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Valley of the Shadow

Staunton Spectator: March 12, 1861

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-Page 01-

Description of Page: Column 1 ads. Column 2 poetry and fiction. Column 7 State Convention records. Bottom right illegible.

Personal Sketches of Lincoln's Cabinet
(Column 4)
Summary: Provides a brief overview of the "gentlemen who are to be the Constitutional advisors of the President."
The Inauguration Ball
(Column 3)
Summary: Mentions some of the more luminous attendees of the inaugural ball and discusses the agenda for the evening.
[No Title]
(Column 3)
Summary: Reports the continued assertion by the leading politicians in the seceding states that "nothing could induce a return to the Union."
Lincoln's Inaugural
(Column 5)
Summary: The article is a copy of Lincoln's inaugural address in which he tries to calm the secessionist element in the South by declaring he has never intended nor does he intend to "interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists." He does, however, continue to deny both the right of secession and the right to adopt slavery in the Territories.

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Description of Page: Column 4 State Convention records. Column 5 Virginia Legislative records. Column 7 ads.

[No Title]
(Column 1)
Summary: Reports that voters in North Carolina opposed holding a Convention by at least a majority of one thousand votes.
[No Title]
(Column 1)
Summary: Reports that Secretary Seward has given his assurances that "no measures calculated to lead to bloodshed will be resorted to."
[No Title]
(Column 1)
Summary: Reports with derision that the Southern Congress has authorized Jeff Davis to borrow money at 8% interest which will be paid off with an export duty on cotton.
The Old Charge Revived
(Column 1)
Summary: Reports that Unionist in Virginia are being termed Black Republicans and even "abolitionists" by the secessionists. The Spectator continues to stress that "the extremes have met" in their effort to destroy the Union.
The Chief Object--The Preservation of the Union
(Column 2)
Summary: Another installment in a series of articles which use the writings in The Federalist to argue that the Constitution replaced the Articles of Confederation principally to ensure the preservation of the Union.
Full Text of Article:

Under this caption, for the past two weeks, we have published a number of quotations from the essays written upon the Constitution and the objects had in view in the adoption of our present Government by those who were more instrumental in securing its adoption than any others, for the purpose of proving, by the most incontestable evidence, that the chief object in substituting our present Constitutional Government for the articles of Confederation was to secure the establishment of a Government which would be enabled to preserve the Union. In this number we will conclude the publication of testimony upon that point, though we have a great deal more at hand.

In the 15th number of the Federalist, this language is used:

"In pursuance of the plan, which I have laid down for the discussion of the subject, the point next in order to be examined in the 'insufficiency of the present confederation to the preservation of the Union.' It may perhaps be asked, what need there is of reasoning or proof to illustrate a position, which is neither controverted nor doubted; to which the understanding and feelings of all classes of men assent; and which in substance is admitted by the opponents as well as by the friends of the new Constitution?"

It will thus be seen that that distinguished man, Alexander Hamilton, actually apologized to the people of that day--when the Constitution was being submitted to the different States--for entering upon an argument to prove the insufficiency of the Confederation to preserve the Union," for he was about to prove what no one at that day denied.

In the 41st number, the chief author of the Constitution, James Madison, in speaking of the essential importance of the Union, uses this language:

"The clearest marks of this prudence are stamped on the proposed Constitution. The Union itself, which it cements and secures, destroys every pretext for a military establishment which could be dangerous. America united, with a handful of troops, or without a single soldier, exhibits a more forbidding posture to foreign ambition than America disunited with a hundred thousand veterans ready for combat. It was remarked, on a former occasion, that the want of this pretext had saved the liberties of one nation in Europe. Being rendered by her insular situation, and her maritime resources, impregnable to the armies of her neighbors, the rulers of Great Britain have never been able, by real or artificial dangers, to cheat the public into an extensive peace establishment. The distance of the United States from the powerful nations of the world, gives them the same happy security. A dangerous establishment can never be necessary or plausible, so long as they continue a united people. But let it never for a moment be forgotten, that they are indebted for this advantage to their union alone. The moment of its dissolution will be the date of a new order of things.--The fears of the weaker, or the ambition of the stronger States, or Confederacies, will set the same example in the new as Charles VII did in the old world. The example will be followed here, from the same motives which produced universal imitation there. Instead of deriving from our situation the precious advantage which Great Britain has derived from hers, the face of American will be but a copy of that of the continent of Europe. It will present liberty everywhere crushed between standing armies, and perpetual taxes. The fortunes of disunited America will be even more disastrous than those of Europe. The sources of evil in the latter are confined to her own limits. No superior powers of another quarter of the globe intrigue among her rival nations, inflame their mutual animosities, and render them the instruments of foreign ambition, jealousy and revenge. In America the miseries springing from her internal jealousies, contentions and wars, would form a part only of her lot. A plentiful addition of evils, would have their source in that relation in which Europe stands to this quarter of the earth, and which no other quarter of the earth bears to Europe.

This picture of the consequences of disunion cannot be too highly coloredor too often exhibited. Every man who loves peace; every man who loves his country; every man who loves liberty, ought to have it ever before his eyes, that he may cherish in his heart a due attachment to the UNION of America, and be able to set a due value on the means of preserving it.

IN the 44th number, the same author, James Madison, the "Father of the Constitution," after having gone over the whole ground in a series of numbers concludes with this language:

"We have now reviewed, in detail, all the articles composing the sum or quantity of power delegated by the proposed Constitution to the Federal Government; and are brought to this undeniable conclusion, that no part of the power is unnecessary or improper for accomplishing the NECESSARY OBJECTS OF THE UNION. The question therefore, whether this amount of power shall be granted or not, resolves itself into another question, whether or not a government commensurate to the exigencies of the UNION shall be established; or, in other words, whether the UNION ITSELF SHALL BE PRESERVED."

The history of the adoption of the Constitution and the authority of its authors prove beyond all doubt that the chief object in adopting our present form of Government in lieu of the Confederacy was to establish a Government which would be enabled to preserve the Union."

The Fruits of Secession
(Column 2)
Summary: Relates that the seceded states are burdening the citizens with heavy taxation for the "defense of the State." The article questions "As these things occur in time of peace, what may we expect in times of war?"
[No Title]
(Column 2)
Summary: Reports that troops assembled around Fort Sumter have been turned over to the Southern Confederacy and placed by Jeff Davis under the command of Maj. General Beauregard.
Lincoln's Inaugural
(Column 3)
Summary: Reaction to Lincoln's inaugural address. The article expresses understanding of Lincoln's sworn duty to uphold the laws of the country yet regrets that he did not call for a National Convention in order to provide a legal outlet for the seceded states to relieve the President of his duty and avert war. The article indicates uncertainty over whether the President intends to enforce the laws up to the point of force or if he intends to precipitate armed conflict. If the latter is the case, the article states, the whole South will unite against such a policy. The article quotes Stephen Douglas's reaction in Congress to the inaugural. Douglas found the inaugural conciliatory in tone and hopeful for peace.
Full Text of Article:

On the first page of this paper will be found a correct copy of the Inaugural Address of the President. We know that it will be read with great interest by all of our readers. We hope that all will read it carefully and form their own opinions with reference to its character.--We think that he expresses the same views in reference to the Constitutional obligations of the Executive that Mr. Buchanan did. The Constitution invests the Executive with no discretionary powers in regard to the enforcement of the laws, but, on the contrary, makes it his imperative and sworn duty to see that they be faithfully executed. It is for the very reason that it is the duty of the Executive to have the laws enforced, and the duty of the people to yield obedience to them, that we have several times recommended the call of a National Convention for the purpose of obtaining the consent of three- fourths of the States to the peaceful withdrawal of the seceded States, and the release of the Executive from his obligations to enforce the laws in them. We believe that the same power which can Constitutionally change the character of our Government, can Constitutionally release the citizens of the seceded states from their obligations of obedience to the laws, and consequently relieve the Executive from his obligations to enforce them. We believe that this policy must be adopted, or that civil war, the direst of all calamities, will ultimately be the result. We regret that the President did not express a desire to be relieved, in the mode suggested, from his obligations to perform a duty which threatens such direful consequences. As the Executive has no power to recognize the independence of the seceded States, and no power to release the citizens thereof from their obligations of obedience to the laws, we hope that a National Convention will be called for these purposes.--To involved the country in civil war, as long as there remains any means to avoid it, would be more than folly and madness--it would be in the highest degree criminal. We cannot believe that any President would willingly involve the country in civil war.

The Inaugural Address is understood by some to indicate a purpose to enforce the laws at all hazards, and by others that the laws will be enforced only so far as it can be done peacefully.--It cannot be known certainly which is the proper construction, till the policy of the administration shall be more clearly indicated by its acts. If it shall, in reckless disregard of the peace of the country, persist in enforcing the laws where it must result in a conflict, the inevitable result will be that the whole South will be united in armed opposition to such a policy.

In the Senate, in Extra-Session, on Wednesday last, on a motion to print the usual number of copies of the Inaugural, Mr. Clingman, a secession Senator from North Carolina, opposed the policy of the Inaugural as he understood it, and said if it was carried out that it would lead inevitably to war. The Hon. Stephen A. Douglas dissented from the construction put upon the Inaugural by Senator Clingman, and spoke as follows:

Mr. Douglas said that he could not consent that the Senator's remarks should go out unanswered. He had read the Inaugural carefully, with a view of understanding what the policy of the Administration is to be, as therein indicated. It is characterized by great ability and with great distinctness on certain points. A critical analysis is necessary to arrive at the true construction. He had partially made an analysis, and had come to the conclusion that it was a peace rather than a war message. He had examined it candidly and critically, and he thought there was no foundation for a different opinion. On the contrary, there is a distinct pledge that the policy of the Administration shall be conducted exclusively with reference to a peaceful solution of our national difficulties. It is true the President indicates a certain line of policy, so to be conducted as to lead to a peaceful solution, but it was not as explicit as he (Mr. Douglas) desired. He then quoted from the Inaugural in support of his positions, saying that unless the means be furnished the President cannot execute the laws. He thought the President in his remarks on the subject was referring to future action of Congress giving power to enforce obedience to them.

The President must have been aware that in 1832 a law was passed to enable General Jackson to enforce the revenue laws in the port of Charleston. The act expired in two years.--Was it to be supposed that Mr. Lincoln thought he had more power without than General Jackson had with the aid of legislation? He repeated that when the President pledges himself to collect the revenue and enforce the laws, unless Congress withhold the requisite means, is he not to be understood that his act is dependent on the further course of Congress?

He thought that was the proper construction of the Inaugural, for the President says he shall perform his duty "so far as practicable, unless his rightful masters, the American people, shall withhold the requisite means or in some authoritative manner direct to the contrary."

The President further says:

"The power confided to me will be used to hold, occupy and possess the property and places belonging to the Government, and to collect the duties on imports, but beyond what may be necessary for these objects, there will be no invasion, no using of force against or among the people anywhere."

The President does not say he will take and hold, occupy and possess them. This was equivocal language, but he did not condemn the President for it. "Beyond what may be necessary" for these objects, there will be no irritation, no using of force among the people anywhere. It is the duty of the President to enforce the other laws. It cannot be justified that the revenue laws be enforced, and all other laws which afford protection as a compensation for taxes shall not be enforced.

He thought that there were two forms in which they could find a solution of these doubts. The President says: "Where hostility to the United States, in any interior locality, shall be so great and so universal as to prevent competent resident citizens from holding the Federal offices, there will be no attempt to force obnoxious strangers among the people, for that object."--The President draws a distinction between the exterior and the interior. If he has power in one case, he has power in the other. If it is his duty in once case to enforce the laws, it is his duty in the other. There was no provision of law which authorizes a distinction in this respect between places in the interior and on the seaboard.

This brought him to the construction of another clause--the most important of all, and the key to the entire policy; but he was rejoiced when he read it. He invited attention to it, as showing conclusively that the President is pledged to a policy which looks to a peaceful solution of our difficulties, and against all others. He says: "The course here indicated will be followed, unless current events and experience shall show a modification or change to be proper, and in every case and exigency my best discretion will be exercised according to circumstances actually existing, and with a view and a hope of a peaceful solution of the National difficulties and the restoration of fraternal sympathies and affections." In other words, the President says if the collection of the revenue will lead to a peaceful solution, then it will be collected. If the abandonment of the collection will have that effect, then it will be abandoned. So of the forts and arsenals in the seceding States. He will recapture or not recapture them, and will reinforce or not reinforce Forts Sumpter and Pickens. He is pledged in either case to a peaceful policy and to acting with this view. If this is not the true construction, why was there not inserted a pledge to use coercion, retake the forts, recapture the arsenals, collect the revenue and enforce the laws, unless there we attached to each one a condition on which the pledge was to be carried out? But the pledge is only to do it in order to a peaceful solution, and for no other cause."

The next day Mr. Wigfall, a secessionist, and a Senator from a State which has actually seceded, made a speech putting a war construction upon the Inaugural, as Clingman had done the day before, to whom Hon. Stephen A. Douglas replied. The following is an extract from the reply of Mr. Douglas:

Mr. Douglas repeated what he said yesterday--that he had carefully analyzed the inaugural for the purpose of ascertaining distinctly and certainly what was the policy of the new administration, and he came to the conclusion that it was the wish and purpose of the President to pursue a peaceful policy and avoid war. He was rejoiced to be able to arrive at the conclusion. This was the whole substance of what he yesterday said or desired to say.

The Senator from Texas thought the expression of this opinion or conclusion was calculated to have a bad effect upon the country; but it struck him (Mr. Douglas) that if the country could rest secure in the belief that they are to have peace--no civil war, no armies mustered into conflict--it would have a happy effect. He was sure every man who loved this glorious Union, for it was glorious, and even dearer to him now than ever before--every man who loved his kind, and was proud of being an American, ought to rejoice in the belief that peace can be maintained.

If he were allowed to judge of the various speeches of the Senator from Texas, he was forced to the conclusion that the Senator did not regard the question of peace as he did. The Senator had told them more than once that they could take their choice between peace and war, and that he did not care. But he, (Mr. Douglas) cared- -and therein consisted the difference between the Senator and himself. Because he was desirous of peace, he was anxious to ascertain what was to be the policy of the administration.

He had arrived at his conclusions candidly and fairly, and had expressed his gratification at the result. If he had arrived at the conclusion that the Inaugural means war, he would have denounced it. He was with the President as far as the President was for peace, and would be against him when he departed from that line of policy.

In reference to his speech at Norfolk, during the Presidential canvass, in which he replied to the questions propounded by Mr. Lamb, Mr. Douglas said:

I see no reason to change or modify any sentiment therein expressed.

I believed then, as I now do, that I expressed the sound constitutional principles on which alone the government can exist. As to hanging, the Senator was under some misapprehension, or his mind asserts of a character which magnifies one man to two men. I only spoke of hanging one person, and that in a certain contingency.-- And I did say, that if Mr. Lincoln should be elected President according to the Constitutional forms, he must be inaugurated; and, under my constitutional duty, I would sustain him in the exercise of all legitimate duties of the station.

I then said, if, after he was elected, he should violate the constitution of the country, and commit crimes against the laws of the land, I should be for punishing him according to the law. And if the penalty under the Constitution be to hang him, I would hang him higher than Haman. I would have said the same thing of any other man who might abuse the trust reposed in him by the American people. I asserted it as a general principle.

Mr. Mason followed, characterizing the Inaugural as a proclamation of war. Mr. Douglas again replied, declaring his belief that the President was in favor of a pacific policy, and the Republican party also sustained that policy as the best under the circumstances.

A Capital Burlesque
(Column 5)
Summary: A copy of an Ordinance of Secession that spoofs secessionist views. It was left under the door of the Convention delegate from Hardy County and suggests that, if Virginia does not secede in a matter of days, Hardy County will secede unilaterally and assume all powers of a sovereign nation.
Origin of Article: Alexandria Gazette
Full Text of Article:

I send the following Ordinance of Secession, left under the door of the delegate from Hardy county the night before he left home:

"Hardy COUNTY, VIRGINIA.--Ordinance of Secession.--WHEREAS, There seems to be a manifest intention on the part of Virginia to delay prompt action and remain in the Union at all hazards; and, WHEREAS, the Commercial, Agricultural and Manufacturing interests of Hardy county require immediate secession on the part of Virginia: Therefore,

Resolved, 1st, That in case the State Convention does not pass an ordinance of secession within two days after they assemble, our delegate be requested to withdraw forthwith from the Convention, and declare that Hardy is, and has a right to be, a free and independent county, and that we no longer acknowledge ourselves a part of Virginia.

Resolved, 2d, That our delegate, in such contingency, be instructed to proceed immediately to London and Paris to announce to the Sovereigns of those countries, that Hardy is a free and independent republic, and will henceforth exercise all the rights of sovereignty which have been heretofore delegated to Virginia.

Resolved, 3d, That our delegate be empowered to make treaties with the European powers, and decide upon the foreign policy of the Republic of Hardy.

Resolved, 4th, That as soon as the European powers shall acknowledge the independence of Hardy, our commercial relations shall be distinctly defined, and that a treaty be entered into with foreignn powers by which our cattle shall be exported free of duty by European vessls of sufficient capacity to navigate the South branch of the Potomac with all foreign ports.

Resolved, 5th, That the flag of the Republic of Hardy shall consist of a green field, with a shock of fodder in the right corner, an ox in the centre with his forefoot raised, and the motto "Cattle is King."--Alexandria Gazette.

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Description of Page: Advertisements

Military Meeting
(Column 1)
Summary: Reports the election of field officers at a meeting of the Officers of the Volunteer Companies.
(Names in announcement: Lieut. Randolph, Capt. R.L. Doyle, Lieut. A.W. Garber, Lieut. Ruff, Col. W.D. Anderson, Lieut. H.K. Cochran, Capt. Starrett)
(Column 1)
Summary: Married on February 28.
(Names in announcement: Nicholas Gregory, Sarah Grove, Rev. J. Wheeler)
(Column 1)
Summary: William Lander married Delila Alexander on February 28.
(Names in announcement: William Lander, Delila Alexander, David Alexander, Rev. H. Wetzel)
(Column 2)
Summary: Tribute of respect for Isaac Craver.
(Names in announcement: Isaac Craver, Harvey Bear, N.H. Hotchkiss, Joseph Wilson)

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Description of Page: Advertisements