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Valley of the Shadow

Staunton Vindicator: April 20, 1860

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Description of Page: No Page Information Available

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Description of Page: Report from the Missouri Democratic Convention. Lots about upcoming Charleston Conventions.

[No Title]
(Column 1)
Summary: Capt. Smith was elected Commissioner of the Revenue in the election last week. Voters also supported the extension of the Staunton limits.
Virginia and American Hotels
(Column 1)
Summary: Both Staunton hotels are expanding and renovating their facilities.
(Names in announcement: Mr. Peyton, Mr. Jordan, S.B. Brown)
Full Text of Article:

Virginia and American Hotels.

Messrs. Peyton & Jordan are making extensive additions to the Virginia Hotel, and enlarging their facilities for accommodating the visitors and travelers who generally flock to the mountains in the summer season. They are now erecting a building connected with the main Hotel by a porch containing between 20 and 30 rooms, each with a fire place in it, and to be lighted with gas. This will make the Virginia one of the most commodious, as it is one of the best kept Hotels in the State.

The American Hotel, kept by our friend, S. B. Brown, Esq., is also undergoing renovation and preparation is being made to meet the demands of the vast patronage which finds its way here in the months now approaching. Staunton, now, as she has always been is marked for the superiority of her hotels, and the comfort which the wary traveler receives on arriving here and finding such excellent accommodations.

Off for Charleston
(Column 1)
Summary: Mr. Yost, Dr. Moffett and Capt. Harman have all left for Charleston to attend the Democratic Convention. Yost believes that the Democrats will nominate a "sound, conservative Democrat, who will inspire the confidence of the party throughout the nation, and achieve a signal and glorious triumph in November next."
(Names in announcement: Mr. Yost, Dr. Moffett, Capt. Harman)
Slavery in the Territories
(Column 2)
Summary: Discusses the pro-slavery laws passed by the New Mexico Legislature. Writer argues that territorial legislatures have the power to pass laws either supporting or opposing slavery. The action of the legislature "was a practical declaration of 'Popular Sovereignty'--not 'Squatter Sovereignty'--and an illustration of the doctrine of non-intervention by Congress."
Full Text of Article:

Slavery in the Territories.

Freqent allusion is made, in the discussion of the question of Congressional power over the Territories, to the action of the people of New Mexico, through their Legislature, upon the subject of slavery. A law was enacted, protecting the right of property in slaves, and attaching severe penalties to the violation thereof. It is but just that the history of the origin of that law should be made known, as we have on several occasions seen the facts in the premises greatly distorted, and an erroneous phase given to the circumstances which originated the Territorial action.

The writer of this article was at the time of the passage of the law, residing in New Mexico, discharging the duties of a Federal office. Immediately after the decision of the Supreme Court in the Dred Scott case, we received a letter from a Missouri U. S. Senator, and one from the delegate in Congress, and a like one was written by a Mississippi U. S. Senator to the present Secretary of New Mexico, suggesting the propriety of having passed by the Territorial Legislature a law for the protection of slave property. It was argued that such Territorial action would be simply in accordance with the Dred Scott decision, and giving practical application to the principle it adjudicated. After considerable reflection and consultation, the bill, which passed the Legislature with but one dissenting voice, was drawn up, submitted to the assembly, and became a law.

It is well known that there are not over twenty negro slaves in the whole Territory of New Mexico. The law, then, it is apparent, was created merely to assert the principle which had been recognised [sic] by the highest judicial tribunal known to the country. Its assertion was of no practical benefit or pertinency to the people of New Mexico, for they never had the question presented to them. It was simply to show that the Territorial Legislature had the power to pass such a law; and if the power to pass, then, also, to defeat the bill. Hence, if it was deemed important by Senators to have a law passed by the Territorial Legislature of New Mexico, conveying the idea of protection to slave property, doe not this fact argue that the refusal to pass such law would be considered tantamount to a want of protection? The whole question reasoning logically and legitimately from the circumstances of the case) of slavery in the Territory, is left to the will of the Territorial Legislature, or the people. We are satisfied that the idea of the Senator who addressed us on the subject was in accordance with this conclusion, and that it was deemed an essential point, in order to illustrate the practical effect of the Dred Scott decision, to have this law prohibiting slavery, passed by the Legislature of New Mexico.

The converse of the action of the New Mexican Legislature was seen in the passage of an act both in the Territories of Kansas and Nebraska unfriendly to slavery. Here they legislated on the subject, exercising the same degree of power, but for a different purpose than was used in New Mexico. In both instances it was a practical declaration of "Popular Sovereignty"--not "Squatter Sovereignty"--and an illustration of the doctrine of non intervention by Congress. We so understood it at the time the New Mexican law was passed, and it was so intended we should understand it by the Senators who interested themselves in the matter--they seeking to give significance to the theory embraced in the decision of the Supreme Court.

We are well aware that with many persons a version is given to this question of slavery in the Territories, and justified by a process of metaphysical and theoretical argument at variance with the practical view of it. It is not a difficult or laborious task to mystify and confuse the mind by this mode of discussing the subject. But this end, when attained, as it must be, sooner or later, is narrowed down to one of two points--the people of a Territory, if they want slavery,will have it, and if they do not want it, they will not have it. It is sheer folly to exhaust time and create dissension in the ranks of the Democratic party, by a discussion of the abstract right involved, for it is a plain proposition if the owner of a slave knows that a majority of the people of a Territory are unfriendly to slavery, that slave owner will not jeopard [sic] his property by placing it in an insecure relation. Wherever slavery is profitable, there slavery will go, and where it is not profitable, that principale of self interest which controls every community, will not let it go. We have never given an abolitionist the credit of being governed by conscientious principle in the advocacy of his peculiar view on the subject of slavery. We believe, if it could be demonstrated to the satisfaction of the people of New England, that their manufactories could be operated five cents on the hand cheaper by employing negro slave labor, than they can by white or free labor, there would be no time lost in introducing this species of servitude into their midst. It was only when the people of the North--bordering as they did on the ports where the hordes of foreign immigrants landed--found that slave labor law was unprofitable, that they sold their slaves and passed laws prohibiting the existence of slavery among them. They did this as an act of economy, because they were satisfied by mathematical certainty, that foreign white labor was cheaper than negro slave labor. It was a practical question, and not theoretical. It was a matter of dollars and cents, and not conscience; and thus it will ever be. It may suit the purpose of noisy politicians to rant about the abstract right of slaveholders in the common Territories, but when the great fact is to be approached, as to the existence or non-existence of slavery, will pass laws protecting it; and if they do not want it, they will pass no such laws, and this action will decide the controversy; for slavery will go there or not, just in accordance with the character of the legislation effecting it.

We believe slavery is the best condition for the negro--morally, socially and politically; but if we were to ascertain that it was not pecuniarily advantageous for us to own negroes, we would be far from retaining them. The South does not maintain and foster slavery because of any moral compunctions; nor does the North oppose it from any such considerations. It is a question of finance, and the community which finds it profitable will have it and vice versa.

We have given these views relative to the question of slavery in the Territories, knowing that many of our own party will dissent from, and endeavor to controvert them by a resort to metaphysical reasoning and assumptions in theory. We have not, nor do we mean to treat the subject in a hair splitting manner. We put the plain, practical interrogatory, "Will not the people of the Territory eventually decide whether they will or will not have slavery?" If so, is not the whole range of argument and thought touching upon the tangible practical issue, embraced in the term "popular sovereignty"--the sovereignty of the people in determining what local laws they will pass regulating their own domestic institutions?

(Column 3)
Summary: A collision on the Virginia Central Railroad injured the engineer and the mail agent.
(Names in announcement: Mr. McCandlish, Mr. Kyle)
Virginia A Unit
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Summary: Expresses the hope that the Virginia delegates will vote as a unit at the Charleston Convention.
Full Text of Article:

Virginia a Unit.

We presume there is no doubt of the vote of Virginia at Charleston being cast as a unit. Such has been her universal policy, and it is this that has given her the influence she has heretofore exercised in National Conventions. Whether the vote be cast for Hunter, Wise, or some other Southern man, and this it will be at first, let it be cast as a unit. And after that, should a Southern man not be selected, let the vote be cast for that Northern man who can best secure the triumph of the Democratic party in November next.

Burnt to Death
(Column 3)
Summary: Bailey's daughter was accidentally burnt to death at home.
(Names in announcement: W.H. Bailey, Capt. J.A. Harman)
A Card
(Column 5)
Summary: Request by the local Baptist Church that the town be hospitable to the Baptist General Association of Virginia, which will meet in Staunton at the end of May.
(Names in announcement: P.B. Hoge, C.R. Mason, H. Summerson, S.F. Taylor, W.D. Candler)

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Description of Page: Candidates' announcements and Markets

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Summary: Sallie Douglas died of consumption at the home of John McCue on April 6.
(Names in announcement: Esq. John McCue, Sallie Douglass)
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Summary: John Wright, an infant, died of scarlet fever on April 9.
(Names in announcement: John Edwin Wright, James W. Wright, Mary C. Wright)
Trailer: C. S. M. S.; Rockingham Register please copy

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Description of Page: Advertisements