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Valley of the Shadow

Staunton Spectator: January 31, 1860

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-Page 01-

Description of Page: Bottom right is blotchy and blurry

For the Spectator
(Column 7)
Summary: Writer places responsibility for delays in trials and logjams on court dockets upon lawyers and witnesses rather than on Judge Thompson. Defends Judge Thompson's bid for re-election.
(Names in announcement: Mr. Fultz, Judge Thompson)
Trailer: JUSTICE

-Page 02-

Description of Page: Weekly proceedings of State Legislature, column 4; of Congress, column 5. Reprints letters to David Fultz calling upon him to run for Sheriff, and Fultz response/acceptance, column 6.

State of the Country
(Column 1)
Summary: Praises the letter of Rev. Dr. Breckenridge to his nephew, the Vice President, in which Dr. Breckenridge argues that disunion is a cause of national calamities rather than a solution to them. The Spectator agrees with the letter writer that as a border state, Virginia stands to lose more in the event of disunion than most states. Spectator calls for enforcement of the current laws in order to forestall disunion. The Spectator believes that, if the Republican party is sincere in its intentions not to attack slavery in the Southern states, there should be no difficulty in settling the slavery debate, as most Southerners have no desire to bring slaves into currently free territories. Ponders the horrors of secession and calls for an end to agitation.
Full Text of Article:

Of all the letters from distinguished men which the present political excitement has called forth, we have read none which seems to us to meet the case at all points so satisfactorily as the one addressed by the Rev. Dr. Breckenridge, of Kentucky, to his nephew, the Vice-President of the United States. Dr. Breckenridge declares that the settled and deliberate conviction of Kentucky is that the dissolution of the Union is no remedy for anything whatever, but that it is itself the direst of all calamities. Kentucky has been exposed, along a frontier of seven hundred miles, to greater evils than all the slave States which have no free frontier put together; yet she has never entertained a single thought of secession. It is Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky and Missouri that have bourne all the losses and annoyance, and are to bear all the impending peril. To these States, therefore, the decision of the national aspects of these impending perils emphatically appertains. In like manner the border free States ought to remember that their borders are as much exposed as ours; so that on them, with reference to the free States behind them, rest the duty and the right of deciding the national aspect of the subject of slavery on the free side of the line. It may be confidently asserted that posterity will hold these border States, on both sides, responsible for the fate of the nation, if they permit the country to be ruined, and themselves to be thrown into a position of endless mutual hostility, along a common frontier of fifteen hundred miles.

The true remedy for such disorders as we complain of is not in the breaking up of the Government, but in the due enforcement of the laws. When any part of the country refuses to respect the laws, the proper course is to take up arms and compel obedience. Says Dr. Breckenridge:

"Civil war itself within the Union, horrible as civil war always is, is necessarily temporary, and is consistent with the ultimate preservation of everything distinctive in our present nationality, and in all our institutions, general and particular; and a universal civil war at this time within the Union could hardly fail to end in the permanent establishment, for the whole country, of just what our fathers established from 1776 to 1789. But after the division of the Union upon the slave line, and the necessary breaking out of fierce and interminable war along the frontier extending from the Atlantic Ocean to the western border of Missouri, no man can foresee a state of case when peace can ever be preserved along that frontier as well as it can be in the Union, and every man can see that any future union of the divided portions of the Confederacy, if any union shall ever be possible, must be upon the very terms which now exist.

It is alleged, however, that there is the utmost probability that a Northern anti-slavery party will ultimately acquire controlling influence over every department of the Federal Government, and that the slave States cannot, consistently with honor, continue members of a Union controlled by such a party.

"To this let me say," continues Dr. B., "first of all, that if every word were true and certain, the wise, manly and successful alternative would be, not the dissolution of the Union, but the recovery of the country, by force if necessary, from those who shall have subverted its Constitution. Nor can there be any doubt that the united South and the minority of the North will be always and to every intent, without arms or with arms, more powerful in the Union than the united, much less the divided South, can ever be out of it. Nor does it appear to me to be loyal to the people of the North who are faithful to the Constitution, even if they were the smaller number, for the South to withdraw and leave them subject to a domination as intolerable to them as it is offensive to us."

We can hardly doubt that if the real feelings and wishes of the people, North and South, could be represented at Washington, uninfluenced by partizan [sic] bias, the whole matter in controversy would soon be settled without difficulty. How stands the case? The Republicans at the North generally disclaim any intention or desire to interfere with slavery as it exists in the Southern States, but profess to believe that it is the settled policy of the South, by means of the Federal government, to extend slavery throughout the country; and to resist this encroachment of the "slave power" as they call it, they are organized into a political party. On the other hand, the South generally believes that the Northern majority are banded together to wage a fanatical crusade against the institution. The long continued and virulent abuse of slavery and slave- holders by Republican speakers and writers certainly encourages the impression alluded to. Admitting, for the sake of argument, that slavery is a bad institution, it is difficult to tell why those who have no responsibility on account of it, and no control over it, should persist in denouncing it, unless they desire to raise a crusade for its extermination. But if the Republicans are sincere in their formal declarations, there need be little difficulty in coming to an amicable settlement. With the exception of a few extreme men at the South, the people of this section are not "slavery propagandists"--they have no desire to carry slavery into any Territory now free, and it is not their interest to do so.--They could give profitable employment to many more slaves than they now hold, and the institution would only be weakened by being diffused. They, however, with reason, object to being told that they shall not do what they believe that they have a Constitutional right to do, although they have no idea of doing it. Why then cannot all parties and both sections agree to let the matter alone and cease agitation. Soil and climate will, without doubt, ultimately settle the boundaries of slave and free territory to the satisfaction of all reasonable people.

Should all efforts to restore peace to the country fail, we fall back upon Dr. Breckenridge's idea. He says:

"The firm determination of every portion of the Union to maintain its rights within the Union, under every extremity, would soon put an end to all necessity for any portion of it to elect between terrible means of doing so. It is horrible to reflect that the children of the Revolution might be obliged to shed each others blood. How much more horrible to shed it in such a manner that oceans of it could never restore what we had destroyed, while every drop of it would be an eternal testimony against our folly!"

New Party
(Column 1)
Summary: Editorial about the creation and meeting of an Opposition National Party in Philadelphia.
(Column 2)
Summary: Report of a military gathering and announcement of the first public appearance of the "Staunton Artillery" on February 22.
(Names in announcement: Captain Baylor, William Wilson, Captain Imboden)
A Big Purchase
(Column 2)
Summary: Notice of a purchase of a large estate in Culpeper County by two Staunton men.
(Names in announcement: D.W. Kennedy, David Wine)
Origin of Article: Culpeper Observer
Board of Visitors
(Column 2)
Summary: List of Board of Visitors of the Virginia Institute for the Deaf and Dumb and Blind, including three Staunton men.
(Names in announcement: Esq. J.H. Skinner, General W.H. Harmon, Colonel George Baylor)
The Power of the Democratic Party
(Column 3)
Summary: Baltimore American editorial severely criticizes a "Southern Democratic journal" for arguing that the Democratic Party is the only viable protector of Southern interests in politics. In reality, the editorial claims, the Republicans rose to power under the watch of a Democratic administration and the Democrats are partially to blame for the lack of checks against Republican growth.
Origin of Article: Baltimore American
Full Text of Article:

A Southern Democratic journal, commenting upon the recent able and praiseworthy address of the Central Committee of the opposition in Mississippi, exclaims, "The Whig party has disappeared in the Union. The American party is powerless everywhere." In reply to these assertions, it should be seen that nothing more was needed than to refer to the fact that they emancipate from a source rarely accused of simple accuracy in connection with matters of party bias.

Any man capable of putting two and two together can predict with absolute certainty what must follow the sentences quoted at the outsetting of this article. "There is but one organization in the country retaining vitality and force sufficient to make it a serious and hopeful resistance to Blak Republican ascendancy in the councils and government of the Confederacy--and that is the Democratic party." Of course, of course. The sun shines; one and one make two; three thirds make a whole; there are four quarters to the globe; day follows night; night follows day--how plain, how very plain it all is. And yet the Black Republican party came into existence during the Democratic administration, it has continued to grow and prosper while the Democratic power was in power; it has received no serious check from Democracy, nay, if the truth were told we fear it would be found that the Black Republican party owes its very existence and every stage of its growth to the unwisdom of that very organization which now so loudly vaunts that it alone has force and vitality enough to oppose a serious and hopeful resistance to Seward's ascendancy. What would be thought of as a sentinel who having permitted the enemy to overrun the camp or failed to arrest them, should repair to the commander-in-chief with the braggart and impudent assertion that he must be retained in the post of honor and of danger, because, forsooth, he alone is capable of holding it against all odds? And if it were ascertained that this same sentinel, so boastful of his prowess, had himself broken down the barrier and invited the enemy into camp? Yet this is precisely the position of the Democratic party at this hour. The hard common sense of the people, slow to arouse, is at last awakened to the incompetency if not the infidelity of those whom they have so long trusted, and the absurd pretensions of the Democracy will not again be believed until the strange conviction has lodged in the public mind that black is white and pouring oil upon fire is the best mode of stopping a conflagration. We by no means believe what our Southern contemporary has ascribed about the Whig and American parties, but, be the truth what it may in reference to those organizations, one thing remains fixed in the popular judgement beyond the chance of removal, and that is this: The Black Republican party has openly avowed its sectionary and incendiary designs, and the Democratic party has proved its inability to cope with its sectional antagonist. Therefore the people have no option other than to go outside of those parties if they would save the country from ruin.--Balt. American

Trailer: Baltimore American
For the Spectator
(Column 3)
Summary: Letter criticizes Mr. Fultz' qualifications to serve as Circuit Court Judge and calls on voters to support the reelection of Judge Thompson.
(Names in announcement: Mr. Fultz, Judge Thompson)
Trailer: A Farmer
To James M. Lilly, John J. Larew, Henry H. Peck and Peter G. Steele
(Column 3)
Summary: Letter writer accuses candidates for Sheriff of making a deal to make the others deputies if one is elected. The writer calls for the candidates to answer the charges. Exempts Capt. Phillip O. Polmer from this inquiry, as he has already made his positions clear.
(Names in announcement: James Lilly, John Larew, Henry Peck, Peter Steele, Captain Phillip Polmer)
Trailer: Long Glade and Mossy Creek
Union Feeling at the South
(Column 3)
Summary: Report of the resolution of a Union meeting held in Knoxville, Tennessee.
For the Spectator
(Column 5)
Summary: Suggests abolishing the Corporation Court, arguing that many local establishments violate licensing laws and are not prosecuted in Corporation Courts. Calls for licenses to be placed under jurisdiction of the County Court.
Trailer: Observer
The Harper's Ferry Investigation
(Column 6)
Summary: Summarizes proceedings at the investigation of the Harper's Ferry raid occurring in Washington.
(Column 7)
Summary: Elizabeth L. Wilson married David Henton on January 26.
(Names in announcement: Rev. William Brown, Esq. David Henton, Elizabeth Wilson, Esq. Thomas Wilson)
(Column 7)
Summary: William Blair died near Parnassus on January 24.
(Names in announcement: Dr. William Blair)
(Column 7)
Summary: Michael Hanger died at age 36 of heart disease in Missouri. He was the son of David and Mary Hanger, formerly of Augusta.
(Names in announcement: Michael Hanger, David Hanger, Mary Hanger)

-Page 03-

Description of Page: Right half of page 3 is advertisements, including list of candidates for local offices. Also land sales, public auctions, etc.

The Judicial Election--Hon. Judge Lucas P. Thompson
(Column 1)
Summary: Letter praising Judge Thomspon and supporting his reelection as Circuit Judge.
(Names in announcement: Judge Thompson)
Trailer: Z
From the Vindicator
(Column 1-2)
Summary: State Senator Stuart defends himself against the claims of the Vindicator that he deprecated the activities of the Augusta County militia during the invasion of Harper's Ferry. Stuart calls on the paper to repair the wrong done to him when it misinterpreted his remarks. This letter is followed by a letter from P.G. Coghlan, Senate Reporter, who states that he only abbreviated Stuart's remarks in the record, and that in his full remarks the Senator indeed took occasion to pay a compliment to the actions of Augusta volunteers at Harper's Ferry.
(Names in announcement: Alexander Stuart)
Origin of Article: Republican Vindicator
Trailer: Alex. H.H. Stuart

-Page 04-

Description of Page: Advertisements