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Valley of the Shadow

Staunton Spectator: October 29, 1867

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The Convention Called--How to Defeat the Schemes of the Radicals
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Summary: Elections last week called for a Convention to draft a Constitution, although the editor argues that the "white and negro Radical Representatives in the Convention will know about as much about framing a Constitution as a pig does about astronomy." To thwart their "fiendish spirit" and "demoniac desires" the author offers a plan of "'masterly inactivity.'" Since law dictates that the Constitution must be approved by a majority of the registered voters, the editor urges every white man to register but not vote. Under these circumstances, "the white man who will fail to register," and then not vote, "should be considered not only an enemy to liberty, but to his race."
Full Text of Article:

The election for or against a Convention to frame a Constitution for this State, in accordance with the unconstitutional legislation of a Radical Rump Congress, and for delegates to represent the sovereignty of this glorious old State in that body, took place this day a week ago, and the result is that the Convention, as expected, has been called by a very large majority, and the delegates elected by the worst class of mean whites and by nearly the solid vote of the negroes will constitute about two thirds of that body whose duty it is to frame the organic law of the State. The large majority of the white and negro Radical representatives in the Convention will know about as much about framing a Constitution as a pig does about astronomy, and yet their stolid ignorance is the least objection which the great body of the people have to urge against them. The animus which possesses them-the almost fiendish spirit which actuates them-their predetermined purpose to violate every principle of liberty and justice-it is this, connected with their power, by virtue of their controlling majority, to give effect to their demoniac desires, which so justly inspires the minds of our people with such gloomy and fearful forebodings.

It is not our purpose now to indulge in lugubrious complaints or vain repinings that the Convention has been called and will be constituted of such objectionable components, or to explain how these results were brought about.

We could assign reasons for it as "plentiful as blackberries in July," but that is not now the work before us.

We propose to cheer the saddened hearts of our people by showing them that there is still a way to escape the direful fate which impends over them-that all is not lost which is in danger-that there is still a possibility, yea, a probability, that they may be enabled

"From the nettle, danger, to pluck the flower, safely."

The Constitution which will be framed by the Convention will be as worthless as waste paper till it be ratified by the registered voters of the State. The Constitution will fail to be ratified unless at least one-half of the registered voters vote upon the question of ratification. If the number voting be a majority of the registered voters-including those voting for and against-then a majority merely of those voting will ratify. But as it requires at least one-half of the registered voters to vote to effect ratification, if none will vote who are opposed to ratification, it will require one-half of the whole number of registered voters to vote in favor of ratification to effect that object.

This being so, it would seem that our people should have no difficulty in perceiving that it is the true policy of those who wish to defeat the ratification of the Constitution to have it universally understood that none , so desiring should vote upon the question at all. Then ratification would fail, and the bottom would drop out of the Radical reconstruction tub, unless the friends of ratification could rally a vote which would be equal to one-half of the whole number of the registered voters. By this mode of procedure, those who oppose ratification would have the benefit of every registered voter who failed, from any cause, to vote, for such voter would count in the number of registered voters, however he might have voted had he gone to the polls, and the number cast in favor of ratification must, in that case, be at least half of the whole number of voters registered .

This mode gives the opponents of ratification the benefit of the registered vote, not only of every voter who agrees with them in sentiment, but who could not or would not go to the polls to vote with them, but it gives them also the benefit of every registered voter who fails, from any cause, to vote, however much he may have differed from them. In this way, the strength of their opponents may be made serviceable to them-every straggler from the polls would be added to the force of the grand army practicing the strategy of "masterly inactivity."

To defeat the Radical schemes for radicalizing and enslaving the people of Virginia, her citizens have two great duties to perform, on of a positive and active character, and the either negative and passive. The former is, to increase as much as possible the number of registered white voters; and the latter, to get them to agree unanimously not to vote upon the question of ratifying or rejecting the Constitution.

Under the reconstruction acts of Congress, it is the duty of the Boards of Registration, after giving reasonable notice of the time and place, to open their offices for the space of five days, commencing fourteen days prior to any election under said acts, to revise the registration lists, and to add to such registry the names of all persons who may possess, at that time, the requisite qualifications, and who have not been already registered.

We append Section 7th of the last of the reconstruction acts which contains the following provision:

"The Boards of Registration shall have power, and it shall be their duty [ITAL 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 registering to strike the name of such person from the list. 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 by said act who have not been already registered."

Thorough and efficient organization should be adopted to ensure the registration of every white man who may possess the requisite qualifications at the time the offices of registration will be opened, fourteen days prior to the election for the ratification or rejection of the Constitution which will be adopted by the convention. No one can fail to see the vast importance of having the number of white registered voters as large as possible. The white men who will fail to register at that time should be considered not only an enemy to liberty, but to his race-he should be marana maranatha.

Having quoted the law to show that we still have an opportunity to increase the number of registered voters, we will now quote our authority for the statement that, if none shall vote in opposition to ratification, it will require one half of the whole number of voters registered to vote in favor of it to effect ratification.

The 5th section of the Supplementary Reconstruction act reads as follows:

"That if, according to said returns, the Constitution shall be ratified by a majority of the votes of the registered electors qualified as herein specified, cast at said election, at least one-half of the registered voters voting upon the question of such ratification, the President of the convention shall transmit a copy of the same," &c.

From this extract from the law, it will be seen that, upon the question of ratification at least one half of the registered voters shall vote, or the Constitution fails to be ratified, and the whole fabric of Radical reconstruction falls to the ground. It is for us to prevent, if possible, more than one-half of the registered voters from voting upon that question. Let us get as many to register as possible, and then prevent as many as possible from voting upon the question of ratification-either for or against.

At this time, we think this is our true policy, and the only mode of escape from the direful fate which impends over us and our posterity.

The Complexion of the Elections
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Summary: Argues that the "unanimity" with which black men voted for Radical nominees "is as painful as it is incomprehensible." The white nominees who have attained their position through the votes of blacks, the author contends, have "unavoidably degraded themselves" and must "transfer their social relations from their own race to that of the negroes." Another "dreadful feature of this atrocious game is the complete alienation of the negro from the white people with whom he has been raised and with whom he must live."
Origin of Article: Richmond Dispatch
Full Text of Article:

Every one, says the Richmond Dispatch , who has not been made acquainted with the thorough system of organization through secret societies of the negro population of Virginia will be amazed to see with what unanimity they have voted everywhere for the Radical nominees. There has been no division amongst them. Not the slightest respect has been paid to personalities. They have voted as unanimously for the most inconsistent, corrupt, and disreputable men as they have for those in better standing. There is hardly a single one of their nominees who is respected in respectable communities; but there are some who are very much better than others. Their black constituents show, however, no greater deference to these than they do to all others.

Naturally, these men must be all debased and depraved beings. First, in order to pave the way for the elevation by the negro vote to offices, in which they could never be placed by the white vote, they must alienate the negroes from the whites, and transfer their social relations from their own race to that of the negroes. This has been done, and these white persons have in the process unavoidably degraded themselves to a degree that makes them unworthy to associate with the blacks, whom they are merely using to gratify their low ambition.-They are doomed, ere long, to be valued at their true worth, even by the poor blacks, whom they have deluded, and finally to achieve their reward.

A dreadful feature of this atrocious game is the complete alienation of the negro from the white people with whom he has been raised and with whom he must live.

The returns from every county show that they are completely banded together as one man in a war-yet only political-against their people and their own best interests. It is the saddest feature of these monstrous times. Our citizens find that they have a body in their midst which is wholly and blindly antagonistic to them. No divisions amongst themselves-no appeals to reason from without-have made the slightest impression upon their solid union. It is a painful as it is incomprehensible.

The white people of Virginia, however, can not shut their eyes to the fact, and should not fail to give to it the proper consideration.

Augusta County
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Summary: Expresses chagrin that "Augusta County did not proclaim her detestation of the Radical scheme of Reconstruction" at the polls "with that emphasis which we desired," admonishing readers that "this is no time for the sentinels of liberty to be sleeping upon their posts."
Full Text of Article:

Augusta County did not proclaim her detestation of the Radical scheme of Reconstruction, embracing the disfranchisement of her best citizens and the enormity of universal negro suffrage, with that emphasis which we desired.-She could and should have given a majority of 1600 against a Convention and for the Conservative ticket. We must confess that Augusta was remiss this time, but we feel satisfied that such will not be the case again. We would urge with great earnestness that every citizen of the county, possessing the requisite qualifications, who failed, from any cause, to register before, will take good care to register when an opportunity will be again presented, so that he will be prepared to vote or not as his duty, at the time of election, may require. This is not time for the sentinels of liberty to be sleeping upon their posts. Every citizen, who is allowed to do so should arm himself with the freeman's weapon-the ballot-and should be ready and determined to cast it or not as his duty may demand.

[No Title]
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Summary: Reports that "the great fall in cotton seriously affects business prospects in the South," suggesting that planters will lose money and Northern capital will not be recouped.
Origin of Article: National Intelligencer
[No Title]
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Summary: Reports that "the Lynchburg papers are zealously advocating the discharge of all negroes" who voted for Radicals and that 150 black men employed at the Wythe Iron Works were discharged after voting the Radical ticket.
Origin of Article: Lynchburg News
Full Text of Article:

The Lynchburg papers are zealously advocating the discharge of all negroes, in town or country, who voted the Radical ticket.

The Lynchburg News says that one hundred and fifty negroes employed at the Wythe Iron Works, all of whom voted the Radical ticket last Tuesday, were discharged that evening by the owners of the Iron Works.

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Local News--Staunton Lyceum
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Summary: The Staunton Lyceum met on Monday, October 21 for the annual election of officers. Col. Jno. Baldwin was elected president and Y. Howe Peyton delivered the anniversary address.
(Names in announcement: Col. Jno. B. Baldwin, Col. Bolivar Christian, R. M. Guy, Marshall Hanger, Jas. H. Skinner, Y. Howe Peyton, Rev. J. A. Latane, R. Mauzy, Dr. C. R. Harris)
Full Text of Article:

On Monday night, the 21st inst., the anniversary of the establishment of the Staunton Lyceum, the following Officers elect entered upon the discharge of their duties: Col. Jno. B. Baldwin, President; Col. Bolivar Christian, Vice President; R. M. Guy, Esq., Secretary, and Marshall Hanger, Esq., Treasurer. Col. Jas. H. Skinner, the former President, in vacating the Chair, made a few brief and appropriate remarks welcoming the President elect, whereupon that officer-Col. Baldwin-before entering upon the duties of his office, delivered an inaugural address which was characterized with the practical views and good sense which uniformly mark his utterances. He became a member of the Lyceum, acting upon the principle that he always wished to be a participant in whatever would tend to promote the moral, social, intellectual, political or physical welfare of this community. He thought the Lyceum should be encouraged and sustained-that its benefits, moral, social and intellectual, were really very great. That the men should become members-some speaking and some contributing members-that such as did not become members should likewise be willing to contribute money to sustain the Lyceum and purchase a good library-that the ladies should encourage it by giving it the benefit of their presence, and the smiles of their approval. He concluded by introducing the orator appointed to deliver the anniversary address before the Lyceum, Y. Howe Peyton, Esq. Mr. Peyton delivered an eloquent address which was listened to by the large audience of ladies and gentlemen with rapt attention from the beginning to the close.

The following question was selected to be discussed on next Monday night, the 5th of November:

"Resolved , That the laws should prohibit the transportation and distribution of the mails on Sunday."

The following members were appointed to discuss it:--In the affirmative, Rev. J. A. Latane and R. Mauzy-in the negative, Col. Jas. H. Skinner and Dr. C. R. Harris.

Local News--Mr. Jno. H. O'Rork Drowned
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Summary: Jno. O'Rork, son of local resident Jas. O'Rork, died on October 5 while attempting to rescue a drowning woman after a boat accident on the Ohio river. A letter from his brother indicates that "she clung to him in such a manner that both went down."
(Names in announcement: Jno. H. O'Rork, Jas. T. O'Rork)
Augusta County Election Returns
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Summary: Details the election results for calling a Convention and for delegates, broken down by precinct and by race. Nine black men consistently voted the Conservative ticket.
Let The Colored People Think
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Summary: Uses two quotes from Abraham Lincoln to demonstrate to "black men" that in the war "slavery was a secondary consideration-- and you a mere instrument to be used for ulterior purposes, while the Union (not the negro) was all."
Origin of Article: Petersburg Express
Full Text of Article:

When Mr. Lincoln took the oath of office he used the following language in an address:

"I declare that I have no purpose directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institutions of slavery in the States where it exists, I have no lawful right to do so. I learn that an amendment to the Constitution has passed Congress, that the United States shall never interfere with slavery in the State and I am willing to make it and express and irrevocable."

And later he wrote:

"If slavery will save the Union, I will maintain slavery. If emancipation will save the Union, I go for emancipation; but the preservation of the Union is all and all."

Understand, black men, that with the acknowledged leader of your loud mouthed friends of slavery was a secondary consideration-and you a mere instrument to be used for ulterior purposes, while the Union (not the negro)was all in all.-Petersburg Express.

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Summary: Margaret Phillips and Wm. Davies were married at the residence of the bride's father near Sangersville on October 17 by Rev. John Pinkerton.
(Names in announcement: Rev. John Pinkerton, Wm. H. DaviesM. D., Margaret A. Phillips, Henry Phillips)
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Summary: Angeline Woodward and David Henkel were married at on October 21 at the home of Dr. D. Bashaw by Rev. R. P. Kennedy.
(Names in announcement: Dr. D. Bashaw, Rev. R. P. Kennedy, David Henkel, Angeline Woodward)
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Summary: Virginia Demasters and James Campbell on October 15 at the home of the bride's father by Rev. James Campbell.
(Names in announcement: Rev. Horatio Thompson, James W. Campbell, Virginia Demasters, Cornelius Demasters)
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Summary: James Turner and M. L. Josie Glossbrenner were married at "Floral Hill" on October 23 by Rev. Wm. B. Yonce.
(Names in announcement: Rev. Wm. B. Yonce, James H. Turner, M. L. Josie Glossbrenner, Bishop Glossbrenner)

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