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Valley of the Shadow

Staunton Spectator: January 22, 1861

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-Page 01-

Description of Page: Columns 1 and 2 ads. Column 7 is a transcript of the legislative bill authorizing election of a Convention.

God Gave Our Noble Union
(Column 3)
Summary: A poem extolling the virtues of the Union.
Full Text of Article:

It came to us in darkness
It came to us through blood;
It shone out like the "Promise
Of God" upon the flood.
A Beacon--it has served us
With true, unerring flame,
And cast a blaze of glory
Upon our nation's name!
God save our noble Union!

'Twas left us by our fathers,
Those souls of priceless worth--
The noblest types of manhood
That ever walked the earth.
'Twas bought with fearful struggles,
By sacrifice sublime,
And stands a proud momento
For all the coming time--
God save the noble Union!

Our land a waste of nature,
Where beast and savage strayed;
Its wealth of lakes and rivers
Unlocked by keys of trade;
Then sunlike rose the Union--
A terror to our foes--
And lo! this "waste of nature"
Now "blossoms as the rose!"
God save our noble Union!

Where earth lay hid for ages
In deep primeval gloom,
Behold a boundless garden--
A continent in bloom!
With iron bands of railroads,
Electric tongues of wire,
And energies within us
Which time shall never tire--
God save the noble Union!

But now upon our heaven
Are signs of coming storms;
And dark unholy passions
Unfold their hideous forms.
The bravest hearts among us
Are filled with doubt and fear;
While sounds of horrid discord
Are grating on our ear--
God save the noble Union!

The hallowed flag that bore us
So proudly through the wars--
Is there a hand would sever
Its sisterhood of stars!
Great God! can we so blindly
Cast all Thy gifts away?
Or throbs there in this nation
One heart that will not pray--
God save our noble Union!

Letter from Hon. John M. Botts.
(Column 3)
Summary: John Botts argues against Virginia making common cause with South Carolina because the states' interests are dissimilar, apart from the issue of slavery. The writer feels this issue is insufficient to compel Virginia into a potential war because the non-slaveholding populace will do a disproportionate amount of the fighting.
Origin of Article: Alexandria Gazette
For the Spectator
(Column 5)
Summary: Writer advocates remaining in the Union as long as guarantees of Southern property rights can be granted by the Federal government. If war comes, however, the writer feels that Virginia should join the Southern states.
Full Text of Article:

Mr. Editor:--The North and the South are two different populations, presenting at present a mutual antagonism. The great problem for statesmen, is not to give them unity, but concord. The Union cannot be saved. It may possibly be reconstructed. A reconstruction must henceforth be the aim of the patriot. One drop of blood will blot out that hope forever.-- How may bloodshed be prevented? The first condition is Southern unanimity. Discord among us is folly, madness, wickedness. The general policy of the South will depend upon that of Virginia, and the influence of Virginia will depend upon the consolidation of her sentiments. Division in Virginia on so vital a question would be fatal to herself, to the South, to the entire country. We must lay aside all party prejudices, all preconceived opinions, forget what we have said of one another, in the heat of party strife, and with one mind and heart resolve to preserve the integrity of the Commonwealth and the peace of the nation.

What should Virginia do? That question a Convention must determine. If coercion is abandoned by the agpressive party of the North, we may consult self respect by declining to follow South Carolina, and even adhere to the present confederacy, in the hope of seeing the Constitution remodeled, with permanent guarantees, on a basis equal and acceptable to all the States. These guarantees must be given. Now is the time for a final settlement of the slavery question. The time for legislation or geographical compromise has passed. The North must agree, by a permanent compact, to recognize property in slaves, and to protect it whenever our common soil extends within the limits of the Constitution. She must abandon the claim she has asserted, to exclude Southern property from the common soil, simply because Northern sentiment disapproves of that property. She must agree to act just as she would if that sentiment did not prevail. Allowing Northern men to emigrate to the common territories without forfeiting their possessions, she must consent that Southern men shall do the same. She must execute her solemn engagements for the rendition of fugitive slaves, and give us security for the future that the anti-slavery agitation should not interfere with the rights of the Southern people. If she will thus engage, it may be the glory of Virginia, by timely mediation, to procure a reconstruction of the Union, and a restoration of every star to its place in the grand galaxy of States.

If, on the other hand, a drop of Southern blood should be shed by a Northern Administration in the effort to force back seceding States into the Union, then be it called secession, or revolution, let her people, as one man determine to make common cause with the oppressed. No man should call himself a Virginian who would distract the councils of the State on such an occasion. No false pride should cause us to hesitate, because our advice has been rejected and our delicate interests disregarded by a sister State. The flattering suggestions of those who should seek to embarrass our course by such appeals should not be heeded, or heeded only as the voice of treason.

In such a crisis, a great gulf would divide us from the North. Common interests and a common necessity would bind us to the South. To hesitate on the plea of wounded pride, would be the extreme of folly. One campaign together in arms would obliterate every impression of our differences. Reproach and ridicule would be forgotten amid the anguish of our common distress, or the exultation of a common triumph.--Hush, then, every distracting suggestion. Away with every thought of dividing this glorious Commonwealth directly through the heart!

It has been suggested that Virginia may be divided, to accommodate the varied interests of her people. The author of such a suggestion ought to be rebuked by an indignant people. If dissolution were to be followed by disintegration and anarchy, the alternative would be worse than tyranny itself. There is no hope for the fallen temple, if its ruins be reduced to powder. Their integrity must be preserved, if ever they are to take their place in a noble structure.

No! No! Virginia will not go to pieces at the word of a traitor. She will maintain her integrity, her liberty, and glory, and power, we trust, the guiding star through this night of storm.

When our common dangers are over, it will be time enough to discuss the geographical boundaries of new confederacies; time enough to talk of union with Ohio rather than with Georgia; time enough to plan a campaign against Florida for the purpose of wresting from her Pensacola; time enough to set up Norfolk as a rival to New York and Charleston. My soul! Shall sensible men engage in these petty discussions, when the horrors of a barbaric invasion are already gathered on our northern border, and the warning thunder reverberates from State to State, calling us to measures of immediate defence! Is this statesmanship! Is this patriotism!

In sixty days, according to all human foresight, every Southern man will be compelled by circumstances to take a decided stand for or against the South. The middle ground will then be untenable. We must abandon it then forever. It would be more graceful, more becoming, more manly to abandon it now. We do not advocate extreme opinions, but prompt and decided action--the Union of the South for the sake of the Union!

The prompt decision of our Legislature ought to be sustained by a harmonious public sentiment. Let Whigs and Democrats, gathered around the altar of our country, forgive and forget all past differences, and pledge themselves to deathless fidelity in defence of our common soil. A solid front presented now will make bloodshed improbable, and our ruin impossible. Discord among the Southern States will inevitably plunge us into a gulf from which millions will never rise again. May Heaven interpose!


Trailer: A.
[No Title]
(Column 6)
Summary: Writer urges voters to select convention representatives carefully and to choose men who will not rush Virginia headlong into war.

-Page 02-

Description of Page: Various articles reporting secession crisis in other Southern states. Bottom left and right illegible.

[No Title]
(Column 2)
Summary: Petition signed by citizens of the Mt. Sidney District urging A.H.H Stuart, Col. J.B. Baldwin, and H.W. Sheffey to run as conservative pro-Union candidates for the State Convention. Accompanying the petition is a letter from A.H.H Stuart announcing his candidacy based upon the petition.
(Names in announcement: Col. John Baldwin, Hugh Sheffey, Alex Stuart, Wm. Crawford, J.W. Watson, John C. McCue, J.D. Craig, S.H. Watson, J.I. Johnston, S.M. Crawford, G.S. Walker, J. Crawford, Abram Hulvy, J.W. Stover, Addison Hyde, Geo. AreySr., Ro. T. Poage, A. Shumake, Philip Hiser, Wm. Bell, C.K. Hyde, Arthur Grooms, W.M. Crawford, Dan'l Bowers, Jos. P. Shumake, Ro. P. Nelson, Wm. Grooms, A. GroomsJr., Sam'l Whitmore, Dan'l StoverSr., Geo. Peters, Joel Glick, Samuel Glick, Martin Glick, Jas. Shoemake, Peter Sheets, S.D. Cook, John F. Hilbert, Fred. Cline, Chas. Yates, I.J. Parkins, Capt. Ro. Guy, W.J. Nelson, J.H. Parkins, C. Eakle, Dan. Fisher, V.R. Guy, Wm. Eidson, John CraunSr., J.C. Roler, Daniel Miller, D.W. Link, L.W. Taliaferro, B.F. Taliaferro, M.M. Kersh, Jos. Jordan, J. Sheets, Chris Landes, Wm. Shumake, John Yates, J.W. Landes, J. Kline, N. Humster, John Shumate, J.A. Critzer, D.M. Grooms, W.P. Johnson, S.P. Stover, J.M. Rimel, John Weller, Sam'l Hunter, C.M. Packer, Jos. Glick, John Glick, J.H. Bell, John White, Henry Sheets, Albert Sheets, S. Crickenbarger, Samuel ClineJr., S.L. Wample, A.M. Yates, W.A. Gamble, Ro. H. Hunter, A. Young, Cyrus Snapp, Wm. H. Burns, Peter J. Link, J.A. Crawford, Cyrus Brown, Grattan Wood, A. Shaver, Sam'l Hawkins, Benj. WellerJr., Robert Gamble, Samuel Cline, William Grady, John Whitlock, Ed. Shea, Jas. Vanfossen, A. Wilkison, Wm. Vanfossen, Joshua Sutton, Wm. Byers)
Look to It
(Column 1)
Summary: Urges citizens to be wary of the motivations and tactics of the secessionists for gaining popular support.
Meeting of Virginia Workingmen
(Column 2)
Summary: Frederick County meeting denounced disunion and declared that secession is possible only by revolution, which is contrary to the Constitution.
[No Title]
(Column 2)
Summary: A letter suggesting Col. J.B. Baldwin, Col. George Baylor, and H. W. Sheffey for election to the State Convention.
(Names in announcement: Col. John Baldwin, Col. George Baylor, H.W. Sheffey)
Trailer: A Union Man
To the People of Augusta County
(Column 3)
Summary: Stuart tries to persuade readers of the disastrous consequences of secession (mostly economic) and believes that Southern grievances can best be addressed within the Union.
(Names in announcement: Alex Stuart)
Full Text of Article:

Fellow Citizens:--Ten days of the session of the General Assembly have passed away, and little has yet been done toward the adjustment of the controversies which unhappily distract our country. Knowing the anxiety which all true patriots must feel in regard to the condi of public affairs, I am impelled by a sense of representative duty, to give you such information, and such words of counsel, as seem to me appropriate to the occasion.

Since the first day of the session, Richmond has been the scene of unexampled excitement.--The disunionists from all parts of the State have been here full force, and have sought to bring every influence to bear to precipitate Virginia into secession and civil war. It will be for the people to determine, whether their efforts shall be crowned with success. It behooves them to be vigilant, if they value the peace of the country, and desire to escape the burthens of Military service and grinding taxation. If secession takes place, in my judgment, civil war is inevitable, and the people must expect their taxes to be doubled, if not quadrupled. State bonds are now selling, in New York, at a discount of twenty-five per cent, and it is idle to talk of borrowing money. It must be raised, and raised in millions of dollars, by taxation. The newspapers inform us, that in South Carolina, negroes are, at this early stage of their struggle, taxed sixteen dollars per head, and that the government has resorted to forced loans from the Banks and property holders. One case is mentioned, in which a merchant, with a capital of $40,000, was compelled to loan to the State $8,000.

Sooner or later, the burthen must fall on the landholders. Slaves, stocks, bonds and other personal property, may be sold and removed, but the land must remain, to bear the brunt of taxation. It is proper that you should understand this, that you may vote intelligently on the questions which will soon be submitted for your decision at the polls.

I do not propose, in this brief letter, to enter into any elaborate discussion of the doctrine of secession, or to point out all the disastrous consequences that would flow from it. It will suffice to say, that it is a doctrine of New England origin. It had its birth among the Federalists of that section of the Union, during the war of 1812, and was nurtured in the celebrated Hartford Convention. In 1814, it was denounced by such Republicans as Spencer Roane, and Thos. Ritchie, as treason. While I do not endorse this strong language to its full extent, in my judgement, it is at war with the whole theory of our institutions, and is subversive of every principle of popular government.

The favorite scheme of many of the leading politicians is, to break up the Union, with a view to re-construct it. Their plan is, to form a Southern Confederacy. I am unalterably opposed to both of these propositions; I believe that either would be the source of incalculable evil. In my opinion, there is no natural antagonism between the Northern and Southern States. On the contrary, each is necessary to the other. They are the complements of each other, and together constitute the most perfect social, industrial and political systems, that the world has ever seen. Each is indispensable to the welfare of the other. They minister to each others' interests and necessities. The South produces what the North wants, but cannot produce; and the North furnishes what the South needs, but cannot supply for itself. The diversity of productions, and systems of labor, should therefore be a bond of Union instead of a source of Discord. The present condition of antagonism and alienation is unnatural. It is not the legitimate result of any conflict of the social and industrial systems of the two sections, but is the work of those "DESIGNING MEN," both North and South, against whom Washington so impressively warned us in his farewell address.

It is true that the Northern States, under the lead of such men, have been guilty of gross outrages on the rights of the South--outrages which would justify the most energetic measures of retaliation, but I have not been able to persuade myself that a dissolution of the Union furnishes the appropriate means of redress. I believe that all our rights can be secured, and all our wrongs most effectually redressed in the Union, and under the Constitution. Secession, instead of being a remedy, would be an aggravation of them all. I have not been able to perceive how we could add to the security of our slave property by surrendering the guarantees of the Constitution, and substantially bringing down the Canada frontier to the borders of Virginia. It would lead to emancipation and probably to emancipation in blood. Nor can I see how we would secure our rights in the territories by abandoning them. I am equally at a loss to understand how we will establish any of our demands against the Northern States on a firmer basis, by severing our connection with them, and thereby from us, the million and a half of friends we had in those States at the last election.

My view of the true policy of Virginia is, that she should remain in the Union until all Constitutional means of obtaining redress for the past and security for the future, shall have proved fruitless. I do not think the time has come for an appeal to the arbitrament of arms.

Should the Union be dissolved peaceably, and a Southern Confederacy be formed, it is clear that the policy of the new government will be shaped by the Cotton States. Free trade and direct taxation for the support of the Federal Government, will be the cardinal features of that policy, on your interests.

The expense of sustaining the present government of the U. S., ranges from sixty to eighty millions of dollars per annum. This amount is raised by duties on foreign goods, imported into the country. Those persons who purchase foreign goods, pay the tax, as an element in the price of the goods, while those who buy no foreign goods, pay none of the tax. The tax is therefore voluntary, if paid. But under the system of free trade and direct taxation, the tax would be involuntary. No election would be left to the people to pay it or not, as they might think proper. It woald be levied, like the State tax, by assessment on the property of the country. Assuming that the cost of maintaining the Southern Confederated Government would be but one half the amount expended by the present government of the U. S., the contributive portion of Viginia would approximate five millions of dollars. You will readily comprehend how heavily it would bear upon the people to pay this large amount, in addition to the present State taxes, out of their hard earnings.

The postal system in Virginia now costs the general government $263,389 more than all the receipts from it. The cost of carrying and distributing the mails, in the Southern States, exceeds the revenues derived from postages in those States, by $3,510,648. If the Union is dissolved this expense must be provided for by direct taxation, or the people must dispense with the facilities afforded by their mails.

Should war follow the dissolution, the consequences must be of the most frightful character. Brother would be arrayed against brother, and the whole land would be drenched with blood. The border country would be ravaged and laid waste with fire and sword. Firesides and fields would be desolated by invading armies, and the wail of the widow and the orphan would be heard in all our valleys! Real estate would be depreciated more than 50 per cent; business in all its departments would be paralyzed; credit destroyed; personal property of all kinds impressed for public use; our slaves incited to insurrection; and ruin and desolation would overwhelm the whole country.

Passing from the contemplation of this mournful picture, I proceed to invite your attention to the subject in its financial aspect.

If civil war should ensue, it would be impossible to estimate the amount of additional taxes that would be required. That would depend upon contingencies which no human sagacity can clearly foresee. But when we look to the extent of our sea coast, and inland frontier, to be guarded, it is evident that the pecuniary cost must be enormous, to say nothing of the withdrawal of large bodies of our population from the productive labor of the country, and the loss resulting from capital, in the form of lands and machinery, lying idle.

The people should weigh these matters well before they decide to embark on the unknown and tempestuous sea of convulsion and revolution.

You will perceive from the report of the proceedings of the General Assembly, that Virginia has been pledged, so far as that body had the power to pledge her, to make common cause with South Carolina, and to resist every attempt by the Federal Government to coerce her "into submission or obedience." This language is ambiguous, and I sought, in vain, to obtain a satisfactory explanation of its meaning. If it contemplated resistance to any effort to subjugate the State, it would be comparatively harmless, because it is hardly to be supposed that any such effort will be made; but if it was intended to indicate the purpose of Virginia to resist, by force, all efforts of the Federal Government to coerce the citizens of South Carolina to obey the laws of the U. S., I would regard it as in a high degree mischievous.

This resolution of the General Assembly did not meet my approbation, nor receive my vote. In the first place, I thought the Legislature, by that act, was anticipating one of the appropriate functions of the Convention about to be called; and, in the next place, I did not feel warranted in assuming the quarrel of South Carolina. She had chosen to act for herself without the co- operation of the other Southern States, and I could see no good reason why we should espouse her quarrel. I stated, on the floor of the Senate, that I had but little sympathy with her extreme position. Her causes of dissatisfaction were not the same with ours and her aims were entirely different from ours. She was dissatisfied with the financial policy of the Government, whilst we were seeking redress for wrongs of a very different character.

Her object, as avowed by her leading men, was to break up the Union, whilst ours was to preserve it, if it could be done consistently with our rights and honor. Moreover, I expressed the fear that our inconsiderate pledge might encourage South Carolina to acts of rashness, whilst, in the North, it might be construed as a menace, and tend to defeat a speedy and peaceful settlement of our difficulties. In these views I may have been mistaken, but honestly entertaining them, I felt bound to follow the dictates of my judgement, and withhold my assent from the resolution.

The bill providing for the call of a Convention has been passed, and the election for members of that body will take place on the 4th of Feb. The proposition originally submitted, was to call a Convention, with unlimited powers, and to let its action be final. Under this scheme, the Convention might have overturned the present State government, and established a military Dictatorship in its stead, and the people would have had no redress, except by forcible revolution. But after an arduous struggle the bill was amended so as to allow the people to decide at the polls whether the action of the Convention shall be final or not.

It is to be hoped that every voter of Virginia will be at the polls, and vote to RETAIN THE SOVEREIGN POWER OF THE PEOPLE IN THE HANDS OF THE PEOPLE. If they properly appreciate their rights and liberties, they will never trust them in the hands of any set of men, without reserving an efficient control over them. Who would entrust his private fortune to any one without some guarantee for its security? And is it not more important to reserve the right of ultimate judgement, in a matter which involves not only the prosperity, but also the lives and liberty of the people?

Strong intimations have been thrown out through the public press, that a treasonable scheme has been concocted at Washington to overthrow the Federal Government. It is charged that Senators, and others, who have sworn to support the Constitution, have conspired to subvert it. Information which I have received from other sources, which I believe to be reliable, tend to confirm these intimations, and induce the belief that a provisional government for the South, has already been agreed on, and that its great seal has been provided, a name adopted, and every arrangement made to put it into operation, on or before the 4th of March. The servants of the people have thus assumed to be their masters, and usurped the power which, occording to our bill of rights, resides only with the people.

I repeat, then, let the people be jealous of their rights. Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. No election ever held in Virginia was half so important as that to be held on the 4th of February. Let every voter be at the polls. Let no business, however urgent, and no obstacle, however formidable, prevent any from attending. The voice of Augusta will be potential, and may control the result. Select men who will faithfully represent your deliberate sentiments. Especially, let every man vote that the action of the Convention shall be submitted to the people for their ratification or rejection.

The usage in Virginia heretofore, has been to allow the people to vote whether they would have a Convention or not. If the voice of the people was pronounced in favor of a Convention, it was called, and its action was submitted to the people for their approval or disapproval.--The Legislature has now departed from ancient usages, and it is for the people to determine whether they will blindly sanction, in advance, whatever the Convention may do, or require the result of its deliberations to be submitted to them for final ratification or rejection. Let the people hold the power in their own hands! Let them never surrender their liberty into the hands of any body of irresponsible men. It is too precious an inheritance to be dealt with thus lightly and inconsiderately.

Fellow Citizens! the issue is in your hands! A heavy responsibility rests on you!

May the Great Disposer of events so guide your conduct that peace and happiness may be restored to our distracted country, and that the Union which we have been taught to regard as the Palladium of our liberties, shall be established on a firm foundation and rendered perpetual.

Very respectfully,
Your fellow citizen,

P. S. Since the above was written, the House of Delegates have passed two important bills; one for the establishment of an Ordinance Bureau, and the other appropriating one million of dollars for military defence. This is but the beginning of the end!
A. H. H. S.

Trailer: Alex H. H. Stuart
To the People of Augusta County
(Column 4)
Summary: Writer establishes his pro-Union position in acceptance of his nomination to run for a Convention seat.
(Names in announcement: John Baldwin)
Trailer: John B. Baldwin
To the People of Augusta
(Column 5)
Summary: Writer outlines his pro-Union position in announcing candidacy for a seat at the Convention.
(Names in announcement: Hugh Sheffey)
Trailer: Hugh W. Sheffey
To the People of Augusta
(Column 6)
Summary: Candidate for Convention announces his pro-Union views, tempered by his intention to stand by the state of Virginia no matter what decision is reached.
(Names in announcement: John Imboden)
Trailer: John D. Imboden
To the People of Augusta
(Column 6)
Summary: Candidate for the Convention outlines his views. He opposes session but rejects the North's attempt to coerce states to remain in the Union. Harman also acknowledges the wrongs the South has endured but wishes to see them addressed within the Union.
(Names in announcement: William Harman)
Trailer: William Harman
(Column 7)
Summary: Married on January 11. Mr. Reid is from Rockbridge.
(Names in announcement: Rev. R.C. Walker, David Reid, Virginia V. Baldwin)
(Column 7)
Summary: Miss Hutchison died on January 11 at age 75.
(Names in announcement: Thomas Calbreath, Martha B. Hutchison)
(Column 7)
Summary: Mrs. Wonderlick died on December 26 at age 58. She was a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church.
(Names in announcement: Mrs. Mary Wonderlick, Joseph Wonderlick)
(Column 7)
Summary: Williard Staubus died on January 11 at age 10 months.
(Names in announcement: Willard Staubus, Alexander F. Staubus, Fannie Staubus)

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