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Valley of the Shadow

Staunton Vindicator: January 20, 1860

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-Page 01-

The Lesson of the Lawrence Massacre
(Column 7)
Summary: Discusses the killing and maiming of 300 workers in Lawrence, Massachusetts. The article is very critical of the "soulless corporation," which uses "white slaves" to make its products.
Origin of Article: New York Herald
Full Text of Article:

From the New York Herald

We are compelled to continue the sad record of the terrible calamity at Lawrence Mass. where, through the penny wise and pound foolish meanness of a soulless corporation, nearly two hundred operatives lost their lives and another hundred or more are maimed for the remainder of their days.

There are some shocking accidents--such as fire at sea and shipwrecks--the results of which, however painful they may be, can only be regretted. Human foresight in many of those cases could neither have prevented their occurrence at the time nor have provided against the possibility of their repetition. This Lawrence murder is not one of those cases wherein we say that men and women died by visitation of God, or through the workings of some inscrutable dispensation of divine providence. That there will not be wanting in Massachusetts people, perhaps journalists and persons to take such ground, we can readily imagine; it will be as sheer blasphemy as if it were pleaded as an excuse by a wretch who came into court with his hands died in the blood of his brother.

Let us examine the case. In the centre of a large manufacturing town there has been erected a building to be used as a manufactory, to be filled with ponderous machinery, and to be occupied during ten hours in each working day by eight hundred men and women. It is found, after the erection of the building, that it is not safe, and it is patched up with iron plates, as if they could insure the stability of a structure which was doubtless insecure from its foundation to its roof trees. The corporation makes itself secure against pecuniary loss by full insurance. The spindles are in motion, the busy fingers of the white slaves guide the magic thread whereon hang fat dividends. The President and Directors doze over their after dinner wine, its ruby color deepened with the blood of the operative. The manufactory may fall to pieces, or may be burned down. No matter. It is insured--fully insured--in good offices. Another glass of wine. And the director enjoys his port, as fine old Boston gentlemen have done before him for many a day gone by, and will for many a day to come. He has dropped into a gentle slumber, and is dreaming of two per cent per month, when their comes a crash, a shriek, a death wail. Two hundred young men and women have been crushed and burned to death since that fine old Boston gentleman ate his last almond. But he is insured. Where is the insurance for the kindred of the slain? Where the recompense for the bereaved father and hear broken mothers, and weeping sisters, and agonizing brothers, who stand over the mangles and charred remains of their kindred? Who shall pay the premium that will be demanded from the fine old Boston gentleman at the last great account--that day when the books of the rich and poor, the high and low, Dives and Lazarus, the beggar and the king, shall be squarely and evenly balanced with the golden rule? - What company will insure the fine old Boston gentleman against that risk? Not we.

But they are philanthropists, these corporators of Lawrence. Very likely they give a great deal to home and foreign missions. Without doubt they sincerely sympathize with the negro who picks, in Alabama, the cotton which their slaves weave at Lawrence. They will give money to help that cotton picker to rise and murder his master, and to make up for that expense will put the screws tighter to the cotton weaver, who is--God save the mark!--a free laborer--free as the galley slave who clanks his chains at Brester Toulou; free as the British soldier who faints under the burning sun of India--free to labor many hours at scanty pay in an insecure building, and free to be crushed to death at last! That is free white labor from a State street point of view.

Here we may be met with the old plea that the gentlemanly vice of avarice can only be curbed by legislative enactments. Well, we have a government--a federal and a State government--an extensive and costly machine, which we work, or which works us, at any expense of many millions per annum. Every year we have as many as two or three thousand new laws about one thing and another. But the moment that any act is proposed to provide against the occurrence of such massacres as that at Lawrence, capital comes in, buys Legislatures like so much merchandise; and there's the end of all. We need not go to Lawrence to see examples of this. The Greeks are at our own doors. There are hundreds of insecure building in New York, and a very large number of unsafe steam boilers hissing beneath the feet of our citizens as they pursue their daily avocations. In the matter of the boilers, the Common Council, we believe has passed an ordinance appointing an Inspector, but the man has not yet been selected, and probable (sic) will not be until after the next explosion.

It will be seen that all these dangers to which we have alluded menace more particularly the laboring classes, who are generally unfriended, living from hand to mouth and fighting the battle of life upon empty stomachs. Truly, they have the civil law to resort to. The law is open to everybody and so is the Fifth Avenue Hotel. Perhaps a bereaved father or mother might succeed in an action against the proprietors of the Pemberton Mills; but who would go security for the costs preliminary to the result? What poor devil can fight a wealthy corporation? The operative looks, then, to the journalist as his only friend--And the journalist should accept cheerfully the championship thus thrown upon him. The press should unite to demand that special laws, as in the case of railways, should be enacted for the insurance of the operatives as well as of the building wherein they labor. The law should declare in the simplest way, that proprietors of building used as manufactories must guarantee their employees against such accidents as that at Lawrence. Further, that if such building falls, the fact is prima facie evidence of culpability on the part of the owners, and legal proceedings for the relief of the sufferers should be commenced in the names of the State, and at its expense. We employ a District Attorney to bring to justice the man who takes away the life of one other, while the slaughterer of hundreds goes to his bed of down unpunished, sleep well...and "little cupids dropping on his urn their marble tears."

-Page 02-

Description of Page: Legislative report in column 4.

The Meeting on Monday the 23rd
(Column 2)
Summary: The Vindicator reminds Democrats of their duty to send delegates to a convention to "plank out the platform of principles upon which the Democracy of Virginia are to stand during the coming canvass." The key issue that they have to consider is whether or not southern slaveholders who move to the territories will have their property protected, as the Constitution provides.
Full Text of Article:

The Meeting on Monday the 23rd.

By an inadvertency of the editor, the object of this meeting was misstated in the last Vindicator. It is for the purpose of appointing delegates to the State Convention, which meets in Richmond on the 16th of February--and to the District Convention, which nominates delegates to the Charleston Convention.

We consider this an appropriate time to address a few words to the Democracy of the country in reference to the duty which they will have to perform in their primary meeting. You have, Democrat of August, to send delegates to a Convention which is to plank out the platform of principles upon which the Democracy of Virginia are to stand during the coming canvass, and which is to guide the Virginia delegation in the Charleston Convention. This, fellow-Democrats, is a grave duty at all times, and one, we blush to say, too seldom appreciated by the masses of the party; but at present it will become your duty, in connection with the Democracy of the Union, to decide issues which rise high above the questions which ordinarily engage the attention of parties and politicians.

There is one question which has enchained the attention of the nation for the last six or twelve months, to which we would particularly call the attention of the Democracy of Augusta, to wit: Shall or shall not the slaveholders of the South who go into the common territories of the Union be protected in their property as the Federal Constitution provides?

Compromisers and the advocates of squatter sovereignty may argue, and mistify, and denounce this question as an abstraction, as much as they please; but, in our opinion, it is the practical , and the only practical form into which the slavery question has resolved itself. Seward may again and again promulgate his brutal "irrepressible conflict" theory; orators by hundreds of the Wendell Phillips school may continue to preach treason and infidelity to the besotted fanatics of New England; scores of John Browns may attempt the invasion of the South, only to swing appropriately from the gallows, but so long as we retain that jewel, protection for our slave property in the Territories, the institution of slavery will remain as firm and immovable as the everlasting hills. Take this sacred constitutional right from us and slavery in the Union is a condemned and doomed institution. Gov. Wise luminously says that the anti-protection theory "is a short cut to all the ends of Abolitionism," and it is our deliberate opinion, after close examination of the subject, that of all the expedients of abolition ingenuity, Squatter Sovereignty aims the truest and deadliest blow at the institution of slavery.

Thinking thus, we feel it to be our duty to invoke the earnest attention of the Democracy to this question. We entreat them to come up, one and all, to the primary meetings, with their minds fully made up, and their ideas thoroughly arranged on the questions of the day, resolved not to be senseless automatons in the hands of politiciads (sic). Above all, know well the views of the delegates whom you send to the Convention, and scrutinize closely the resolutions offered.

Mr. Stuart's Speech
(Column 2)
Summary: The Vindicator is "surprised and mortified" by a speech given by Stuart. Apparently he has offended the volunteer militia companies by not wanting to pay them. Augusta constituents don't support him on this issue.
(Names in announcement: Alexander H. H. Stuart)
Mr. Memminger
(Column 3)
Summary: Discusses South Carolina's 1852 assertion of a right to secede. Now South Carolina wants to put together a Southern coalition.
Effects of Non-Intercourse
(Column 3)
Summary: The Southern policy of non-intercourse is beginning to make itself felt in the Northern economy. Northern businessmen are starting to see that support for the Republican party "is causing a real and business estrangement between the North and South . . ."
Apportionment of the School Quota for the Year 1860
(Column 6)
Summary: Apportionments of varying amounts to Augusta county school commissioners.
(Names in announcement: J. McCoy, J. Poague, Robert Gamble, George Seawright, J. M. McCue, Phil AirhartJr., Thomas S. Hogshead, Alex Anderson, William Smith, N. Kerr, S. B. Finley, J. G. Patterson, John McCue, William Withrow, W. M. Simms, R. M. White, M. Pilson, Martin Coyner, William F. Smith, John Harris, D. C. Gilkeson, A. A. McPheeters, Joseph Smith, William Smiley, A. McCutcheon, William Thompson, J. W. Calhoun, F. M. Taylor, J. H. Bear, James Berry, W. W. Montgomery, George W. Imboden)

-Page 03-

Description of Page: Markets in column 3.

For the Vindicator: Napoleon III and his Policy--He not [sic] the Ally for the South
(Column 1)
Summary: Who should the South look to for help? Not to Napoleon III, despite suggestions that it should. He will probably ally with the North. All European monarchs are abolitionists.
Full Text of Article:

Depend then O South! upon the proud support of your own soldiers. If war must come, let it come.

Trailer: Jan 17th, 1860 WAR
(Column 3)
Summary: Died at age 22.
(Names in announcement: James Coiner)
Tracts for the South
(Column 7)
Summary: Edmund Ruffin pamphlets for sale: The Political Economy of Slavery; African Colonization Unveiled; Two Great Evils of Virginia, and their One Common Remedy (Free Negro problem).

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Description of Page: No Page Information Available