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Valley of the Shadow

Staunton Spectator: February 7, 1860

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-Page 01-

A Lynchburg Darkey in High Life
(Column 3)
Summary: Story of a slave who "passed" for white in Pittsburgh. The slave, named Bob Burwell, had been a bar-tender in Lynchburg until his purchase by a celebrated forger named Cross. Cross had always treated Burwell as his equal, so no one in Pittsburgh realized that Burwell was actually his slave. After Cross was arrested, Burwell voluntarily went back to Lynchburg to mortgage himself and raise money for Cross's aid.
Origin of Article: Lynchburg Virginian
Letter of Rev. Dr. Breckinridge to the Hon. John C. Breckinridge
(Column 4)
Summary: Lengthy letter from Rev. Breckinridge to his nephew, the Vice President. This is the letter that the editorial in the January 31 issue discussed.

-Page 02-

Description of Page: Weekly proceedings of State Legislature, column 4; of Congress, column 5.

Democracy and Slavery
(Column 1)
Summary: Editorial argues that it is not surprising that John Brown believed many white Virginians would rally to his cause at Harper's Ferry. Spectator blames the Democrats for accusing those who do not agree with them entirely as being disloyal to slavery and to the South. This gives the impression that Virginians are not united in their devotion to slavery and the South, and thus contributed to the fanaticism of John Brown and to the impression among other fanatics of the North that there is sympathy for the anti-slavery cause in Virginia.
Full Text of Article:

John Brown embarked in his insane enterprise against Virginia under the mistaken notion that he would find sympathizers in the State, who would gather around his standard at the first sound of a bugle. He did not anticipate accessions to his small band of desperate and determined men from the negro population alone, but confidently believed that many of the free white citizens of the Commonwealth, who he imagined to be anti-slavery in sentiment, were ready and anxious to rally under the banner of a bold leader and strike for the liberty of the slaves. It is an admitted fact that such was the impression of the deluded man in regard to the state of sentiment in Virginia, and although the delusion may seem strange at first blush, we are constrained to admit when looking back upon the political struggles of the past in this State, that John Brown was in some degree justified in the belief that Virginia was ripe for the "irrepressible conflict." The leader of the army of invasion was the old old John Brown,--a man well up in years--who had watched with the keen eye of fanaticism the progress of political events in this country for the last twenty years, and marked their bearings upon the great idea of his life--the one grand object of his aspirations and efforts--the liberation of the slaves from their bondage. It is not reasonable to suppose that he was an indifferent spectator to the fierce conflicts of parties in Virginia. On the contrary, the last steps of his career upon the soil of our State, as the avowed leader of a crusade against slavery and slaveholders, even to bloodshed and death, is of itself sufficient to establish the fact that he had been watching the course of affairs in the State of Virginia with special and peculiar interest. And what had he learned from the conflicts of the last twenty years, and heard with exultation from the lips of politicians and papers of the Democratic party? To those who are familiar with the political history of the State it is scarcely necessary to say that from them he heard, probably for the first time, of a difference of sentiment among the people of Virginia on the subject of negro slavery. From them he learned, not that a few of the people, but that a large and imposing party, led on by men of acknowledged talents and ability, were regarded with distrust by their fellow citizens and denounced as unsound and unworthy to be trusted by the South with the power of either the Federal or State government. He heard it as far back as 1836 when the "great Commoner" of Kentucky, a Southern man and slave owner, was denounced as unworthy of Southern confidence and support, and those who sustained him were charged with disloyalty to their section and its "peculiar institution." He heard of it again in 1840, and 1848, and 1852, when the same groundless and unjust charges were proffered against Harrison and Taylor and Scott, together with all who sustained those true and loyal sons of the South in those memorable contests. He heard it in still louder tones in the gubernatorial election of 1851, when Geo. W. Summers, the gallant standard bearer of the Whigs, was held up for his inspection and admiration as an abolitionist "to the manner born," and the thousands who gathered around the banner which he bore so gallantly, were denounced and defamed as affiliating with and lending aid and comfort to the enemies of the South.

But not only during the political campaigns had John Brown heard this cheering intelligence of the progress of anti-slavery opinions in the State of Virginia.--Pending the discussion of every measure bearing upon the question of slavery, he had heard the same charge ringing from the hustings and the press against many of the greatest and best of Virginia's sons. The sound had been listened to so long that it grew familiar, and it is not surprising that it received credit. When so many concurred in the statement that a vast number of the people of Virginia, were "doughfaces" and "submissionists," and thousands of other sympathisers with the anti-slavery sentiment of the North, is it to be wondered at that John Brown believed the thing to be true, and addressed himself to the consummation of his grand project with the confident expectation of finding all things ready for the crisis? Like many others who have put faith in the Democracy, however, he was most egregiously deceived.

Without holding the Democratic party directly responsible for the bloody scenes at Harper's Ferry, we are fully persuaded that it is responsible to a certain extent for that delusion in regard to the sentiments of Virginia, which lured old Brown to his doom. We had hoped that the men of that party would have seen the civil consequences of such a mode of warfare, counterbalancing in our opinion all the advantages to be derived from a mere party success, and that the scenes of the bloody drama on our borders, to which men of all parties rushed for the defense of a common soil, would have put an end to all aspersions upon the soundness of Virginia on this question of slavery. But we have been disappointed. We find the Democratic papers still virulent in the abuse of all who do not square up to their ideas of what a Southern man should be. We find them setting up an "armory bill" in the Legislature of the State as a test of soundness on the slavery question, and holding up those who resist it as an unnecessary and extravagant measure, as recreant to the State that gave them birth; and especially are they violent against those who are most likely to be in their way in the effort to perpetuate the power of the Democratic party. Thus do they endeavor to perpetuate a "reign of terror" under which so many destitute of "back-bone" have been dragooned into their ranks. We are mistaken, however, if such treatment will do any good either to the Democratic party or the South. Men of sense will not be driven into all sorts of folly because John Brown invaded Virginia, nor frightened from their propriety by charges of unsoundness that have been rung against them all their lives.--The Democracy may turn the Harper's Ferry affair to their advantage, as they have generally managed everything connected with slavery for the furtherance of their party schemes; but they will find it a mere temporary advantage. The conservatism of Virginia cannot be thus crushed out.

There is a party, however, that will be built up and encouraged by the course of the Democracy toward those who differ with them in political opinion, as it has been built up and encouraged in times past. The Democratic leaders had been telling Brown that there were those in Virginia who sympathized with him, until a conviction of the truth of the statement was forced upon him. Satisfied that he would find helpers he came on his bloody mission. There are other John Browns at the North still, and ex. Gov. Wise is still telling them in his public speeches, which are scattered far and wide at the North, that there are "helpers of Helper" even in the Metropolis of Virginia. Often repeated it will be believed, and whenever satisfied that the "helpers" are sufficiently numerous, the bereaved followers of Brown will choose his successor for another descent upon our borders.

[No Title]
(Column 3)
Summary: Quoted text of Sen. Stuart's remarks in the State Senate with respect to payment of expenses related to the Harper's Ferry invasion, printed "at the request of the editor of the Vindicator."
(Names in announcement: Sen. Alexander Stuart)
Extension of Town Limits
(Column 3)
Summary: Report that the Town Council of Staunton approved a plan to enlarge the boundaries of the town and transmitted the plan to the General Assembly for approval.
[No Title]
(Column 4)
Summary: Report that the new Liberty dime has been issued by the mint and that "the new coin is very pretty."
Old Fogy States
(Column 5)
Summary: Comment that Tennessee and Kentucky have sent representatives to Ohio as if the states still shared a fraternal spirit. Suggests sarcastically that South Carolina should send a delegation to the states to inform them of the current state of affairs.
The Harper's Ferry Investigation
(Column 6)
Summary: Report of the proceedings of the Congressional committee investigating the raid at Harper's Ferry.
Report on the Harper's Ferry Affair
(Column 6)
Summary: Printed copy of the resolutions of the committee of the state legislature on the Harper's Ferry incident.
Trial of Stevens
(Column 6)
Summary: Report of the beginning of the trial of Stevens, one of John Brown's henchmen, at the Circuit Court of Jefferson County.

-Page 03-

Election of Judge
(Column 1)
Summary: Letter praising Judge Thompson's abilities as Circuit Court Judge and defending Thompson against the criticisms of Mr. Fultz and his supporters. Amasses court statistics to demonstrate the speed with which Thompson proceeds through the court docket.
(Names in announcement: Mr. Fultz, Judge Thompson)
Trailer: R.L.J.
To Long Glade and Mossy Creek
(Column 1)
Summary: Lilley responds to the accusation of "Long Glade and Mossy Creek" and denies that he is part of any agreement to distribute deputyships after the election for Sheriff.
(Names in announcement: James M. Lilley)
Trailer: James M. Lilley
For the Spectator
(Column 1)
Summary: Larew denies the accusation of "Long Glade and Mossy Creek" that he is part of any combination to distribute deputyships after the election of Sheriff.
(Names in announcement: John Larew)
Trailer: John J. Larew
To Long Glade and Mossy Creek
(Column 2)
Summary: Peck denies that he is part of any combination to distribute deputyships after the election of Sheriff.
(Names in announcement: Henry Peck)
Trailer: Henry H. Peck
(Column 3)
Summary: Married on February 2.
(Names in announcement: Rev. William Brown, Captain P.O. Palmer, Eliza Lamb)
(Column 3)
Summary: Married on January 26 near Deerfield, Augusta.
(Names in announcement: Rev. J.S. Blain, H.H. Bailey, Ann Rutlidge)
(Column 3)
Summary: William Young died at his home near Tinkling Springs Church on February 3 at age 78.
(Names in announcement: William Young)
Trailer: "D"
(Column 3)
Summary: William Blair died January 24 at his home near Parnassus.
(Names in announcement: Dr. William Blair)
Trailer: S.B.C.

-Page 04-

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