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Valley of the Shadow

Staunton Spectator: December 11, 1866

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-Page 01-

Message of the President of the United States
(Column 02)
Summary: Andrew Johnson's message to the two houses of Congress at the commencement of the new session.

-Page 02-

The President's Message
(Column 01)
Summary: Praises President Johnson's Message for his refusal "to modify the policy he has heretofore advocated" but takes issue with one of Johnson's statements, which the editor believes implies that Congress has the authority to impose additional, extra-Constitutional qualifications for members of Congress.
Full Text of Article:

We publish on the first page a correct and full copy of the President's Message. Such a have been expecting the President to modify the policy he has heretofore advocated will be disappointed. He stands steadfast, and exhibits "no variableness or shadow of turning." It is a calm document, very unlike the speeches he delivered in his tour to and from the West some time since, when he poured, in rapid succession, volleys of hot-shot into the serried ranks of the Radicals. The argument in the message for the admission of Southern Representatives is lucid, strong and conclusive. The message concedes, however, a qualification to which we cannot assent. It says that to be admitted to a seat of Representative should possess the "requisite constitutional and legal qualifications" such as Congress may see proper to impose, we dissent in toto from the position, for, as we have demonstrated time and again, the Constitution prescribes the qualifications required, and these cannot be added to or subtracted from without violating the Constitution itself. The qualifications which Constitution prescribes should be possessed by members of the House of Representatives are as follows: That he should be twenty-five years of age, that he should have been seven years a citizen of the United States, and an inhabitant, when elected, of the State in which he was chosen. These are the only qualifications prescribed by the Constitution.

If Congress has the right to add to these qualifications, no limit can be prescribed, and that body may impose such as may suit their purposes, as they have already attempted to do by requiring Representatives to take the test oath. The imposition of such a qualification destroys representation, and makes it impossible for the Southern people to be represented in the councils of the nation, and frustrates the very object designed to be accomplished by the election of persons for that purpose. With this qualification of our approbation of the President's Message we give the comments of the National Intelligencer as follows:

The President adheres to his oft-expressed conviction that loyal representatives should be promptly admitted to their seats in both Houses. His argument in favor of that policy is clear, condensed, and, in our judgment, irresistible. He shows that all these branches of the Government -- the executive, legislative, and judicial -- are unmistakably committed to the doctrine that the Southern States are in the Union, have never been out, and are entitled to representation. But neither now or at any other time does he wish to dictate in Congress their duty. The most distempered partisans cannot deny that the message, in its broad, catholic, patriotic spirit, is the freest possible from any attempt at dictation or undue interference with the other branches of the Government. But the Executive puts the responsibility of non-restoration where it belongs. The Supreme Court has done its duty in restoring the old cases to their docket and in welcoming new ones. The Executive has done its duty in preserving order in the South, and in announcing to those citizens who wished to return to their allegiance that every facility should be given them to reconstruct their Government. It only remains for Congress to complete the work, by welcoming unobjectionable Representatives to the floor of both Houses. Nothing could be said with more terse, convincing, and comprehensive vigor that the passage which sums up what would be the most gratifying results of the prompt concessions to the South of its constitutional rights.

As to the other features of the message, they cannot fail to commend themselves to the popular judgment. They are marked by such vigorous common sense, such a clear comprehension of the rights and responsibilities of this great nation, such moderation and independence as will, we doubt not, command a wide-spread approval among patriotic Americans of all classes.

The statement that is given of the resources and industrial condition of the country, will be read with pride by every citizen of this great Republic. Despite the vast debt accumulated by our great struggle, the nation, after the strain of war, springs forward anew in its course of unexampled prosperity, and is already beginning to pay off its liabilities. What is said about the Alabama claims and the Fenian movement, and the right of citizenship, will prove universally acceptable; but, perhaps, no portion of the message will be read with greater interest than that which treats of our relations with Mexico. In this regard, despite the rumors with which the air is thick, it is found that the Government has acted wisely and with statesman-like foresight and dignity.

The Radical Programme
(Column 01)
Summary: Outlines seven measures recently agreed upon by a caucus of more than 100 Radical members of Congress, including a proposal to exclude electoral votes from the states currently excluded from Congress.

-Page 03-

Local News--Attempt to Burn the Jail
(Column 01)
Summary: Martin Lotts apparently attempted to burn his cell in the local jail last Friday and nearly suffocated to death before the Fire Company arrived.
(Names in announcement: Martin H. Lotts, Mrs. Steele, Justice H. H. Peck)
Local News--Distressing Occurrence
(Column 01)
Summary: Elizabeth Thorpe, 8 years old, recently died from burn injuries sustained after her clothes caught fire. Elizabeth and her sister had been left alone for three days while their father was away.
(Names in announcement: Elizabeth Thorpe, George Thorpe, Margaret Deverick, J. S. Cross)
(Column 05)
Summary: Mary Carlile, of Augusta, and William Via, of Rockbridge, were married at the home of the bride's father on November 8 by Rev. E. Thomas.
(Names in announcement: Rev. E. Thomas, Wm. M. Via, Mary J. M. Carlile)
(Column 05)
Summary: Samuel McDanna and Sarah Stanton were married on December 6 by Rev. George Shuey.
(Names in announcement: Samuel McDanna, Sarah C. Stanton, Rev. George A. Shuey)
(Column 05)
Summary: George Johnson and Susan Rogers were married on November 21 by Rev. George Shuey.
(Names in announcement: George H. Johnson, Susan V. Rogers, Rev. George A. Shuey)
(Column 05)
Summary: David Gilkeson died at his home near Barterbrook on December 7. He was 84.
(Names in announcement: David Gilkeson)
(Column 05)
Summary: Nancy Taylor, wife of William Taylor, died on October 16. She was 70 years old.
(Names in announcement: Nancy Taylor, Wm. Taylor)
(Column 05)
Summary: Henry S. Hogsett died on November 24 at the residence of his uncle, David Hogsett, on November 24. He was 11.
(Names in announcement: David G. Hogsett, Henry S. Hogsett, James R. Hogsett)
(Column 05)
Summary: Elizabeth Forrer died on November 26 after bearing a protracted illness "with great christian patience." She was 61.
(Names in announcement: Elizabeth Forrer)

-Page 04-