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Valley of the Shadow

Staunton Spectator: April 28, 1868

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Address of the Conservative Members of the Late State Convention to the People of Virginia
(Column 02)
Summary: The Conservative representatives to the state Constitutional Convention criticize the Convention, and the constitution it has produced. Their criticisms focus on questions of suffrage and representation, though taxation, education, and debt law are also mentioned.
Full Text of Article:

At the election conducted in October last by Major-General Schofield and his officers the undersigned were chosen by the Conservative voters in their respective districts, members of the State Convention ordered by Congress, for the purpose of framing a new Constitution for the State of Virginia. Moved by their considerations which induced their constituents to participate in the election, they took their seats in the convention which assembled in Richmond on the third day of December, animated by a sincere desire to contribute all in their power to the restoration of Virginia to her place in the Union upon the basis of the Federal constitution and a fair recognition of the results of the late civil war.

Conscious by their numerical weakness, but sustained by clear convictions of duty and by the concurring judgment of eminent and enlightened citizens in all parts of the State, they continued to labor during the session of the convention to secure a constitution calculated to protect the rights and interests of all classes of the community, to harmonize upon a basis, discriminating and just, the conflicting elements of society, and to confirm in a manner satisfactory to the Federal authorities the expressed sentiment of the country in favor of a perpetual and indissoluble Union.

The convention having completed its work, and propounded a constitution adverse in its whole spirit to the procurement of these ends, and defeating by its extreme provisions the objects contemplated by even the stringent program prescribed by Congress, the undersigned deem it appropriate to lay before the people of Virginia a brief account of this instrument, and the thorough subversion of all existing relations which it will effect in our society.

The convention consisted of one hundred and five members, of whom some thirty-five were Conservatives, some sixty-five were Radicals, and the remainder doubtful. The Radicals were composed of twenty four negroes, fourteen native-born white Virginians, thirteen New Yorkers, one Pennsylvanian, one member from Ohio, one from Maine, one from Vermont, one from Connecticut, one from South Carolina, one from Maryland, one from the District of Columbia, two from England, one from Ireland, one from Nova Scotia, and one from Canada. Of the fourteen white Virginians belonging to this party, some had voted for secession, others had been in Confederate service, others are old men whose sons had been in the Confederate army; hardly one has a Union record. A large proportion of the Northern men and the foreigners were drifted here in some non-combatant capacity by the war.

The convention organized by electing a New Yorker president. A native of Maryland was elected secretary. A Marylander was elected sergeant-at-arms. An Irishman, resident in Baltimore, was elected stenographer. The assistant clerk was from New Jersey. Two negroes were appointed door-keepers. A clergyman from Illinois was appointed chaplain.-- Even the boys appointed as pages, with one exception, were negroes, or the sons of Northern men or foreigners, while the clerks of the twenty standing committees, with two or three exceptions, were also Northern men or negroes.

For nearly five months we have patiently sat in the convention listening to encomiums upon the negro race, to wholesale denunciations against the whites of the South, to propositions and speeches levelled against property, and addressed to the cupidity of enfranchised slaves suddenly invested with the controlling power in the State. It was our aim to secure a good constitution, and to this end we labored through the better part of the session until we relinquished the effort in despair of getting anything that was even tolerable. It gradually became obvious to both sides of the house that the more violent elements in the Radical party had obtained the mastery over those who were inclined to more moderate measures. This was accomplished in the caucuses which sat almost as regularly as the convention, and what was determined on there was pushed through under a call for the previous question by the united party in the convention.

It was the subject of remark among us during the progress of the convention that the negroes grew more and more intractable. The reported debates of the convention will show how active they gradually became in the proceedings of the body -- although, in this connection, it is proner to observe that a correct idea of the speeches and conduct of the negroes is only to be obtained by reading the press reports of Richmond newspapers. The decorous harangues in the official reports of the convention were invented by the stenographer.

Another matter which attracted our attention was the utter disrespect with which the Northern leaders in the body paid to all that had heretofore been distinctive in the fundamental law of the State. They have by no means contented themselves with securing to the negroes the control of the future legislation of the State, but in a wanton and reckless spirit, overthrew whatever had been consecrated under all previous constitutions in the affections of the people, or whatever such men as Madison, and Marshall, and Leigh, had deemed of prize importance in laying the foundations of our social organization. Ruthless innovation was indulged in where there was no object to subserve, and the ploughshare was driven over the monuments of the past in the temper of confident and irresponsible power, and with the rudeness and heartlessness of a barbarous conquest.


We will attempt now very briefly, as we have proposed, to explain what will be the operation of the new constitution if it shall become the law of the State. The pivot of the system to be inaugurated is, of course, negro suffrage. -- The instrument submitted provides for this on the widest basis. There is universal negro suffrage, without limitations, except that the party shall be a male, of sound mind, twenty-one years of age, who has not been convicted of crime, and resided twelve months in the State and three months in the county where he proposes to vote. We could not secure any educational or property qualifications whatever, not even the pre-payment of taxes; not even the prepayment of the one dollar poll tax. We could not even persuade them to exclude paupers. But this universal suffrage was confined to the negroes; all whites who ever held any office whatever under the Federal Government, or any civil or military office in the State, including the large list of county and municipal officers, and who afterwards participated in the "rebellion," are excluded not only from office, but from the exclusive franchise. The object of this was to secure, as Mr. Botts expressed it in an address he made to the Radical members of the convention, a "good working majority" in the State, and to give a decided preponderance to the negroes in the Legislature, as well as in the county organization.


The article adopted by the convention on county and town organization fearfully intensifies the practical operation of this universal negro, and restricted white suffrage. The counties are all divided into townships, the smallest to contain at least three. For each county there is to be one county judge, one sheriff, one attorney for the commonwealth, one clerk, one county treasurer, one superintendent of the poor, one superintendent of schools. In each township in the county there are to be one supervisor, one township clerk, one assessor, one collector, one commissioner of roads, one overseer of the poor, three justices of the peace, three constables. The townships are further sub-divided into school districts and road districts, and in each school district and each road district there are to be one school trustee and one overseer of roads. All these officials, excepting the county judge and the superintendent of schools, are to be elected by the people. The smaller counties will have about sixty of these petty officers; the larger, about two hundred.

In a large majority of the counties east of the Blue Ridge -- had the convention stopped at this point, which they by no means did -- all of these officers would be negroes, or depraved whites under the control of negroes. In Nottoway county (in 1860) there were 2,270 white persons and 6,566 negroes. Imagine the condition of the whites in the county under such a system. A negro sheriff, a negro attorney for the commonwealth, a negro superintendent of the poor, negro supervisors, negro assessors, negro collectors, negro school trustees, negro constables, negro township clerks, negro overseers of the roads, negro magistrates.

In Halifax county, by the census of 1860, the population stood 11,000 whites to 15,000 blacks; in Prince George there were 2,918 whites to 5,492 blacks; in Prince Edward there were 4,038 whites to 7,816 blacks; in Powhatan there were 2,589 whites to 5,812 blacks; in Orange there were 4,407 whites to 7,951 blacks; in Mecklenburg there were 6,777 whites to 13,319 blacks; in Lunenburg, 4,447 whites to 7,537 blacks; in Louisa 6,166 whites to 10,532 blacks; in King William, 2,589 whites to 5,940 blacks; in Greensville, 1,973 whites to 4,401 blacks; in Goochland, 3,814 whites to 6,482 blacks; in Essex, 3,295 whites to 7,174 blacks; in Dinwiddie, 4,649 whites to 7,271 blacks; in Cumberland, 2,946 whites to 7,015 blacks; in Charlotte, 4,981 whites to 9,488 blacks; in Caroline, 6,950 whites to 11,515 blacks; in Buckingham, 6,041 whites to 9,171 blacks; in Brunswick, 4,993 whites to 9,818 blacks; in Amelia, 2,894 whites to 7,859 blacks, &c., &c.


It was thought an extreme pleasure to emancipate, in an instant, 4,000,000 of negroes. It was done at a moment when the North was reckless of the consequences upon the social organization of the South; and with manly fortitude it was submitted to by the South, and an honest disposition cherished to make the best of it. Then came the Freedmen's Bureau and civil right's bill. Soon after, the idea of qualified negro suffrage was cautiously broached at the North. Then, in March, 1867, with little note of preparation, the Congress of the United States issued the edict of universal negro suffrage. It absolutely appalled every heart in the South.

The formula in which this bold and unprecedented measure was defended at the North was "Universal Amnesty and Universal Suffrage."

The convention of Virginia have given us the universal negro suffrage without the amnesty. They stopped not at negro suffrage; they have made negroes, and all negroes, eligible to office, and required neither property nor intelligence qualification of the incumbent. Any male 21 years old (the Governor must be a little older) can hold office. The convention did not stop here. They then excluded from the ballot and from office not only all whites proscribed from office by the constitutional amendment, but they added to that long list. Then upon this they engrafted their county and town organization, providing for the election of all local officers (with two exceptions) by the people; while by the apportionment of representation they have provided for a negro majority in both branches of the Legislature.

Had the convention stopped here, it would only have been negro supremacy. But it remained to give the finishing touch to this almost incredible revolution. They determined to shut the whites altogether from all offices in the State. Accordingly, they have incorporated in the constitution the famous "iron clad" oath, by which all persons, before entering upon the discharge of the duties of any office, are required to swear as follows:

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I have never voluntarily borne arms against the United States since I have been a citizen thereof; that I have voluntarily given no aid, countenance, counsel, or encouragement to persons engaged in armed hostility thereto; that I have never sought nor accepted, nor attempted to exercise the functions of any office whatever, under any authority, or pretended authority, in hostility to the United States; that I have not yielded a voluntary support to any pretended government, authority, power, or constitution within the United States, hostile or inimical thereto. And I do further swear (or affirm) that to the best of my knowledge and ability, I will support the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith, and allegiance to the same, that I will take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God."

This applies to all officers, county, municipal and State. It reaches from the Governor to the overseer of a road or the trustees of a public school; and includes members of the General Assembly and any future constitutional convention.

It is well known that there is not one white man in a thousand in the State that can take this oath. It gives the State absolutely to the negroes. The theory of Congress was to give protection to the negro by giving him the ballot; by disfranchising a large number of whites, by making all negroes eligible to office; by electing all county and township offices by the people; by gerrymandering the State, with reference to representation in the Legislature; the negroes would have gone so far beyond this as to have been the controlling power in the State. They would, as we have said, have gotten possession of the State Government and of the local administration in a large majority of the counties east of the Blue Ridge; they would have dominated. But this matter of the test oath has swept away all opposition. They will now fill every place; they will now hold every office. The exceptions will be too rare to deserve attention. We have negro rule, and unmitigated negro rule.

A black attorney for the Commonwealth will send up his witnesses to a mixed grand jury, who will send back their indictments to be tried by a mixed petit jury. A black sheriff, or his black deputy, will take the white and black jury in charge, to eat at a common table and sleep in the same chamber. A black treasurer will have the custody of the taxes levied in the county. A black superintendent of the POOR (?) will dole out the charities of the public to the white paupers in the county poor-house. A black trustee will visit and make laws for the village schools. Black supervisors will fix the amount of the county levy, which will be assessed by a black assessor, and gathered in by a black collector. A black commissioner will lay off the public roads. A black magistrate will dispense justice; a black constable will preserve order; a black clerk will keep the records of the township.

The Governor and his aids will be black after the first term. The Lieutenant-Governor will be black. The Secretary of the Commonwealth will be black. The Board of Public Works will be black. The militia officers will be black. The Legislature will be black; we shall have black representatives in Congress. The visitors of the University will be black. The State proxies will be black.


In furtherance of their plan of entrenching themselves in power in every possible manner, the negroes deemed it worth while to take even another precaution. As negroes only (or incomers from the North) are eligible to the Legislature, it might have appeared unnecessary to tamper with the apportionment of representation for the Legislature. But as the whites (excluding the disfranchised class) are allowed to vote, it might have resulted that the whites might have sent a majority of negroes to the Legislature under white influence. For this, whites (excluding the disfranchised) have a majority in the State of some 35,000 votes. Accordingly by the article in the constitution entitled "Basis of Representation and Apportionment," the State has been gerry-mandered, and the blacks will have a majority of twenty-one on joint ballot in the two Houses of the General Assembly. The majority of the committee on this subject were radicals, and they brought in a report which gave their party about nine on joint ballot in the Legislature. This was partly effected by adopting the registration of 1867 as the basis of representation and apportionment. The committee declined to adopt as the basis the census returns of 1860, or to correct the registration lists by these census returns; although it was well known that a large number of white persons had neglected to register at the late registration.

But the party leaders in the convention were not satisfied with the majority thus secured. -- They sanctioned the general principles on which the report was based, which were (as regards the House of Delegates) these: That as far as practicable each county should have a separate delegate; that there should be one delegate for each 1,800 registered voters, and where the fraction over, in a county, exceeded 900 voters, to give another delegate; and to every county in which the number of voters was between 900 and 1,800, a delegate each."

The report, in the main, was adopted by the convention. Had it been adopted without modification, the negroes would have had a majority of about six in the House of Delegates.-- The convention, however, desired a more decided preponderance, and they increased their majority in the House of Delegates by the following flagrant outrage, without any precedent in all our past history. Chesterfield county had 3,889 registered voters, and was, under the rule adopted, entitled to two delegates; Powhatan, adjoining, had 1,624 voters, and was entitled to one delegate. The report accordingly gave two delegates to Chesterfield and one to Powhatan. But Chesterfield was a doubtful county, while the black voters heavily preponderated in Powhatan. The convention accordingly threw the two counties together and gave them three delegates, thus securing certainly three negro delegates. But they wanted still more. Accordingly, they threw Richmond city and Henrico county together, on the motion of Judge Underwood. Richmond city had 11,666 registered voters, and the report assigned it six delegates. Henrico had 3,108 voters, and was assigned two delegates. It was concluded from the result of the registration had last month in Richmond that the whites could carry this city. But there was a negro majority of 650 in Henrico. The convention therefore again wantonly departed from the report and all precedent, threw Richmond city and Henrico together, and gave them, thus united, eight delegates. Thus, as is calculated, a change of sixteen votes is effected in the House of Delegates. In the same manner, Richmond city, which by itself would be entitled to two senators, with a fraction to spare, is thrown with Henrico, and the two combined to elect three (black) senators. [This last, however, had been the work of the committee.]


The only part in the administration of the government which has been almost exclusively assigned to the whites is the payment of the taxes. The convention reportedly avowed that it was their purpose to lay the burden of taxation on property. In conformity with this idea, naturally pleasing to the negroes, the constitution prohibits the Legislature from imposing a poll tax exceeding one dollar on each head; and prohibits any county poll tax exceeding fifty cents; and requires that the whole of the State poll tax shall be applied to the support of the common schools to be established.

The Conservative members made a strenuous effort to make the amount of the poll tax always dependent on the amount of the property tax, so they should rise and fall together. A proposition was offered that the poll tax should be equal to the tax on five hundred dollars of property; it was voted down. A proposition was then offered that the poll tax should be equal to the tax on three hundred dollars property; it was also voted down. A proposition was then offered to make the poll tax equal to the tax on two hundred dollars of property; this was also rejected.

Nineteen twentieths of the taxes raised will be derived from the property tax, which, of course, will fall almost exclusively on the whites; and by returns in the Auditor's office it appears that last year only one negro in four paid the poll tax required of him, which was sixty cents. So that the poll tax will also fall chiefly on the whites. The entire poll tax, State and county, paid by the negroes, will be about $40,000. A proposition was offered in the convention that the poll tax paid by the whites should be appropriated to the education of white children, and that paid by the blacks appropriated for the benefit of their children. It was rejected by a strict party vote.

The novelty of investing the non-taxpayers with the power to impose all taxes assumes a startling importance in view of the expensive character of the new government. Our Federal, State, and county taxes are heavy now; but the State and county taxation under the proposed constitution will be probably quadrupled. The common schools alone, to be supported by State and county taxation, will require two or three times the amount now levied for all State and county purposes. Apart from the salaries for teachers, the construction of school-houses will constitute a very serious item. In West Virginia, a school house is required to be erected from every twenty-five children, and in the county of Pendleton they are let out to contracts at from $250 to $350 each.

The negroes will also make ample provision for houses of refuge, and other charitable institutions, which they can enjoy without any of the anxieties which will trouble those who have to pay for them.

Besides this, the swarm of officers in the townships and counties will necessitate a heavy annual taxation to maintain the land, and, it is safe to conjecture, that under the strange system which is proposed, the collectors and treasurers will not always account faithfully for the public moneys.


For the support of the free schools provided for by this constitution the Legislature (under negro control) is authorized to lay a tax as high as one half of one per centum on all real and personal property, and the county or any school district may raise the same amount in addition. The State capitation tax is also to be applied for the support of the public schools. The present literary fund of the State, the proceeds of all public lands donated by Congress for the public school purpose, of all escheated property, of all waste and unappropriated lands, of forfeitures to the State, and all fines for offenses against the State, and sums as the General Assembly may appropriate, are to constitute a permanent literary fund, and the interest thereon to be also devoted to the support of the school system. -- How large will be the sum realized from these various sources may be estimated. Yet the children of the property owners who will support these schools can never enjoy the benefits of them, because it is clear that under the proposed government they would be forced to associate in the schools with the children of the negroes.

An effort was made in the Committee of Education, and afterwards on two several occasions in the convention, to procure a declaration that separate public schools be provided for the white and black children. It was voted down in every case. The negroes desired mixed schools, and their white associates feared to offend them.

The question was subsequently brought up in another form by a proposition authored by Thomas Bayne (negro) requiring mixed schools, and a substitute (to the effect) offered by Mr. Porter, of Chesterfield. It led to a most angry discussion between the Radical members, the negroes manifesting the most determined purpose to insist on mixed schools, and threatening to vote against the constitution unless it provided for them. The day was consumed in debate, and, as usual, a Radical caucus took the matter in hand in the evening. The next day the original proposition and the substitute, by the aid of the Conservative vote, were rejected, all of the negro members with six or eight exceptions, voting for them. The result of these various votes was that the whole subject of separate or mixed schools is remitted to the Legislature. They feared to provide for mixed schools in the constitution, because they calculated that it might lead to the rejection of it by the people. They have left the Legislature to deal with the matter. We have shown that in this body the negroes will have a majority of twenty-one, and it was clearly shown in the convention, by their fierce and violent speeches, and by their votes, that they will insist upon this point.


The action of the convention on another subject deserves a hurried notice. Conscious of the infamous character of their constitution, and wishing to catch the few whites who might be willing to degrade themselves to save their property, they have put in the constitution a homestead provision, which professedly exempts $2,000 of property from all liability for debt.--They then, in the same article, proceeded to repeal the existing stay law, and to prohibit the Legislature from hereafter enacting any stay law. Here is the practical effect of this shameful and deceitful provision: All stay laws are abrogated, the officers of the law are turned loose on the debtors, and the debtor has nothing but this sham of a homestead to fall back upon. The homestead provision, in so far as it refers to past debts, will be at once set aside by the courts as contrary to the Constitution of the United States, which in terms prohibits the State from passing any law impairing the settlement of contracts. We do not hesitate to say that if the article had been drawn by a register in bankruptcy, anxious to secure an increase of his business and his fees; he could not have succeeded better in the accomplishment of his purpose. The stay law removed, the creditor will come down on the debtor, the debtor will either go into bankruptcy and claim the benefit of the homestead exemption, or refuse to do so, relying on the validity of this provision. If he goes into bankruptcy, the registrar will tell him that any such repudiation of debts is obviously unconstitutional, and that he will not respect it. If he should respect it, the matter will be taken to the courts, and the provision set aside.

If the unhappy and deceived debtor refuses to go into bankruptcy, his creditors will sue him, obtain judgments, and then enforce their liens thus acquired through a court of equity. The constitutional question will be raised, and can only be decided in one way, and that (as we have said) will be against this provision. The Federal courts have decided this matter already time and again. So that this insidious article, while professing to be a measure of the relief to the debtor, is really designed to suffocate him. It is doubly damned -- in that, as the act of the convention, that body has boldly taken issue with the eighth commandment, while at the same time those who passed it knew that any one who attempts to avail himself of its provisions will be miserably cozened and disappointed. Of course the creditor element in the State will be exasperated at the attempt to circumvent it, and there will be nothing to stand between it and the relentless collection of its debts. Thus will be brought about what the negroes and the white adventurers so ardently desire -- the practical confiscation of the landed estates in Virginia.

If the Convention had really desired to relieve the debtor class in the State, they would have adopted a stay law providing for the gradual settlement of debts by annual installments until the whole was extinguished. This would have satisfied the creditor, would have been sustained by public sentiment, and would have enabled at least many debtors to discharge their liabilities in an honest manner.


This constitution further provides for a militia to be composed of all male citizens of Virginia over twenty-one years of age. This, of course, means citizens as defined in the constitution -- without distinction of race or color. -- We need not comment on the results of such an admixture in such a capacity upon terms of perfect equality in the ranks, and the right to official positions.


It further provides that all those who are made voters shall have the right to sit on juries, and none others. Many of the best and most intelligent white citizens of the State are thus rendered incompetent to sit on juries, while all male negroes who are twenty-one years of age (not idiots, or lunatics, or convicted of crime,) have a perfect right to do so without regard to qualifications.


One of the provisions of the constitution guarantees to all men "equal civil and political rights and public priveleges." The immediate design of this was to secure the negroes free access to all hotels, railroad cars, and other public places. It is probable that it may be claimed under it that a negro child cannot be excluded from any of the public schools, and that the Legislature cannot require each and every one of these schools to be open to all without distinction of color.


The State is divided into eight congressional districts, and it is claimed that it will be entitled to a ninth representative. Of the eight districts the negroes have five, the whites three. The ninth member is to be elected by the State at large.


We have not space to more than refer to the abolition of the valued and time-honored system of viva voce voting in Virginia, and the substitution for it of the secret ballot, which was ever peculiarly repugnant to the frank and manly genius of the people of this State.


Such is the constitution submitted to you, fellow citizens, for your ratification; and such the instrument bitterly denominated a measure of reconstruction and of restoration to the Union. The constitution of Georgia, which happens to be before us -- objectionable as it is to Southern people -- provides for universal negro suffrage, but it differs from the constitution offered to the people of Virginia in several important respects. Not one human being is disfranchised; not one questionable oath is required; the existing county organization of the State was left untouched; no person is allowed to vote until he shall have paid all the taxes assessed against him; and the General Assembly is required to provide by law for the selection of "upright and intelligent" persons to serve as jurors.

It is the opinion of the Conservative members of the convention that the white people of Virginia should act in this matter without divisions. We contemplate the fact of the entire black population consolidated against us, enrolled in one compact, oath-bound organization, acting with the precision and discipline of an army.-- By the apportionment of representation in the convention they were entitled to a majority in that body, which was increased by the inactivity of the whites, who were heartless and dispirited. This majority has framed a negro constitution, contrived to secure and perpetuate, not only their ascendancy, but their absolute control of the State. For they aim at perpetuating their power. Avowing the most radical and extreme opinions with regard to the rights of the people, and the right of the majority of the people, of whatever race or color, to rule, they have not only, by disfranchisement and test oaths, attempted to stifle the white majority and the voice of all the whites in this State, but they put in their constitution two provisions designed to keep power in their hands. One of these is the test oath which is required of all members elected to any future constitutional convention; the other is a provision that no amendment or revision of the constitution shall be made which shall deny or in any way impair the right of suffrage, or any civil or political right as conferred by this constitution, except for clauses which apply equally to all persons and classes without distinction. They deny the right of the people to change their constitution, and are legislating for posterity to the remotest generation.

The whites are absolutely goaded to exertion, and have no choice but to arise and defend their existence as a race. The only question is as to the method of making this opposition. It appears to us, and such is certainly the opinion of nine-tenths of the white people in the State, that our true course lies in a positive rejection of the constitution submitted. Such being the case, if there are a few who have preferred a mere passive resistance, we trust that, for the sake of unanimity, they will lend their hearty co-operation to the plan which has been resolved upon. It is only by concerted and united action that full expression can be given to the sentiments of the white people, while the absence of a few thousand voters from the polls might give some color to the averment that a portion of the whites were favorable to the constitution. It is therefore the deliberate judgment of those who unite in this paper that it should be regarded as settled that all who propose to act with the white man's party in Virginia shall register and vote, and that no one should feel at liberty, whatever his private opinion as to the propriety of some other course, to break those ranks which should neither waver nor present a gap in this great emergency.

It has been said that Congress, if we defeat it, will put this constitution upon us. Then let Congress be the author of this great wrong; and let not Virginia, under the menace of violence, weakly be tempted to offer no resistance to her ravisher. The adoption of the constitution by the people of the State and the imposition of it on them by the Republican party of the North are two very different things, and may be followed by very different results. An acquiescence on our part to negro suffrage is surely not the way to arouse the Northern mind against it. Nor does it seem to us possible that so monstrous a government can ever be effectually fastened on us if the white people of the State will maintain a firm, determined, and unfaltering attitude.

It is proper, however, to remark that it is by no means certain, nor do we think it is probable, that Congress will impose this constitution on us if we shall reject it. The instrument is very different in its character than that contemplated by the acts of Congress. These did not profess more than the purpose to provide for protection of the negro; but the constitution framed leaves it necessary to provide for the protection of the white man. It has been suggested that the political party in possession of the Federal Government, preparatory to the Presidential election, are anxious to have the Southern States in the Union; but were it admissible to entertain the hypothesis that party considerations would influence Congress on this matter, Virginia might well be an exception to the Southern States in general, as her vote would probably be cast against the party in question in the Presidential election, and indeed, must be, if the whites will only take care to register, as we can command a white majority of thirty-five thousand.

It is our duty, then to act together; to avoid all divisions; to disregard all cavilling objections; and to vote down the proposed constitution.-- To say of such a constitution that it would be insupportable is language too feeble. To say (if it could be maintained twenty years) that it would lead to absolute social death is too obvious to need establishment. It is an inundation, a cataclysm, whose black billows would submerge, even in a short time, every moment of civilization, and leave the white race in hopeless degradation. Judge Snead, of Accomac -- one of the ablest of his party, a consistent Union man during the war, elected to the Convention as a Radical, and acting with his party for three months of the session of the body -- was compelled, at the last moment, to declare that the constitution established negro supremacy, and that, although in favor of negro suffrage, he had no alternative left but to vote against it at the polls. It is a strange spectacle that a large portion of the American people, however embittered by the antagonisms of civil war, should be willing to see members of the same family pass, even temporarily, under such a yoke. It is one of the noticeable incidents of the age that, in what claims to be the most enlightened country of Christendom, a frenzy like this crusade for negro suffrage -- so resembling the delirium of the French revolution -- should take possession of the public mind. To us at the South, the absolute indifference with which the people of the North contemplate the application now being made of this system at the South is a matter of astonishment.

That the negroes of the South can establish themselves in any permanent supremacy over the whites we do not, however, accept for a moment. If it shall be the pleasure of Congress, if it has the power to do, to put upon us a constitution which they have invited us freely to pass upon -- a constitution giving the negroes tenfold the power they have in Jamaica -- we shall interpret it as the decree of God for a sharp and decisive settlement of the controversy between the white and black races on this continent. It will fearfully embarrass, but it will not destroy, the white race of the South. The white race of the South cannot be destroyed. -- When the negroes are put over us, then, at least, we shall put forth our strength. We shall offer such inducements to white immigration that these sparsely settled States must rapidly fill up. The negro will be overwhelmed with numbers, and it will be too late to make any terms. It is perfectly evident that Providence designs the territory of the United States as a theatre of a great white empire, whose power and whose civilization shall exert a controlling influence in the history of the future. -- That the three or four millions of blacks here can interpose any barrier to the realization of this destiny is plainly chimerical. The only question is, shall the changes which impend in the South be gradual or violent? With peace between the races, the whites of the South might be saved from much that awaits them under the Radical program; and the blacks, while remitted to their proper position in society, would be saved from rapid extinction as a race. The settled and determinate antagonism of the races (which will be inaugurated at once by such a constitution as this) precipitates immediately the beginning of the end. Virginia, racked to the utmost capacity of its endurance, will be the first to throw to the surface the disease which has so long preyed upon her vitals, and though for some years the pitiable victim of a disgusting eruption, will ultimately be restored to health, to vigor, and untainted blood.

In protesting against the establishment of negro supremacy we plead for both races; for the whites, that they may be spared, depressed as they now are, the utter prostration of further violent changes in their social system; for the blacks, that, in the name of humanity, they shall be allowed a fair opportunity to save, or least to delay, the doom of their race.

In conclusion, making no hypocritical professions, we affirm in sincerity and in truth that the people of this State desire to be restored to the Union, and cherish no purpose of disloyalty to the Government; that they long for the reestablishment of kindly relations between all the sections of the country; and that they entertain no feelings or purposes than those of kindness and benevolence toward the negroes.

The negroes behaved well during the war; and we can trace all of the disorder and criminal misconduct into which they have fallen since to the pernicious teachings of those white adventurers who are using this ignorant and credulous race for their own selfish and rapacious purposes. If let alone to deal with the negro, the whites of Virginia would honestly endeavor to afford the amplest protection to his rights of person and property, and to make every provision for his intellectual and moral culture.--But where it is proposed -- for the palpably base purpose of aggrandizing a party -- to deliver over the property, the social order, the liberties of the whites, to the vindictive and licentious rule of the negro, every instinct of duty, every movement that can animate a man to exertion, calls upon the white people of Virginia to repudiate and resist such unparalleled oppression.

Every Northern State which has voted on the subject since the close of the war has rejected negro suffrage. Ohio, on a direct issue, no later than last fall, did so by a majority exceeding fifty thousand. Kansas, Minnesota, and Connecticut had previously done the same thing. -- The late Constitutional Convention of New York deliberately recoiled from deciding the question. And Michigan, hitherto so overwhelmingly Republican, has just voted down her new constitution by a majority of thirty thousand, because it admitted the negro to the polls. The census showed that there were only some 35,000 negroes in Ohio in 1860. There could have been only about 7,000 negro voters in that State had they been enfranchised, (this in a community where the white vote is nearly 500,000) an inappreciable influence. In Michigan, there are only about 500 male negroes twenty-one years of age. The white voters number more than 165,000. And yet this State, where a Republican Governor was elected in 1866 by a majority of 20,038, refuses by some 30,000 majority to let 500 negroes vote.

The proposition in Virginia is to let 100,000 vote, to make them all eligible to office, to give them a majority of twenty-one on joint ballot on the Legislature, to give them the local control in the counties and towns, to exclude a large number of the whites from the polls, to render nine hundred and ninety-nine white men in every thousand ineligible to the Legislature, or any State or county office, and to lay the taxes (it may be so stated) exclusively on the whites? Is it necessary to say more? Can injustice ever take any grosser shape than that? Was ever a people summoned to resistance by so peremptory a call?

It is difficult to realize the situation which we have reached in the South. The mind is stupefied at the initiation of negro domination. It is a waking nightmare, whose horrible shadow cannot be pierced by the struggling faculties -- a spell that neither the senses nor the reason can dissolve. The only escape from such a fate is that which the stout and the resolute always discover from the storms and floods of an unpropitious fortune. Resolved to swim, they breast the tempestuous waves with heroic hearts and sinewy arms, unterrified and undiscouraged, confident, that, if but true to themselves, they were born not to be drowned. In such a spirit, should the white people of Virginia buffet with the rude surges that break over them in this moment of adversity; in such a spirit should they beat down the heaving bosom of the dark flood in which they struggle; in such a spirit should they wrestle with the swift and swollen current of this revolutionary period, which has submerged all the ancient landmarks, has subverted the foundations of the Federal Government, has swept away the sentiment of constitutional liberty at the North, and is now raging like a howling waste of waters over the lately fair and lovely vistas of the South.

Charles T. Duncan, of Scott.

Adolphus W. Harris of Nelson.

J.W. Broadus, of Amherst.

J.M. French, of Bland.

Joseph A. Waddell, of Augusta.

Powell Harrison, of Augusta.

Hugh H. Lee, of Roanoke.

William McLaughlin, of Rockbridge.

Lewis Linkenhoker, of Botetourt.

Joseph T. Campbell, of Washington.

Eustace Gibson, of Giles.

J. C. Gibson, of Rappahannock.

N. Berkeley, of Loudoun.

Fred. C. S. Hunter, of King George.

G. R. Cowan, of Russell.

M.F. Robertson, of Franklin.

James Gibboney, of Whythe.

J. H. Thompson, of Smyth.

George E. Plaster, of Loudon.

John L. Marye, Jr., of Spottsylvania.

R. Taylor Scott, of Fauquier.

B.F. Lewis, of Prince William.

Joseph Mayse, of Bath.

Moses Walton, of Shenandoah.

Norval Wilson, of Frederick.

John J. Gravatt, of Caroline.

George W. Rust, of Page.

J. McK. Kennerly.

Without endorsing all of the views presented in the foregoing address, I fully concur in the conclusion arrived at: that the constitution to be submitted to the people of Virginia for their ratification or rejection will not secure the ends of good government, and ought to be rejected.


-Page 02-

(Column 01)
Summary: The paper urges all conservative citizens to make sure as many white men register in their districts as possible. That represents the only way they can defeat "the horrible form of government devised for them by negroes and scallawags."
The True Issue--No Compromise
(Column 01)
Summary: Argues that the question raised by the state constitution is not racial equality, but rather the exclusion of the white race from political office.
Full Text of Article:

The issue in this canvass is not whether the negro shall be the equal of the white man in the government, but whether the negro shall be the superior of the white man, for if the constitution be ratified, not only the best portion of the whites will be disfranchised whilst every male negro twenty-one years old will be enfranchised, but the whites will be, almost to a man, disqualified from holding office, whilst nearly every negro will be qualified, under the constitution, to do so. The necessary result will be that the government will be almost exclusively in the hands of the negroes--they will hold the offices of every character in every county in the State. In the language of the Charlottesville Chronicle "if this does not draw the line finally between the races in Virginia, we do not know how lines are drawn. The whole history of the Convention, the conduct of the negroes with reference to mixed public schools, the attempt to exclude the whites altogether from the government, all show that there is no compromise, and can be no compromise, on this question of races. We have got to meet the issue, whether we want to meet it or not. We are pushed against the wall, and must resist.

The end of it all is obvious to any one who will look. This thing means that there is not to be any half-way settlement of this question. The negroes have burned their ships behind them. It is victory or ruin - and it will be the latter, whether they are victorious or not. Do the negroes suppose that the white people are going to submit to this sort of spirit? Do they think that our strength is altogether gone? -- Why, we are now waked up, and we are going to rule this State.

We have done coquetting with the negro. There is no use in saying one word more. Both sides stripped for the fight. The plank is too narrow to hold us both -- one must get off.

[No Title]
(Column 02)
Summary: The editor lists many reasons to vote against the new constitution.
Full Text of Article:

VOTE AGAINST the Constitution, because it forces NEGRO EQUALITY in the PUBLIC SCHOOLS

VOTE AGAINST the Constitution because it inaugurates confiscation by means of TAXATION.

Do you want a negro colonel for your militia regiment? If so, fail to vote against the new Constitution.

Races which have no power of assimilation cannot be made equal by human laws, for the simple and obvious reason that God himself has proclaimed them to be unequal.

The most abominable contrivance for ruining white people in order to benefit negroes, is the new Constitution, so-called. VOTE AGAINST IT.

The great and paramount issue is:--SHALL NEGROES or WHITE MEN RULE VIRGINIA? All other issues are secondary and subordinate, and should be kept so.

SHALL MARRIAGE BETWEEN NEGROES and WHITES--amalgamation--be allowed? That is one of the issues.

The day has been named for the vote in Virginia. Let every man prepare to DO HIS DUTY at the POLLS.

VOTE AGAINST the Constitution, because it forces NEGRO EQUALITY in the MILITIA--in the JURY BOX--in HOTELS--in RAILROAD CARS--in CHURCHES.

The serious issues presented to the people of Virginia, involve the matters of life and death. Let the people, everywhere, comprehend them, come out on the day of election and vote "AGAINST THE CONSTITUTION."

The success of the proposed Radical Convention will entail negro equality on the people of Virginia beyond hope. Come out on the day of election, and defeat radical dreams of personal aggrandisement by VOTING DOWN THE CONSTITUTION.

Keep it before the people, that the policy of the hybrid Republicans' Constitution is to impoverish the country, CENTRALIZE POWER, PARALYZE INDUSTRY, MULTIPLY TAXATION and ELEVATE the NEGRO WHILE DEGRADING THE WHITE MAN.

We want the issues made in broad and strong line, and this has been run, as it were, with a plough share. The reprobate white niggers, and the representative "colored gentlemen" have drawn the sword and thrown away the scabbard.

VOTE AGAINST the Constitution because it will beggar our people--exalt the wicked and humble the good--and ruin every true interest of Virginia.


VOTE DOWN the CONSTITUTION because it places many of our counties under NEGRO GOVERNMENTS and grants NEGRO EQUALITY in all of them.

Keep it before the people, that the Constitution compels white children and negro children to attend the same school, sit on the same benches, and be taught by the same teachers, whether white or black.

Keep it before the people, that the new Constitution allows and encourages miscegenation, or MARRIAGE BETWEEN NEGROES and WHITE PERSONS.

If you wish to muster in the CORNSTALK CAVALRY with black and white--vote for the Constitution.

The man who sustains the new Constitution will be FALSE to the MEMORY of the dead, and FALSE to the INTERESTS of the living.

When Judge Snead (Radical) tells you that he intends to oppose the Constitution because of his iniquities, what ought you (Conservatives) to do? VOTE IT DOWN!

General Schofield denounces the new Constitution with its infamous TEST OATH. How then can we refuse to oppose it?

If you wish your taxes increased--vote for the Constitution

Shall white children have negro guardians? This is one of the issues in the campaign before us.

There is not a single redeeming feature in the proposed Constitution. Its object is white degradation and negro elevation, and every word and line is so written as to facilitate that purpose. White men of Virginia, VOTE IT DOWN!

This is what honest Republicans think of the proposed Constitution. Judge Snead, of Accomac, declares "IF THE INFAMOUS PROVISION IS SUPPORTED BY THE PEOPLE OF VIRGINIA, I WILL MOVE TO SOME MORE HONEST STATE." And again: "I predict that the Constitution will be defeated--AS IT DESERVES TO BE--by an immense majority." Mr. Allan, Radical delegate from Prince Edward, declares: "Never will I consent to such an imposition as this law," which excludes EVERY TRUE VIRGINIAN from office in his own State."

The proposed Constitution would send negro and white children to the same schools. What do the poor white people of Virginia, what do the working classes think of that? Will they countenance such social ruin, by refusing to VOTE AGAINST THE CONSTITUTION?

Shall we accept confiscation under the garb of taxation? This is an issue presented to the white people of Virginia. Will they have their lands plundered to support the extravagance of Radical and negro rule? If not, VOTE AGAINST THE CONSTITUTION.

The white man who neglects to register and vote for his race will never cease to regret it hereafter. Let not business nor pleasure, trouble or expense prevent any Virginian from registering, or from VOTING AGAINST THE CONSTITUTION.

The Homestead Exemption
(Column 03)
Summary: Claims that the Homestead Exemption in the state constitution was designed to secure the votes of the lower classes, but that the Exemption actually harms these classes by making it difficult for them to purchase on credit, and is unlikely to be upheld in Court.
Full Text of Article:

The homestead exemption feature of the negro constitution was adopted, says the Lynchburg News, with the avowed purpose of securing white votes. This was the gilding used to conceal the black pill of negro supremacy -- this the sugar which was to sweeten for white palates the bitter draught. Surely no political organization that ever existed was more unfortunate in its efforts to deceive. So far from being a recommendation, this provision constitutes one of the most obnoxious provisions of this odious constitution. Designed as a bid for the votes of the laboring classes, it was argued that men of small means would swallow any constitution which provided a homestead exempt from forced sale. But in the form in which it was adopted, so far from befriending the laboring classes, it actually discriminates against them and in favor of the man of means. All persons who own property of less value than $2,000 are, by this feature, deprived of all credit. They cannot buy a pound of coffee and sugar, a bushel of corn, nor a yard of calico, unless they pay the cash. Enact such a law, and the poor man, who cultivates the ground, can buy no necessaries for his family on the promise to pay "when his crop is gathered," or "when he sells his tobacco." When he carries his horse to be shod, his plough to be sharpened, or his wagon to be repaired, he will have to carry his money in his hand, because nothing can be made out of him by law. He does not own $2,000 worth of property, and consequently can get no credit -- but the man of wealth can still enjoy the benefits of the credit system.

This argument is so unanswerable and so plain, that he who runs may read. The "laboring classes" will never consent to ratify a constitution which so far from placing them on an equal footing with others, actually discriminates against them.

We have alluded only to the practical effect of the measure assuming that it would be carried into effect. But the truth is, that it is in direct conflict with the constitution of the United States, and would not stand an hour before any court in christendom. That portion of the law which makes it applicable to debts previously contracted, is ex post facto in its operation, and also "impairs the obligation of private contracts" and in each particular, therefore, is a violation of "the supreme law of the land." -- The framers of this section must certainly have been fools themselves, or supposed that all the people were, or they would not have attempted, by so transparent a ruse, to program and mislead them. Knowing the great destitution and pecuniary distress in the State, they imagined, we suppose, that the people would jump at anything that which promised even a slight measure of relief. But the black-skinned and black-hearted Mongrels who devised the scheme were too stupid to understand, or too degraded to appreciate the instincts of Virginians, when they supposed that negro supremacy could be made more acceptable by the passage of a law which is certain to be set aside by the courts, and which, if constitutional, would only add to the miseries of the poor, by inflicting a fatal stab on their credit. Of all the miserably abortive measures of "so-called" RELIEF this is the most puerile and impotent.

Read the Address
(Column 03)
Summary: The paper urges readers to study the address of conservative Virginians denouncing the new constitution. "If the race to which we belong, with their immense superiority in numbers as in everything else, do not stamp into dust the vile work of the late conspirators at the Capitol, they will deserve to be what they will become with that work triumphant, the slaves of slaves, beggars and outcasts, subjects for the pity, the contempt and derision of the world."
The Character of Juries
(Column 03)
Summary: The paper argues that if the constitution passes, "our juries will be composed exclusively of negroes and white scallawags."
Rally, Freemen, Rally!
(Column 05)
Summary: An article from the Lynchburg Virginian calling upon the white men of Virginia to organize themselves in order to defeat the state constitution.
Full Text of Article:

We call upon every white man, every true Virginian in this State to bestir himself. Let all who can register be sure to do so when the opportunity shall again be offered. But, above all, let the work of organization proceed now. Committees should be at work. The names of all unregistered white voters should be canvassed, and every proper effort be made to induce them to do their duty in this regard. The people should be enlightened, and efforts should be made to send newspapers and documents into those sections of the State that are comparatively isolated, where the people have not had opportunities to get information of the infamous doings of this Convention and its sponsor, the Radical party. No stone should be left unturned; no effort spared to arouse the people against an instrument that would be as degrading to our State in the last degree. Better military government -- a government of force, to be kept over us forever, than that Virginians should seem to acquiesce in the shame and iniquity that have been prepared for them by those claiming to be a Convention of our people. We should under no circumstances whatever, agree to accept universal negro suffrage -- which Northern States, with comparatively few negroes, reject with disdain -- and must, therefore, vote down the constitution that proposes it. Let every Conservative go to work at once. -- Lynchburg Virginian.

-Page 03-

[No Title]
(Column 01)
Summary: The Staunton Musical Association will be performing the Dramatic Cantata--"Belshazzar's Feast: or the Fall of Babylon" at the Institution for the Deaf, Dumb, and Blind.
[No Title]
(Column 01)
Summary: The Staunton Thespians will give a repeat performance of "Catherine Howard, or the Bride of Death."
What Were They?
(Column 01)
Summary: Reports that 15 to 20 members of the Ku-Klux-Klan rode through the streets of the town on Friday at midnight, then mysteriously disappeared.
Full Text of Article:

Some fifteen or twenty beings of some kind on horseback made their appearance in this place about 12 o'clock on Friday night last. They passed through some of the principal streets of the town. We did not see them, but others did. It is supposed that they must have belonged to a Ku-Klux-Klan. They appeared mysteriously, and disappeared in a manner equally mysterious. We have not heard that they molested any one. They seem to have been perfectly harmless. We do not pretend to be able to account for them. -- We know nothing of them. In respect to them we are emphatically "know-nothings."

Virginia Hotel
(Column 01)
Summary: Fred Scheffer has refurbished Chambersburg's Virginia Hotel and reopened it to the public.
(Names in announcement: Fred Scheffer)
Staunton Lyceum
(Column 01)
Summary: The Staunton Lyceum debated whether or not honesty is the best policy. It was decided 15-2 in the affirmative. John B. Baldwin, B. Christian, and R. M. Guy were elected respectively President, Vice-President, and Secretary. S. Travers Phillips was elected treasurer. Members were appointed to debate the next topic on freedom of the press.
(Names in announcement: John A. English, S. Travers Phillips, F. M. Young, James H. Skinner, Pike Powers, J. H. Hewitt, John B. Baldwin, B. Christian, R. M. Guy, Dr. A. M. Fauntleroy, R. Mauzy)
Notice to Clergymen
(Column 01)
Summary: George P. Baker writes to the pastors of Augusta's evangelical churches asking them to forward names of District Managers for canvassing the county for the Augusta County Bible Society. Names should be sent to John A. English.
(Names in announcement: George P. Baker, John A. English)
Meeting in the Court-House
(Column 02)
Summary: Colonel Baldwin delivers an address at the Court-House, criticizing the state constitution and its provisions on suffrage and Homestead Exemptions.
(Names in announcement: Col. Bolivar Christian, Col. George Baylor, Maj. Marshall Hanger)
Full Text of Article:

On yesterday, Monday, (Court-day), at a meeting in the Court-house, on motion of Col. Bolivar Christian, Col. Geo. Baylor was called to the chair. On motion of Maj. Marshall Hanger, Col. Bolivar Christian was appointed Secretary, and on motion of Col. B. Christian, the Editors of the Staunton papers were appointed Assistant Secretaries.

Col. Baldwin took the stand and delivered a systematic, methodical, and able address. He spoke for two-hours and twenty minutes, and was listened to throughout that time, by the large audience, with deep interest and fixed attention. No crisis was ever so dangerous and threatening, and none ever called for more determined thought and intelligent action. It was a time to speak forth the words of truth and soberness. He showed that Congress had no right to require the States to hold Conventions to adopt Constitutions -- no more than a New York mob would have, and that if there were no other objections to the adoption of the Constitution than the character of its origin, that it would still be the duty of the people to vote against it, to enter their protest against such usurpation of power and such violation of their States rights. The pretense of guaranteeing a Republican form of Government and requiring negro suffrage to effect it, was false and hypocritical. They admitted West Virginia, when it recognized slavery and restricted suffrage.

The Constitutional amendment also recognizes restricted suffrage. The Northern States reject negro suffrage, though it would not effect the elections there practically. The rights of the people are not forfeited, because offenses cannot work forfeiture till offenders be tried and convicted, and sentence pronounced upon them. The people have been pardoned, and those pardoned cannot be prosecuted. The rights of the State cannot be forfeited when its citizens have been pardoned, for they constitute the State. The Constitution is infamous in design, and infamous in detail. It provides not negro equality, but negro domination. If the people adopt, or allow the Constitution to be adopted, it will lead inevitably to negro domination.

He would not insult the negro by comparing him to the white miscreant who would use the negro, as the monkey used the cat, to subserve his own selfish purposes. He thought it was the duty of the whites to deal frankly with the negroes, and to let them know to what the adoption of the Constitution would lead. The relation that existed between a kind master and a faithful servant was the kindest which ever existed between the two races, and kinder than any that will ever exist again. They Yankee freed them, because they were in a tight place and needed their help, and not that they cared a fig for the fate of the negro -- didn't care whether the negro got his brains knocked out or not.

Under the Constitution, none but negroes and scallawags can hold office. Taxation will be enormous, because the negroes who will vote the tax will not have it to pay. Will be compelled to send children to mixed schools. The militia will be mixed -- the negro always in the front rank.

The homestead is a worthless bribe that will never be paid -- an attempt to buy white poor men without a consideration.

He closed by appealing to all who could do so to register and to vote, and to vote down the Constitution. The man who can vote and will not do so--stays away from the polls -- is more reprehensible than the man who votes in favor of the Constitution, for to his treason he adds cowardice.

(Column 04)
Summary: Ed F. Fisher and Miss Emma Fately were married in Staunton on April 21st by the Rev. W. E. Baker.
(Names in announcement: Ed F. Fisher, Emma Fately, Rev. W. E. Baker)
(Column 04)
Summary: Julia J. Cease of Staunton died of dropsy of the chest. She was 18 years old. "She was a young lady of bright promise, and the idol of her mother and friends. Having 'remember her Creator in the days of her youth,' her spirit has been released from this prison-house and taken its flight to celestial city."
(Names in announcement: Julia J. Cease)
(Column 04)
Summary: Regina V. Dunlop, infant daughter of Robert B. and Salome F. Dunlop, died on April 7th. She was 4 months.
(Names in announcement: Regina V. Dunlop, Robert B. Dunlop, Salome F. Dunlop)

-Page 04-

Go to Work!
(Column 01)
Summary: Article urging conservative Virginians to go to work organizing to defeat the new constitution. Whites need to defend against "degredation of our race, and see the sceptre of political power pass into the heads of the ignorant and debased."
Origin of Article: Lynch. News
Test Oath
(Column 01)
Summary: Article denouncing the test oath as something no man in the South, black or white, can take.
Origin of Article: Norfolk Virginian