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Valley of the Shadow

Staunton Spectator: November 12, 1865

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-Page 01-

[No Title]
(Column 06)
Summary: Encourages citizens of Staunton to "discourage negroes from coming to town" or face the prospect of being "over-run by an idle, vagrant population who will live by stealing" as well as rising prices for agricultural products.
Full Text of Article:

Many citizens of Staunton are unwittingly, but certainly, doing a great wrong, almost every day, to themselves and to the better class of colored people.

The least worthy freedmen are flocking to town, to seek their living by their wits. They desert the farms, and leave the fields uncultivated, and depend on making a living by little jobs, for which they charge exhorbitant prices. These high prices in town are reported in the country and render the freedmen on the farms dissatisfied and disposed to leave.

The object of the loungers around town is, to live without work. If they do anything, they charge double price, and are thus able to idle away the greater part of their time. Every job of this kind to a freedmen, is a bounty to laziness, and an injury to the more industrious classes in the country. It tends to injure the agricultural interest, and thereby to increase the cost of living.

The remedy for this evil is of the people not to submit to extortion. The fair price for cutting up a cord of wood, for an ordinary fireplace, is 50 cents -- why should any one, therefore, pay a lazy negro a dollar for it? A good hand can easily cut three cords of wood per day, and therefore can earn good wages at 50 cents a cord.

Town people, especially females, do not know the value of this kind of labor, and are therefore constantly imposed on. This evil ought to be corrected. It is injuring not only the parties concerned, but it is demoralizing the colored population, sapping the foundation of the whole labor system. We should pay what is right, and nothing more. If freedmen are not willing to work for fair wages, let them take the consequences.--The creator has ordained that man should his bread by the sweat of his brow. Those who will not work must do without the bread. Freedmen are not freed from the laws of God.

If we offer inducements to the negro to leave the farms, scarcity and high prices of grain, hay, and meats must follow. People ought to think of these things, and discourage negroes from coming to town. Unless they do, the whole country will be over-run by an idle, vagrant population, who will live by stealing. Let us be kind, but firm; just, but not weak and foolish. Let freedmen understand that they must earn their living by steady industry and not occasional jobs. If we pursue this course, the country will prosper.


Trailer: Franklin

-Page 02-

Endowment for Washington College
(Column 02)
Summary: Encourages "the people of Augusta" to contribute to the endowment of Washington College, which is still severely damaged from the war.
Contracts for Labor
(Column 1)
Summary: The article calls on the legislature to adopt rules for labor contracts as soon as possible. The law should ensure both the "faithful performance" of the Freedmen" and to protect them "against the imposition of such employers as would be base enough to attempt to take advantage of their ignorance and dependent circumstances."`
Full Text of Article:

As soon as the Legislature shall meet a law should be enacted in reference to the contracts for labor, which may be entered into between the Freedmen and their employers. This should be done before the Holidays, as that is the time at which most of the contracts for the next year's labor will be made. The law should be such as to ensure, on the one hand, the faithful performance, by the Freedmen, of their part of the contracts, and, on the other, to protect efficiently the Freedmen against the imposition of such employers as would be base enough to attempt to take advantage of their ignorance of dependent circumstances. The law should be rigid, and even and exact justice should be meted out to both of the contracting parties. The Freedmen should be required to work faithfully, and their employees should be required to pay them punctually a just compensation.

-Page 03-

Jno. Willis McCue
(Column 01)
Summary: Reports that Jonathon Willis McCue, of Augusta, has been pardoned and released from the penitentiary.
(Names in announcement: Jonathon W. McCue, Jonathon H. McCue)

-Page 04-