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Valley of the Shadow

Staunton Spectator: July 31, 1860

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-Page 01-

Description of Page: Poem in support of Bell, column 5. Bottom right of page is illegible. Columns 6 and 7 contain political items regarding the presidential election.

The Four Great Parties--Their Relative Position and Policy
(Column 5-6)
Summary: Extremely lengthy editorial reflecting on the presidential election and suggesting that the main goal of the Constitutional Union party is to defeat the Republicans. If the Constitutional Unionists cannot win, then Douglas is the next best candidate and most likely to avert diusunion. Spectator calls on Douglas supporters to win as many states as they can, but if they cannot win a state, to be sure not to give the state over to Breckinridge or Lincoln.
Full Text of Article:

The country now beholds the extraordinary spectacle of four great political parties striving for ascendancy in the Presidential contest.--There is the Republican, or Northern Sectional party, the Breckenridge, or Southern Sectional party, the Douglas, or Squatter Sovereignty party, and the Constitutional Union party. The policy of the first two named--whatever may be the intention of their supporters--necessarily leads to disunion. Neither of them has the order of nationality about it. They represent only the extreme opinion of their representative sections, and the success of either would be the triumph of one section over the other. The result would be to strain to the utmost, if not to break, the cords, which bring the Union together.

The Douglas party represents the small modicum of nationality which yet belongs to the Democracy. In Virginia it has its strength in the Tenth Legion and other districts most devoted to the Union, whilst in the secession, fire-eating districts, it is powerless. Objectionable as this party is, it is far more acceptable to the conservative sentiment of the country than either of the sectional parties, because it does not threaten the integrity of the Union.

The only purely national party now before the people is the Constitutional Union party.--It presents itself under the auspices of a Convention composed of distinguished men--men known to the whole country--and with candidates entitled to the confidence of the whole country. Bell and Everett are statesmen of mature experience, tried patriotism, and acknowledged ability. Amidst all the excitement of sectional strife, neither of them has been led into the expression or advocacy of extreme opinions or measures.--They have been emphatically men of moderation. Prudence, a wise discretion, and a catholic nationality, have characterized all their public conduct. The crisis demands the services of men of their stamp. The country now has more the need of the rein than the spur. The temper of the public mind is explosive. We require men who, by wisdom and conciliation, will calm down and smooth the popular excitement, and restore harmony and the spirit of concord to the nation. The divisions in public sentiment are such as to render it extremely doubtful whether there will be an election of the President by the people. Judging from the past, the Republican party is likely to have a plurality of the electoral vote, though in common with all men of national sentiments, we most earnestly hope that it will not rise into a majority. -- The danger, however, as matters now stand, is from that quarter. It behooves all national Union- loving me, therefore, to consider maturely, the best means of arresting such a dire calamity as the election of a sectional Black Republican President. To this end, every arrangement for co- operation should be made by other organisations, which can be effected without an abandonment of fundamental principles.

Let us then proceed to consider what is the true policy of the conservative men of the Union:

The Republican and the Breckenridge or Secession parties, being both, as already stated, essentially sectional, and tending to the same end--DISUNION--but by different means--it is manifest that neither of the parties claiming to be national and Union-loving can unite or co- operate with either of them. It would be like mingling oil and water. It would involve an abandonment of the cardinal principles of their national organizations. Between the SECTIONAL and the NATIONAL parties there is an impassable gulf--as wide as that which separated Lazarus and Dives.

But between the Douglas and Bell parties, there if no such inseparable barrier. True they differ--differ widely on many important questions; but these are administrative questions, which are entirely subordinant to the greater question of the permanency of the Union. In view of the strong bond of sympathy between them, arising out of a common devotion to the Union, these parties may well afford to adjourn all functional questions for future adjudication, and address themselves earnestly, energetically, and patriotically to the preservation of the organism of our political system. There is no vital antagonism between them, and no good reason why they should not act together in the extraordinary emergency that has arisen.

It must be obvious to every friend of Douglas that he cannot be elected President by the Electoral Colleges. He has great strength in the North-western States and in some of the Eastern and Middle States, but in the South he is powerless. His most sanguine supporters, therefore, can hardly suppose that he will carry a majority of the whole number of electoral votes. The determined and relentless hostility of the Seceders, headed by Breckenridge, aided by the Democratic Senators, and backed by Buchanan and his horde of officials, precludes the possibility of his obtaining a majority.

His only hope, then, is in defeating the election of Lincoln by the people, and going before the House of Representatives as one of the three highest candidates. Lincoln will certainly be one of those three. It is almost equally sure that Bell will be another. The only question is, then, who shall be the third? The contest lies between Douglas and Breckenridge--every vote cast for Breckenridge is substantially cast against Douglas. It is a death grapple between them. One or the other must go to the wall, and it is entirely within the power of the friends of Douglas to decide who it shall be. We advise the friends of Douglas to have a clear perception of this view of the case, and for that purpose we will submit a practical illustration of it. Douglas certainly has no chance of carrying Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Alabama, Mississippi, or Louisiana.--The Seceders are stronger than he is in many of these States, and almost as strong in others?--What then is his policy in regard to those States? If he should be soft enough to go into convention with the Seceders, is it not obvious that he would be in effect giving those States to his rival? This would be the consummation of folly--it would be suicide! Douglas holds the balance of power in most of those states. He can decide how they shall be thrown in between Breckenridge and Bell, and his friends should have the sagacity to see that every vote taken from Breckenridge adds to the relative strength of Douglas. It is to be hoped that they will perceive this palpable truth, and act accordingly. Douglas understands his game perfectly, and hence we shall see that Forney, professing to speak by authority, scorns and spits upon all chattering proposals of the Breckenridge men for a bargain. He knows that the embrace of the Seceders is death to him.

But let us look at the question in another aspect. Suppose we are in error in regard to the inherent and independent strength of the Bell ticket. Suppose that Breckenridge has more strength than Bell, would this enure to the benefit of Douglas? Certainly not. If he is to go before the House of Representatives it is clearly to his interests that Breckenridge should not be there to compete with him and divide the Democratic vote. It would be much better for him to have Lincoln and Bell as his competitors, because as against them he can unite the whole Democratic vote.

View the matter, then, as we may, it is clearly the policy of the friends of Douglas to see that the votes of the Southern States are cast for Bell, and to accomplish that object they should, if necessary, even vote for the Bell ticket.--We lay it down as a self-evident proposition that every man who desires to see Douglas have a fair chance in the House must use every effort to squeeze Breckenridge out!

Patriotism, too, prompts the adoption of the same course which policy dictates. Douglas himself, in his speech at Washington, denounced the Secession nomination of Breckenridge at Baltimore as a disunion ticket. Secession from party is a prelude to secession from the confederacy. Believing this, it is the duty of every patriot to frown indignantly on every measure that tends to alienate one part of the country from the other, or to suggest even a suspicion that this Union can be dissolved. Believing this, Douglas and his friends cannot, without a sacrifice of principle and public duty, give their aid, either directly or indirectly, to the election of the Yancey Rhett candidate.

Self respect demands that in those States where the contest is narrowed down to Breckenridge and Bell, Douglas and his friends should favor the latter--as everyone knows that the nomination of Breckenridge was made by the enemies of Douglas, and with a view to his political destruction. The "Little Giant" outstripped his Senatorial competitors in the race for popular favor--and like the brethren of Joseph, they envied and hated him, and "could not speak peaceably unto him," because they feared that their sheaves would have to bow down before his sheaf! When they saw him afar off, even before the Charleston Convention, they conspired against him to slay him.

"And they said one another behold this dreamer cometh.

Come now, therefore, and let us slay him and cast him into some pit, and we will say "Squatter Sovereignty hath devoured him," and ye shall see what shall become of his dreams (of the Presidency.)

And Ruben (Senator Pugh) heard it and he delivered him out of their hands and said "let us not kill him."

And they took him and cast him into a pit (of senatorial resolutions) and the pit was empty, there was no water in it (all were barren abstractions!)

But Douglas, like Joseph, escaped from the malice of the brethren, and like Joseph, if he acts wisely, may live to reign over them, and to requite good for evil!

Dropping our figurative language, it only remains for us to say that the enemies of Douglas, failing to effect his ruin, but on the contrary being soundly drubbed by him in the arena chosen by themselves for the conflict, have resorted to the unmanly expedient of secession!--Like tricky boys in a game of marbles, they went into the game hoping to win, but as soon as they found that they were bound to lose, they picked up their laws and ran. Neither Douglas nor his friends can give countenance to any such faction. To sustain them or their candidate, would be in effect to condemn Douglas and acknowledge that his brethren were right.

Self respect--every just sentiment of pride and honor--the interest of self-preservation, all concur to compel Douglas and his friends to repel with indignation every overture for union and co-operation from that quarter.

Finally, if there were no other considerations strong enough to refrain Douglas from truckling to and bartering with the seceders, the conduct of that paragon of Democracy, James Buchanan, would oblige him to reject their propositions with contempt. The friends of Douglas have been, and are being, hunted down with a relentless bitterness that has never before been practiced even toward political enemies. To show that an office holder entertains friendly sentiments towards Douglas is enough to draw down upon him the wrath of the Administration, and to ensure his decapitation. How, then, can Douglas and his friends give aid to the candidate of the Administration. To do so would manifest not only a dastardly but a traitorous spirit. Whatever faults Douglas may have, we believe that want of fidelity to his friends cannot be counted among them.

We say, then, to friends of Douglas, make a gallant fight wherever you can. Carry for him as many States as you can. But wherever, as in Virginia, for example, you cannot carry the State for Douglas, take especial care that it shall not be cast against him, by being given to Breckenridge. Use your power to rebuke party treason and secession, and to frustrate the ignoble purpose of Buchanan and his crew to trample you and your favorite under their feet!

Having thus given our views of the policy of the friends of Douglas, it only remains for us to say a word or two as to the course which should be pursued by the Constitutional Union party in the North.

Our primary objective is the defeat of the Sectional Republican candidate. Every other consideration should be secondary to that. As practical men, we should aim to achieve the greatest good to the country, and where that is not attainable, we should aim at the second best thing. We should strive to carry for Bell every State that we have a reasonable prospect of carrying; but where that cannot be done, we should throw our weight in the scale of Douglas as the most national and the least objectionable of the other candidates. By this interchange of support between the friends of Douglas and Bell, Lincoln can easily be defeated, and the election carried to the House where the choice must fall on Bell or Douglas. Wherever we are the strongest, as in the Southern States, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New Jersey, the Douglas men should come to our aid. Whilst in Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and the other Northwestern States, our weight should be thrown in the scales of Douglas.

In regard to Pennsylvania, it may be doubtful which is the stronger, Bell or Douglas. Such being the case, it would be fair to make a division of the electoral ticket, and thus ensure the defeat of Lincoln.

It seems to us that the policy thus indicated, is the only one by which Lincoln can be defeated. [remainder of article illegible]

-Page 02-

Description of Page: Bottom of column 1 is illegible. Much of page contains short articles about national politics, mostly condemning Southern secessionists and supporting Bell and Everett in opposition to the Republicans.

Disunion Threatened
(Column 1)
Summary: Editorial critical of the secessionist Democrats for threatening to bring about disunion. They claim to want only to defeat Lincoln, when in reality they will only assist the Republicans and ruin their own party.
John A. Harman, Esq.
(Column 2)
Summary: John A. Harman asks the Spectator to allow him to clarify some remarks he was reported to have made at the Democratic meeting a week ago. There were some sentiments he uttered that could be interpreted as disunionist, but Harman insists that those were made in the wake of the excitement from John Brown's raid and that he (Harman) retracts them. He insists he is a Union man.
(Names in announcement: Esq. John Harman)
New Shoe Store
(Column 2)
Summary: Announcement of a new shoe store opened by Lyman R. Blake on Main Street.
(Names in announcement: Lyman Blake)

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Description of Page: Mostly advertisements, land sales, etc. Bottom right is illegible.

(Column 1)
Summary: Dr. William B. Reedman died on July 19 near Spring Hill. Reedman was 24.
(Names in announcement: Dr. William Reedman)

-Page 04-

Description of Page: Advertisements. Bottom left is illegible.