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Valley of the Shadow

Staunton Spectator: March 31, 1868

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-Page 01-

Convention--New Constitution--Our Duty
(Column 05)
Summary: An article from the Leesburg Washingtonian predicting that many radicals will vote against the Constitution when they realize what a terrible document it represents.
Origin of Article: Leesburg Washingtonian
Full Text of Article:

As the Convention is drawing to a close, much interest is being felt with reference to the provisions of the Constitution soon to be submitted to the people of the State. It will not be satisfactory to give fragmentary parts, imperfectly reported by the Richmond papers, but we will await the conclusion of the performance, and submit the whole. Enough has been accomplished to foreshadow its real features, which are sufficient to rouse the people to efforts to accomplish its defeat. Radical changes are proposed for the government and control of our country affairs -- new features which reflect the views of the Northern element which has crept into the convention, which propose to abolish our county system and adopt the Township mode of county government of some of the Northern States.

Apart from the clause disfranchising a large portion of the white population, and enfranchising the negroes, sufficient changes are proposed to defeat the constitution before the people. The old systems of courts and county organizations, which have so long answered the ends of justice, and supplied the wants of our people, will not, in obedience to the orders of government, imported by the few itinerant yankee adventurers who accidently got into the convention.

A few white voters may be found, sufficiently fanatical to endorse these innovations, if they can, by it, fasten upon our people the curse of negro suffrage and negro political equality -- but the thinking men of the Republican or Radical party, whose reasons are not entirely swayed by feelings of revenge and hatred to the white race of Virginia, who think proper to differ with them, will refuse to make the sacrifice. Apart from the odious features of negro suffrage and negro admissibility to juries, the magisterial offices, and the legislature of the State, there will be found enough in this new Constitution -- a cross of the yankee and the negro -- to disgust all honorable and high minded Virginians. And when you add to these objectionable features, the deep disgrace and injustice of attempting to lower the standard of the white man to the negro, (as it is a moral and intellectual impossibility to elevate him to the Anglo-Saxon,) by decreeing as this constitution will, if adopted, that all the leading statesmen, and a great body of the intelligent and refined portion of the white population shall be disfranchised, to give the negroes sufficient power to place themselves, or their white tools and sycophants in control, very many who have been classed with Republicans and Radicals will spurn the wicked alliance and stand up in defence of their race and the honor of the State. This crusade against the intelligence and power of the State, as represented in our white population, is arousing the feelings of the people, and their determination is rapidly assuming such organized forms as will utterly defeat this constitutional scheme of oppression and wrong. The people are becoming aware to their condition and the dangers which threaten them, and if we do not mistake the signs of the times, thousands who sided with the radical faction will vote to defeat the radical constitution.

Each county and precinct should prepare for the contest -- each individual should feel the voice of his State upon him to put forth all his efforts to save his people -- to save his family, and the fate of his posterity from the withering mortification and disgrace which this party is preparing to force upon us. These issues are big with consequences personal to each of us, and demand that we should at once prepare to defeat the attempts to crush the spirit, manhood, and intelligence of the people.

Are we doing our duty? Are we organized in this county? Have the precinct committees attended to the duties committed to their care? Are you impressing upon the people the importance of the election soon to be ordered by the power that rules us? This contest, in magnitude and importance, is far above a mere political or partisan conflict. The issue is shall the white or negro race rule this State. Deny this as they may, this is the grave and stubborn fact which confronts us. That party or faction has no material strength but for the negro -- it rests mainly upon their votes for its success and must and will yield and bend to the will of that race if it get the power. The negro, through their agency, will as effectually control the State as if they held the offices. Let them, by your neglect or indifference, adopt the proposed question, and then your leading men -- your men of intelligence, experience in business, those to whom you look for counsel, will be thrown aside to give the negro and his political associates the offices and posts of trust to rule and govern you. Are you ready and willing for this?

(Column 05)
Summary: Article from the Petersburg Express. Discusses the importance of organization for voter registration.
Origin of Article: Petersburg Express
Full Text of Article:

The importance of a thorough organization of all the force which is to oppose the triumph of Radicalism in the impending struggle in this State cannot be overestimated.

The first thing, of course, to be done, is to see that every white man who is entitled to register should do so, at the next registration, which is to occur before the vote of the State upon the adoption or rejection of its new Constitution, takes place.

Thousands of Virginia's citizens, for one reason or another, refused or neglected to register preparatory to the election of delegates to the Constitutional Convention.

The result of their negligence was that the Convention fell into the hands of the State's worst enemies. Fortunately, there is yet time to repair their error -- there is yet a place left for repentance -- and if they would redeem their birthright, let them not be again guilty of the folly -- we had almost said crime -- of failing to qualify themselves to vote on the question of the Constitution.

The results of the last registration in Richmond shows that we have the game in our own hands, and can only lose it by our folly and inefficiency.

At the last election in Richmond the majority of blacks was reduced from 900 to 30. A similar result will attend the next registration over the whole State if we exert ourselves.

The vote for State officers and members of Congress will occur at the same time that the vote upon the Constitution is taken -- and in our opinion it is advisable in order to perfect and mobilize our organization -- to give it vitality, energy, and enthusiasm, that the nominations for these various offices should be made as early as practicable.

Every district, county, and town in the State should be thoroughly canvassed, and this will only be done effectually by candidates. -- Petersburg Express

Bible Presentation by the D. D. and B.
(Column 07)
Summary: Recounts the presentation of an English Bible to the Deaf, Dumb and Blind Institute by its pupils.
(Names in announcement: Prof. Coleman, Mr. Covell)

-Page 02-

Constitution Defeated
(Column 01)
Summary: The paper reports that Arkansas and Alabama defeated the constitutions submitted by their "mongrel conventions," and encourages Virginia to do the same.
Removing Disabilities
(Column 01)
Summary: Argues that the Radicals are enfranchising freedmen solely because southern whites would not join their party. Praises southerners for resisting the temptation to trade their principles and duties for political office.
Full Text of Article:

The Dispatch says that any man can be relieved of all disabilities in a little while who will pledge himself to give his "influence and vote" to curtailing the rights of his white fellow-citizens and to enlarging and multiplying those of the blacks. Indeed, had the people of the South, immediately after the war, joined the Radical party, negroes would not have been made voters. This was apparent at the time: but the Southern whites were not made of such stuff as that.

It is not surprising that there should be some who are ready to sell themselves for office. -- When the greed for that seizes a man it gnaws like the undying worm; and men will sell peace, honor, kin, family, and even country, to appease it. It is a glory of the South that so few have thus bartered the most precious jewels in this world for a thing so base.

There are no truer people in God's world than the Southern in all their pledges and promises. The country can boast of none more faithful to the Constitution and laws. But to gain that peace, that order, that personal liberty and rights, which are denied them, they will not sell themselves.

It is for such as would continue the prostration of these people --- for such as would shave down the rights of Southern white men and transfer the ruling power to ignorant negroes and depraved interloping whites -- to pay the price exacted by the Congressional Algerines for ransom. Such men may take their way -- verily they have their reward.

A Cheering Sign
(Column 01)
Summary: Using an excerpt from the Norfolk Virginian, discusses the results of voter registration in Richmond as a sign that the Radicals will be defeated.
Full Text of Article:

When every thing around looks dark and lowering, says the Charlottesville Chronicle, it is refreshing to be able to point to even one little ray of hope. We must carry the State and defeat the Negro Constitution, or Virginia will not be a place, fit for a white man to live in.

This is what we want, so that the Northern people who now control our destinies more than we do ourselves, may be aroused to the iniquity of negro domination at the South -- and may learn to understand that it is fatal to their interests as it is to ours. To do this the white men must be aroused, that no means may be omitted by which one vote may be gained, in behalf of white rule, or one prevented on the side of negro-radicals. That they are aroused in Richmond is proved by the result of the recent registration. If similar exertions are made throughout the State, we are safe. The Radicals themselves think that the probabilities of success are on our side. Surely there is enough to stimulate every man to do his duty, and enough encouragement to make every one work with a cheerful spirit. Let the captains of fifties, and of tens, do their duty. -- Let all others urge them forward and aid them in their endeavors -- and we will be able to look forward hopefully to a time when Virginians will be as free as of yore -- and not down-trodden outcasts, at the mercy of their former slaves. -- Read what the Norfolk Virginian says of the result in Richmond:

"The white man's battle flag was driven back in Richmond at the previous registration, but it has now gone forward, and is planted far in advance of its former position. At the former registration the negro majority in our State capital was 961, and it is now only thirty-six? The returns show an increase of 1,511 white votes, and 586 of blacks. There is both cheer and warning for us in this. It shows that the reserve strength of the State is coming up -- Blucher and his 30,000 to turn the tide -- and we feel very confident that in every town and county, every mountain, valley, and lowland plain, the white men of the State will come forward to defend by the only means left to them -- the ballot -- the last shadow of liberty that remains to us. Viewed in this respect, the picture is cheering, and we hail our brethren of Richmond with a heart full of honest satisfaction at the result.

Some Things that are Disgusting
(Column 02)
Summary: The Spectator denounces the Valley Virginian for trying to explain away their earlier support for the state constitutional convention.

-Page 03-

[No Title]
(Column 01)
Summary: Mr. H. O. Cease is taking subscriptions to help keep the streets of Staunton sprinkled during the summer months.
(Names in announcement: H. O. Cease)
[No Title]
(Column 01)
Summary: Reports that W. T. Hite's horses, hitched to a wagon carrying flour, ran off in the Staunton streets. Hite's horses trampled another horse, threw the driver of another wagon, and crashed into yet another cart.
(Names in announcement: W. T. Hite)
Episcopal Fair
(Column 01)
Summary: The ladies of Trinity Church will hold a fair to help raise money to rebuild the enclosure of the Episcopal Church.
Staunton Lyceum
(Column 01)
Summary: The Staunton Lyceum debated whether Republicanism in the United States will survive the present revolutionary crisis. The question was decided in the negative by an 8-7 vote. The meeting requested the Rev. George Taylor to repeat his popular lecture.
(Names in announcement: B. Christian, S. Travers Phillips, F. M. Hanger, C. R. Harris, Rev. George B. Taylor)
Books For the Fire Company
(Column 01)
Summary: The Augusta Fire Company appeals to the citizens of Staunton for books with which to start a library for its members. The paper encourages citizens to comply with the requests of the men who do so much to protect town property. Interested parties should contact P. H. Trout.
(Names in announcement: P. H. Trout)
An Entertaining Lecture
(Column 01)
Summary: W. E. Hatcher delivered a lecture entitled "The advantages of the Modern Dance" in Staunton's Baptist Church. The audience enjoyed the speaker's "keen satire" and wit.
Arrested and Imprisoned
(Column 01)
Summary: Joseph Adkins and Charles R. Gilbert, son-in-law and son of Jesse T. Gilbert from near Staunton, were arrested for the murder of Christopher Stover. William M. Bush, William Chapman, and George A. Bruce of Waynesboro made the arrest. Hundreds of persons crowded the Waynesboro depot to get a look at the accused. "There were enough present to form a very respectable Ku-Klux-Klan regiment."
(Names in announcement: Joseph Adkins, Charles R. Gilbert, William M. Bush, William Chapman, George A. Bruce, Christopher Stover, Robert McCreary, Jesse T. Gilbert)
Impeachment--The President's Answer
(Column 03)
Summary: Prints a statement by President Johnson defending his actions in the Stanton case.
(Column 04)
Summary: Daniel Wilson died on March 12th. He was 65 years old.
(Names in announcement: Daniel Wilson)
(Column 04)
Summary: Jacob Zones died on March 13th at his residence near Buffalo Gap, Augusta County.
(Names in announcement: Jacob Zones)
(Column 04)
Summary: Mrs. Mary Hobbs, wife of James Hobbs and daughter of Henry Eidson, died on March 21st at West View.
(Names in announcement: Mary Hobbs, James Hobbs, Henry Eidson)

-Page 04-

[No Title]
(Column 02)
Summary: Article asserting that the white men of Virginia will display the same valor in defeating the new constitution as they displayed in fighting the Federals.
Origin of Article: Enquirer
Full Text of Article:

The intrepid valor which flamed in the van of the old Army of Northern Virginia for four long years, and which piled so many battlefields with dead invaders, and hurled so many mighty Federal armies, broken and utterly demoralized, from our soil, still animates the heroic white men of Virginia. The standing menace of the bayonet has alone prevented them from teaching the infamous herd at the Capitol that the rule of the negro and of the bummers of Butler is impossible in a State where centuries of greatness attest to the virtues of the white race. And the fact must be kept before these vile miscreants that the moment the protection of the soldier is withdrawn, the white men of Virginia will teach them that this is not a State where the negro can rule, as in Hayti or Dahomey.

We shall dishonor the memory of our dead heroes, we shall be unworthy of the fame of our forefathers, we shall merit the scorn of our noble women, and deserved to be hanged in chains by posterity, if we do not keep the fact before the Radical rascals at the Capitol, that their work will be trampled under foot the minute it is deprived of the protection of the soldier.

The first and most important duty of every Virginian to his race, State and section, at this time, is a determined resistance, either passive or active, to every attempt of the "Convention" to have its infamous ordinances obeyed, unless they are enforced by the bayonet.

The negro must be convinced that without the support of the soldier he shall not disfranchise the white race. The squatters and bummers must be taught that it is only safe for them to pillage in the rear of the Federal armies, as they did when Lee and Jackson hunted them like hares.

Let the white men of Virginia bear in mid that their avowed enemies at the Capitol have no other objects in view than our disfranchisement and spoliation. They are just as intent upon our ruin as when they rummaged with Butler and ran with Pope and McDowell. -- Pretending to represent our people, their hostility is more implacable than was that of the soldiery who laid waste to the State with fire and sword.

When the soldier, sated with slaughter, laid aside his arms and manifested a noble sympathy with a brave, but unfortunate people, these wretches dashed at the throats of disarmed warriors and sought to strip them of political rights which they have given to their late slaves.

The first attempt of these men to compel voluntary obedience to negro rule, will, no doubt, be in the shape of an ordnance taxing the objects of their malice and hate. Having no property, and no interests in common with the property holders of the State, it is idle to hope for an adjournment of the "Convention" as long as they can wring money from their intended victims.