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Valley of the Shadow

Staunton Spectator: December 03, 1867

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The Conservative Convention
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Summary: Calls on the Conservative Convention to eschew "violence of language" and instead issue a "simple assertion of the right of the white man to rule the State."
Full Text of Article:

What we need, on the part of the members of the Conservative Convention, is the exercise of wisdom-the happy combination of the highest intelligence with prudence and discretion directed to the accomplishment of great and good ends. We adopt the sentiments and language of the Enquirer that "the Convention ought to be extremely prudent and guarded.-We want no windy declamation; we are too proud to lament over what is irretrievably lost, and we have no time for idle argument. The hour calls for action, and not for speculation: it is no use to go back to antiquity, and glory in the greatness of our Fathers; it is the present with which we have to do, and its stern realities present the situation with which we have to grapple. The illustrious body-for such it may become-must bear in mind that conservatism means not to uphold this party or that, nor to bring back old customs and secure special privileges, but to preserve the Union under the Constitution. We have 'accepted the situation,' and we must frankly and honorably support it. Virginia is to remain for all time in the Union, and she must act as a part of the Union. What she wants is to resume her place among the sisterhood of States, to obtain her share in the government of the Republic, and above all things to secure permanent peace, under civil rule, to her children. Every other consideration must give way to this first necessity.

The members of the Convention will, therefore, have to consult, not about what the present ought to be, but on what the future can be made. We must take matters as they are and make the most of them. To do this it will be necessary to use the utmost caution and prudence. There is nothing to be gained by appeals to the world, unless they are accompanied by our own earnest efforts-the world has no cars for those who do not help themselves.-Let us not rely too much upon promises made by Northern allies, nor to confidently indulge in expectations thus engendered. The late elections have been of incalculable advantage to our cause, but our duty is to let the North complete the work. The medicine is working admirably. We can do nothing better than to leave it alone.

Not only the Radicals, but the whole North, will watch our Convention, and scrutinize its proceedings with jealous care. Every rash word, every hasty declaration, every ebullition of temper, will be carefully noted, interpreted in the most malignant spirit, and turned as a powerful weapon against us.

This does not imply, by any means, that the Convention should be inactive. God forbid!-Composed of such men as we hope to see there, imbued with the spirit of prudence and self-control, demanded by the necessities of our situation, and acting conscientiously for the benefit of the whole State, it can do infinite good.-The simple assertion of the right of the white man to rule the State enounced in plain, dispassionate words, and sent forth by the representatives of an outraged, yet calm and dignified people, will have a grand effect. Moderation will command a respect which no violence of language and no pathos of feeling could ever evoke. The voice of the people, speaking with quiet determination, will find an echo in the hearts of every fair and just man. And fortunately for us, the race of such is not yet wholly extinct, even at the North, but growing daily, as we see by the elections and the altered tone of the Northern press."

Action! Action!
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Summary: Includes a letter from Kenton Harper, the superintendent for the Seventh Magisterial District, explaining how he has organized the voters in his district into groups of ten, with one man responsible for seeing that nine others get to the polls. Harper argues that "no white man of common intelligence, with the proper instincts of his race, can fail to appreciate the fearful magnitude of the impending crisis."
(Names in announcement: Gen. Kenton Harper, Wm. D. Anderson, I. J. Parkins, Wm. Crawford, Wm. Shumate, John A. Patterson, Wm. Gamble, U. D. Poe, Dr. Trevey, Sam'l Bell, Theophilus Gamble, Thos. Burke, Levi Fishburn, Benj. Hawkins, Rich'd Hamrick, John Seawright, Cyrus Brown, Jacob Shreckhise, Betheul Herring, S. D. Trotter, Jas. Jordan, Dr. Wm. Crawford, Dr. Wm. Bell, Wm. Willson, Christian Eakle, Jas. Poague, R. A. Curry, Peter Johnston, Courtney Roller, Mansfield Hamrick, P. Link, W. P. Sheets, Jacob Roller, Josiah Neff, J. C. Webb, Peter Echard, Frank Farrow, George Calhoon, Peter E. Houff, Jos. N. Woodward, Stuart Crawford, Thomas P. Wilson, Wm. Howell, P. Dice)
Full Text of Article:

This is the word which should be passed along the Conservative lines now. It will be seen by the following that Gen. Kenton Harper, Sup't. of organization for the 7th Magisterial District, has acted with commendable promptness. We hope that his good example will be followed by all the other Superintendent of organization. Below we publish his note to us, and the list of appointments made by him for his District.

R. Mauzy, Esq.:

Dear Sir-I send you a list of my appointments for the Seventh Magisterial District, which please publish in your next paper. It does not suit me to ride over the District just now, and our people ought to be at work as soon as possible. I think by the aid of the papers of the county, each individual appointed will be notified before I can reach them. This is my apology.

Yours with respect,


December 1, 1867.

Appointments for Committees for the Seventh Magisterial District.

The following appointments have been made by the Superintendent of organization for the Seventh Magisterial District, under the Resolution of the Conservative Meeting held at the court-house of Augusta county, on the 25th ult.

Wm. D. Anderson, I. J. Parkins, Wm. Crawford, Wm. Shumate, John A. Patterson, Wm. Gamble, U. D. Poe, Dr. Trevey, Sam'l Bell, Theophilus Gamble, Thos. Burke, Levi Fishburn, Benj. Hawkins, Rich'd Hamrick, John Seawright, Cyrus Brown, Jacob Shreckhise, Bethuel Herring, S. D. Trotter, Jas. Jordan, Dr. Wm. Crawford, Dr. Wm. Bell, Wm. Wilson, Christian Eakle, Jas. Poague, R. A. Curry, Peter Johnston, Courtney Roller, Mansfield Hamrick, P. Link, W. P. Sheets, Jacob Roller, Josiah Neff, J. C. Webb, Peter Echard, Frank Farrow, George Calhoon, Peter E. Houff, Jos. N. Woodward, Stuart Crawford, Thomas P. Wilson, Wm. Howell and P. Dice.

The object is to organize the voters in each neighborhood by tens, every one of whom shall consider himself a committee to see that each one of his ten are at the polls, and also that those in his neighborhood who have hitherto failed to register shall do so when the lists are again opened.

No white man of common intelligence, with the proper instincts of his race, can fail to appreciate the fearful magnitude of the impending crisis. If we neglect the peaceful means in our power to defeat the iniquity meditated against us, history affords no adequate example of the horrors to which we, as a people, will be subjected. Let us be wise then, in time, and exert our utmost energies to avert them.


Sup. Org. Seventh District.

Town papers requested to copy.

Railroad Subscription
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Summary: Reports that the County Court has postponed the question of voting for a subscription to the stock of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad until the third week of January. The author also recommends postponing the question until the fate of the new Constitution is decided.
Full Text of Article:

The County Court has again postponed the election in this County on the question of voting a subscription of $3o0,000 to the stock of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad. The election day has been postponed to the 3rd Thursday in January. We think it would be well to postpone it till the fate of the Constitution, which will be submitted by the convention, shall be determined by the vote of the State.-Our citizens will not be much inclined to vote for a county subscription of $300,000 till they are assured that the State Government will not pass into the hands of Radicals and negroes, for they know that, in that event, their State taxes will be oppressively burdensome, as they are in West Virginia. Should the Constitution be defeated, and the fact be established that this State will not be governed by Radicals, then we believe that our people should and would vote the subscription-the whites alone voting. On the contrary, we believe that, if the vote can be taken before that assurance can be given, the subscription will be defeated. For this and other reasons we believe it would be well to postpone the election till the fate of the Constitution be determined.

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Local News
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Summary: Responding to a reader who asked about the propriety of publishing a list of "'the white-black men of the county,'" the editor suggests that the proper time for publishing such a list will be after the vote on the Constitution.
Full Text of Article:

A correspondent asks the question "What do you think of the propriety of publishing the names of the white-black men of the county?"

We answer, that we think the time for learning who are the "white-black men" has not yet arrived. The election upon the question of ratifying the Constitution will determine who are for and who against negro suffrage, and negro and Radical domination. That will be the time to mark such white men, if there be such, as will vote against their race

Staunton Lyceum
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Summary: The Staunton Lyceum met on November 25 to discuss the question, "Is a lawyer justifiable in defending and laboring to acquit a man whom he believes to be guilty?" After debate the question was decided in the affirmative by a vote of 13 to 3.
(Names in announcement: Col. Jno. B. Baldwin, Capt. Jas. Bumgardner, Col. Bolivar Christian, Col. Jas. H. Skinner, Rev. Geo. B. Taylor, Prof. Pike Powers, Rev. J. A. Latane, Rev. John L. Clarke, Marshall Hanger, Prof. Jed. Hotchkiss)
Full Text of Article:

On Monday night, November 25th, the following question was discussed:

"Is a lawyer justifiable in defending and laboring to acquit a man whom he believes to be guilty?"

It was discussed in the affirmative by Col. Jno. B. Baldwin, Capt. Jas. Bumgardner and Col. Bolivar Christian, and in the negative by Col. Jas. H. Skinner, Rev. Geo. B. Taylor, Prof. Pike Powers, Rev. J. A. Latane and Rev. John L. Clarke. The vote stood:--13 in the affirmative and 3 in the negative.

The question selected for discussion on Monday night next is the following:

"Is the assassination of tyrants ever justifiable?"

The following were appointed to discuss it.

In the affirmative, Rev. Geo. B. Taylor and Prof. Pike Powers; in the negative, Maj. Marshall Hanger and Prof. Jed. Hotchkiss.

Local News--Remember the Poor
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Summary: Suggests that the Staunton Lyceum begin charging admission to their proceedings and use the proceeds to benefit the local poor.
Full Text of Article:

As the rigors of winter will soon be upon us, our citizens should make some provision for supplying the wants of the poor in our midst. As one of the means of doing so, we would suggest that the Lyceum charge for admittance when lectures will be delivered before that body. In this way, a considerable sum, during the winter, could be raised. It would add greatly to the interest of such occasions, and would furnish an incentive to persons to agree to deliver lectures, as they would then not only furnish an entertainment to the Lyceum, but would be the means of supplying the wants of destitute citizens. We do not propose that this should supersede any other plan that may be adopted, but suggest it as one of the means, auxiliary to others, by which a considerable sum could be raised and a deal of good be thereby accomplished. We hope the Lyceum will consider an adopt this suggestion. Whilst it will be furnishing its members with a "feast of reason," let it also be supplying the means to buy bread and wood for the destitute poor.

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Summary: Rebecca Taylor, of Augusta, and James Foster, of Richmond, were married in Staunton at the home of the bride's father on November 28 by Rev. J. A. Latane.
(Names in announcement: Rev. James A. Latane, Rebecca Taylor, Edwin M. Taylor, James J. Foster)
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Summary: Eliza Stevenson, of Staunton, and Vernon Getty, of Georgetown, were married at Trinity Church in Staunton on November 27 by Rev. J. A. Latane.
(Names in announcement: Jas. A. Latane, Vernon Getty, Eliza Stevenson, R. W. Stevenson)
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Summary: Richard Faudree, of Orange, and Eliza Wright, of Augusta, were married near Barterbrook on November 24 by Rev. W. R. Stringer.
(Names in announcement: Rev. Wm. R. Stringer, Richard Faudree, Eliza Wright)
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Summary: Rebecca Watts died at Cedar Hill, on Naked Creek, on November 28 after a protracted illness that afflicted both body and mind for twenty-two years.
(Names in announcement: John Seawright, Rebecca L. Watts, John B. Watts)
Full Text of Article:

Died, on the 28th of November, 1867, at Cedar Hill, on Naked Creek, the late residence of her late father-John Seawright, Esq.-Mrs. REBECCA L. WATTS, wife of Major John B. Watts of Staunton, after an illness of both body and mind, protracted through a period of twenty-two years of suffering that language is inadequate to describe. She was a member of Trinity Protestant Episcopal Church, at Staunton, and in all her lucid moments, in the whole period of her wreck of bodily and mental health, she evinced a Godly reverence of the most devout character; and there is no doubt of her soul now being in the bosom of eternal repose. Her wonted spirit was that of the deepest affection and sensitiveness of the most vivid character. She leaves in this troublous vale of sorrow, numerous sympathizers, cheered with the confident belief that their sad bereavement is her eternal gain. W.

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Summary: William Clark, a member of the Warm Spring's Mason Lodge, died recently and is mourned by his fellow lodge members.
(Names in announcement: William T. Clark, C. P. Bryan)
Full Text of Article:

For the Spectator.

Warm Spring's Lodge, No. 204,

November 26, 1867

Whereas , it has pleased the Great Architect and Governor of the Universe to visit this lodge since the last stated communication, and remove from our midst and fellowship by the hand of death, our esteemed friend and brother, WILLIAM T. CLARK, one of the most beloved and valued of its members-be it therefore

Resolved 1st, That we bow with humble submission to the will and providence of God, being fully insured that He is to wise to err, too merciful to be unkind, and often "Behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face."

Resolved 2nd, That we can bear testimony to the high toned character of our deceased brother, and that by his urbane and unostentatious manner he had gained the respect and love of all who knew him.

Resolved 3rd, That in this mysterious providence of Almighty God, this Lodge has been deprived of a true and faithful member, one who promised great usefulness, and to become a shining light among "Ancient Free and Accepted Masons;" that the poor have lost a true friend and benefactor-the community a useful and worthy citizen.

Resolved 4th, That we tender to the bereaved relations and friends of the deceased our condolence and heartfelt sympathies, in this, their sudden and deep affliction.

Resolved 5th, That as a further token of respect, the members of this Lodge wear the usual badge of mourning for thirty days, and the above preamble and resolutions be published in the Staunton Spectator and Vindicator.

C. P. BRYAN, Secretary.

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Hon. A. H. H. Stuart's Speech
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Summary: Includes the substance of a speech delivered by A. H. H. Stuart at the meeting held at the Court House last week.
(Names in announcement: A. H. H. Stuart, Col. John B. Baldwin)
Full Text of Article:

As our paper went to press within a few hours after the adjournment of the meeting held in the court-house, on Monday of last week, we could not do more than give the proceedings of the body, and had not time or space to give the substance of the able speeches of Hon. A. H. H. Stuart and Col. John B. Baldwin. We now furnish below the substance of the speech of Hon. A. H. H. Stuart as reported by himself, and the report may, therefore, be relied upon as being substantially correct. It was published in the Valley Virginian of Wednesday last. It should be remembered that this is not a literal and full report, but merely the skeleton giving some idea of the views expressed so ably and forcibly and eloquently by the speaker. He said:

It had not been his purpose to utter a word in reference to the matter now before the meeting, but as the gentlemen who had spoken had confined themselves exclusively to the specific propositions which had been submitted, he felt impelled to say a few words on the general subject now under consideration. He was afraid that the people had not sufficiently awakened to the magnitude of the issues now before the country, and their deep personal interest in them. This was manifest from the fact-the shameful fact-that more than two thousand of the intelligent registered voters of Augusta had failed to attend the polls. The effect of this apathy had been to endanger the success of the Conservative candidates. Heretofore, when political contests had taken place in Virginia, they were in regard to the choice of men who were to administer the Government under the Constitution, and in reference to mere questions of administrative policy. But now far more important issues demanded the notice of the people. The questions now presented for decision of the people affected not merely the policy of the administration, but the very existence and peace of civil society A wicked attempt is now made by an unscrupulous party, in violation of the Constitution and of every obligation held sacred among men, to subvert the whole structure of our institutions, and to invert the position of the elements of which it is composed. It has always been received as an axiom in politics that the virtue and intelligence of the constituent body were the only safe foundation on which free government could rest. The stability of all representative republican governments depends on the amount of these qualities possessed by those entrusted with the elective franchise. The effort no is to disregard this cardinal principle, and to sink the virtue and intelligence of the country and bring its ignorance and vice to the surface, as the controlling power of the government. He need not depict the consequences of such a process. All must see that the results would be the utter overthrow of all securities for life, liberty and property.-And yet with a full knowledge of these facts the dominant party in Congress, not having the fear of God before their eyes, but seduced by the instigation of the Devil-in violation of the obligations of the Constitution-of the sanctity of the official oaths-and of their duty to their duty to their fellow men were persistently seeking to fasten upon us degradation and ruin.

Mr. Stuart, then, dwelt earnestly on the duty of every man to use every effort in his power, to avert from our beloved country such fearful calamities. It was a duty which every man, who was allowed to register, owed to himself, to register and to vote. The man who failed to do so was false to his country-falls to his face-false to the principles of freedom and to every obligation of patriotism.

Mr. Stuart said he had never been the advocate of universal suffrage, even when suffrage was confined to white men. He thought George Mason stated the true principle, in the Virginia Bill of Rights, when he limited it to those who had a permanent interest in and common attachment to the community. But if such limitations were proper then, how much more so are they now, when a new element, so potent for mischief, and so ignorant of the practical pairings of all political questions, was introduced into our political community.

Mr. Stuart said that slavery was forever dead in the United States, and he doubted if there was a single man in the sound of his voice, who would be willing to have it re-established. All are ready to treat it as a thing of the past, and he believed that all were disposed to treat the negro race fairly and kindly. For himself, he entertained and always had cherished the kindest feeling for them. He had sought to do his duty by those who had been his slaves, and he believed they cherished for him the kindest sentiments. Since their emancipation they had not hesitated to apply to him for such favors as they needed, and he was happy to accord them. He believed that if the negroes had been let alone, they would have got on in harmony with the whites. But mischievous and designing men had been sent among them, to deceive and mislead them. The recent elections showed that they had been successful. It was natural that these ignorant and confiding people should be misled. He was not disposed to deal harshly with them for this error. It was not their fault, but that of the knaves who deceived and betrayed them. But the time was now at hand when the colored people must decide, with their eyes open, what their future course would be. If they persisted in arraying themselves against the Southern whites, they must take the consequences of their folly. They certainly were intelligent enough now to know who were their best friends. They could decide who fed and clothed and sustained them. They knew they got all their employment from the people of the South, and not of the North. If they would go North, they would find how they are treated there, and how they would be excluded from factories and from most all the profitable avocations of life. In this connection he referred to the attempt of the son-in-law of Fred. Douglas to run a hack in Rochester when his hack was broken up and his personal safety endangered.

Mr. Stuart, then, referred to the falsehood of the allegation that the people of the North were willing to confer the elective franchise, and other political rights on the negroes. In refutation of this he referred to the 50,000 majorities in Ohio and New York against the proposition, and proportionate majorities in other States.

Mr. Stuart said he had always been satisfied that Abolitionism was not the offspring of any kind feeling to the negro. He believed it had its birth in hostility to the whites of the South, in part, but in a larger degree to the cupidity of the North. The population of the North was overcrowded. Access to the great West was now difficult. They wanted an outlet in the South; they wanted the profits of the employments now pursued by the negroes; they wanted to get rid of the negroes, that they might get their places. In a word, the Northern hive is ready to swarm, and they wish to occupy and possess our goodly heritage. He had long believed that this was the true philosophy of Abolitionism, but it was only lately that it had been openly avowed. Heretofore there had been a flimsy veil of humanity thrown over it, but recently all disguise had been thrown off, and it is acknowledged that Abolitionism was founded in hostility, to the negro. In proof of this, Mr. Stuart referred to the celebrated Helper Book-"The Impending Crisis"-which contained the most elaborate and vigorous assault on slavery that had ever been published. This book was considered so important, that it was endorsed and commended to public favor by a large majority of Northern members of Congress, and by a larger portion of the Northern press.

That work has done its office. Slavery has been abolished. That was the first act in the drama and now the curtain rises on the second. Helper, the accredited organ of the Abolition party, is now out with a second book called by the fantastic title of "Nojoque." The very first sentence in this second book is substantially as follows:--"If I were to say that my object in writing this book is not merely to write the negro out of the United States, but out of existence, it would be simply God's truth." And, in a recent publication by Helper in the National Intelligencer, he says that his great object is to drive the negro out of the country by colonization or extermination. He says, in substance, that as long as the negroes were cared for and protected by intelligent and influential masters, it was impossible to displace or remove them. But, now that they are deprived of that protection, the work is of easy accomplishment.

Here, said Mr. Stuart, is a frank avowal of the truth. Here is the whole story. The object was to get the negro out of the country.-To effect this the protection of the master must be withdrawn. The attack could not be made successfully in front where the masters were defended by the Constitution, and the negroes shielded by the master. Abolitionism was a flank movement on the negro. It was intended to cut the cord which bound him to his master, and secured for him the protection of the master. It was intended to turn him loose on the community, friendless and helpless, where he would readily fall a victim to the knavish designs of his pretended friends. This has been done, and now the cry for colonization comes from Helper and his associates. Drive the negro out to make room for the hungry hordes of the North. The people of the South have not yet responded to this appeal. The next step is to array the negroes against the whites of the South and thus provoke a collision of races. If they are finally successful in this, then the negroes will be without friends, South or North, and there will be one general, simultaneous movement of the whites, North and South, to get rid of the whole race, and removal or extermination must close the drama. The colored people should be made to understand the true condition of things, and if they then choose to rush madly on their fate, they must bear the consequences of their own folly.

Mr. Stuart urged activity and organization for the coming struggle. He held that it was important that every man should regard it his duty to use active means to have every registered voter at the polls. The issues were almost as important as those of life or death. Those who failed to do their duty now, deserved the penalty inflicted on deserters in the face of an enemy.

Mr. Stuart said that after the war, there was a general and prudent desire on the part of property-holders to avail themselves of amnesties and pardons so as to avoid confiscation.-He was one of those who never feared there would be a general confiscation by Congress.-But he did believe there was serious danger of what was substantially confiscation, by enormous taxation under State authority now. Those who owned no property would wield the power. They would bear no share of the burden of taxation, but would reap all the profits, and they would levy taxes with a heavy hand, until people would be obliged to sell their lands to escape the assessment on them, for all imaginable objects. He adverted to and commented on the system of taxation proposed in South Carolina and explained its practical bearings.

He touched on other topics and closed with an earnest appeal to every man present not only to ponder well what he had said, but to bear his admonitions to every neighborhood and to urge all, to one last earnest, united and patriotic effort to save our beloved State from the degredation and ruin with which she is threatened.