerous theory, that it was within the power of any one of the States, at its pleasure, to sever its connection with the Government of the United States, and the election of a President by the Republican party was made the pretext for rebellion; and I would here remind gentlemen who are continually denouncing the Republican party for what they allege to be its unconstitutional acts, that in the election of Abraham Lincoln that party was strictly within the limits of the Constitution, and that the leaders of the rebellion not only disregarded the plain provisions of the Constitution in refusing to abide by that election, but engaged in their unholy work before his administration had come into power, and without waiting to see whether, so far as they were concerned, he would not take care that the laws of the land were faithfully executed. It will be remembered that they passed their ordinances of secession, and by the most solemn legislative enactment declared that their States were no longer bound to the General Government. Not only that, but they seized upon all the public property within the limits of those States. They seized upon the forts, arsenals, mints, custom-houses, navy-yards, and all the property belonging to the United States Government therein. They went further, sir; they elected their representatives and sent them to Montgomery, Alabama, and there they united together under another government, formed a constitution for themselves, and adopted a flag different from the flag of our fathers. By the most solemn forms of law they created a separate and independent government, with the avowed intent and purpose of destroying the Government of the United States.

And, sir, for four long years they wielded the power of this great and tremendous organization, extending over ten States, a vast empire in themselves, holding within and under its control ten million people, and with almost unlimited resources, for the purpose of destroying the Government which had been trained by Washington and his compeers. They were unsuccessful, but I need not remind gentlemen on this floor of the tremendous cost to the loyal people of the country in precious blood and treasure to maintain the unity and integrity of this Government.

Now, sir, during these four years of civil war where rested the legal power and authority of the United States Government? I answer that they were with the loyal, adhering, organized States of the Union. Does any gentlemen on the other side say that the legislation for those ten States during that time was wrong because they were in armed rebellion? Will they deny that the legislation necessary to carry on the Government within the organized States was illegal, unconstitutional, and void because those ten States happened to be in organized revolt? Was not the legislative, executive, and judicial power of the Government of the United States fully recognized by the people of the loyal States during that time?

Mr. MUNGEN. We get appeals to his side of the House, and I should like to answer.

Mr. KOONTZ. Not now. I answer that during the time that those States were outside of the Government, so far as they could place themselves, the sovereign power of the nation was represented in the organized States of the Union. He would be a bold man, indeed, who would controvert this position; for to deny the authority of the law-abiding, organized States, to wield the sovereign power of the Government during an insurrection or rebellion in others, would be equivalent to an admission that the bare organization of rebellion in any section of the country would of itself work a dissolution of the Government, for those not in revolt would be powerless to prevent it. But not only were the legal power and authority of the Government of the United States vested in the organized States by recognition of the loyal people but they were recognized by foreign nations. The United States of America did not in the eyes of other Powers cease to be a nation because a portion thereof was in rebellion, but its dignity and sovereign power were as fully acknowledged by them as before.

Now, sir, if the proposition be true that during the rebellion the legal power and authority of the United States remained in the loyal States, when did that power cease over the disorganized communities? When the war ended, say the rebels; when Lee surrendered, say the Democratic party. This would be equivalent to saying there should be no penalty for treason, for there would be no power to impose it, as the guilty would have an equal voice with the guiltless in settling the controversy. Against this doctrine the loyal people protest, earnestly protest, and insist that the terms of settlement shall be fixed by them; that as the power and jurisdiction of a court over the criminal attach until the sentence is pronounced, so the power and jurisdiction of the loyal States attach and remain over the disorganized part until all the questions springing up and arising out of the rebellion have been fully and entirely settled.

But, sir, if those States were not entirely overthrown, gentlemen will admit with the President of the United States, as they now seem to have come to his position, that they required at least some legislative or executive action in their behalf, because they were so far disorganized as to require it, to set them on foot again. The President recognized this when he declared that they were without civil governments, and undertook to assume the power of legislation on this question. He recognized the fact that their civil governments had been overthrown when he established provisional governments for them. We only differed with him so far in asserting that the question of reconstructing these States was with the Congress of the United States and not in the hands of the Executive.

Then, sir, to establish the point I am making, namely, that these are not valid civil governments. I deny that they are such, because they are the creatures of executive power and not of legislative authority. It was a question that belonged exclusively to Congress, and not to any other co-ordinate branch of the Government.

But I object to these governments further, because they have had the breath of life breathed into them for the purpose of reviving the fell spirit of treason that for four long years spread disaster and sorrow throughout the land.

Now, sir, I think I have clearly shown that the power of this Government belongs to the loyal States of the Union--those that remained true to it during civil war. Then the only question remaining is, is there a public necessity for this bill?

I urge, in the first place, that there is a necessity for the passage of this bill to protect the loyal men of those States. Does any man doubt, from all the evidence we have had during the last two years, that if the military power is withdrawn, from the States the loyal men, black and white, will be entirely under the control of the rebels, who will have an ascendency as complete and effectual as when Lee held undisputed power over the whole region?

It is needed, further, to prevent the obstacles that have been thrown in the way of reconstruction. We have had obstacles not only on account of the reconstruction of the law, as was stated by my colleague, but in adverse executive action; and in order that there may be a harmonious policy, and that all obstacles may be removed in the way of the policy of Congress, it is necessary that this question should be under control of the General of the Army and not of so many different military commanders. We would thus be relieved of the difficulty that exists under the present law, having of one policy for Louisiana and another for Virginia.

But it is needed, further, because the rebels and their sympathizing friends in the North refused to accept the generous terms that were offered by the Thirty-Ninth Congress. That Congress offered a plan of settlement of those difficulties so fair and generous that no honest mind could controvert it; and yet these people, aided and encouraged by the President of the United States and by the Democratic party of the North, refused to accept the generous terms proffered in the fourteenth amendment to the Constitution of the United States. Therefore it becomes necessary that Congress should exercise its authority and demand that other terms shall be acceded to them since they have refused to accept so generous an offer. Indeed, the terms of settlement contained in these several reconstruction bills are more generous than were ever offered to a vanquished foe before. A magnanimous peopled demand neither the lives nor property of their late enemies; but they do insist that they shall only be restored to political power in the Union upon the considerations prescribed by the loyal people of the country.

These, sir, are in brief my reasons for advocating this bill, and I propose now to advert to a few arguments--I can hardly say a few, because it seems to me there is but a single argument advanced on the other side against this bill. The whole cry is that this bill is unconstitutional. Sir, all the reconstruction bills that have been passed by this and the preceding Congress have been denounced by gentlemen on the other side as unconstitutional. This is the old cry repeated. We heard it at the beginning of the war. We were then told it was unconstitutional to coerce a State; that it was unconstitutional to call out armies and defend the capital of the nation; that it was unconstitutional to draft men into the armies of the United States; that it was unconstitutional to issue money to pay the soldiers who were drafted; that it was unconstitutional to and wrong to arm the negro. In short, every measure that was ever advocated by the Republican party in these Halls for the suppression of the infamous rebellion has been denounced by the Democratic party as unconstitutional. They seem to assume, or rather they do assume, that they are the special guardians and protectors of the Constitution. I desire, in the brief moments that are left me, to point to some of their own acts in regard to the Constitution.

It will be remembered, in 1860, when the conscience of the people had become aroused by the aggressive spirit of slavery, and had brought into life and being a party that planted itself upon the ground of opposition to the extension of that institution, that John J. Crittenden, a Senator from Kentucky, offered in the other branch of Congress a series of resolutions to perpetuate the curse of human bondage. He proposed to place in the Constitution of the United States that word which James Madison refused to permit to go in. He was willing not only to insert the word "slave" in the Constitution but to dedicate the whole of that vast empire south of 36d 30s to the curse of slavery. That was Democratic doctrine then. The Constitution might, by their consent, be changed, provided it would be to the interest of the slave power.

We go a step further. After the Montgomery constitution had been adopted there was a portion of the Democratic party that was willing to run the line north of Pennsylvania and to exclude New England from the Union. They proposed to take in Pennsylvania, New jersey, New York, and as many western States as chose to come in, and adopt the Montgomery constitution for the purpose, as they said, of leaving New England out in the cold.

Sir, let me say that New England will not be kept out in the cold, and the reason of it in brief is this, that she is true no to the cause of human liberty as she was when the Mayflower landed her precious cargo upon her shores and
"The sounding aisles of the dim woods rang
To the anthem of the free."

But, sir, in answer to gentlemen upon the other side who claim that the Democratic party is the great protector and defender of the Constitution. I want to point out to gentlemen upon all sides of this House this significant fact, that when the great unconstitutional work of this country was undertaken, namely, organized rebellion in ten States for the purpose of breaking up and destroying this Union, never, during all that time, was there promulgated from a Democratic State convention or from a Democratic State committee, a single authoritative enunciation expressive of their indignation at the great unconstitutional work that the rebels were engaged in; no, not one. And permit me to say now, that if that party had denounced that great unconstitutional work, with half the zeal and half the energy with which they have denounced the measures that were necessary to keep it down, the war would have ended a year sooner than it did, $1,000,000,000 of public debt would have been saved to the Government, and many firesides would now have chairs occupied that are vacant. This was the policy of that party that has assumed to act as the special defenders of the Constitution. Let me add another item on this point. I remember that in the latter part of June, 1863, the news spread abroad throughout the North that General Lee was advancing upon the State of Pennsylvania, and soon that news was confirmed, and the invaders stood upon the soil of Pennsylvania. At that very time there was a Democratic State convention sitting in the capitol at Harrisburg and although the enemy was ready to carry destruction and devastation throughout the broad limits of the Commonwealth, and, indeed the whole North, if it had been in his power, not one word in condemnation of the rebellion, or denunciation of the unconstitutional work its leaders were engaged in, went out from that convention and yet, sir, this is the party that professes to speak for the Constitution.

Mr. BOYER. Mr. Speaker--

Mr. KOONTZ. My time is nearly out. I would like to yield to my colleague, but I cannot.

Sir, I think I have effectually answered the claim that the Democratic party has set up to be considered the special guardian and protector of the Constitution of the United States. We maintain that the power we have had ever since the war began, the power that belonged to the remaining organized States of the Union to crush and destroy the rebellion, remains with us until every vestige of treason is destroyed. And if the provisional governments in those States, created without any authority of law, are to be made instruments to reinstate treason in the high places of this Government, then they must just as surely fall as did the military power of the rebellion before the invincible armies of the Republic. We claim that this bill is necessary to a proper enforcement of the reconstruction acts heretofore passed, and to a just and fair settlement of this vexed question.

In conclusion, sir, permit me to say that we are now engaged in rebuilding the foundations of this great Government that have been shaken by the fierce temper of civil war. Treason did its work in attempting to pull down and destroy, let it be the work of loyal hands to build up, beautifully, and adorn this temple of liberty. Let us see to it that the loyal people are protected throughout the limits of the whole country; that equal and exact justice to all men shall be the rule by which the Republic is guided, and then we shall have faithfully executed the trust committed to us.

National Honors to Rebel Dead. Hon. John Covode to Gov. Fenton
(Column 06)
Summary: John Covode writes to Governor Fenton of New York to protest the governor's suggestion that Confederate dead be buried with Union dead at Antietam. Covode describes the war as a holy cause against an unholy one, where Union soldiers, including his son, died nobly against rebels who deserved no honor. He claims that the rest of the North would also take offense at the Governor's remarks.
Full Text of Article:


WASHINGTON, D.C., Jan. 17, 1868.

To Gov. Reuben E. Fenton, Albany, N.Y.

SIR:--I have read with sorrow and astonishment your letter recommending national honors to the rebels whose invasion of the North was stopped by death in battle on the field of Antietam. You say:

"A strong local and individual feeling in the neighborhood of Antietam and other parts of Maryland, naturally engendered by the invasion, may have created some indifference in regard to the Confederate dead, and an indisposition to see them buried side by side with those who died in defence of our nationality. But it is confidently believed that no such feeling pervades the breasts of the American people, or the surviving officers and soldiers of the Union armies.

"When we recall the generosity and moderation that marked the conduct of the people, the Government and the army during the war, and the magnanimity that presided at its close; when we remember that our countrymen are now engaged in the work of reconstructing the Union, on the basis of universal freedom, and with an earnest desire to restore to the Southern States a prosperity infinitely greater than that which slavery and rebellion conspired to destroy, it is impossible to believe that they would desire to make an invidious distinction against the mouldering remains of the Confederate dead, or that they would disapprove of their being carefully gathered from the spots where they fell and laid to rest in the National Cemetery, on the battlefield of Antietam.

"Conquerors as we were in that great struggle, our stern disapproval of the cause in which they fought need not forbid our admiration of the bravery with which they died. They were Americans, misguided, indeed, and misled, but still our countrymen; and, we cannot remember them now either with enmity or unkindness."

I have read these paragraphs twice and thrice, but a dimness other than the film of age, obscures them to my vision. It is in vain that I have wiped the spectacles of an old man, and endeavored deliberately and clearly to see in your words a justification for the recommendation they make. Two forms come between me and the printed page. They stay there, and will not move away. One of them is the figure of my eldest son, the Colonel of the Fourth Pennsylvania Cavalry--as brave, devoted, and generous a boy as ever filled a father's heart with pride and made a mother happy. He covered with his regiment a retrograde movement of a column of our army under Sheridan, in June, 1864, fighting every rod of his way. He fell badly wounded. His men endeavored to carry him off; but, hotly pursued, several of them were killed or disabled. He told his major to leave him and save himself and the command, and try to make a stand on the next height, and there gain time for the great wagon train ahead to escape to the James river. My son was laid upon the grass beside the highway, his men obeying his orders to return to their ranks, and leave him with the dead and wounded of his regiment to await capture.

The rebels soon came up, and, as I have been told, shot him again when he lay helpless on the ground, stripped him of his sword, money, watch, boots and clothing, and left him naked to die. An old colored women, living in the neighborhood, brought him water to drink while he was dying. The next day he was buried in her garden.

Gov. Fenton, the figure of the murdered boy so comes between my eyes and the text of your recommendation of national honors to the rebel dead, that I cannot see in it a reason from which fathers and mothers who love their children should not instinctively shrink, and which should not shock patriots who have loved their country, and have made sacrifices for it.

There is, sir, another figure which makes filmy reading through my old spectacles. My youngest son, a private in the Fourth Pennsylvania Cavalry, who entered the army before he was fifteen years of age, was captured at Sulphur Springs, when Meade fell back to Centreville, with one hundred and fifty-six of his regiment, one hundred and forty-two of whom afterwards perished in prison. Twenty-four of those who died went out in the Covode Cavalry, from my immediate neighborhood--all the sons of my neighbors--all objects of interest and care to me. After passing from one den of imprisonment and cruelty to another, they were finally immured with thousands of other unfortunates in the death pen of Andersonville. Eighteen months of hunger and nakedness, exposure to the scorching sun and the winter's freezing, did their work on these stalwart and brave men. Many of them died idiotic, some of them feebly insane--all the victims of a system of starvation and cruelty planned by demons and executed by devils. My son's bodily vigor and resoluteness of spirit carried him through the horrors of Andersonville, with life left in him--with hardly any thing more. He is home again with his mother, and I have just received a letter from her urging me to "try another doctor, for he grows worse." But the energetic, intelligent, hopeful, self-reliant, brave boy who left my house to fight the enemies of his country, has not returned to me, and he never will return.

I think you will find that, in common with me, hundreds of thousands of loyal men, whose hearts yet bleed with wounds received in the wicked war the slaveholders waged against the nation's life, have been shocked and outraged by your recommendation to do honor to the authors of their sorrows and the workers of their country's woes.

Had you served in the army, either in person or through a son, and presented your offering of patriotism to your country on the picket line or the line of pitched battle, you would never have made the heartless mistake you have made, in what your biographer, writing your life, will call "the Antietam letter." How much I wish you had imitated the manly and sympathetic behavior of Gov. Geary of Pennsylvania, a soldier and a statesman, who thus repelled the proposition to mingle the rebel with the Union dead under the Antietam Monument:

"The custom has ever prevailed to specially honor those in death who won special honor by meritorious lives. The monuments reared to the memory of departed worth bear ample testimony that our people have not been unmindful of this custom. But where were such memorials ever erected for men whose actions were infamous, and who perished in an ignoble cause? Who would glorify the treason of Benedict Arnold with such monuments as have risen to the memory of Washington? Who would dare to insult the loyal heart of this nation by proposing to lay, side by side, in the same sepulchre, the body of the assassin Booth and that of Abraham Lincoln? No loyal man would take the heartless Wirz and the other demons that presided over the prison dens of cruelty, starvation and death, and the executed conspirators against the nation's illustrious chief, and deposit them in the same tomb with the patriotic men who sacrificed their lives in battling for 'the right against the wrong.' Yet it is proposed that the loyal States construct cemeteries for their heroic dead, and then desecrate them by the burial therein of those who prosecuted against the country a warfare which, for its diabolical ferocity, is without a parallel in the history of civilization, and even to erect monuments to their memory. Carry out this purpose, and what inducement can be hereafter offered to the loyal citizen to fight against treason, when he feels assured that should he fall in battle the traitor's grave will be honored equally with his own?

"The cause of the Union was a holy one, while that which opposed it must have been its converse. To one side alone the glory belongs. This was not a war of nations, but of treason against loyalty. It was a contest of rebels who would have drained the life's blood of the government which had sustained and protected them, against its patriotic sons who fought to save it from destruction. It was a war carried on by the defenders and promoters of oppression, against the friends and lovers of liberty and their country's integrity.

"While there is no reasonable objection to giving decent sepulture even to the rebel dead, those who consider them deserving of honorable testimonials may give them, it is our duty to render honor only to whom we believe honor is due."

It is with grief,, Gov. Fenton, that I write this letter to you. The subject is painful to me. But there sits on my hearth-stone, and there lies in my village graveyard, and there broods in my heart a controling reason why, since the appearance of your Antietam letter, I should regard your entrance into a National Republican Convention, a candidate for office, as an intrusion to which the survivors of the Union Army, and the relatives of its dead and wounded, should sternly object. Yours, &c., JOHN COVODE.

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The Grant-Johnson Correspondence
(Column 01)
Summary: The paper discusses the verbal duel between General Grant and President Johnson. The editors express the opinion that Johnson was the vile liar trying to set up an innocent patriotic Grant. The editors predict that public opinion would show its support for Grant in the upcoming elections.
Full Text of Article:

The war of words between the President and Gen. Grant, when briefly stated, consists of, "you lie!" and, "your'e another!" True! the President supports his assertions by the testimony of five of his Cabinet ministers, but unfortunately for him the great jury, before which the testimony is offered regard it as the latest phase of official flunkeyism; as the utterances of so many tutored parrots, save only, that of the Secretary of State; no one will dispute its authorship, who is at all conversant with his diplomatic way of expressing himself. The Secretary would have Mr. Johnson believe that he confirms his statement of the conversation which occurred at the Cabinet meeting on the 14th of January, but the President and the jury before mentioned will find some difficulty in getting such confirmation out of his lengthy and somewhat verbose communication. The people will very likely throw out the somewhat unreliable evidence of the Secretaries and decide the dispute by the affirmations of the parties themselves. In that case it will not be difficult to foretell the verdict of the jury. On the one hand we have the sophistry of a scheming, distrusted, Janus-faced Executive; on the other the straight-forward, indignant declarations of a brave and able soldier, conscious of his own integrity and that he had spoken nothing but the truth.

The President was undoubtedly caught in a trap which he had arranged for Grant, and the result of the unearthing of this correspondence cannot but be damning to his Excellency? He has exposed a cloven foot which he meant Grant should cover for him. Ever since his first apostacy he has defended his measures upon the ground of the public good; he put himself in opposition to the party that elected him, and by all the arts of the demagogue and political trickster, endeavored to put in force a narrow-minded policy, and as an excuse for his erratic course affirmed that it was pro bono publico. But the music of the syren can lure no more, Our Ulysses, having conducted to successful issue a war mightier than the Trojan--now by peaceful means defeats the machinations of a recent Chief Magistrate, and opens to the light the real animus of the man. Mr. Johnson is not content to play a subordinate part; like great Louis of France, he himself would be the State, and therefore he continually grasps at the substance of the power whose shadow he holds. The radical party has been accused of attempting to centralize power in the direct representatives of the people. Suppose it has, it has been driven to the step to prevent power from becoming centralized in an ambitious and unscrupulous President, and is it not safer in the hands of many than when entrusted to one?

The most important part of this correspondence is not the question whether Grant or Johnson has told the truth, but the fact that the latter has commanded his subordinates to resist the laws of Congress. It was with the purpose to embarrass reconstruction that Stanton was suspended; Grant understood this and tells the President squarely that it was to defeat this purpose that he accepted the appointment of Secretary of War ad interim. When the Senate failed to approve of the suspension of Stanton, the President hoped to gain time to accomplish his ends by forcing him to have recourse to the courts for his reinstatement, but Grant would not play stool pigeon for him and the game was up. Chagrined at his defeat, and knowing that in the eyes of the people his own infamy is established, he would fain drag Grant down to his own level. How far he has succeeded will be known next fall when the jury renders its verdict.

Alabama Reconstructed
(Column 01)
Summary: The paper praises the current reconstruction status of Alabama, citing it as proof of the superior nature of Congressional Reconstruction. The new state government was organized on the basis of equal enfranchisement among loyal voters, thus lessening the need for military occupation. The editors assert that all southern states should follow the path of Alabama to peacefully return to the Union.
Full Text of Article:

ALABAMA is the first of the seceded States to return to the union under the Congressional plan of reconstruction.--Latest advices assure us that a majority of the registered voters of the State have voted for the ratification of the constitution, thus securing a civil government for themselves, and for that government a place in the Union. Thus is being vindicated the Congressional policy. It will be complete only when all the rebellious States shall have been restored to their former relations. So auspiciously has the great work commenced that we cannot think that its final consummation will long be delayed.

The great purpose of the Republican party is and has been to reconstruct the union upon the policy of equal rights, and its first triumph has been in Alabama. The war left her without a civil government and without slaves. Upon the national authority was thrown the responsibility of providing a local State government for her people. It sought to do this with the consent of all her people, except a few who were denied a voice in the matter by reason of their prominence in rebellion and crime. It further proposed to so reorganize her system that henceforth no person within her limits shall be disfranchised on account of color. This was the Republican scheme of reconstruction as regards Alabama, and still is as regards those States which are still out of their practical relations with the Union. It intends, as the case of Alabama will prove beyond all doubt, the restoration of all States peaceably and securely, as soon as possible.

This cannot be done by creating arbitrary political distinction among the inhabitants of the State; least of all by giving political power to the most disaffected class. No sane man supposes that there can be any effective reconstruction until there is a majority of truly loyal voters in every State, or a minority so large and important as to hold the majority in check. There was but one way to have this number, and that was to enfranchise the whole population, with certain conspicuous and notorious exceptions. Such a system admitted the ignorant white and the ignorant colored inhabitants to vote. It was a great pity that all were not intelligent, and that the matter could not be delayed until all were educated. But delay was indefinite military occupation, which must be avoided if possible. Public impatience must also be considered. The law was therefore passed, every honest man feeling that a man who could not read, but who was instinctively loyal was a safer citizen than a man who could read and was disaffected.

The result has proved the justice of this view, and Alabama under the provisions of this law thoroughly reconstructed, and established upon a sure republican foundation, resumes her place in the sisterhood of States. What is true of Alabama will in brief time be true of all the other Southern States. The Republican policy of reconstruction is that of practical common sense, and it will therefore be maintained. Its strength and security do not rest upon any partiality for the colored race, nor upon any re-remarkable love of justice, nor upon any vindictive feeling toward rebels, but upon precisely the instinct and determination that carried the war to an unconditional triumph.

[No Title]
(Column 02)
Summary: The paper asserts that Andrew Johnson wants the Democratic presidential nomination, but predicts that the party will abandon him. "The Democracy never deal in men like Johnson. They corrupt and use them when they have power, but they never confer honor on them." The editors assert that, ironically, it will be left to Democrats to "punish" Johnson for his "crimes."

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Death of a Venerable Citizen
(Column 01)
Summary: Jacob Immel died near Greenvillage on February 6th. He was 92 years old. Immel cleared the long-gone forest to establish his first farm near Greenvillage. "He illustrated all the virtues which we so fondly ascribe to the fathers of our country. In his manners, he was plain and unpretending; in his intercourse with his fellow men, he was just, honorable, and full of charity; he was a man of excellent judgement and clearness of mind; and, to crown all, a faithful, simple-hearted follower of Christ."
(Names in announcement: Jacob Immel)
(Column 01)
Summary: An overflowing crowd attended Col. A. K. M'Clure's lecture on Mormonism. He discussed his trip through the Salt Lake Valley of Utah, and described its inhabitants. The event raised $74.00 for the benefit of the poor. The Rev. James Kennedy will lecture on "Blindness" in the next talk in the series.
(Names in announcement: Col. A. K. M'Clure)
Panorama of the Burning of Chambersburg
(Column 01)
Summary: Major H. R. Hershberger will exhibit his completed panorama of the burning of Chambersburg. The painting also contains scenes of the burning of Scotland Bridge, Stuart passing through Mercersburg and entering Chambersburg, the retreat of Averill and his wagon-train through Greencastle, and General Lee passing through Graeffenberg Springs. Chambersburg is depicted both before and during the fire. An orchestra will provide music for the exhibition.
(Names in announcement: Maj. H. R. Hershberger)
[No Title]
(Column 01)
Summary: The Rev. Henry Ward Beecher will deliver his lecture on "Work and the Workman" in Chambersburg's Lutheran Church. Tickets are 50 cents and can be purchased at the stores of S. S. Shyrock and J. N. Snider. They are going fast.
(Names in announcement: S. S. Shyrock, J. N. Snider)
Sudden Death
(Column 02)
Summary: George Colliflower, "an aged citizen of Waynesboro," died at his residence on Thursday after suffering an illness of a few hours. The cause is thought to be heart disease.
(Names in announcement: George Colliflower)
(Column 02)
Summary: Hellman Huber and Miss Amanda Plough, daughter of Jacob Plough, were married on February 13th near Rocky Spring by the Rev. James M. Bishop.
(Names in announcement: Hellman Huber, Amanda Plough, Jacob Plough, Rev. James M. Bishop)
(Column 02)
Summary: John R. Plough and Miss Emma C. Bishop, daughter of the Rev. James M. Bishop, were married on February 13th at the Pleasant Retreat Parsonage by the Rev. J. Philip Bishop.
(Names in announcement: John R. Plough, Emma C. Bishop, Rev. James M. Bishop, Rev. J. Philip Bishop)
(Column 02)
Summary: John Conrad Sites of Hamilton and Miss Sarah Kate Shew of St. Thomas were married on February 6th at the residence of Samuel Shew by the Rev. J. Keller Miller.
(Names in announcement: John Conrad Sites, Sarah Kate Shew, Samuel Shew, Rev. J. Keller Miller)
(Column 02)
Summary: Jacob Lare of Shady Grove and Miss Mary Lohr of St. Thomas were married on February 11th at the residence of the bride's father by the Rev. J. Keller Miller.
(Names in announcement: Jacob Lare, Mary Lohr, Rev. J. Keller Miller)
(Column 02)
Summary: George Eby of Greencastle and Miss Maggie A. Colliflower of Waynesboro were married in the Union Church in Waynesboro on February 12th by the Rev. William F. Colliflower. The Rev. J. W. Wightman assisted.
(Names in announcement: George Eby, Maggie A. Colliflower, Rev. William F. Colliflower, Rev. J. W. Wightman)
(Column 02)
Summary: Joseph Shafer and Miss Jane V. Fohl, both of St. Thomas, were married at Miller's Hotel on January 30th by the Rev. P. S. Davis.
(Names in announcement: Joseph Shafer, Jane V. Fohl, Rev. P. S. Davis)
(Column 02)
Summary: Thaddeus Cook of Waynesboro and Miss Maggie Links of Chambersburg were married on February 6th by the Rev. P. S. Davis.
(Names in announcement: Thaddeus Cook, Maggie Links, Rev. P. S. Davis)
(Column 02)
Summary: John Unger of Franklin and Miss Jane Myers of Greenvillage were married on February 13th by the Rev. F. Dyson.
(Names in announcement: John Unger, Jane Myers, Rev. F. Dyson)
(Column 02)
Summary: Francis Ludwig Gerhold of Chambersburg and Miss Mary Helman of New Franklin were married on February 13th by the Rev. G. Roths.
(Names in announcement: Francis Ludwig Gerhold, Mary Helman, Rev. G. Roths)
(Column 02)
Summary: William Seibert and Miss Ann Mary Ripper, both of Chambersburg, were married on February 16th by the Rev. G. Roths.
(Names in announcement: William Seibert, Ann Mary Ripper, Rev. G. Roths)
(Column 02)
Summary: Mrs. Hannah Shetron, wife of Jacob Shetron, died in St. Thomas on February 11th. She was 74 years old.
(Names in announcement: Hannah Shetron, Jacob Shetron)
(Column 02)
Summary: Mrs. Hannah Johnson died in Guilford on February 8th. She was 72 years old.
(Names in announcement: Hannah Johnson)
(Column 02)
Summary: Miss Margaret Scott died in Mercersburg on February 10th. She was 74 years old.
(Names in announcement: Margaret Scott)
(Column 02)
Summary: Mrs. Mary Cowan, wife of Joseph Cowan, died in Mercersburg on February 12th. She was 75 years old.
(Names in announcement: Mary Cowan, Joseph Cowan)
(Column 02)
Summary: Mrs. Martha Jane Ritter, wife of James Ritter and daughter of Jacob and Elizabeth Snider, died in Chambersburg on January 30th. She was 23 years old.
(Names in announcement: Martha Jane Ritter, James Ritter, Jacob Snider, Elizabeth Snider)

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