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Valley of the Shadow

Staunton Spectator: February 06, 1866

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Unionists and Disunionists
(Column 01)
Summary: Argues that those who seek to restore the Union as it existed before the war are the true Unionists and those "who deny equal rights to the citizens of the several States" are the disunionists.
Full Text of Article:

Who are the Union men, at this time, in the true and proper acceptation of that term, and who are the disunionists? Those who are in favor of the Union as it existed before the war, who are supporters of the Constitution and of the rights and immunities it guarantees, who desire peace and amity between the people of all the States who favor the admission into the Congress of Representatives from all the States who possess the Constitutional qualifications, who recognize the equality of rights in the citizens of the several States, are, by whatever name they may be called, Union men in the true sense and proper acceptation of the term.

On the contrary, those who oppose the Union as it existed before the war, who violate the Constitutional and deny to any the rights and immunities it guarantees, who create distrust, dissension and discord between the people of the State, who deny admission into Congress of Representatives who possess all the Constitutional qualifications, who deny equal rights to the citizens of the several States, are, by whatever name they may be called, disunionists.--The extreme men in the North and the3 extreme men in the South who claim to be, par excellence, the Union men, are, in fact, the disunionists of the two sections of the Union. President Johnson is a Union men, and the policy he maintains, and which he would have all others to maintain, is a Union policy. He wishes to restore the Union as it was before the war, with all the rights of the citizens of all the States unimpaired. He says that the people of the Southern States "should be trusted."--They have not only acknowledged their defeat stacked arms and abandoned the contest for independence, but have solemnly sworn to support the Constitution of the United States.--They are no longer secessionists, but have all become, in the true sense of the term, Union men. Those who are unwilling to "trust the people of the South," who maintain that they should not be granted the rights belonging to citizens of the States in the Union, who are in favor of governing the Southern States as conquered provinces, who maintain that they should be ruled by a military authority, are neither Union men nor the friends of Republican government. There are, unfortunately, much in the North and in the South -- in the North, they are numerous, and have a majority of Representatives in Congress; in the South, the number is small. Though these extremes profess to be Union men, they are disunionists of the very word character. Under the guise of Union men, they labor, "with might and main" -- openly in the North, secretly in the South -- to prevent the restoration of the Union, and to destroy the Republican character of the Government. As hypocrites in religion

"Steal the livery of Heaven

To serve the Devil in,"

so these impostors in politics, assume the mask of Unionism the more effectually to perpetrate their vile disunion purposes. These extremes, North and South, are co-operating to effect the same object -- the prevention of the restoration of the Union, and the denial to the people of the South of their Constitutional rights in the Union. those who petition the authorities to keep the citizens of the South under military rule, who represent that the people of the South should not be trusted, that they are indisposed to grant injustice to any class of citizens, are co-operating with the Radicals of the North, who are making was upon the Union policy of the President. Thought this party is small in the South, yet its members have the power to do more harm to the people of the South than ten times their number at the North, for their misrepresentations of Southern sentiment are considered by the North as true representations of Southern feeling. An enemy to the restoration of the Union and to Republican Government in the South will affect the greatest dread; and, with pallid cheeks and trembling frame, will avow to the authorities that his life is in peril, that the cannibal secesh will be sure to devour him if they be not bound hand and foot by the strong bonds of military authority. He makes such and other false avowals knowing that that is the most effectual way to effect the base and treacherous purposes of his heart. Let no man who is in truth a Union man suffer himself to be deceived and imposed upon by wolves in sheeps' clothing.

Memorials, Secret Petitions, &c.
(Column 01)
Summary: Details the latest developments in a controversy involving W. J. Dews, who served on the Freedmen's Court and, according to reports, has been circulating petitions of an unknown character.
(Names in announcement: W. J. Dews)
W. J. Dews
(Column 03)
Summary: Argues that W. J. Dews is attempting to goad the editors into casting aspersions upon him so that he can posture as a persecuted Union man and bring federal troops back to Staunton.
Full Text of Article:

It is patent, we think, to the observation of all men who have the least perception, that W. J. Dews is anxious to provoke an assault upon himself through the Press that he may occupy the position of a persecuted Union men, that he may gain that kind of notoriety which would enable him to get some more desirable position than the one he at present holds, and also a pretext to have troops sent to this place. We readily assented to allow him to correct any misrepresentations which may have been in the article we published last week. Whilst we acknowledge no obligation to allow him to do more, we yet grant him, as an act of grace, the privilege of publishing the article he furnished, though it seems to have been written more with the view to provoke such comments from us as would subserve the purposes we have mentioned than to correct misstatements, which might have been done with a few lines. "In vain is a net set in the sight of any bird." We will not walk into the meshes he has spread. If the public interests were not involved, we might gratify his vanity by commenting in such terms as we might feel inclined to use. We refrain, from the motives mentioned, from indulging in comment or repartee, and refer our readers to his communication that they may judge of his motives, and of the wisdom of the course we have adopted. This view of his motives is confirmed by the fact that he has sent communications to every paper in this place. Like the Irishman at Donnybrook fair, he is exceedingly anxious for some one to tread on the rail of his coat.

It is due to our informants to say, that they are gentleman of character and veracity and in no wise connected with the rebellion.

A Glimpse of Light
(Column 04)
Summary: Praises the passage of a bill authorizing the creation of the first link of the Valley railroad.
To The Editor of the "Spectator."
(Column 05)
Summary: William J. Dews responds to an article in the previous issue of the Spectator which alleged questionable motives in relation to his circulation of a petition.
(Names in announcement: Richard Mauzy, William Dews)
Full Text of Article:

We have been informed that Mr. Richard Mauzy, a man living in this place", took occasion, in the last issue of his paper, to comment in regard to a petition which he had learned was being circulated in this vicinity; and that he further "made bold" to hurl his thunderbolts (Jove like) at my devoted and unprotected self.

First, "ye Editor" saith that I "was chosen by the Freedmen's Court." Further he saith that since the soldiers left "no Freedmen have been mistreated." Again he speaketh and says, (in regard to the petition,) "the petition was not shown to the citizens of the town, but taken some distance into the country." Again he affirmeth that "petitions secretly circulated should be brought to light." And there he asketh, feelingly, "upon what representations were the signatures of the signers obtained.--And then he again asketh, with touching tenderness, "will not one or more signers apprise us, that the public may know, and that they may stand justified"? He further appealeth to somebody, and saith, as gently as the dew falls upon the blushing Rose, "are not the citizens peaceable, quiet harmless." Further he saith, with Roman dignity, "when we desire or need them, we will ask for them ourselves"!

"The people of the South who are sending such petitions to the President, as spoken of in the above dispatch, under the name of "Union men," are not, in truth, true Union men, but trifling characters who have gotten into some positions which they do not deserve to fill where they can exercise "a little brief authority, and desire to retain them, and, do so bring reproach upon better citizens by assuming to call themselves "Union men."

It is proper, now, for me to say that I called upon the Editor of the "Spectator," after carefully perusing the article in question, and asked him if he vouched for the truth of the assertions contained in the article, or was he simply informed that the assertions embraced in the article were true. He replied that he did not vouch for their truthfulness, that he received information that the assertions were true. This statements is given in justice to myself and the Editor.

I now pronounce all assertions relating to myself false, including the alleged fact that I was chosen by the Freedmen as their Judge in Freedmen's Court. I except the fact of my originating "that petition;" and I assert the fact that there is nothing in "that petition" that will induce any ill feeling whatever between persons of different political sentiments. And I further remark that no person has imbibed such impressions; nor has any former Confederate evinced any interest to see the petition, except the Editors of Staunton. May Allah preserve them. At least if such a desire has been manifested, it was not to me.

With a reference to the application of the term "trifling characters" to the signers of petitions, in the paragraph above quoted, I will say that the Editor disclaims any intention to apply the offensive terms to the signers of the petition now in my possession. Hence there is nothing to reply to or controvert. The Editor has killed himself (not literally, however, thank Heaven,) with his own hand, and it only remains for the disconsolate mourners to assemble, with tearful eyes, around his grave and scatter freshly culled flowers thereon -- retire remembering his many virtues and sobbing in the fullness of their hearts.

"Twas thine own order gave the final blow,

And helped to give the wound that laid him low;

So the struck eagle, stretched upon the plain,

No more through rolling clouds to soar again,

Viewed his own feather on the fatal dart,

And winged the shaft that quivered in his heart."

And -- that's all.

William J. Dews.

Trailer: William J. Dews

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Local News--A Serious Accident
(Column 01)
Summary: Philander McCutchen was thrown from his horse yesterday and fractured his skull. His condition is believed to be critical.
(Names in announcement: Philander McCutchen)
Local News--A Sad Accident
(Column 01)
Summary: Dudley Washington suffered a badly broken leg on Monday and is reported to be suffering greatly.
(Names in announcement: Washington Dudley, Dr. Wilson, Dr. Hamilton)
Soiree at the Seminary
(Column 01)
Summary: Reports that the soiree at the Augusta Female Seminary last Wednesday demonstrated an admirably managed institution.
(Names in announcement: Prof. Ettinger, Baldwin, McClung)
The Concerts
(Column 01)
Summary: Reports that the two concerts given at the local Presbyterian church were highly successful and entertaining.
(Column 01)
Summary: W. A. Hanger and Barbara Coyner were married on January 28 by Rev. Samuel Kennerly.
(Names in announcement: W. A. Hanger, Barbara Coyner, Samuel Kennerly)

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(Column 02)
Summary: Mrs. Stevens offers her ruminations on the nature of woman, concluding that "woman is a miracle, a mystery."