Franklin Repository: February 23, 1870Go To Page : 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
The Greatest Scheme of Plunder Yet
(Column 01)Summary: The Repository rebuts the arguments that the Pittsburgh Commercial uses to attack border damage claims.
Full Text of Article:Damages and Claims
The above is the title of an article in the Pittsburg Commercial of Wednesday last, in which that journal undertakes to show that the "bill authorizing the payment of damages sustained by citizens of Pennsylvania during the war of the rebellion and providing means therefore" is a scheme got up for the purpose of plundering the State. It is not too much to expect that a newspaper so able and influential as the Commercial would do at least one of two things in attempting to oppose this bill, or both; first show by argument that the State is not bound to make compensation for the war losses of the citizens of the border counties, or failing in that, it should produce such a state of facts, as being established, would put these claimants outside of the sphere of reciprocal rights and duties which pertain between the Commonwealth and her citizens. It does neither the one nor the other, but ingeniously waives the question of the duty of the State, and asserts that the claimants must look to the General Government for reimbursement.
With all due deference to the lofty disdain with which this is done, we claim that the State is bound to protect the property of her citizens, and failing in that to make compensation for their losses, so long as they do not fail in the performance of the duties which they owe to her. This principle is embraced in the idea of a State, and is acknowledged in the history and legislation of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in a thousand ways. It is admitted in her legislation again and again, and only last winter by repeated appropriations of the Legislature of 1869, for the payment of damages done by troops to her citizens.
Nor is this all. The act of the fifteenth day of May, 1861, to create a loan of three millions, and to provide for arming the State, acknowledges a legal obligation to protect her citizens from the ravages of war, and, on failure to do so, to reimburse them for their losses resulting from such failure. This act provided for a loan of three million dollars for the purpose of organizing a force to be called the "Reserve Volunteer Corps of the Commonwealth," to consist of fifteen regiments - thirteen of infantry, one of cavalry and one of artillery. The regiments were to be composed of companies of like number, and to be armed, equipped, clothed, disciplined, governed and officered as similar troops in the service of the United States, and to be enlisted in the service of the State for a period not exceeding three years or for the war, unless sooner discharged, and to be liable to be called into the service of this State at such times as the commander-in-chief may deem their services necessary, for the purpose of suppressing insurrections or to repel invasions, and further to be liable to be mustered into the service of the United States at such times so requisition may be made by the President of the United States. Here then the highest authority of the State, the Legislature, acknowledges its obligations to protect its citizens for insurrections and invasions, by organizing a large army for that special purpose, and produces the means for putting them in the field. This measure was concurred in by all the members from the border counties, and from that portion of the State as much as from any other part must be drawn the resources to pay the loan by means of which the troops were put into the field. If, as promised, this force was organized to repel invasion, where was it contemplated the necessity to use it would arise? Most assuredly in the southern border of the State. If not, why then was the force organized and equipped at all? Certainly it was not contemplated that they would be needed at Philadelphia, or at Pittsburg, or on the northern line of the State, but on the southern border, in that portion daily threatened and often actually invaded by the rebels.
That the troops were, after organization mustered into the service of the United State, in an extreme emergency, and allowed to remain there, by no means changes or alters the attitude of the State towards her citizens. The act itself clearly implies that if these troops were to be used by the General Government, it was only to be for a limited time, or while an emergency lasted, just as other State troops were afterwards used and controlled, but not to be merged into the Army of the United States. It declares the Corps "to be liable to be mustered into service of the United States, at such times as requisitions may be made by the President of the United States." If the intention of the then Legislature and Executive of the State, in organizing this Corps, had been adhered to, the citizens of Southern Pennsylvania would not now be beggared through the ravages of the rebellion, nor be beseeching the Legislature of a rich and powerful Commonwealth to make some paltry amends for the sacrifice which they made to the common enemy that the State might be saved; now would they need to endure the slander and contumely and falshoods which those, whom the various fortunes of the war have bloated with wealth and pride, now pour upon their heads.
We submit to the candid, unbiased judgment of the people of the State if the citizens of the border counties have not a just claim upon the State for reimbursement,
The next argument used by the Commercial is, we regret to say, not peculiar to that journal: It calls the claimants "robbers." To this we have little to say, except that thieves have from time immemorial sought to direct attention from their own pilferings by calling those from whom they were stealing, thieves and robbers. It is not hard to understand that a journal which finds it to its interest to advocate the stealing three or four millions out of the public treasury to enlarge a worthless canal, which would benefit no person except those who now hold its valueless stock, and such as are to be compensated for aiding to consummate the theft, should try to direct pubic attention from their nefarious purposes. We have already adverted in another article to the false charge that these claims are in the hands of speculators. There is no truth in it, and those who are using it to damage the bill know it. If it were possible to buy up the claims, he would be a fool who did so if he counted on the gratitude and sense of justice of such journalists as the editor of the Commercial, to constrain them to urge the Legislature to do so just and righteous an act. The claims are all in the hands of those who lost the property for which they now ask payment, and whatever sum is appropriated, if any, will find its way into the hands of the bona fide claimants. As to the private letter which the editor claims to have received from Harrisburg from a gentleman of "reliability and experience" whom he makes to say:
"The greatest swindle of the year is to be offered in the House to-night. Bribery is now at work to set it up, and members are approached with the imprudence of the devil, with offers of money to vote for it. It is the bill to pay for damages two millions of dollars for raids on our borders during the rebellion. It is a perfect swindle, and I firmly believe if it passes one-half will never go to the people interested. This is no place for these claims. If the Government should pay at all, they should go to the United States Government. It is her own business."
We feel tempted to ask: If private why did he make it public? If he made it public, why did he withhold the "reliable and experienced" gentleman's name? As he has made it public and failed to give the name, though we doubt the reliability we have no reason to doubt the experience. And when journals publish a tissue of falsehoods like that contained in the "private letter," we can do no more than denominate them such, and let the "reliable and experienced" gentleman come out of his privacy and assume the responsibility which is claimed for him, but which is no where apparent. Such miserable tricks as this letter are too trifling to be noticed.
(Column 02)Summary: The paper denounces large payments for war damages made to claimants in the Philadelphia area. The editors assert that damage to the broder counties was much worse but is being overlooked.The Fifteenth Amendment Settled
(Column 03)Summary: The paper announces the final passage of the Fifteenth Amendment and celebrates the political advantages this will provide the Republicans throughout the nation.
Full Text of Article:[No Title]
Nebraska was the last of the States to give her vote on the Fifteenth Amendment, and she has voted to ratify it. Her vote makes the thirtieth State for ratification, including Indiana and New York, the twenty-eighth if these two are counted against it. We believe that both will and ought to be counted for it, but as to the result, that is secured whether for or against. The colored males are now voters under the constitution, and a proclamation will doubtless be issued shortly by the Executive Department announcing the fact.
The effect of allowing them to exercise the right of suffrage in any and every State will be greatest in the States which did not participate in the rebellion, or more strictly speaking, in those States which held slaves before the war, and up to this time excluded them from the ballot box. By means of the amendment Delaware will be Republican by a decided majority, and the large rebel vote of Maryland and of Kentucky, hitherto cast solid for the Democracy, will be balanced, and it may be that both these States may be carried for the Republicans. New Jersey will also array herself on the Republican side, and the Republican majority of Pennsylvania will be increased by twelve to fifteen thousand votes.
As a rule the Democratic journals of the country have accept the changed situation, and are adjusting themselves with a view to securing their share of the colored votes. None but the most obstinate and stupid any longer attempt to fight it, or persist in saying anything which will tend to inflame the colored population, and make it more bitterly opposed to the Democracy than it now is. It is apparent to the thoughtful that long before the fall elections a very general and united effort will be made to seduce the too confident and trusting negroes into their ranks, though we do not believe that it will meet with success. The time may come when the colored vote will be divided between the two great parties of the country, but this cannot be until the memory of Democratic hatred and ingratitude to the colored men, and sympathy and submissiveness to the will of slaveholders have died out. In the meantime we would advise the negroes by their conduct and deportment to prove their fitness as well as their right to exercise the boasted privilege of American citizens.
(Column 04)Summary: The Repository defends Franklin county residents' border damage claims from attacks by other papers.
Full Text of Article:[No Title]
The Philadelphia Post, the Day and the Pittsburg Commercial in their desire to defeat the bill for the payment of the border damages allege that these claims have been bought up by speculators at nominal figures, and that those who suffered the losses would receive no compensation if the bill passed.
To this we say, the citizens of Franklin county suffered three-fourths of the entire loss, and if the editors of either of these papers can prove that a single Franklin county claim has been disposed of, or is not in the legal possession of the party whose property was taken or destroyed, we agree to join with them in urging the defeat of the bill. This is fair now, gentlemen. The opposition of the REPOSITORY to the measure can be secured as soon as you make your allegation good in one single case, and we have no doubt that the other border county papers will agree to do the same. And the Legislature will not long entertain the proposition if the newspapers from this section oppose it. What have you got to say?
(Column 04)Summary: The paper complains that $80 presented to the county by a party who won a contract to build an iron bridge does not appear on the books of the Franklin County Treasurer.
(Column 01)Summary: Jere Cook, assistant assessor for the 16th district, announces that Franklin citizens must pay their income taxes and license taxes by March 1st or face a 50% penalty.A Dangerous Character Arrested
(Names in announcement: Jere Cook)
(Column 02)Summary: Capt. Houser arrested a stranger named Gordon who had been hanging around town for two weeks. He is charged with forming a conspiracy to rob the safe of Hannan and Co. in the Chambersburg flour mill. He also got drunk and assaulted a black man named Brown, and, afterwards, Mr. John Gelwicks in the Franklin Club Rooms. An accomplice confessed to the burglary plans. Burglar's tools were found on both men. Justice Armstron committed him to jail.[No Title]
(Names in announcement: Capt. Houser, Gordon, Hannan, Brown, John Gelwicks)
(Column 02)Summary: The First Methodist Church of Chambersburg reopened on Sunday after undergoing repairs for the past several months. Rev. James H. Brown and Rev. S. H. C. Smith officiated. The interior has been remodelled with a new pulpit, gas fixtures, newly painted walls, and a carpet. The repairs cost $3,000, of which $1,500 was subscribed before commencing, and $1,400 last Sunday.[No Title]
(Names in announcement: Rev. James H. Brown, Rev. S. H. C. Smith)
(Column 02)Summary: Theodore First has been appointed conductor of the Third Freight on the Cumberland Valley Railroad in place of Levi Stepler. Stepler was removed for constantly running behind time.United American Mechanics
(Names in announcement: Theodore First, Levi Stepler)
(Column 02)Summary: A meeting of the members of the United American Mechanics will be held in the Union Hotel on February 25th.Attorney to the Commissioners
(Column 02)Summary: George W. Brewer was elected attorney to the commissioners. "Mr. Brewer's long and faithful services to his party deserves this recognition at the hands of Messrs. Shinefield and Brumbaugh."[No Title]
(Names in announcement: George W. Brewer, Mr. Shinefield, Mr. Brumbaugh)
(Column 03)Summary: The Ladies' Church Improvement and Mite Society of the First Methodist Church held a social meeting at the home of Jacob S. Brand on Monday in honor of their former pastors now visiting Chambersburg.[No Title]
(Names in announcement: Joseph S. Brand)
(Column 03)Summary: Eugene Blitz, son of the renowned Signor Blitz, will give a grand entertainment at Repository Hall at which he will give away a variety of gifts.[No Title]
(Names in announcement: Eugene Blitz, Signor Blitz)
(Column 03)Summary: The Rev. B. T. Roberts of Rochester, New York, will preach in Chambersburg's Second M. E. Church on February 26th.[No Title]
(Column 03)Summary: The "Life Believers" of Franklin County held a congregational meeting and elected Rev. J. G. Schaff pastor.
(Names in announcement: Rev. J. G. Schaff)