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Valley of the Shadow

Staunton Spectator: March 17, 1863

Go To Page : 1 | 2 |

-Page 01-

Description of Page: Majority of page ads. Poetry col. 5. Col. 5 and 6 Congressional and Legislative records.

Correspondance of the Spectator
(Column 7)
Summary: Letter condemns Confederate violations of personal liberty with regard to property, including the anti-distillation bill and the proposed Tobacco Bill.
(Names in announcement: Walker, Fulton, Dr. J. E. Lockbridge)
Full Text of Article:

Mr. Editor. The papers, I doubt not, have kept you and your readers posted as far as we are upon the important and current news of the day.

The House today repealed the law authorizing the distillation of grain into Whiskey for Medical and Hospital purposes, which the Senate has yet to act on. What will be its fate in that body we can't opine. The law has been awfully abused, I learn by parties who embraced its provisions, hence the plea for its repeal. In one county in Eastern Virginia, an Agent, under the authority of the Act, gives out from ten to a dozen contracts to Sub-agents, and you can at once see, whilst they distil one gallon for the Government at $3, government price, they will distil, say from 3 to 5 gallons excess, for which they can get 2 to $30 per gallon, therefore, they can afford to give the Government its quota, and thus make $25 per gallon for their pockets.

Two of your delegates, I learn, voted for the repeal of the law. Messrs. Walker and Fulton, upon the grounds that it has been abused, and they are anxious that we should husband all our food for the army, and for the poor families of soldiers in the field.

The Tobacco bill, which is to be suppress entirely [sic] (save for family consumption), the growth of the weed, or at least to limit so many plants to the hand, is before the Legislature, and will pass in some form. This is a sad commentary upon the patriotism of our people, who declare they are forced to this course, by Government agents who press their Corn far below the market price; arguing that they will not press Tobacco, as it is not needed for man or beast.

It is certainly a great infraction of personal and private rights, to say by law what this or that man shall produce. The people are the best judges if they are let alone, and know more about such matters than the Legislature of Virginia. But the case is one sui generis. Our Army must have bread. But let the axe be laid at the root of the evil. Make these Government agents act within the limits of the law, give the farmer the market value for his products, and we will guaranty our people will do right. They are honest, patriotic, and know their own business better than these Government agents, or their representatives.

The unprecedented advance of gold here, it is said, is caused by the exodus of the Israelites, North, together with Judge Meredith's decision, but one of the causes for the depreciation in Confederate notes, and rise in gold, is the course pursued by the blockade runners, who are offering 45 to 50 per cent, in Confederate for Virginia money. This at once strikes a blow at the value of our currency here, and up pops gold. Congress says they have no power to make Confederate money a legal tender, yet Government violates all common law, all statute law, and all natural law, in suffering their agents to impress property without a just equivalent. Last Spring they took from the people Corn at 80 cents, Bacon at 20 cents, and Cattle at 7 cents, which would now command twenty times that amount. And, these sacrifices were borne too by many of us, who by a necessary net of the Government were left in the Yankee lines, many of whom fled, however, from their homes because they could not live under a Yankee invasion, and who are now compelled to pay these awful prices or starve. All this growing out of the fact that Congress will do nothing to make the currency they issue a legal tender, or give it stability in some way, or by preventing the Yankees, directly through the blockade runners to Baltimore and Philadelphia, from depreciating Confederate notes, which they wont take, for their goods, but who are under the rule of Old Abe allowed to take Virginia money. Thus we go. Our people are yet hopeful and bouyant [sic], and I believe in the ultimate achievement of our Independence. The prospects for peace, however, are gloomy. We have never had any hopes of peace under the reign of King Abraham. His Abolition Congress, before its close, gave him plenary powers, and declare him Dictator as much so as the Czar of Russia. We will have to fight it out. May our rulers have wisdom, virtue, capacity and honesty to direct the Ship of State amid the breakers that surround us. The mania for the "Root of all Evil," is as rife here as elsewhere. Rancid butter, blue poor tough beef, and a weak infusion of dirty rye has caused board to rise at all the hotels. The rise in board being a signal for a diminution in the fare, both in quantity and quality, though the prices are from 6 to $8 per day. The hotel keepers, as an excuse for their exorbitant prices, will tell you that butter, beef, and all kinds of vegetables have greatly advanced, and many other articles which they never bring to their tables, but yet they make you pay for them. Would you call this extortion? I have no name for it. It is some consolation, however, to see as you pass along plenty of everything fat, nice and fine in all the eating houses or restaurants.

The Medical College terminated its course last week, and Virginia may well be proud of the Virginia Medical College, and its able corps of lecturers, to whom I listened with great interest for some weeks. Old Augusta, as usual, may boast of the honor conferred upon one of her sons, Dr. J. E. Lockridge, of Mt. Solon, who received, as he justly merited, the award of $50 for the prize essay on Medicine-Subject, Dyptheria, that scourge of the human race. Pardon me for trespassing. Adieu.


Trailer: Exile

-Page 02-

Description of Page: Telegraphic Dispatches and reports of troop movements. Congressional Records page 4, 5, and 6. Remainder of page ads and notices.

A Suggestion to our Farmers
(Column 1)
Summary: Item encourages farmers to invest in Confederate 8 percent bonds as a hedge against future falling crop prices.
Full Text of Article:

It is manifest that there must soon be a great increase of taxation--both State and Confederate. The probability is, that the aggregate will be about two per centum on the value of every man's estate--real and personal. A farmer, therefore, who has land, slaves and other personal property worth $20,000, will have to pay $400 in taxes. This he can do without much inconvenience while wheat, corn and rye are worth $4 per bushel, and other things of his farm in proportion. Every one now has more money than he knows what to do with; but when prices fall to their natural and regular rates, the burthen will be heavy--nay, almost ruinous.

Now is the time for every prudent man to make provision against the evil day. Let every farmer, instead of wasting his money in buying things not indispensable, invest it in Confederate 8 per cent bonds to an amount which will yield an interest equal to his taxes. By doing so, and holding the bonds to let the interest meet his taxes, he will obtain an exemption from taxation on the residue of his property. It will be easy for a farmer with property worth $20,000 to buy $5,000 of Confederate bonds, and the interest on this, which is $400, will, year by year, discharge his taxes. The taxes will be a lien on every man's land in the future; and now is the time, when money is cheap, in effect to discharge this lien by buying an equivalent in 8 per cent bonds. Let the bonds be worth what they may in the market, the interest will always be an offset against taxes, and thus the holder will always be secure of getting paid in the form of a discharge from his taxes.

If our farmers will pursue this course, they will render the public a great service, by relieving the Government of a part of the redundant currency; and they will save themselves from most oppressive burthens in the future.

Let, then, the man worth $20,000 buy $5,000 worth of Confederate bonds; the man worth $40,000 buy $10,000 worth; and the man worth $60,000 buy $15,000, and so on in proportion. Those who pursue this course will, hereafter, thank us for our suggestion.

Home Soldiers!! To Your Posts.
(Column 1)
Summary: Item admonishes farmers to be engaged in their duty of raising crops for the Confederacy.
Farmer's Rights Maintained
(Column 1)
Summary: Article reports that Baldwin has taken a stand in Congress against the impressment of food supplies from farmers.
(Names in announcement: John A. Baldwin)
A Patriotic Citizen
(Column 2)
Summary: Item reports that Solomon Miller has fortunately not been given over to taking excessive advantage of the rising prices and continues to offer goods at a reasonable rate.
(Names in announcement: Solomon Miller)
Full Text of Article:

In these times, when that desolating moral simoom, a spirit of exhorbitant speculation, has converted society into a vast Sahara, by withering the flowers of benevolence and drying up the fountains of charity, it affords us much pleasure to be enabled to state that there are yet remaining a few oases to redeem the scene from total desolation, and to inspire the hope that there are yet enough good men living to save our country from the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah. We have the pleasure to announce that there is at least one man in this county, and we hope there are many more, who furnishes supplies to the families of the soldiers at the following rates:

Bacon at 12 1-2 cents per lb; butter at 25 cents per lb; corn at 75 cents per bushel, and other things, upon the same principle, and in similar proportions. The market price in his neighborhood for these articles is as follows; Bacon, $1.00 per lb.; butter, $1.00 per lb, and corn, $3.00 per bushel. This citizen will be surprised and possibly shocked by seeing his name in this connection given to the public, but as we give it that others may be induced, by his example, to "go and do likewise," we hope he will pardon us for giving publicity to his name. We allude to Mr. Solomon Miller, who resides near Hermitage in this county. He belongs to the army of "Home soldiers," and, both as a patriot and christian, is "fighting the good fight," and will reap the patriot's and christian's reward. Let others follow this noble example, whilst speculators and extortioners, if they have any sensibility, will, with crimson blushes, hang their heads in shame. They should remember that their ill-gotten gains will never profit them nor their children. We commend to the consideration of this despicable class the 11th verse of the 17th chapter of the prophet Jeremiah, which reads as follows:

"As the partridge sitteth on eggs, and hatcheth them not, so he that getteth riches, and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his days, and at his end shall be a fool."

Augusta Still Reaping Honors
(Column 2)
Summary: Item reports that Dr. Lockbridge won a prize for an essay at the Medical College in Richmond.
(Names in announcement: John E. Lockbridge)
A Young Man of Promise
(Column 2)
Summary: A barb directed towards the editor of the Vindicator.
[No Title]
(Column 2)
Summary: Article reports that the Northern Government intends to allow visiting Liberians the same rights as emigrants or visitors from other nations.
Impressment of Private Property
(Column 3)
Summary: Item quotes the Augusta (Ga.) Constitutionalist in defense of property rights against impressment.
(Column 3)
Summary: An insult directed at the Vindicator.
(Column 6)
Summary: Marriage of Lizzie Hardesty and James Harris.
(Names in announcement: Rev. T. Bell, James Harris, Lizzie A. Hardesty)
(Column 6)
Summary: Death of Mary Etta Everett.
(Names in announcement: Mary Etta Everett, E. G. Everett, Mary Elizabeth Everett)
(Column 6)
Summary: Death of George Trimble.
(Names in announcement: George W. Trimble)
(Column 6)
Summary: Death of John Trimble Sr.
(Names in announcement: John TrimbleSr.)
(Column 6)
Summary: Death of Lietenant George Mitchell.
(Names in announcement: Lt. George Mitchell)
(Column 6)
Summary: Death of David Hanger.
(Names in announcement: David Hanger, Jacob Hanger)
Notice to Conscripts
(Column 7)
Summary: Notices announces meeting of board to examine conscripts.
(Names in announcement: J. S. Byers, W. A. Shelby)