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Valley of the Shadow

Staunton Vindicator: September 14, 1866

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-Page 01-

Didn't Like Fighting
(Column 05)
Summary: Uses a fictionalized wartime conversation between two black men to argue that "the negro had no desire to fight on either side, whether for, or against his liberty." One of the black characters explains that in the conflict between "de yankees and 'federates is two dogs fighten for a bone" and that "you see dogs fight for a bone, but neber see de bone fight."
Origin of Article: Savannah News and Herald, Raleigh Progress
Full Text of Article:

It was always clear to the southern mind that the negro had no desire to fight on either side, whether for, or against his liberty,and this fact is somewhat strikingly illustrated in the following anecdote, related by the Savannah News and Herald, which was given by a faithful Virginia servant of an officer in the Confederate army. Shortly after the news had reached the camp in North Carolina that the Confederate Government contemplated putting the blacks into the service, the subject was frequently discussed among the negroes around the camp fire:

"Is you gwine to lit, Thornton?" asked a spirited darkey of a staid old fellow, who had followed his master through the war.

"No," replied Thornton, "I don't want nuffin to do with fightin. Nigger got no business with muskets."

But," inquired the other, who pretended to favor the idea, "ain't you willin to help to lick the nasty, stinking yankess, what our folks make trabel so fast. Ain't you gin em?"

"Yes I is 'posed to them, but de way to help to whip dem varmints, is for de nigger to use doe hoe. He knows what to do wid dat, but don't wid de musket!"

"Eh, Thornton, you don't want to fight nobody."

"Dat's de fact," said the other, "den if de home don't, he gits mighty bad chawed sometimes."

This naive conversation, simple as its is, illustrates the situation of the negro more clearly than the most recherche treatise we have upon this subject. Yes! the negro has been terribly "chawed" in the late conflict between the north and south, the extent of which no one has any knowledge, but this present condition under the fostering care of the munificent Freedmen's Bureau, is decidedly worse. Sic transit negrophia mundi! --Raleigh Progress.

-Page 02-

[No Title]
(Column 01)
Summary: A lengthy rebuttal of the views of John B. Baldwin, as expressed in a letter in another column of the Vindicator and in his testimony before the Reconstruction Committee. The editor is adamant that the conflict was a civil war and not a rebellion, because it "was emphatically a movement of the people . . . in which the leaders were their servants."
(Names in announcement: John B. Baldwin)
Full Text of Article:

We publish in this issue the letter of the Hon. J. B. Baldwin in explanation of his evidence before the Reconstruction Committee. While we desire to lay before our readers the views of Mr. Baldwin, we are unwilling that they shall be construed as an expression of the sentiment of this community. Some may view this matter as does Mr. Baldwin, but we think that very few, here or elsewhere, will agree with him in the opinion he states as a lawyer. If anything is plainly laid down in the law books, it is the definition of what constitutes civil war in contradistinction to rebellion.

Even in cases of popular commotion, insurrection or sedition, nor rising to the dignity of civil war. Vattel says, (Chap. XVIII Of Civil War, p. 421) and all modern publicists agree with him, "that while every citizens should even patiently endure evils which are not insupportable, rather than disturb the public peace, a denial of justice on the part of the sovereign, or effected delays can alone excuse the furious transport of people whose patience has been exhausted and even justify them if the evils be intolerable and the oppression great and manifest. That in such cases the conduct of the Sovereign shall at the same time be most consonant to justice and salutary to the State. Altho it be his duty to repress those who unnecessarily disturb the public peace, he is bound to show clemency, towards unfortunate persons, to whom just causes of complaint have been given, and whose sole crime consists in the attempt to do themselves justice. They have been deficient in patience rather than fidelity. Subjects who rise against their Prince without cause deserve punishment, yet even in this cause, on account of the number of the delinquents clemency becomes a duty in the sovereign."

But the same author, when he comes to speak of civil war, says "when a party is formed in a State, who no longer obey the sovereign, and are possessed of sufficient strength to oppose him, or when in a Republic the nation is divided into two opposite factions, and both sides take up arms, this is called a civil war. Some writers confine this term to a just insurrection of the subjects against their Sovereign, to distinguish that lawful resistance from rebellion, which is an open and unjust resistance. But what appellation will they give to a war which arises in a Republic torn by two factions, or in a Monarchy between two competitors for the crown? Custom appropriates the term of civil war to every war between the member of one and the same political society. If it be between part of the citizens on one side and the Sovereign with those who continue in obedience to him on the other, provided malcontents have any reason for taking up arms, nothing further is required to entitle such disturbances to the name of civil war and not that of rebellion. * * * The Sovereign indeed, never fails to bestow the appellation of rebels on all such of his subjects as openly resist him, but when the latter have acquired sufficient strength to give him effectual opposition, and to oblige him to carry on the war against them according to the established rules he must necessarily submit to the use of the term civil war."

"A civil war breaks the bands of society and government or at least suspends their force and effect. It produces in the nation two independent parties, who consider each other as enemies, and acknowledge no common judge. Those two parties, therefore, must necessarily be considered, as thenceforward constituting, at least for a time, two separate bodies,--two distinct societies. Though one of the parties may have been to blame in breaking the unity of the State and resisting the lawful authority they are not the less divided in fact. Besides who shall judge them? Who shall pronounce on which side the right or the wrong lies? On earth, they have no common superior. They stand, therefore, in precisely the same predicament, as two nations who engage in a contest, and, being unable to come to an agreement, have recourse to arms. * * * They decide their quarrel by arms as two different nations would do. The obligation to observe the common laws or war to each other is therefore absolute -- indispensably binding on both parties, and the same which the law of nature impose on all nations in transactions between State and State."

The only exception which this author makes to that immunity of the citizens of each contending party, which belongs to the citizens to independent States, is that "when the Sovereign has subdued the opposite party and reduced them to submit and sue for peace, he may except from the amnesty the authors to the disturbances, the heads of the party. He may bring them to a legal trial and punish them if they be found guilty. He may act in this manner particularly on occasion to those disturbances, in which the interests of the people are not so much the object in view, as the private aims of some powerful individuals and which rather deserve the appellation of revolt than of civil war."

This exception does not embrace th case of the Southern Confederacy, where no powerful individuals intervened, but which was emphatically a movement of the people, to promote the supposed interests of the people alone, in which the leaders of the people were their servants. Under the light of the foregoing authority, which we believe is the exponent of the views of all publicists since the days when the head of Charles of England fell from the block, we are at a loss to conceive how the crime of treason can be attributed to the citizens of the Confederate States, in consequence of acts done during the late war, when the North and South "stood in precisely the same predicament, as two nations, who engage in a contest * * * two separate bodies, who pretended to absolute independence and between whom there was no judge. Who decided their quarrel by arms as two distinct nations would do," who of course therefore [unclear] but separate jurisdiction over their citizens respectively, and the right, while the war lasted, to punish as traitors those of their respective citizens, who committed acts which would have rendered them punishable as such by an independent nation. The bands of society and government were broken, or at least their force and effect suspended, who then could any one commit treason against a government which as to him no longer existed? What cruelty could compel him to fall under the axe of his own party, to whom his allegiance was due, as to a separate and independent State, at least for the time, or, escaping that, become a victim to the restored laws of the other government? This question turns then not upon the "right of secession," but upon the universal principles of international law.

How any one can therefore conclude that the attempt on the part of the Southern States to secure their independence was a rebellion we are at a loss to conceive, and most heartily dissent from this conclusion stated by Mr. Baldwin to be his legal opinion. We can not see that the "right of secession" has anything whatever to do with determining the character of the war, as to its being a rebellion or a civil war. Whether we had the right to secede or did not have that right, the dimensions and objects of the contest alone determined the character of the war and placed it, unquestionably, in the category of civil wars. Hence the unwarranted conclusion of Mr. Baldwin in classing it as a rebellion, and in consequence the equally unwarranted conclusion that each and every one of us is guilty of treason.

In our complex system of Government, the citizens, owing allegaince to both the State and Federal Governments, according to Mr. Baldwin, is liable, in cases of conflict between them, to be tried and punished for treason by his State for siding with the Federal Government, or by the latter for obeying the laws of his State. A wonderful dilemma for the citizen, for go which way he will he cannot escape, but must suffer the penalty of treason to one or the other.

We disagree also in the assertion of Mr. Baldwin that every pardon sought and accepted admits a doubt of the defence to be made before a court and jury. We do not conceive that it admits this doubt at all.--Many person never thought of the matter in the light of a jury trial. With a pardon they believed they would be free from lawlessness and violence, without it they feared they would not. It seemed to them a necessity they were forced to, by the edict of the Chief Magistrate of the country, in order to save what little of property they had left and not that they could not make good their defence, for a trial for treason never entered their thoughts. As a proof of this, men of property who had taken but little or no part in the struggle sought and accepted pardon, while many who were active participators and owned nothing have never given the subject of pardon of a second thought, and are to this day unpardoned. They assign as a reason for it, that they have no property to lose.

Surely life is more precious than property and if they had for a moment thought they could be tried, or that they could not make good their defense, they would have applied for and secured the pardon.

With his remarks concerning the continued imprisonment of Jefferson Davis we cordially concur, but regret exceedingly that this letter, as a whole has gone before the people of the country. It will be heralded as the legal opinion of a lawyer of eminence among us, who concedes that both law and right are against us, and may be productive of harm, and especially to our imprisoned fellow Southron, whom he so feelingly compassionates, but can not be productive of good.

[No Title]
(Column 02)
Summary: A highly critical account of the proceedings of the Loyal Southerners Convention in Philadelphia, which the author characterizes as "the greatest farce and failure of the present age." Delegates at the convention voted in favor of impartial suffrage by a vote of 66 to 11.
[No Title]
(Column 03)
Summary: Reports that "President Johnson met with indignities at several points" on his tour through the North, capped by a near riot in Indianapolis after Johnson "was prevented from speaking by the hootings of the crowd."
Letter from Hon. John B. Baldwin--His Testimony Before the Reconstruction Committee
(Column 03)
Summary: John Baldwin offers a clarification of his comments relating to Jefferson Davis's incarceration. Baldwin said only that if Davis was tried he would probably be convicted of treason, not that Davis should be tried. As long as Davis is held in prison, Baldwin argues, there can be no reconciliation between North and South.
(Names in announcement: John B. Baldwin)
Full Text of Article:

Staunton, August 10, 1866

Nat. B. Meade, Esq.

My Dear Sir -- I have received your letter and I thank you for calling my attention to a construction of my testimony about the trial of President Davis, which does injustice alike to my opinion and my feelings. My testimony was taken in short hand, and was not read over to me or submitted for my revision. I am surprised at its general correctness; but I find that, in several instances my meaning has been inaccurately stated, or wholly misapprehended.

The point of my inquiry was as to the probable result of a trial of Mr. Davis before a court and jury, if one should be had, and not as to the propriety of subjecting him to such an ordeal.

It was my purpose to state my belief that our unsuccessful attempt at revolution must be regarded as rebellion, and, if judicially considered and applied to individual cases, must subject each offender to the penalties of treason. Such, I presume, must be the opinion of all who believe in the "right of secession," and such must, of course, be the view of the Government of the United States. Every pardon granted and every amnesty offered is an assertion of this principle; and every pardon sought of this principle; and every pardon sought or accepted admits, at least, a doubt of the defence to be made before a court and jury.

While my opinion as a lawyer is what I have stated, I do not at all intend to admit the propriety of attempting to deal by judicious trials with transactions whose national proportions place them beyond the proper reach of court and jury. Each individual case if brought into court, must in my opinion, be held to constitute treason, and be dealt with accordingly, but each case is so thoroughly a representative of all, that a trial of any one, would, to all intents and purposes, be subjecting the conduct of a nation to the review of twelve jurors.

If this would be true of any one Confederate, who much more must it be felt to be true of President Davis, who, in his prison, is this day more emphatically the representative of our cause than he was when Commander-in-Chief of the Confederate army and navy.

To subject a man occupying his position to a trial by the narrow rules which limit judicial construction, and to the mockery of a jury trial, would, in my opinion, be an outrage too gross to be anticipated of any government in Christendom.

Every day that he is kept in prison is a peremtory adjournment of all real reconciliation between the North and the South. Any attempt to subject him to further humiliation must be regarded as a personal wrong done to every true southern man; and if he shall be permitted to die in captivity his name will became the watchward of Southern hate!--It is to be regretted that the Convention recently held at Philadelphia did not recognize the necessity of amnesty for the past as a basis of good will for the future; but I trust that this omission will be set right by President Johnson and that he will be the prompt point and vitality to his recent declaration that "unless we forget the past we can have no future."

Yours truly,

John B. Baldwin

Trailer: John B. Baldwin

-Page 03-

Local Items
(Column 01)
Summary: The 11th Regiment of the Virginia Militia elected field officers in Middlebrook last Saturday.
(Names in announcement: Capt. J. C. Cochran, M. W. D. Hogshead, J. L. Hailman)
Local Items
(Column 01)
Summary: The Methodist and Baptist Sunday schools united to hold a picnic last Saturday, where "young and old participated with great zest in the innocent and healthful enjoyments of the occasion."
(Names in announcement: Taylor)
Local Items
(Column 01)
Summary: A mail train ran over a "negro boy" who was sleeping on the tracks near Hanover Court House, severing his head from his body.
Local Items
(Column 01)
Summary: The horses stolen from Jno. Debbins and Jos. Patterson, and advertised in last week's Vindicator, were recovered along with the thief.
(Names in announcement: Jno. Debbins, Jos. Patterson)
Local Items
(Column 01)
Summary: Frank Greaver, who was sentenced to 12 months in the penitentiary by the Augusta Court, was recently pardoned by Gov. Pierpont.
(Names in announcement: Frank Greaver)
Local Items
(Column 01)
Summary: Dr. William Chapman has recovered from his illness and is back at his office.
(Names in announcement: Dr. Wm. Chapman)

-Page 04-

[No Title]
(Column 01)
Summary: Reports that the body of a white female soldier was unearthed recently near the Crater outside Petersburg.