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Valley of the Shadow

Staunton Spectator: March 12, 1867

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-Page 01-

President's Message
(Column 03)
Summary: Contains the full text of President Johnson's veto message of the Military Reconstruction Bill.

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Our Duty and Policy--Reaction in the North
(Column 01)
Summary: Argues that Southerners can effect a change in Northern sentiment only by resisting encroachment on their constitutional rights. If, however, Southerners give "consent to acts violative of the Constitution and subversive of their own rights" then they will certainly be plunged into "the darkness of despotism."
Full Text of Article:

Whether or not the South will ever be restored to equality of political rights with the Northern States, and whether or not Republican Government has failed in this country, depend upon the fact whether or not the oppressive and unconstitutional legislation of the Radicals in power will have the effect to bring about a wholesome reaction in the Northern States. If the great mass of the citizens of those States have so degenerated and have become so indifferent to the preservation of constitutional liberty as to allow the constitution-the covenant of the liberties of our country-to be recklessly disregarded and ruthlessly trampled upon by the servants of their choice, without severely rebuking them, and arising, in the majesty of there strength, and hurling them from power, as soon as an opportunity at the ballot presents itself, then has our Government, as a Republic , failed, and Ichabod may be inscribed upon it, for its glory has verily departed, and Liberty has been slain in the temple of her worship. It is said that a "good citizen never despairs of the Republic." Though hope has been crippled, we do not despair. We still entertain the belief that a reaction in the Northern States will take place, especially if the oppressed citizens of the Southern States comport themselves as we think they should.

They should stand calmly though firmly upon the broad basis of their constitutional rights.-They should not ask more, nor agree to accept less, than the rights guaranteed to them by the constitution. This is the true position which every man, who is a friend of constitutional liberty should occupy. We are under the most solemn obligations-many of us under sworn obligations-of fidelity to the constitution. It is our duty to perform strictly the duties it imposes, and to resist, to the utmost of our power, infractions of its provisions. As we are powerless and are denied all participation or voice in the halls of legislation, we can only exhibit our fidelity to the constitution by refusing our assent to any unconstitutional act and by enduring with fortitude whatever may be wrongfully imposed upon us by those in power who are faithless to their constitutional obligations. In this way, we will be true to our duties, and will be rendering efficient, though mute, service in defence of Constitutional liberty. The degree of our fidelity will be measured by the amount of suffering we are willing to endure, and the sacrifices we are willing to make.

If the Southern people will have, as we hope they will, the firmness and heroic fortitude to occupy and steadfastly to maintain the position we have indicated, they will present as sublime a spectacle as has ever been exhibited in the annals of any people.

Not only our self-respect and duty, but sound policy and expediency, dictate this line of conduct. The conservatives of the North, who will contest the elections with the Radicals, stand upon the platform of the constitution and the equality of Constitutional rights between the States, and from that impregnable position wage war in defence of the Constitutional rights of the people of all the States alike, and as long as we maintain our position on the same platform, in the midst of the most trying scenes which ever tested the patriotism and fortitude of any people, we will command their highest respect and enlist their warmest sympathies.-If, on the contrary, the people of the South through want of firmness and fortitude, voluntarily surrender and give their consent violative of the Constitution and subversive of their own just rights, they will thereby paralyze the strong arms of the Conservatives who are defending [UNCLEAR] , and tried who, then, must needs leave as to our fate, and the hope of that reaction which would have effected our redemption will be extinguished, and we will be left to grope our way, under the most oppressive burdens in the darkness of despotism-stumbling and falling over the dismembered fragments of a broken Constitution.

God moves in a mysterious way.

His wonders to perform;

He plants his footsteps in the sea,

And rides upon the storm.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage takes

The clouds ye so much dread

Are big with mercy and shall break

In blessings on your head.

We have faith that, if the people of the South shall be true to the right , and shall stand successfully the test of the trying ordeal through which they are passing Providence will make the every means which the Radicals adopt to oppress us the means by which our redemption shall be effected.

They send the military here, without cause, to hold despotic surveillance over us.-We are satisfied that nothing could tend more strongly to strengthen the Conservatives in the North and to effect that very reason which is our only hope that our Constitutional liberties will ever be restored to us. From beneath the heel of military despotism, our mute, though potent , appeal would strike a chord of sympathy in the bosom of every man in the North who entertained the slightest respect for Constitutional liberty. Though helpless we should be strong-though mute, we would be eloquent.

State Convention
(Column 02)
Summary: Argues against calling a state convention, even if that course means the Radicals will call a convention on their own.
The Impeachment
(Column 02)
Summary: Reports that the Congressional Judiciary committee has decided to continue investigating the charges against President Johnson.
Full Text of Article:

The Judiciary committee in Congress made a report on the impeachment question. The majority of the Committee report, "that sufficient testimony has been brought to its notice to justify and demand a further prosecution of the investigation. They therefore, recommended that the "investigation" should be continued. Mr. A. J. Rogers in a minority report, says -"I have carefully examined all the evidence in the case, and report that there is not one particle of evidence to sustain any of the charges which the House charged the committee to investigate, and that the case is wholly without a particle of evidence upon which impeachment could be founded, and that with all the effort that has been made, and the mass of evidence that has been taken, the case is entirely bald proof of.

-Page 03-

Local News
(Column 01)
Summary: John Randolph was committed to the local jail on the charge of stealing shoes from the store of P. B. Hoge.
(Names in announcement: John Randolph, Justice Evans, P. B. Hoge)
Full Text of Article:

John Randolph, freedman, was committed to the Jail of this county, on Thursday last, by Justice Evans, upon the charge of stealing a pair of shoes from the store of P. B. Hoge.

Local News
(Column 01)
Summary: The editor expresses surprise at an article from the Lynchburg News claiming that "an out-and-out Radical paper" will soon begin publication in Staunton.
Full Text of Article:

The Lynchburg News "has been informed by a private letter that arrangements are in progress to commence the publication of an out-and-out Radical paper in Staunton at an early day."

This is news here. We never heard of it before.

Local News--Sales of Property on Thursday
(Column 01)
Summary: An account of the property sales made last Thursday by auctioneers Peck and Cushing.
(Names in announcement: Peck, Cushing, Robert G. Bickle, P. B. Hoge, J. B. Hoge, A. T. Gilkeson)
Full Text of Article:

On Thursday last, the auctioneers, Peck and Cushing, sold the following property in this place.

The Carroll House, opposite the Spectator Office was sold to Robert G. Bickle, Esq., for the sum of $3,000, and the Episcopal Parsonage to P. B. & J. Hoge for the sum of $6,550-both sales equivalent to cash as the bonds bear interest from date of sale.

On the same day P. B. Hoge sold his residence on Gospel Hill to A. T. Gilkeson

Local News
(Column 01)
Summary: On Monday night the Staunton Lyceum discussed the question: "'Are theatrical amusements necessarily immoral?'" After debate, the question was decided in the negative by a vote of 10 to 6.
(Names in announcement: Y. Howe Peyton, Rev. Wheat, Prof. Hewitt, Col. J. H. Skinner, Capt. Jas. Bumgardner)
Full Text of Article:

On Monday night, the 4th inst., the Staunton Lyceum discussed the question:

"Are theatrical amusements necessarily immoral?"

The question was ably and eloquently discussed by the following gentlemen:

In the affirmative, Y. Howe Peyton, Esq., and Rev. Mr. Wheat; in the negative, Prof Hewitt, Col. J. H. Skinner and Capt. Jas. Bumgardner.

On being submitted to the vote, the question was decided-in the affirmative 6, in the negative 10

Conventions to be Called by the Military
(Column 02)
Summary: Disparages the Senate of Virginia for its failure to call a state convention; by contrast, the piece notes, a bill has just been submitted to Congress that would allow the military to call conventions.
Full Text of Article:

It is to be regretted that the Senate of Va. Acted in such haste in taking steps for the call of a convention under the provisions of the military force bill. That body has been in too much of a hurry to eat dirt. It has destroyed to a great degree, the moral influence of Virginia, and has caused the blush of shame to mantle of the checks of her sons. The plea of necessity cannot be offered as an excuse, for it will appear from the proceedings in Congress that the State Legislatures will be saved the mortification and humiliation of calling conventions.

In the United States Senate, Thursday, Wilson of Massachusetts, introduced a bill supplementary to an act entitled "an act to provide for the more efficient government of the rebel States and to facilitate restoration" which was referred to the Judiciary Committee:

Section one directs the commanding officer of each district to cause a registration to be made before September, 1, 1867, in each country or parish in his district, of the male citizens over twenty-one years of age, resident therein, to include only those qualified to vote by the act to which this a supplement, and who shall take and subscribe the following oath:

I, -----------------, do hereby solemnly swear (or affirm) that I am sincerely and earnestly attached to the Union and Government of the United States; that I will steadfastly support the Constitution and obey the laws of the United States, and that I will, to the best of my ability, engage all others to such support and obedience; so help me God.

Section two directs the Commanding General, as soon as the registration is completed, to cause an election for delegates to a convention, to be held on a day not less than thirty days from date of proclamation of election, for the purpose of amending the existing or framing a new constitution, of firmly establishing loyal civil governments, and passing needful ordinances to put the same into operation.

Section three directs that the said convention shall be called on the basis of representation on which the number of members of Congress is apportioned.

Section four provides for the appointment by the commanding general of officers or persons to make the registration, preside at the elections, receive, sort, and count the votes, and make return thereof and the persons elected, and he shall then make proclamation of the persons elected, and notify within sixty days when and where they shall assemble to organize the convention; and when the said convention shall have amended the existing or framed a new constitution in accordance with the act to which this is a supplement, it shall be submitted to the people at an election to be held after the expiration of thirty days from notice thereof given by the convention.

Section five provides that if the said constitution is ratified by a majority of the votes cast, the President of the convention shall transmit the same to the President of the United States, who shall transmit it to Congress if in session who shall transmit it to Congress if in session, and if not in session, then upon its next assembling; and if it be declared by Congress to be in conformity with the provisions of the act recently passed by Congress, known as the military bill, the State shall be declared entitled to representation, and Senators and Representatives shall be admitted as provided in said act.

Section six provides that the duties and powers delegated and conferred upon the commanding general may, with his consent, be transferred to the acting Governor of the State, upon his taking an oath faithfully to perform and execute the same.

Col. Baldwin's Speech
(Column 03)
Summary: Includes the text of Col. Baldwin's farewell speech to the House of Delegates in which he encourages Southerners to "have the higher civic courage to endure and be calm, to suffer and maintain our self-respect, and thus to command the respect of others--even of those who would oppress us."
(Names in announcement: Col. Jno. B. Baldwin)
(Column 04)
Summary: Eliza Baer, of Churchville, and John W. Cease, of Staunton, were married on March 7 by Rev. George A. Shuey.
(Names in announcement: Rev. Geo. A. Shuey, John W. Cease, Eliza A. Baer)
(Column 04)
Summary: S. A. Richardson died at his home in Staunton last Thursday. He was 43 years old.
(Names in announcement: S. A. Richardson)
(Column 04)
Summary: Col. William P. Tate died on March 9. He was 46.
(Names in announcement: Col. Wm. P. Tate)
(Column 04)
Summary: Thomas Coursey died on March 9 after an illness of a few days. He was about 60 years old and leaves behind a wife and two daughters.
(Names in announcement: Thomas F. Coursey)

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