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Valley of the Shadow

Staunton Vindicator: June 8, 1860

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[No Title]
(Column 3)
Summary: Democrats of the 11th congressional district met at Pittsfield and agreed to support Douglas.
Full Text of Article:

We publish elsewhere a communication from a Democratic friend, who assigns some reasons for differing with the editor of this paper and those in the South who are willing to accept the nomination of Judge Douglas for the Presidency, believing him to be the most available man that can be presented to the American people at this time. The ground over which our correspondent travels is so very familiar to every intelligent reader that we shall not consume time and space by following him through the various stages of the Kansas embroglio, &c. Suffice it to say, that we have never believed Judge Douglas was responsible for the division in the Democratic party. It was a point about which there was no two opinions, that the people of Kansas should regulate their own domestic affairs to suit themselves. This was the express declaration of the Nebraska bill--it was a policy to which the Democratic party and the President were fully committed, and which the whole country was prepared to see carried out. The action of the fraudulently elected Constitutional Convention was designed to defeat this idea, by not submitting unreservedly the Constitution they had framed to the ratification or rejection of the people. Judge Douglas took the position that the Constitution should, without qualification, be submitted to a vote of the people of the Territory, who had to live under it, to accept or reject.--The President endorsed the action of the Convention, and favored the idea of submitting only the slavery clause to the voters of the Territory. This, Judge Douglas contended, was a violation of the spirit and intent of the Nebraska Bill, and the President's own instructions to Governor Walker--that it was forcing upon an unwilling people a system of State government repugnant to their wishes. The sequel showed that Judge Douglas was right and the President wrong. Judge Douglas adhered to the Kansas-Nebraska bill, which was the law of the land, and the President did not. Hence, we assume that the division in the Democratic party is not chargeable to Judge Douglas, upon any assumption of fairness or legitimacy. Any "paralyzation" to the "arm" of the Administration, therefore, is necessarily the fruit of Mr. Buchanan's own action--the offspring of his departure from the declared policy of the Democratic party.

The idea that Judge Douglas "dictated" his platform to the Charleston Convention is simply ridiculous, and is not warranted by anything in the whole dispute between Douglas and the Administration. In response to a private letter he wrote a private letter giving his views of what the Democracy should do and what he was willing to do. Any other man thus written to, and occupying a similar position, would have answered as he did. His letter was published, and this fact is to be construed into a "dictation" to the Charleston Convention! There is about as much justice in this charge as in many others preferred against Judge Douglas, all of which are without the least foundation in fact.

The assumption of our correspondent that Judge Douglas tendered the "squatter sovereignty" issue to the South 12 months ago, is unsustained by the history of the Territorial question. Judge Douglas has tendered no new issue. He stands precisely where every prominent Democrat stood in 1856, asserting and maintaining with singular ability and force the great doctrine of non-intervention by Congress with slaver in the Territories, and insisting that the country is pledged to this policy by all that is binding in legislation and obligatory by solemn compact. He plants himself upon the legislative compromise of 1850 and 1854, and the Democratic platforms of 1852 and 1856--legislation and platforms suggested and demanded by the South, and to which she is honorably bound to adhere. Any departure from it, is a violation of ratified terms of agreement and the initiatory step to the tearing up of the compromises upon which the perpetuity of our government is based. Mr. Douglas and his friends do not insist upon an empty abstraction, as insinuated by our correspondent. They resist the attempt to force upon the Democratic party a new test of orthodoxy, which is inexpedient in policy and speculative in fact. They resist, and rightly do so, the imposing upon the Northern Democracy an issue which cannot fail to crush them hopelessly. They are now recovering partially from the blow they received in 1854 in the passage of the Nebraska bill, repealing the legislation of 1820, which discriminated against the South. They fought for our cause then and were beaten. The sober second thought of the people, however, has induced many to return to the Democratic party, and if no new test is presented, by which the Northern mind can be inflamed by the appeals of the Black Republican party against the Democracy, they will again triumph, and restore the Democracy to the power which she lost by defending the demands and the rights of the South in 1854. The popular mind is now settled down upon the policy of non-intervention and popular sovereignty--a policy advocated and enforced by the South--and to re- open the agitation of this subject will be suicidal to our friends at the North, and a virtual dismemberment of the Democratic party. Judge Douglas is firm in his maintenance of the fixed position of the Democratic party, and any action contemplating a departure from that position must come from those who are desirous of breaking up our present organization and destroying that basis of national fraternization which has been so significantly endorsed by the American people.

There may be an honest difference of opinion in regard to Mr. Douglas' availability. We are firmly convinced, that as parties now stand, Mr. Douglas is decidedly the most available man the Democracy can present to the people. Our correspondent thinks not. We believe Douglas, if nominated at Baltimore, will carry nearly every Northern State that voted for Pierce in 1852, as well as every one of the Middle States.--We believe he is the only man who can beat Lincoln in the North-west. Other persons may differ with us, however. He carried Illinois in 1856 over Mr. Lincoln, and can do it again, notwithstanding the doubts to the contrary of our correspondent. He gained in Lincoln's own county 750 votes, and carried the county. There was no summing up of the popular vote as between Douglas and Lincoln. It is only assumed by the opponents of Douglas that Lincoln received a larger popular vote than Douglas, because the combined votes of the Know Nothings, Black Republicans and Administration Democrats, was larger for State Treasurer and Superintendent of Public Schools than that cast for the regular Democratic ticket. Even this was effected by running the opposition ticket in the Southern part of the State, where Black Republicanism was unpopular, as Know Nothings and opposed to Lincoln, and in the Northern part, as Abolitionists. In the Southern part of the State, the Opposition candidates, who were leading Fillmore Know-Nothings, disclaimed the support of Lincoln; and by such management and combination, assisted by all the power and influence of the Administration, the regular Democratic candidates for State Treasurer and Superintendent of Public Schools, were defeated by a small majority. Douglas, however, carried the Legislature and was elected to the U. S. Senate over Lincoln and the Administration both, which is sufficient to justify us in the assertion that he can do it again.

The extract which we publish at the request of our correspondent, from the speech of Mr. Butler, of Mass., is a tissue of misstatements from beginning to end. Our correspondent terms Butler a Douglas delegate, sent by a Douglas constituency.-- Mr. Butler was elected as a Douglas Democrat, but on his arrival at Washington city it was discovered that he was a traitor in the camp, and would avail himself of the most opportune time to stab Douglas. His delegation, believing him to be treacherous, refused to make him its Chairman. Their suspicions were just, for at the very moment his vote would have served Douglas, by giving him a majority, he asked to have it changed; and after that voted for Jeff. Davis, who at no time received over one vote. This shows how far Butler was actuated by honest motives in declaring himself for Douglas before he was appointed to Charleston. He wars upon his face the marks of a dishonest man, and all the apologies man could offer for him, could never relieve him of the stamp of meanness which nature has written all over his countenance.

The assertion that the adoption of any rule was made the condition of the Middle State remaining in the Convention is simply untrue. Virginia had made no provision for dissolving her connection with the Convention, and did not intend to, notwithstanding the blatant threats of one or two members of the delegation. The assertion that Douglas was not the choice of a majority of the whole electoral vote, is simply untrue. The unit vote operated in his favor in New York, and against him in several other States. In Ohio and Indiana there was not a single delegate against him, and Mr. Butler falsifies the history of the Convention when he asserts that there were--Even if there had been, as there were in New York, the unit vote was simply carrying out the instructions of their constituents, and it is not legitimate to assume that the majority cast was not bona fide, when it was done in obedience to instructions from the creators of the delegations. In Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas, Kentucky and Louisiana, and perhaps other States, there were Douglas delegates who did not vote for him on account of either of the unit vote or of instructions--enough to have overbalanced the votes which were per se against him in the New York delegation.--Is it fair to take from him in the one instance, and not give to him in the other?--He went to the Convention to betray Douglas, and did so. We have before us a history of his entire manoeuvring, both at home and at Charleston, and we can draw no other inference from it, than that Mr. Butler is an unprincipled politician.

The best evidence we can adduce to sustain the assumption that the delegates to Charleston who seceded did not represent their constituents, is the fact that public meetings are being held in every one of the States whose delegates left the Convention, denouncing their action, and insisting on being represented at Baltimore. If they did represent their constituents, then those constituents are faithless to the compromises of the Democratic party entered into at the solicitation and upon their demand.--They are false to the solemn promises made both in word and act, and untrue to every obligation that a fair and legitimate contract imposes.

In regard to the action of the delegates from this District to Charleston, we have but a few words in reply to our correspondent.

We never assumed that Mr. Douglas was the first choice of the Democracy of this District--that he was preferred to Mr. Hunter or Mr. Wise previous to the meeting of the Charleston Convention. We assumed that if there was no chance for the nomination of one of Virginia's distinguished sons, then Mr. Douglas was their choice. We believe so yet, and the more so since the recent meeting in Rockingham endorsing the action of Dr. Moffett and Mr. Yost at Charleston, and the frequent and extensive intercourse we have had with the people since our return from Charleston. We believe--in fact we know--that in the present condition of political affairs, Mr. Douglas is now decidedly the choice of the Democracy of the Tenth Legion District, and it is our purpose at Baltimore to endeavor to represent that choice. We have assumed, and now assume, that we represented the District at Charleston. There has been no expression of dissatisfaction with the course we pursued there, save by three or four persons immediately in the vicinity of Staunton. We have been all the time perfectly willing to meet those gentlemen before a full meeting of the Democracy of the county, and test the matter, provided they would call such meeting, confident that we would be fully and almost unanimously sustained.--These gentlemen, and among them our correspondent, have not seen proper to call the meeting, for reasons doubtless satisfactory to themselves. Hence, until the contrary is shown, we contend that we have fully and fairly represented the District.

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Baptist Association
(Column 2)
Summary: More discussion of the Baptist Association meeting in Staunton.
Outrageous Delinquency
(Column 2)
Summary: Complains that Staunton is not receiving its daily Northern mail and blames the problem on the railroads.
Circuit Court
(Column 3)
Summary: Summary of court hearings: Moyers indicted for Bestiality and defended by Baldwin; Eddy found guilty of petit larceny and defended by Johnson; McMullen found guilty of grand larceny and defended by Baldwin, Doyle and Bumgardner; Ross found guilty of placing obstructions on railroad and defended by Doyle. Gen. Harman was the prosecuting attorney.
(Names in announcement: Judge Thompson, Ambrose Moyers, Gen. Harman, Col. Baldwin, Sarah Eddy, C. Johnson, James McMullen, Doyle, Bumgardner, James Ross)
Mossy Creek Academy
(Column 3)
Summary: Announcement of a speech by Sheffey at the Annual Exhibition of Mossy Creek Academy.
(Names in announcement: Esq. H.W. Sheffey, Prof. White)
Bank Directors
(Column 3)
Summary: Announcement of the Bank Directors for the Valley Bank in Staunton for 1861. These include Harper, Trout, Headron, Harman, Michie, Harman, and Mason.
(Names in announcement: Kenton Harper, N.K. Trout, J.N. Headron, W.H. Harman, T.J. Michie, M.G. Harman, C.R. Mason)
[No Title]
(Column 4)
Summary: Editorial supports Douglas for the Presidency.
Methodist Conference
(Column 6)
Summary: The majority report of the General Conference on the subject of slavery stated that "the buying, selling, holding or using of human beings as chattels is contrary to the laws of God and nature." This resolution was adopted as only 'advisory' and not as the law of the Church.
Origin of Article: Baltimore Sun
Editorial Comment: "[T]he members of the M.E. Church in Staunton are dissatisfied with the action of the General Conference on the subject of slavery, and that a Convention is suggested of the laity and ministry of the Baltimore Conference. We give below a palliating version of the action of the Convention, to which, however, we do not subscribe."
Full Text of Article:

Methodist Conference.

It will be seen by a communication in another column, that the members of the M.E. Church in Staunton are dissatisfied with the action of the General Conference on the subject of slavery, and that a Convention is suggested of the laity and ministry of the Baltimore Conference. We give below a palliating version of the action of the Convention, to which, however, we do not subscribe. It is taken from a correspondence of the Baltimore Sun. We will discuss this matter more fully hereafter:

"The report of the majority as adopted is as follows: "We believe that the buying, selling, holding or using of human beings as chattels is contrary to the laws of God and nature, inconsistent with the Golden Rule, and with that rule in the discipline which requires all who desire to remain among us to do not harm, and to avoid evil of every kind.' Subsequent to the adoption of the above, a resolution was passed declaring the aforegoing as only 'advisory' and 'not bearing the force of law.' In other words, the whole chapter of the Discipline upon the subject of slavery has been stricken from the statutes of the church; and while it declares now in so many words that it has no law operating as such on its membership upon the subject of slavery, the church gives such advice and admonition in the Discipline as it deems salutary on this subject. Law has give place to 'admonition,' and such and no more is the result of this long and troublesome agitation."

The Vote for Judge
(Column 6)
Summary: Relates the vote for Judge of the 11th Circuit. Thompson defeated Fultz.
(Names in announcement: Thompson, Fultz)
Baptist Church
(Column 6)
Summary: The Baptist Association donated money at their convention so that the Staunton church was able to pay off its debt.

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[No Title]
(Column 1)
Summary: Letter to the editor about the Vindicator's support of Douglas.
Full Text of Article:

"For the Vindicator."

Mr. Editor:Permit me, a sincere well-wisher of the Democratic party, through your columns, to offer a few ideas which have presented themselves to my mind in connection with the Charleston Convention and its unfortunate disruption.

It seems to be a growing belief in this neighborhood, and you, sir, I am sorry to see, are laboring (honestly, no doubt) to crate the impression that the opponents of squatter sovereignty and its great embodiment were mainly instrumental in bringing about that result, so much to be deplored by ever democrat and lover of his country.

I take issue with you on this point, and will endeavor to state as concisely as possible my reasons, "for the faith which is within me."

In the first place, some two years ago, Judge Douglas entered into a bitter feud with a Democratic administration, which has made useless all its measures, paralyzed its arm, and withal proved the "direful spring of woes unnumbered' to the Democratic party. I will not stop to enquire who was right or wrong in that struggle; I will not attempt to judge between Lecompton and anti-Lecompton, but will only express my curiosity to know how the gentleman who pressed Congress to go behind and reverse the action of a Convention of an inchoate State reconciles that position with his present rampant, non-intervention views. Again, some twelve months ago, Mr. Douglas with an arrogance heretofore unheard of in an aspirant for the Democratic Presidential nomination, presumed to dictate his platform to the party, kindly consenting to rule over us for the next four years in accordance with those views, but stoutly refusing the nomination if the Convention in its insolent disregard of the self-constituted dictator of the Democracy should decide to frame a 'slave code' for the territories, as he sneeringly denominated congressional intervention for the protection of slave property in the territories.

Thus we see that two years ago, Judge Douglas for trifling cause, divided and distracted the Democratic party (for whether the Kansas Lecompton constitution was just or unjust, whether Congress had a right to interfere and disregard and reverse the action of a legally constituted Convention for the framing of a State Constitution or not, the admission of Kansas under that Constitution would have resulted in injury to no one, for if distasteful to the people, it could be changed by the popular vote at any time.) And we also see that twelve months before the meeting of the Charleston Convention, Mr. Douglas had presented the squatter sovereignty issue to the South fairly and squarely, and fairly and squarely we had to meet it or surrender everything.

Again: The Democracy North and South have agreed that when a territory proposed to enter the Union as a State, it had a right to establish or prohibit slavery as a majority of its people chose. When then in the name of expediency, in the name of common sense, in the name of the harmony of the Democratic party and the country, does Mr. Douglas persist in vesting the territorial legislature with a power which we are all agreed the constitutional convention of the territory is clothed?

But Mr. Douglas and his friends, especially those who vegetate South of Mason and Dixon's line, assume to treat the whole question as an empty abstraction, of no practical effect either for or against the South; either for [or] against the North. So much the worse for them, so much the more heinous their sin. How dare they force a useless and abstract question of no practical importance upon the Democracy, destructing the party even to disruption and threatening the Union? What excuse will they give to this and succeeding generations for thus wantonly sacrificing the only National party, for thus madly jeopardizing the existence of the most beautiful system of government the world has ever seen?

The difference between us of the South and Mr. Douglas and his friends, is that we are willing to disband the Democratic party--to burst the bonds which bind these States in Union--to shake this Government for turret to foundation, in defense of a principle which we believe to be of vital importance to the South and its institutions, and in opposition to a policy which in our opinion is pregnant with the doom of our section, which they are ready to sever the Democratic party--to endanger the Union--to subvert the Constitution (for many of them, yourself among the number, acknowledge that the opinion of the Supreme Court expressed extra judicially, is with us) upon an issue which they themselves have pronounced an empty and miserable abstraction.

But my principle object, in writing this article was to combat the (in my opinion) erroneous idea of Mr. Douglas' availability, which seems to be his tower of strength in the South. In the Convention we learn from a speech of the Hon. B.F. Butler, of Massachusetts, a Douglas Democrat, representing a Douglas constituency, that the bare majority of Mr. Douglas was 'more apparent than real."

In regard to his strength before the people, we have the stubborn fact staring us in the face, of six Democratic States seceding from the Convention and declaring their determination no to support a squatter sovereign man on a squatter sovereign platform. I know it has become the fashion for the Douglas men to affirm that the seceding delegations did not represent their constituency! What more right have you, sir, to say that those instructed gentlemen who seceded in obedience to their instructions, did not represent their constituency, than they have to say that you and your colleague, who if instructed at all, acted in conflict with your instructions, did not represent your people. No, sir, those delegates did represent the people who sent them to the Convention! It is hardly probable that one District Convention should be so packed as to send delegates to a National Convention to misrepresent the sentiment of the people of the district,--it is hardly possible that a whole State should do such violence to the people as to misrepresent them in Convention but it is too much for human credulity to believe the remarkable coincidence of six States misrepresenting their people at Charleston! If you convince me of the existence of this monstrous fact, then I am convinced that Conventions are stupendous fraud on the pole, wrong in theory and infamous in practice. But I think it will not be denied by any candid man that those States which seceded are uncompromisingly opposed to Douglas and squatter sovereignty. Then where is his strength? It cannot be in the other Southern States,, for though a large majority of the Democratic party will sustain him if nominated, yet there is a respectable minority, sufficient I firmly believe, in many Democratic States to turn the scale against him.

Will he carry many of the Northern States which went for Fremont in '56? I think not. Will he with his low tariff vows, find favor with the iron interest of Pennsylvania? That too, I think, is doubtful.

Lastly, can he carry Democratic Illinois? If reasoning from the past is legitimate, I can hardly doubt every candid mind will decide that the chances are against him; in '59, in the midst of the Lecompton excitement, when the whole North welcomed him as its great Democratic champion (and when too he first distinctly affirmed his squatter theory to sweet to Northern palates,) when he had an opportunity to bring all his tremendous powers as a popular debater and stump orator to bear on the canvass, he was beaten before the people by a majority of five thousand. Besides the facts which I have cited, there is an administration party not to be despised in every Northern State, justly incensed with Judge Douglas and uncompromisingly opposed to his aspirations.

After this brief and imperfect survey of the field, I ask is the nomination of Mr. Douglas expedient? As this article is already longer than I had intended, but I cannot conclude without adverting to one other subject, which more nearly concerns this district.

You have given two reasons why you and your colleague determined to break the unity of the Virginia delegation at Charleston, 1st because you believed Judge Douglas to be the real choice of your constituency. 2d because the unit system bore oppressively upon Western Virginia. For your former reason if it be true, as you believe that Mr. Douglas is the choice of hits district, you acted very inconsistently in pleading yourself before the District Convention to vote for Mr. Hunter as long as any chance of his nomination remained, and for your second, pardon me if I assert that to establish the existence of the fact, you have brought no particle of proof or argument.

But let the facts be as they may let me ask shall the unity of the Virginia Delegation be broken for the purpose of placing the most distinguished district of the Commonwealth--the renowned Tenth Legion--prominently before the country in opposition to what many, very many, Southern statesmen believe to be the best interests of this section? Shall all the ancient usages and land marks of the Virginia Democracy be swept away for the purpose of forcing down the throat of a reluctant and protesting South a platform and man peculiarly obnoxious to her? I am sure if the voice of the gallant Democracy of this district could be fairly heard they would answer emphatically in the negative.


Trailer: Virginian
(Column 4)
Summary: Married on June 5.
(Names in announcement: Mr. H. Risk, Rev. George Taylor, Mr. Henry L. Terrill, Miss Mary F. Hutchins)
(Column 4)
Summary: Elizabeth McGuffin died on May 16 at age 81.
(Names in announcement: Mrs. Elizabeth McGuffin, Mr. James McGuffin)
Trailer: W. T. P.
(Column 4)
Summary: Dr. Benjamin H. Kibler, formerly of Spring Hill, died at his mother's home near Luray in Page County. He was 32.
(Names in announcement: Dr. Benjamin Kibler)

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