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Valley of the Shadow

Franklin Repository: December 22, 1869

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What of the Fifteenth Amendment
(Column 01)
Summary: The paper annalyzes the situatiuon regarding adoption of the fifteenth amendent, celebrates its likely passage, and looks forward to African Americans sharing in the right to vote.
Full Text of Article: What of the Fifteenth Amendment, p 2, c 1

There are no more elections to be held in the South. Mississippi and Texas have both gone Republican, the former overwhelmingly, the latter decisively, and they complete the list of the States which held elections subject to conditions imposed by Congress. Their Legislatures, as soon as convened, will vote to ratify the Fifteenth Amendment.

It is a fit time to inquire what will be the fate of this important measure? Will it become a part of the Constitution, or will it be defeated? Let us see. The Secretary of State has submitted a report to Congress, representing that twenty-one States have retified it through their Legislatures. They are Missouri, Kansas, North Carolina, West Virginia, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Maine, Louisiana, Michigan, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, New York, New Hampshire, Nevada, Vermont and Virginia. Two of these, Kansas and Missouri, have ratified imperfectly, the second section of the Amendment being omitted in one case, and its phraseology changed by accident in the other. These will correct the imperfect ratification as soon as they conveniently can, which we may safely assume will be so soon that they will cause no delay in securing the requisite number of States, as they are both strongly Republican.

Since the report has been submitted, Alabama has also voted in favor of its ratification, which makes twenty-two States. But it is alleged that New York, since her Legislature is Democratic, will rescind the action of the Legislature of last winter, again reducing the number to twenty-one. Whether this can be done or not makes little difference so far as the result is concerned. It is claimed that Ohio rejected the Amendment by her last Legislature. Her present Legislature has a Republican majority. So if New York has power to rescind her ratification, Ohio has the same power to rescind her rejection, and record herself in favor of ratification, which would still make the number twenty-two. Twenty-eight States are needed to make three-fourths of the whole number--thirty-seven, and three-fourths of the States are required to amend the Constitution. This still leaves six States to be secured in its favor. Let us see if they can be had. We may count on Georgia. This State violated her compact with the General Government after a Republican Legislature had been elected, by expelling the negro members of her Legislature, and retaining those who were disqualified from acting as members by the test oath. The organic Legislature is to be recalled. The expelled negroes will then get their seats, and those who cannot take the test oath will take the places to which they had assigned them, out in the cold. A bill is already before Congress to this effect, and when that is done Georgia will be reconstructed on the basis of the Fourteenth Amendment, she will have a loyal Legislature, and will adopt the Fifteenth Amendment. She will make one of the six.

Mississippi and Texas will make two more, leaving still three States to be secured. These must be had out of Rhode Island, Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska, and judging from their political standing it is safe to say that they will all four ratify as soon as their Legislatures are in session. They will swell the number to twenty nine, one more State than the number required, admitting that the vote of the State of New York will be rescinded as soon as her Legislature convenes in January next, and that her authority to do so will be admitted at Washington, which we do not believe to be probable.

As the matter stands then it is possible, nay extremely probable, that the first month of the new year will witness the consummation of the great work, without doubt the greatest work and the greatest boon which the century has witnessed. The President is heart and soul in favor of its speedy completion. A Republican Congress earnestly assists and encourages the President. The four States last named are anxious to do their part toward it, and Georgia, Mississippi and Texas could not prevent it if they would. Such being the case, we may look for a proclamation declaring the supreme law of the land amended by the addition of the Fifteenth Amendment within a month, or two months at furthest.

If we are correct in what we have said, at the next State elections the negroes will exercise the right of suffrage, as they did, in Pennsylvania many years ago. In all of the Southern States which joined in the rebellion they already do so, but so long as they were denied this right in the North it was natural, though not wise, for the Democracy to contend against conferring it upon them. If they had been wise, like some of their brethren in the South, when they saw that universal suffrage was sure to come they would have favored it, and by that means secured at least a share of the colored voters. They did not abate a jot of their hostility, however, to the measure, and have made themselves such a record that they can never hope to win them to their side, for whenever the negroes are left free to vote as they wish, which must always be the case in the North, they are not likely to forget to which party they are indebted for the power to exercise the rights of freemen, which were so long iniquitously withheld from them.

[No Title]
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Summary: The paper criticizes Democrats for implying support for debt repudiation for years. The editors gloat that they all refused to support it directly when it came to a vote.
A Growl at the Church
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Summary: "Web Woodman" writes the Repository to complain about vain and materialistic behavior in churches that serves to perpetuate social distinction.
Full Text of Article:

To the Editors of the Franklin Repository.

Although we have attained in this land to a political equality, or nearly so, still there is almost as much social distinction in this country as in the old world. Now so long as ignorance and vice exist, and prejudice of race and color, can it be otherwise.

Though the progress of the arts, increase of wealth, education and refinement, and spread of the Bible have raised a majority of the masses to an equality to, if not a superiority over, the ruling class of olden times, still in the nature of man and the organization of society, social distinctions must always exist.

No doubt, however, in the "Good Times Coming" both civil and social rank and station will be the reward of mental and moral worth, not as too frequently now, the reward of cunning and duplicity.

One of the greatest and most preposterous evils connected with American society, is the distinction conferred upon the mere possession of wealth. Riches should confer no rank or station upon the possessor, except from their benevolent, wise and judicious use in the advancement of general interests, art, science and religion. Far better for us to enthrone mind, genius, learning, statesmanship or military success; or even to have the hereditary aristocracy, than an empire of money.

But letting all this pass; granting it right and proper for the shoe merchant's wife to snub the cobbler's daughter, allowing an impropriety in the family of the wholesale dealer and compounder of liquors associating with the wife and children of the retailer of drinks, granting, I say the lowest and meanest of earth's petty distinctions--the distinctions conferred by riches--yet there is one place where all men should meet on an equal footing--The Church of God. Assembled at the shrine of the Most High, each soul humbly bowed before its Maker, and putting up the petition "Lord have mercy upon us poor, miserable sinners," how can on thought of earthly pre-eminence or station obtrude. In the observance of these petty, earthly distinctions at the temple of Divinity, we make our prayers but a solemn mockery.

And yet throughout this land, this our beautiful heritage, (I say with sorrow,) there is no place, not even the theatre, the ball-room or the opera, where there is so much ostentation of dress and of fashion, and display of arrogance and wealth, as in our Protestant churches. They are become temples not for the worship of the Creator, but of the creature, and to display bodily beauty and its splendid trappings in the pews; beauty of voice in the galleries and beauty of voice and language in the pulpit. Strong and sturdy oaks will grow and derive nourishment from the most sterile and rocky soil. So, too, perhaps, the truly pious may draw spiritual food from the meagre sermon, the unhallowed garniture and accessories of fashionable churches. Fashionable churches, the very words, common though they are, are a disgrace to our christianity. What shall we have next? A fashionable ministry and a fashinable Bible?

But to the person of a merely religious nature, if I may be allowed the expression, what an idle mockery does it seem to join a congregation assembled seemingly for the purpose of displaying their dress and person. If not a pewholder, you are treated, not as a guest, but as an intruder, put in a back seat, without cushions or hymn book, in a church decorated with all the gaudy frivolities of an opera house, to listen to a beautiful moral essay. Even if you have the unusual good fortune to have your religious nature roused up to action by a powerful gospel minister, how those very religious emotions are shocked, grated and as it were warped by the frivolous and worldly conversation of your fellow church-goers crowding the pavement on their way home.

What plain laboring man could enjoy a levee at a Fifth Avenue palace? Could all the delicacies under which the tables groan, make him at home? How many are there of our town and our city churches in which a working man will be any more at ease, be treated with any more consideration? It is not enough that the pulpit furnishes a spiritual feast, the man must feel at home in order to get the benefit of it.

Our Saviour makes his Gospel a feast to which all, even the poorest and lowliest, are bidden. His professed followers at the present time, make His worship an exclusive banquet, where the elite only are invited.

Think you, that if the Apostles walked down our pavement next Sabbath morning, they would take for granted that the crowds of fashionably dressed people moving churchward were the followers of "the meek and lowly Jesus," "He that was despised and rejected of men?"--what think you would be the reception of the bluff Peter, the fishermen John and Mark, and the publican Matthew, should they join the crowd, and enter one of the churches?--think you they would be any more cordially treated by the fashionable clergymen of to-day, than by the Pharisees and Saducees of old?

No one has visited the churches of the old world, but has been struck by the absence of ostentation and display, so revolting in the new. Even fashion there, for once, puts on the semblance of decency, and enjoins plain colors, and an unobtrusive style of dress, in the House of God.

Perhaps the sternness of our forefathers, especially those of New England, and also those of Scotch and Scotch-Irish extraction, in prohibiting all places of amusement where the young and those fond of dress could wear their holiday garments, has had much to do with transforming the interior of our churches into advertisements of the principal clothing and millinery establishments.

I am no apologist for Catholicism. Its images and madonnas, the swinging incense, the rich vestments, the late prayers have no charms for me, but I often stroll in an kneel among the throng; for there is to me a fascination in thus kneeling down among the people; the rich, the poor, the beautiful, the ugly, the refined, the filthy, the saint and the sinner, all on one common level and putting up one common prayer to the Infinite, the Great Unknown. No hired slips, no boughten pews, no distinction, or pride of place to break the calm religious witchery of the hour. In this democratic use of her church lies Rome's chiefest power, her mightiest hold upon the hearts of her votaries.

Again the Catholic church is much more thorough in the training of her clergy--they are more thoroughly trained, at least, in the wisdom of this world, and are especially versed in human nature before becoming more than mere novices in the priesthood. They must be true men of ripe experience, and are carefully selected for their different spheres of action.

In every requisite of a successful ministry, except it be the crowning requisite--Piety--they are far in advance of the Protestant clergy.--Why is it that in a majority of our leading churches the hearer must have a young "theologue" fresh from the seminary inflicted upon him?--or worse still, when darkness and temptation beset you, and the depths roll over you, and you seek your pastor, you find him utterly ignorant of the human soul, its heights, or its depths, or the temptation and sin that do beset it--a novice entirely unfitted either to do good or administer consolation to the man who, buffetted and beat about by the world, bears the brand of remorse, and scar of many sins on his soul?

Could not these unfledged striplings be better employed as aids to and under aged, pious and experienced ministers, or be sent out to fight their way, as most young men of other professions are compelled to do, learning human nature as colpotures or as missionaries under the supervision of able and tried men? In the other professions, in the law, medicine or the counting-room, we seek for tried men. I allow that in this country young men are pushed forward very rapidly in every department, but we do not make judges of lawyers just admitted to the bar, the physician does not attain eminence without long years spent in the hospital or in treating all classes of people and diseases. The professor must first be a tutor, and the political aspirant must at least have the qualifications of mature age before he holds high office. Why is it then that only some youthful prodigy is capable of saving souls at this time and age?

In every community there is a class of men, not large, perhaps, but of large influence, laborious students of the Bible and earnest thinkers, but not professedly pious, perhaps drifting about unsatisfied with themselves and the world, and harrassed by many doubts. To such men mere pomp of diction and display of words so common in many of our pulpits, excites only disgust, and unless more substantial nourishment is provided, they forsake the church.

I can only account for the fact that some youthful prodigy, as I said before, is the one called of God to point the way to heaven, is on the ground that the majority or our congregation are composed of the frivilous and vain, who desire neither food for the mind or nourishment for the soul, but only something to tickle the ear during the intervals of the music.

Well, I have had my growl. Perhaps I had done better to have held my peace and examined my own shortcomings and misdeeds instead. Still I have at least relieved my mind and had my say, and the church will be none the worse for knowing how she appears to an outsider.

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Christmas Eve
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Summary: The Sunday School of the Protestant Episcopal Church will hold a concert on Christmas Eve. Prof. Wright will direct the 50 students who will perform.
(Names in announcement: Prof. Wright)
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Summary: Rev. E. B. Raffensperger, financial agent of the Wilson Female College, will lecture in Repository Hall on the 23rd for the benefit of the Ladies' Mite Society of the Falling Spring Presbyterian Church. He will deliver his popular lecture on "The Humors of the Pulpit and the Pew." The paper includes previous positive reviews of the lecture.
(Names in announcement: Rev. E. B. Raffensperger)
[No Title]
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Summary: Bishop Simpson of the Methodist Episcopal Church will deliver a lecture in Chambersburg on the "Future of the Country" on January 3rd. The Bishop made an excellent impression in Chambersburg when he preached in town in 1861. His present speech enjoys a reputation as one of the "greatest and most impressive productions of the kind in modern times." The proceeds will go to refurnishing the church.
(Names in announcement: Bishop Simpson)
[No Title]
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Summary: Kendall's vocal class held a concert in the hall in Fayetteville. The building was filled to capacity and the performance delighted the audience. The paper praises Prof. Mason Kendall.
(Names in announcement: Prof. Mason Kendall)
[No Title]
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Summary: The annual meeting of the Fayetteville Hall Company was held and officers selected for the coming year.
(Names in announcement: J. B. White, D. B. Greenawalt, Dr. E. Hartzell, D. M. Long)
A. Y. M.
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Summary: The members of George Washington Lodge No. 43, A. Y. M., selected officers at a meeting held in the Masonic Hall on Friday.
(Names in announcement: H. S. Stoner, George W. Welsh, D. W. Diehl, D. K. Wunderlich, Allan C. McGrath)
[No Title]
(Column 02)
Summary: The Greenvillage Lyceum held a meeting in Lyceum Hall on December 3rd. The members elected officers for the coming year.
(Names in announcement: A. M. Criswell, H. Wallace, C. M. Ditslear, D. Sollenberger, J. Hoover, C. Maclay, Jere Ott)
[No Title]
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Summary: The paper reports that David Oaks, agent of the North American Life Insurance Company of Chambersburg, paid $4,000 to the estate of Abraham Barr of Washington who held a policy.
(Names in announcement: David Oaks, Abraham Barr)
Sabbath School Concert
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Summary: The Union Sabbath School of Fayetteville will hold a concert in Union Hall on December 28th. Rev. I. N. Hays of the Central Presbyterian Church will deliver an address.
(Names in announcement: Rev. I. N. Hays)
[No Title]
(Column 02)
Summary: The Marshall Literary Society of Mercersburg College held their anniversary celebration on December 17th.
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Summary: Peter M. Kadel and Miss Mollie E. Richter, both of Chambersburg, were married on December 16th by the Rev. L. A. Gotwalt.
(Names in announcement: Peter M. Kadel, Mollie E. Richter, Rev. L. A. Gotwalt)
(Column 03)
Summary: Bernard Baltimore and Sarah Catharine Carl were married in Chambersburg on December 6th by the Rev. P. S. Davis.
(Names in announcement: Bernard Baltimore, Sarah Catharine Carl, Rev. P. S. Davis)
(Column 03)
Summary: John H. Luschbaugh of Hagerstown and Miss Kate M'Grath, daughter of ex-sheriff M'Grath, were married in Chambersburg on December 7th by the Rev. P. S. Davis.
(Names in announcement: John H. Luschbaugh, Kate M'Grath, Sheriff M'Grath, Rev. P. S. Davis)
(Column 03)
Summary: Benjamin Parrott and Eliza Grant were married on December 9th by the Rev. P. S. Davis.
(Names in announcement: Rev. P. S. Davis, Benjamin Parrott, Eliza Grant)
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Summary: Jacob Myers and Miss Ann Reinhardt, both of Green, were married on October 6th by the Rev. G. Roth.
(Names in announcement: Jacob Myers, Ann Reinhardt, Rev. G. Roth)
(Column 03)
Summary: John Mells and Miss Eve Elizabeth Schaffnit, both of Chambersburg, were married on December 12th by the Rev. G. Roth.
(Names in announcement: John Mells, Eve Elizabeth Schaffnit, Rev. G. Roth)
(Column 03)
Summary: Robert Gibbons and Miss Annie Clugston, both of Chambersburg, were married on December 19th by the Rev. G. Roth.
(Names in announcement: Robert Gibbons, Annie Clugston, Rev. G. Roth)
(Column 03)
Summary: Abraham Widner died in Strasburg on December 9th. He was 66 years old.
(Names in announcement: Abraham Widner)
Tributes of Respect
(Column 03)
Summary: A. M. Criswell and C. M. Ditslear issue resolutions of sympathy and respect on behalf of the Greenvillage Lyceum upon the deaths of Dr. John A. Maclay and Rev. Wesley Howe.
(Names in announcement: A. M. Criswell, C. M. Ditslear, Dr. John A. Maclay, Rev. Wesley Howe)

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