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Valley of the Shadow

Staunton Spectator: Feburary 25, 1868

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Interesting Correspondence about Virginia
(Column 04)
Summary: A member of a Bible Society responds to a letter requesting his opinion about the suitability of Virginia for Northern business. He claims that Virginia is well suited to a variety of agricultural and manufacturing industries, and that her people are welcoming to Northerners.
Full Text of Article:

Pennsylvania, Feb 10, 1867

Dr. Samuel I. Baird, Staunton, Va.

DEAR SIR: -- Knowing your former identification with this part of the State of Pennsylvania, and that you have been for some time residing in the State of Virginia, and that your duties have given you unusual opportunities for forming an correct judgement of the capacities of Virginia as an Agricultural and Manufacturing region, and still more than that you must be able to speak the temper and disposition of her people towards the citizens of the Northern States, who might be induced to go to that State, have determined to address to you this letter. I have no doubt that many of our Pennsylvania people might be induced to go to Virginia to seek new homes and more profitable pursuits, if they could be satisfied of the advantages, which I am satisfied Virginia now presents to men of enterprise and integrity, and intelligence, who will go there and cast in their lots with Virginians. A very general impression, however, prevails that Northern men would not be kindly recieved there, and indeed many apprehend that they would not be safe. I will thank you, my dear Sir, to give me fully and candidly, your views and convictions upon these points. Whether those views shall induce any of my friends to settle in Virginia or not, they will, I am satisfied, tend to the formation of correct opinions, and to the cultivation of kindly feeling towards our brethren, among whom you live.

I write to you for the reasons which I have already given, and because I know that you are permanently settled at Staunton, in the very heart of the Shenandoah Valley.

I am very truly,


Staunton, VA. Feb 18, 1868.

DEAR SIR: -- I cheerfully comply with your request for a statement of the results of my observations in this State. The manner in which I was brought into my present official position is, of itself, so significant, that I venture to relate it.

I came into Virginia in November, 1865, under commission from the American Bible Society, to labor for the supply of the Scriptures to the destitute of all classes and colors, but with a special view to the necessities of the colored population. When I reached Richmond, I found that, but a week before, the Virginia Bible Society had resolved, after mature deliberation, to resume its old relations to the American Bible Society, of which it was one of the original founders, and an early and active auxiliary.

The significance of this fact is consequent upon the character and position of the Managers of the Virginia Society. They were such men as the Rev. Drs. Duncan, Edwards, and Dogment, (now Bishop,) of the Methodist Church; Woodbridge and Minnigerode, of the Episcopal Chruch; and Moore, Hoge, and Read, of the Presbyterian Church -- with equally eminent laymen, men than whom no others are more worthy, or more fully enjoy the respect and confidence of the people of Virginia. In the face of the opposing sentiments of some individuals, not of the Board, who preferred to maintain an attitude of reserve toward the North, these gentlemen, within six months of the end of the war, spontaneously took the decisive step of resuming the old relations of intimacy with the American Bible Society, and its friends in the North.

Upon my arrival in Richmond, the Managers of the Virginia Society sought an interview, in which the purposes and plans of the American Society were fully unfolded, with respect especially to the distribution of the Scriptures among the colored people. The Board immediately made proposals to the Society in New York, which resulted in my being, at once, jointly commissioned by the two societies to superintend this work in Virginia. Under this commission, I have now been laboring for more than two years. I have repeatedly traversed the entire extent of the State, from Winchester, on the North, to Bristol, in the Southwest, and from the Western line to Norfolk and the Eastern shore. I have had the fullest opportunity of observation, in the freedom of the associations of travel; in the confidence of the family circle; in the gatherings of literary festivals; and in the deliberations of ecclesiastical bodies; and feel, therefore, some confidence in the adequacy of the grounds of my conclusions.

I do not pretend much skill in judging the character of the soil, &c. I can only say, that I am continually impressed with the extent and variety of the undeveloped resources of the country, Agricultural, Mineral, and Manufacturing. Particularly have I been interested in the rich resources of the Valley of Virginia, throughout its extent, the variety and beauty of its scenery, the salubrity of its climate, the fertility of its soil, and its adaptation to the production of corn and the cereals, and fruits, and to the products of the dairy. Already the home of a cultivated and hospitable population, it is destined, I am confident, to become, at no distant day, one of the most populous and attractive regions on the continent.

At the other extremity of the State, Norfolk is the entrepot of an extensive region, traversed by railroads and navigable rivers, with a soil eminently adapted to that truck culture, by which New Jersey is enriched, whilst the climate gives it several weeks advantage over that State, in the markets of Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York, to all of which it has easy access by water. It must soon become one of the wealthiest regions in the country.

As to your suggestion of fears that Northern men would not be welcome or even safe; it can but excite a smile among those who know the facts. I am confident that there is not, in the land, at this time, a more thouroughly law abiding people than those of Virginia. Since coming to the State, I have met with many Northern men, visiting it for the purposes of business and of pleasure -- men of every class, and every phase of politics. I have never myself, for a moment, felt apprehensive of insult, even; much less, of danger to life or limb, on sectional or political grounds; nor have I met with, nor heard of the man who has. In fact, my observation corresponds with a published remark of the Rev. Dr. Sears, the General Agent of the Peabody Fund. "I hear much, from the Northern papers, about Southern excitement. I see but very little of it. I find very little, except in the customs of the people,to remind me that I am a Northern man." In fact, I saw, in the course of a few days visit to the North, last Summer, a greater amount of political excitement, than in all my residence and travels here. What the people here are longing for, is the opportunity of rest and quiet, to enable them to restore their dilapidated fortunes.

Men who should now come to Virginia, for the purpose of trading in politics, or whilst cherishing feelings of hostility towards the people among whom they are living, and I have met with such, would be perfectly safe from personal violence; but would, undoubtedly, be "severely left alone." But those who come, in the spirit of peace and fraternity, expecting to identify themselves with the interests and seek the welfare of the people and the State, will, I feel very sure, be recieved with a hearty welcome, and cordial God-speed.

Very respectfully yours,


JAMES M. ABRAHAM, Esq., Flat Wood's,
Fayette, Co., Pa.

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Great Excitment in Washington. Stanton Removed and General Lorenzo Thomas appointed in his place.
(Column 01)
Summary: Reports on Johnson's removal of Stanton and appointment of Lorenzo Thomas as Secretary of War.
What the Convention Should Do
(Column 01)
Summary: Suggests a system of suffrage based on freeholding, and argues that a system of unqualified suffrage would be untenable, as the white population will never consent to it.
Full Text of Article:

The Lynchburg Virginian maintains that the wisest thing the convention could do, would be to adopt the freehold basis of suffrage. It says that "unqualified white suffrage is bad enough; but when to that is added universal negro suffrage, we, of the South, must prepare for the rule of demagogues and inferiour men in every department of the government. With this depression of the standard of moral and intellectual qualification for office, countless evils must be inflicted upon the State.

If the Convention should be waiting in wisdom to devise such a plan, then we must be left to a conflict of the races at the ballot box, to extend, perhaps, even further. It will be race against race, and no constitution, recognizing universal negro suffrage, can possibly be adopted in Virginia, unless it be secured through a further disfranchisement of the whites. And, in that case, it would not exist long, for the influx of white population from all quarters, would soon give such a preponderance of that element in Virginia as to enable it to sweep away every vestige of negro suffrage. This will be the result, inevitably, if Congress should now force upon this unmixed evil.

We can hardly imagine that any thing we might propose would influence either Congress or the Convention to reverse from their present course. The interests of the Radical party overshadow, at this time, every consideration of statesmanship, and the thought that is uppermost with their leaders, is to secure, by any system of outrage, the sucess of their party at the next Presidential election. In such a case, reason must fail and argument is useless --They will play their game out, however desperate it may be, and we can only look for the future to redress the wrongs of the present."

Virus of Radicalism
(Column 02)
Summary: The paper gloats over the failure of the Register, a radical newspaper published in Richmond. Still, that alone will not relieve the state's problems. "The people who are now threatened with the horrors of Radicalism and negro domination, and the loss of all liberty, appreciate the fact that this condition of affairs in owing, not to the Radical journals, for they exerted no influence on the mass of the white voters, but to the course of such as professed to be Conservative, but advocated the policy of the Radicals in urging the Conservatives to vote in favor of the Convention which is now assembled in the Capital of Virginia and are tramping beneath 'gizzard-feet' every principle of liberty."
[No Title]
(Column 02)
Summary: Claims that the hope of liberty lies in the North and the West, and questions why the people of the North have failed to check the tyranny of the Radicals.
Full Text of Article:

The hopes of the friends of Liberty are now based upon what it is supposed will be the action of the people in the Northern and Western States. The South is helpless and can only suffer with heroic fortitude. The people of the North are free, as yet, and should act without delay, if they wish to remain so.

In the language of a contemporary, "we have been wondering for eighteen months past how the Northern people have managed to keep so quiet in view of what is passing before their eyes. They must know that the chains forged for ten of the States will just as easily fit the limbs of the other twenty-six. The power that is daringly adequate to strike down local government in the great expanse of territory that reaches from the Potomac to the Rio Grande, is certainly able to repeat it north of the Potomac and west of the Ohio. The Northern people thus see and feel the gradual approach of an alarming and despotic change in their form of government, and except in the protests of the press and from the lips of public speakers, we witness no signs of the spirit of resistance which the audacity of the attempt and the peril of its success, would seem naturally to provoke.

The "Rump" seems to know the people it is dealing with, and it certainly has reason to count heavily on its patient and stolid forbearance. They do stand buffeting with wonderful fortitude. Perhaps the solution is that the people rely on the ballot-box to arrest and correct the evils of "Rump" tyranny, and prefer to wait for that peaceful method."

Feeling in Virginia
(Column 03)
Summary: Urges Southerners to organize to defeat any state Constitution that includes "negro suffrage", and to organize in protest of such a Constitution, should it be passed over their objections.
Full Text of Article:

The Richmond Whig says that, "Outside of the small circle of fanatics, there is no white man who does not feel and know that he sins against nature when he seeks to build up negro supremacy, for nothing less than that is the aim of Radicalism in the South. This moment, if the Southern negroes were to proclaim that no white man shall receive their votes for office, and were to set up for themselves, thus extinguishing the hopes of the wretched white allies, there is not one of the latter who would not instantly abandon politics. The adventurers who have come here from other States in quest of office would pull up stakes and vanish, and the native Radicals would hide themselves in their congenial obscurity, cursing the negroes in their hearts. So long as the negroes are content to be privates, and to make captains and lieutenants of their white allies, so long will they have their countenance and co-operation, but no longer.

The great body of the white people of Virginia are resolved that they will not, by any voluntary agency, and from any consideration of personal gain, assist in the establishment of negro suffrage. It exists now under the reconstruction act, and will be made the corner-stone of the Constitution now being framed, but they are not responsible for the one, and will not assume responsibility for the other. According to the terms of the reconstruction act as it now stands, the whites have the same right (those not disfranchised) to vote against the ratification of the Constitution that the blacks have to vote for it, and they have a majority in the State. They are perfectly organized in all the countries, cities, and towns of the State, and this complete organization cannot fail to tell decisively upon the vote of ratification. It may be that this juggling Congress will change the terms of the reconstruction act so as to dispense with a ratifying vote, or in some other way so arrange as to frustrate all our efforts to defeat the constitution. This it has not yet done, and there is yet a field of action open to us. It is impossible to foretell what Congress will or will not do. But we can determine as to what we will do. We are now organized against negro suffrage and negro supremacy, and let us keep up this organization. Our votes may be neutralized by fraud, but no fraud can abate the strength of our organization or paralyze that influence which a compact and well disciplined body of intelligent people must exert. Let us hold ourselves in readiness to speak and act as a unified people at all times, and on all occassions, against negro suffrage. It may be carried against us, by foul means, but let us act as to keep our protest against it before the public."

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Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad
(Column 01)
Summary: Gen. Henry A. Wise will appear at the Court House to address the people of Augusta on the importance of completing the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad. The speech is part of a campaign to win the vote coming up in April.
Western Lunatic Asylum
(Column 01)
Summary: Dr. Francis T. Stribling submitted the report of the Western Lunatic Asylum for the current fiscal year. 437 patients were cared for in the past two years. 99 patients died or were discharged, 50 of whom were discharged as recovered. The board requested $45,500 for the upcoming year. The paper praised the institution's "excellent management." "'To minds diseased' it supplies the remedy, and in many cases affects permanent cures. To all, it furnishes a good home, and a quiet and comfortable retreat."
(Names in announcement: Dr. Francis T. Stribling)
Staunton Lyceum
(Column 01)
Summary: The Rev. George B. Taylor delivered a lecture before the Staunton Lyceum on "The Thinker." The paper praises the high intellectual nature of the address.
(Names in announcement: Rev. George B. Taylor)
(Column 05)
Summary: David H. Gladwell and Miss Emma N. Martin of Augusta were married on February 16th by the Rev. Thomas L. Preston.
(Names in announcement: David H. Gladwell, Emma N. Martin, Rev. Thomas L. Preston)
(Column 05)
Summary: James J. Folds and Miss Susan Bull were married at the residence of the bride's father on February 18th by the Rev. J. J. Engle.
(Names in announcement: James J. Folds, Susan Bull, Rev. J. J. Engle)
(Column 05)
Summary: Jacob B. Cale and Margaret F. Shelly, both of Augusta, were married at the house of the bride's father, Jacob Shelly, on February 20th by the Rev. H. Getzendanner.
(Names in announcement: Jacob B. Cale, Margaret F. Shelly, Jacob Shelly, Rev. H. Getzendanner)
(Column 05)
Summary: Jacob Ruff, Sr., died on February 10th at the residence of his son-in-law William Brown. He was 81 years old.
(Names in announcement: Jacob RuffSr., William Brown)

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