Staunton Spectator: 07 23, 1867Go To Page : 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
Centuries and the Hours
(Column 01)Summary: Castigates the principle of "cooperation" that has emerged in some parts of Virginia, suggesting instead that white Southerners rely on "the patient fortitude of a heroic people" to eventually sway Northern public opinion.
Origin of Article: Richmond Enquirer and ExaminerEditorial Comment: "The following article from the Enquirer and Examiner so clearly, forcibly and admirably expresses our views that we adopt it and present it thus prominently in lieu of what we may have written ourselves upon the same subject. We hope that the length of the article will not deter any of our readers from giving it a careful perusal:"
Full Text of Article:Be On The Alert--Dangerous Counterfeit
The following article from the Enquirer and Examiner so clearly, forcibly and admirably expresses our views that we adopt it and present it thus prominently in lieu of what we may have written ourselves upon the same subject. We hope that the length of the article will not deter any of our readers from giving it a careful perusal.
It was Ralph Waldo Emerson, we think, who said: "The lesson of life is practically to believe what the years and the centuries say against the hours." Let us profit by the suggestion. Let us heed the lessons of the centuries speaking against the teachings of the hour. Let us draw wisdom and take warning from the former. It will inspire us with fortitude and hope to disregard the threats and alarms of the latter.
The lesson of the hour is indeed a dark and dispiriting one. It tells us that hope has departed, that effort is vain, that we are a conquered people, and must accept what terms a capricious conqueror may impose. It tells us of the dark clouds that lower, the dangers that threaten, and advise us to avert destruction by bowing to the storm. This is what the hours say.
But what say the centuries? They tell us that though Truth may, for a time, be trodden down, though Might may temporarily triumph over Right; though in the conflict for Freedom superior force may conquer-yet no people ever permanently lost their liberties except through their own recreancy to principal. And the centuries further say that whenever and wherever a people have lost their liberties by their own voluntary surrender of principle, they have never regained them. When a people put the yoke on their own necks and thrust their own hands into the manacles, then indeed is their future without hope.
Hitherto the South has not proved recreant to the principles for which she fought. Virginia is scarred all over with the testimonies of her devotion. Shall she now lay down all she retains of her glorious name "in the brave old days of old" and voluntarily assume the livery-not of her conquerors, but of her conqueror's camp followers? We have yielded the conflict in arms to overwhelming odds, but when General Lee surrendered his sword, it was to grim Necessity, not to Grant. When the States repealed their ordinances of secession it was only a formal expunction of what was already a dead letter in law. When they ratified emancipation it was only acknowledging that the war had left them too weak to preserve the institution of slavery any longer. Do the advocates of "co-operation" think that necessity compels us to "co-operate?" Can it be shown that we are obliged to enlist in the Black Republican party, and march with them to the accomplishment of their ends? Shall we presume the necessity of it before exhausting all means of escape or resistance? Have we, indeed, exhausted all such means? Have we, indeed, exhausted all such means? The sword has failed-we would not again draw it from its scabbard. But is there no weapon mightier than the sword? There is! It is the patient fortitude of a heroic people. The courage to endure is greater than the spirit to achieve. In many a stern clash of arms we have displayed the heroism of action, let us now display the sublime heroism of suffering. Suffering becomes holy, and is robbed of it sting when incurred in behalf of high principle. It is this which has cheered the martyr at the stake. It was this which came with soothing presence to the "earlier Virginians," and enabled Washington to give Valley Forge the grandest page in American history. Devotion to principle has sweetened the scaffold and smoothed the edge of the executioner's axe. It has gilded poverty with a lustre which wealth could ever boast. It has given the peasant a grace and dignity richer than the diadems of royalty. Suffering for principle! It is the baptism of fire, through which God purifies his chosen.
We may be compelled to stand by, while others slay Truth; but why dip our own hands in her blood? Let others bear "the deep damnation of [her] taking off." not ourselves Unless slain by us she will assuredly rise again, not like Banquo's ghost to shake her "gory locks" at us, but as a rejuvenated and smiling goddess-a Venus to point the way to a Hespedrian clime of fate. Well may she say "though my enemy slay me, yet will I rise again." But alas, if slain "in the house of her own friends" she falls to rise no more.
Our refusal to "co-operate" may continue our exclusion. We may suffer from it. But let not the hour provoke us to impatience. Let us remember what the centuries say: The patient endurance of suffering for the sake of a great principle is always rewarded by the triumph at last of that principle. Freedom draws her nutriment from the breasts of none but heroes; and if a people are willing to barter principle for ignoble ease , she takes her indignant flight, never more to return.
The centuries teach another lesson, too. Where a people are seduced from principle by the promise of advantage-when they close their ears to the voice of the centuries and hearken to the syren of the hour-they not only lose the principle which they barter, but fail to obtain the promised price. Too late they find that principle died in the hands of its purchasers, and absolves them from all promises.
Better listen to the centuries. They have a voice of hope for all who know how to "suffer and be strong." They say that the madness of the hour must some day yield to returning reason. The breath of passion is transitory. Violent excitement soon exhausts itself. Action and re-action are proportionate.
But, what if, by our own act, we deprive ourselves of the opportunities which lie hid in the lap of the future? If we mention the injustice of the hour by "co-operation," if we endorse and adopt as our own, what Radical legislation has prescribed for us-how shall we escape the consequences of our own action. We will ourselves have destroyed our legal remedy, and the verdict of the centuries will be against us.
No! Let us posses our souls in patience. Let us retain our reverence for principles, though for a while overthrown, confident that they will rise again if we are mindful of their memory.
It is a hard , this disbelieving the hours and trusting the centuries, but it never was 02 more important to learn it than now. The real battle has come. It is a sterner conflict than Shiloh or Gettysburg for the issue is not a principle-the principle is acknowledged by us all-but it is devotion to principle. The greater includes the loss. If Southern devotion to the principle of justice shall shine out clear, bright and steadfast , amid all the storms of rage and persecution, then that principle itself sill ultimately illumine the darkness of our future. But if our devotion to truth, honor and constitutional right cannot outlive the ordeal through which it is now passing, then indeed may we sing the requiem of liberty. No fire from heaven will rekindle her extinguished torch.
The Promethean spark is in our own bosoms. Our destiny is in our own hands in spite of all our enemies may do. Only we can make or mar our fate. If we are true to principle, it will be true to us. If we desert it, it will scorn us. If we listen to the hour, the centuries will sing us no song. If we accept the present, we throw away the future.
(Column 04)Summary: Warns readers that a counterfeit fifty dollar bill is currently in circulation and offers information on how to distinguish it from the authentic note.
(Column 01)Summary: Delia Lewis and Nancy Robinson were committed to jail for "using abusive language and fighting on the street."
(Names in announcement: Delia Lewis, Nancy Robinson)Full Text of Article:Local News
DELLA LEWIS and NANCY ROBINSON, colored, were committed to the care of friend Harlan, on Sunday morning last, for using abusive language and fighting on the street. They were brought before the Mayor on yesterday, and bound over in the sum of $50 each, which, being unable to give, they were sent back to the prison.
(Column 01)Summary: William Carroll, who moved from Augusta 12 or 15 years ago, died in San Francisco on June 12. He was 40 years old.Local News--Speeches
(Names in announcement: Wm. Carroll, Jacob Carroll)
(Column 01)Summary: Capt. F. S. Tukey, the former superintendent of the local Freedmen's Bureau, addressed a "mixed assemblage" at the Court House last Saturday. Captain James Bumgardner and A. T. Maupin also addressed the audience.
(Names in announcement: Capt. F. S. Tukey, Capt. James Bumgardner, A. T. Maupin)Full Text of Article:Endorsing Universal Negro Suffrage
On Saturday night last, Capt. F. S. Tukey, formerly Superintendent of Freedmen's Bureau at this place, in accordance with previous notice, delivered a speech to a mixed assemblage in front of the Court House. The burden of the speech, we learn, was the importance of reconstructing under the schemes prescribed by Congress.
Remarks were also made by Capt. James Bumgardner and A. T. Maupin.
We were not able to attend the meeting, and are therefore unable to report the character of the speeches made.
We can venture to say, however, that the sentiments of Capt. Bumgardner were not in accord with the views of the other speakers.
(Column 02)Summary: Argues that any member of the "white race" who supports the Radicals will commit "a monstrous crime against his race and section" and "will soon find life a burden, and the pangs of conscience so acute that he will buy a rope and seek that species of relief which Judas found for his great crime, in ignominious suicide."
Origin of Article: Richmond Enquirer and ExaminerEditorial Comment: "The Enquirer and Examiner concludes a long article under the above heading as follows:"
Full Text of Article:Remarkable Predictions
"We are to-day the victims of the most gigantic crime of the of the nineteenth century. Not only have the people of ten great States been robbed of the most valuable portion of their property, but what was yesterday a "chattel," is to-day clothed with political powers of which the most cultivated of the white race of the South have been stripped. To-day, the people of many of the Southern States are at the mercy of a race brutalized by centuries of slavery. Thousands of the best, ablest, purest and most gifted of our statesmen, orators, authors, soldiers and advocates have been outlawed; while every adult male negro, however corrupt, ignorant, and beastly in instincts and vices, has been clothed with all the rights of citizenship.
Is there a Virginian who believes there is a just God and can doubt that the vile party which has thus sought to degrade and dishonor as must sooner or later fall beneath the wrath of all seeing Providence, which permits no great crime to escape chastisements and retribution? All us must feel that sooner or later this merciless party will be hurled from power, and reparation made from the cruel wrongs which it has committed.
None know better than the leaders of the Radical party, that, it has violated too grossly every right of the citizen, and trampled too unblushingly upon the Constitution, for its existence to be tolerated one moment after the reason of the nation regains its throne. Hence it is seeking to commit the people of the section which it has outraged, insulted and trampled upon, to an endorsation of the hideous crimes which have almost annihilated its prosperity-It trembles at the thought of the final judgment of the nation upon its deprivation of ten millions of people of all their constitutional rights, and upon its enfranchisement of hundreds of thousands of illiterate and brutal blacks. It is, therefore, seeking by threats and promises to secure the "endorsation" of the South of the every offences for which the Radicals will be one day punished by defeat and loss of power, and then hanged in chains by history. It is seeking to make us "acquiesce" in the infernal outrage which it has inflicted upon us in order that when the day for vengeance and retribution comes we shall not be able to do our part in the overthrow of our oppressors.
And if their schemes for our political self abasement are successful, we shall not be able to hold up our heads like a brave but unfortunate people, and resume our former proud position in the family of States. When we have voluntarily entered the "African Church Convention" as the equals, associates and "co-operators" with Hunnicutt, Underwood and our late slaves, we shall be utterly corrupted, prostituted and debauched; we must forever thereafter hid our faces in the dust and cry "unclean," "unclean." We shall by that act of indecent and most unmanly and ignominious surrender of principle, show that we have become the helots of the negro, and that we merit all the foul abuse which those with whom we have "affiliated" have heaped upon us. When we have pledged ourselves to "extend and perfect the organization" of the Radical party, we will have dishonored the memories of our dead soldiers, thanked Congress for outlawing our noblest and bravest men, declared our humble gratitude for the annihilation of all our rights and rejoiced that our late "chattels" have been made our equals. The Virginian of character and intelligence, who shall commit this monstrous crime against his race and section, will soon find life a burden, and the pangs of conscience so acute that he will buy a rope an seek that species of relief which Judas found for his great crime, in ignominious suicide.
(Column 03)Summary: Quotes a speech of John Calhoun's delivered in 1849, in which he argued that emancipation would make the South "the permanent abode of disorder, anarchy, poverty, and wretchedness." The article suggests that Calhoun's statements read "more like history than prediction."
Origin of Article: Cincinnati EnquirerEditorial Comment: "The following extract, which a writer of the Cincinnati Enquirer quotes from page 310 of Mr. Calhoun's works, and which was written in 1849, reads like history rather than prediction:"
Full Text of Article:A Sensible Freedman
"If it (emancipation) should ever be effected it will be through the agency of the Federal Government controlled by the dominant power of the Northern States of the confederacy against the resistance and struggle of the Southern. It can then only be effected by the prostration of the white race, and that would necessarily engender the bitterest feelings of hostility between them and the North. But the reverse would be the case between the blacks of the South and the people of the North. Owing their emancipation to them, they would regard them as friends, guardians, and patrons, and centre, accordingly, all their sympathy in them. The people of the North would not fail to reciprocate, and to favor them instead of the whites; under the influence of such feelings and impelled by fanaticism and love of power, they would not stop at emancipation. Another step would be taken-to raise them to a political and social equality with their former owners by giving them the right of voting and holding public offices under the Federal Government. We see the first step towards it in the bill already alluded to-to vest the free blacks and slaves with the right to vote on the question of emancipation in the District [of Columbia.]-But when once raised to an equality they would become the fast political associates of the North, acting and voting with them on all questions; and by this political union between them holding the white race at the South in complete subjection. The blacks, and the profligate whites that might unite with them, would become the principal recipients of the Federal offices and patronage, and would, in consequence, be raised above the whites of the South in the political and social scale. We would, in a word, change conditions with them-a degradation greater than has yet fallen to the lot of a free and enlightened people, and one from which we could not escape should emancipation take place, (which it certainly will if not prevented,) but by fleeing the homes of ourselves and our ancestors, and by abandoning our country to our former slaves, to become the permanent abode of disorder, anarchy, poverty, misery, and wretchedness."
(Column 04)Summary: The editor recommends this letter from Aaron Hurt to "the best classes of our own colored citizens." In the letter, Hurt argues that his enslavement was not his master's fault, expresses distrust for Radicals, and labels himself "a Conservative."
Origin of Article: Columbus EnquirerEditorial Comment: The Rev. Aaron Hurt, publishes a letter in the Columbus (Ga.) Enquirer, which we submit for the earnest consideration of the best classes of our own colored citizens. The letter is as follows:
Full Text of Article:
We of the South have to be one; what is the white man's interest must and will be colored man's. All have been born on the Southern soil-some masters and some slaves. I was born a slave; this was not my master's fault. That some (white and colored)are trying to make the former slaves hate their former masters is plain. This I will not do. I know those amongst whom I was raised; I don't know those that come to me and take me by the hand at night, give me advice in the dark, and when it is light do not notice me on the streets. I notice another thing: Those white men that tell us we must vote the Radical ticket and we shall have a farm, do not have enough to build a chicken coop. I think they wan the negroes to do the voting, but they want the farms. I was a minister of the Gospel-belonged to the Baptist church-and think I have studied the interest of my race since we have been set free, and give it as my own opinion it is best for the colored people to make friends at home. As to politics, I do not know much, but from what little I do not know, I am Conservative. They seem to not have any secrets, but talk out.-This I like.
AARON HURT, Colored,
Trailer: Aaron HurtMarriages
(Column 05)Summary: John Taylor, of Winchester, and Zeddie Achord, of Mint Spring, Augusta, were married on July 17 by Rev J. I. Miller.
(Names in announcement: Rev. J. I. Miller, John R. Taylor, Zeddie A. Achord)
The Reconstruction Bill
(Column 02)Summary: Contains the full text of the Supplementary Reconstruction Bill as it passed both houses on July 13.
Full Text of Article:Grim Statistics
The following is a copy of the Supplementary Reconstruction bill as it passed both Houses on Saturday, the 13th , inst:
Be it enacted, &c., That it is hereby declared to have been the true intent and meaning of the act of the second day of March, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-seven, entitled, "An act to provide for the more efficient government of the rebel States," and the act supplementary thereto, passed on the twenty third day of March, on thousand eight hundred and sixty-seven, that the governments then existing in the rebel States of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Florida, Texas and Arkansas were not legal State governments, and that thereafter said governments, if continued, were continued subject in all respects to the military commanders of the respective districts, and to the paramount authority of Congress.
2. That the commander of any district named in said act shall have power, subject to the disapproval of the General of the army of the United States, and to have effect until disapproved, whenever in the opinion of such commander the proper administration of said act shall require it, to suspend or remove from office, or from the performance of official duties and the exercise of official powers, any officer or person holding or exercising or professing to hold or exercise, any civil or military office or duty in such district under any power, election, appointment, or authority derived from or granted by, or claimed under, any so-called State or the government thereof, or any municipal or other division thereof; and upon such suspension or removal, such commander, subject to the disapproval of the General aforesaid, shall have power to provide from time to time for the performance of such duties of such officer or person so suspended or removed, by the detail of some competent officer or, soldier of the army, or by the appointment of some other person to perform the same, and to fill vacancies occasioned by death, resignation or otherwise.
3. That the General of the armies of the United States shall be invested with all the powers of suspension, removal, appointment and detail granted in the preceding section to district commanders.
4. That the acts of the officers of the army already done in removing in said districts persons exercising the functions of civil officers and appointing others in their stead are hereby confirmed; provided, that any person heretofore or hereafter appointed by any district commander to exercise the functions of any civil office may be removed either by the military officer in command of the district or by the General of the army. And it shall be the duty of such commander to remove from office as aforesaid all persons who are disloyal to the Government of the United States, or who use their official influence in any manner to hinder, delay, prevent, or obstruct the due and proper administration of this act and the acts to which it is supplementary.
5. That the boards of registration provided for in the act entitled, "An act supplementary to an act entitled 'An act to provide for the more efficient government of the rebel States,' passed March second, eighteen hundred and sixty-seven, and to facilitate restoration," passed March twenty-third, eighteen hundred and sixty-seven, shall have the power, and it shall be their duty, before allowing the registration of any person, to ascertain upon such facts or information as they can obtain, whether such person is entitled to be registered under said act, and the oath required by said act shall not be conclusive on such question, and no person shall be registered unless such board shall decide that he is entitled thereto; and such board shall also have power to examine, under oath, (to be administered by any member of such board) any one touching the qualification of any person claiming registration; but in every case of refusal by the board to register the applicant, and in every case of striking his name from the list as hereinafter provided, the board shall make note or memorandum, which shall be returned with the registration list to the commanding general of the district, setting forth the ground of such refusal or such striking from the lists: Provided, That no person shall be disqualified as a member of any board of registration by reason of race or color.
6. That the true intent and meaning of the oath prescribed in said supplementary act is (among other things) that no person who has been a member of the Legislature of any State or who has held any executive or judicial office in any State, whether he has taken an oath to support the Constitution of the United States or not, and who has afterwards engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the United States or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof, is entitled to be registered to vote, and the words "executive or judicial officers in any State," in said oath mentioned, shall be construed to include all civil offices created by law for the administration of any general law of a State, or for the administration of justice.
7. That the time for completing the original registration profited for in said act may, in the discretion of the commander of any district, be extended to the first day of October, eighteen hundred and sixty-seven; and the boards of registration shall have power and it shall be their duty, commencing fourteen days prior to any election under said act, and upon reasonable public notice of the time and place thereof, to revise, for a period of five days, the registration lists, and upon being satisfied that any person not entitled thereto has been registered to strike the name of such person from the list, and such person shall not be allowed to vote.-And such board shall also, during the same period, add to such registry the names of all persons who at that time possess the qualifications required; and no person shall at any time be entitled to be registered or to vote by reason of any Executive pardon or amnesty for any act or thing which, without such pardon or amnesty, would disqualify him from registering or voting.
8. That section four of said last-named act shall be construed to authorize the commanding General named therein, whenever he shall deem it needful, to remove any member of a board of registration to appoint another in his stead, and to fill any vacancy in such board.
9. That all members of said boards of registration, and all persons hereafter elected or appointed to office in said military districts, under any so-called State or municipal authority, or by detail or appointment of the district commanders, shall be required to take and to subscribe the oath of office prescribed by law for officers of the United States.
10. That no district commander or member of the board of registration, or any of the officers or appointees acting under them, shall be bound in his action by any opinion of any civil officer of the United States.
11. That all the provisions of this act, and the acts to which this was supplementary, shall be construed liberally to the end that all intents thereof may be fully and perfectly carried out.
(Column 02)Summary: Suggests that the high mortality rates have decreased the black population of the South by more than 1.3 million since emancipation, and attributes this high figure to "casualties of war, epidemic diseases, intemperance, and reckless living."
Origin of Article: Charleston MercuryFull Text of Article:
We learn from the Charleston Mercury , that General Howard's official report, which we have not seen, states the decrease of the negro population of the South to have been 1,308,000 since their emancipation! If these figures represent the real mortality among our colored citizens, it requires little prophetic power to foretell what the fate of the whole race will be, unless they improve their condition.
This awful loss is attributed to causalities of war, epidemic diseases, intemperance, and reckless living.
We trust these grim statistics will not be lost upon the thoughtful and intelligent freedman.
Bayne, Henson, and that class should devote their talents to the moral improvement of their people; and we hope they will at once attack all the vices which beset their race with courage and resolution.