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Valley of the Shadow

Staunton Spectator: December 1, 1868

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-Page 01-

The Stay Law
(Column 04)
Summary: Willoughby Newton writes a letter to the Spectator, speaking against the repeal of the stay law. Newton argues that debts would be paid in a timely fashion if debtors were protected, but the repeal of the stay law will interfere with this by pushing creditors to collect on the debts before they can be paid. Newton also predicts that the courts will intercede to protect debtors.
Full Text of Article:

The following letter addressed to a citizen of this county was handed to us for publication. -- It was received too late for publication in our last issue as was desired by the person to whom it was addressed.

Hayne P.O., November 16th, 1868.

I have received your kind letter of the 10th inst., in which you are pleased to express your concurrence in my views on the stay law in the Nov. No. of the So. Planter. I am concerned to learn that the good people of the Valley will be either indifferent or opposed to the relief asked. I can readily understand that Staunton, which is a sort of business center and lost little by the war, and in which there is a large disbursement of public money, State and Federal, may be in a condition to require no relief. The same may be said of Lexington, and probably of a few other favored spots. But these are but exceptions to the general distress and ruin pervading the whole State, in which there are no bonds, no money, and no credit. I have seen no where evidences of greater distress and impoverishment than in the lower Valley, and the tobacco region, which we are told was in a very flourishing condition from large crops and high prices, we now hear is in a very suffering state, from exactly the opposite causes. The truth is, our people wish to be hopeful and the newspapers are constantly bragging to keep off despondency, and a profound ignorance prevails as to the real circumstances of the people, which, brag as we may, are not better, and in the estimation of many judicious observers, are much worse than at the close of the war. How could it be otherwise? How could it be expected that a people largely indebted and stripped of a great part of their property, could carry on business successfully without money and without credit? The Northern Neck, except the Valley, the best part of the State, the lands are good, easily tilled, and having navigation almost to every man's door. The people are intelligent, industrious, and economical, yet they find themselves embarrassed at every turn for the want of money, to carry on their business, and few if any, have improved their condition, whilst many are much worse off and find it impossible to carry on their farms.

To enforce vigorously the payment of debts, the state of things would be equivalent to general ruin. Yet the business of debt paying is going on steadily, and if left to themselves, creditors and debtors would be speedily extinguished; whilst a different course will drive many to bankruptcy, by which creditors will lose nearly every thing and greedy speculators take most of the property. And those that do not go into bankruptcy, will, many of them, be drawn into insolvency equally hopeless, by the equitable proceedings for the sale of land, under judgment liens. A proceeding, by the way, which was intended for extreme cases, and never designed as a general remedy for the collection of debts. In the course of an extensive practice of twenty five years, I do not now recollect more than one case in which this remedy was resorted to. Formerly it was the extreme medicine, now it will be the daily bread of the profession. An article in the Enquirer urges Gen. Stoneman to extend the same until thirty days after the meeting of the Legislature. A very good suggestion, but the editor adds that the judiciary and the lawyers are opposed to it. I can't say what are the views of all the judges, but I am very sure that some of them would be very glad to see relief extended to our suffering people, and though having doubts as to the constitutionality of the original statue which of course cannot apply to a mere military order, which confesses it is not under the Constitution. But the law has not been declared unconstitutional by the Courts, or if the judges in their public capacity shall throw their influence against a suffering people, they will well deserve the damnation unjustly hurled by Jno. Randolph against the bench, forty years ago, "the book of Kings comes after the book of Judges," and we might add, the sooner the succession is established the better.

You ask for practical suggestions as to what we shall do? My purpose was to urge the people to a sense of their danger, that they might take the proper steps for their relief. I could not expect to exercise any influence personally with the military authorities, but I can not doubt that appeals for relief properly addressed, will have effect. If Gen. Stoneman declines to act, from delicacy or want of power, let Gen. Schofield be approached upon the subject, and a final appeal if necessary be made to Gen. Grant. Our people are now too poor to attend Conventions. They might act efficiently at their County Courts, and the country people being near the rail roads, might find many opportunities to be heard at Richmond.

I doubt whether the cities will have much sympathy with the country. Many of the merchants have availed themselves of the bankrupt law, whilst others have compromised with their creditors, and think they have an interest in compelling speedy settlements with their country debtors, in which they will find themselves sadly mistaken. But is it possible that any considerable number of the people of Virginia, can prefer their own petty interests to the salvation of the Commonwealth? I think not, and that by a just and magnanimous policy on the part of both debtors and creditors, our noble State may be saved from the ruin that threatens her both socially and politically.

I remain very truly, your friend,


Gen. Grant as President
(Column 05)
Summary: The Petersburg Index writes of the discomfort among Radicals who fear that Grant will not act in accordance with their interests. The Index predicts that Grant will follow his own conscience, rather than partisan considerations, and will thus foil the Radicals.
Full Text of Article:

It is amusing, says the Petersburg Index, to watch the writhings of the Radical press at every suggestion that the administration of General Grant will not carry out to the full extent the views and wishes of the party of destruction. Especially does every reference of this kind from those who supported Seymour and Blair seriously afflict them. A kind word -- a hint that his record does not justify any other conclusion than that he will prove conservative in his course of action -- an offer of generous support if he should realize the expectations that even the Conservatives of his own party entertained of him -- seems to stir up all the bitterness of their natures. Now, this is to be regretted, but we cannot help it. -- We have no right to withhold the expression of views and opinions of intelligent people who have the good of the country at heart, and feel a deep interest in the success of General Grant's administration. If our Radical friends have made a mistake in their man, if they, having selected him for success merely, now regret the act, it is no fault of those who are now for sustaining him if he shall faithfully adhere "to the landmarks of the Constitution." We are among those who are willing to believe that Gen. Grant means to do right, and in this belief we find ourselves sustained by the Democratic press of the country.

The following from the York (Pa.) Democrat and Press, edited by C. F. Black, Esq., son of Hon. J. S. Black, is in print.

It is our opinion that General Grant will not be three months' President before he will incur the high displeasure of his present partisans. Already the Springfield Republican and the New York Times advise him to reverse the policy of the party in several essential particulars, and already Phillips is in the lecture room sounding the loud note of warning to the pure and straight-out Radicals. When that time comes, and Grant is branded as "a traitor to his friends," his defence will be a very plain and just one. "You never appropriated me until 1867. Then you did so only because you were forced to it. Before that you were for anybody and everybody in preference to me.-- I accepted your nomination, because it was offered to me first. I might have had the Democratic nomination and been elected all the same. I saved you from certain and merited defeat, and cannot perceive how that circumstance places me under any obligations to you. My whole life has been spent in opposition to you. I stood between you and your meditated vengeance upon Lee and his soldiers. In my famous 'whitewashing' report I told the solemn truth about the peaceful disposition of the Southern people, and then earnestly besought that those States might be permitted to resume their proper places in the Union, and be heard through their own representatives. I swore before a committee that I had approved the North Carolina proclamation, both when it was prepared by Mr. Lincoln and when it was promulgated by Mr. Johnson. I at the same time gave it as my opinion that the submissive and pacific temper of the South ought to have been 'taken advantage of' to give self-government, peace, and security to the whole land. I am not given to much talking or writing, but what I have said has been uniformly Conservative or Democratic in sentiment. When you sent Wade to examine me I 'talked horse' and when you sent the colored man I talked 'pups.' When you sent Forney I couldn't make up my mind to talk at all. Even when I accepted your nomination I did so, without committing myself to your equivocal and unintelligible platform. I expressly declared that I would be guided by events, and follow the 'will of the people.' Of this latter, I find the most solemn and authentic expression in the Constitution of the United States, which I have sworn to support. You cannot complain that you have misunderstood me. You nominated me in obedience to the conservative sentiment of a large majority of the people of the country. --You nominated me, and they elected me because I was not a Radical. My administration must proceed in harmony with these opinions."

Early in the coming winter the Supreme Court will decide McCardle's case, and following their own authority in Milligan's case, they will pronounce the reconstruction acts with all the negro oligarchies which have grown up under them, unconstitutional and void. General Grant will undoubtedly accept their decision as the law of the land, while the Radicals will just as certainly repudiate it, as they have already done the plainest provision of the Constitution. The issue of such a conflict cannot be doubtful. The Radical two-thirds in the House of Representatives melted away in the late elections. What they saved of their majority was saved by Grant's great name. With all the Conservative Republicans and the whole Democratic party at his back, Grant will grind the pestulent factions to atoms.

What we have here written is upon the supposition that General Grant will maintain his self-respect, that he will not belie his own record, and that he will not allow himself to be bullied or deluded into a betrayal of his own heart and conscience.

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Valley R. R. Subscription
(Column 01)
Summary: The Spectator argues that the amount farmers will save on reduced freight costs will more than compensate the county for the subscription to the Valley Railroad.
Full Text of Article:

Should the Valley R. R. be built the farmers in this county would not only have a choice of the best flour and cattle markets in this country North and South, but they would have the advantage of having their marketable products of whatever character transported to the best market at the lowest possible rates. This result, which is a very important one, would be sure to be realized, for as the markets of Baltimore, Alexandria and Richmond are so nearly equal, the rates of freight would determine whether the farmers would send their products by the Chesapeake and Ohio R. R. or by the Valley Railroad, and this would make these competing roads reduce the charges for freight from this point to the lowest figure.

Unless there be two roads leading to different markets from this point, it would certainly result that the charges on the way freight on the Chesapeake and Ohio R. R. would be kept up to a price which would enable it to compete successfully with the Baltimore and Ohio R. R. for the through freight from the West, where the competition between these two great lines would be very active.

The amounts thus saved to the farmers of this county by having two Railroads leading to different markets from this point would in a short time more than compensate them for the addition which the subscription necessary to secure that result would make to their taxes.

As the failure on the part of this county to vote a subscription to the Chesapeake and Ohio R. R. did not have the apprehended effect of defeating the scheme for the construction of that most important line of improvement, it is fortunate that the subscription to that road was defeated, for it will ensure, as we think, the vote of this county in favor of the subscription to the Valley R. R. If the county had voted for the former subscription it would not have felt able to vote for the latter. As it is, the county can, and will, we believe, vote for the subscription of $300,000 to the stock of the Valley Railroad. This subscription is necessary to secure the construction of this road, and this road is necessary to protect our farmers against any discrimination which the Chesapeake and Ohio Road might be disposed to make to the prejudice of their interests.

Virginia Conference M. E. Church, South
(Column 01)
Summary: A listing of the statistics of the Virginia Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church South.
Full Text of Article:

The following are the statistics of the Conference:
White members....................................38,672
Colored members.....................................994
White local preachers...............................138
Colored local preachers...............................8
Adult baptisms (past year)........................1,301
Infant baptisms (past year).........................897
Number of Sunday schools............................434
Number of officers and teachers...................4,126
Number of scholars...............................22,787
Number of volumes in the library.................41,545
Number of parsonages.................................28
Value of same...................................$80,900
Number of churches..................................442
Value of same..................................$715,835

The boundaries of the Virginia Conference are east of the Blue Ridge mountains and south of the Rappahannock river. The increase in membership during the past year has been a little over 2,000 persons. There are three other conferences in Virginia in connection with the Methodist Episcopal Church South.

Grant Remains Mum
(Column 02)
Summary: Though the Radical press claims that the election of Grant was an endorsement of their policy, and though many Radical leaders praise Grant and ask him to pursue specific policies, Grant refuses to speak on policy matters.
Full Text of Article:

The Radical press insists, says the Chambersburg (Pa.) Valley Spirit, that the election of Grant was an endorsement of the Congressional Reconstruction policy. Grant smokes his cigar complacently, and refuses to say anything.

Wendell Phillips and John W. Forney clamor for negro suffrage. Grant smokes his cigar and says nothing.

Anna Dickinson writes a book in which she shows the blessings of miscegenation and the intermarriage of the blacks and whites. Grant smokes his cigar, smiles, and keeps silent.

At Harrisburg, Bergner and his crew get up a demonstration to do honor to the Chief.-- Grant gets up from the dinner table, lights his cigar, advances to the balcony of the Lochiel, bows his acknowledgments, and "opens not his mouth."

The Radical Mayor and black citizens of Washington call upon him and tender him a grand reception. Grant puffs away at his cigar and declines the proffered honor.

He goes to New York and the Union League, prays the privilege of throwing open its doors to do him reverence. Grant calls for a fresh cigar, and says he would rather not.

Bonner drives Pocahontas around, and again Dexter, takes the silent man into his machine, whirls him around the Central Park and back again to the Metropolitan. Grant all the while smokes his cigar, admires "the points" of the magnificent horses, enjoys himself hugely, but says nothing. Edwards Pierrepont, who gave his check for $20,000 to aid in Grant's election, invites him to tea, exhibits all his silver plate, talks glibly on matters of State, but Grant puffs away at Pierrepont's cigars and "talks horse."

A splendid dinner is given to Attorney General Evarts while the President elect is in New York. Charles O'Conner, Esq., presides and Grant and Evarts sit upon his right and left hand. All the members of the N. Y. Bar are in attendance. A toast is drunk to the President elect. He rises to his feet, cigar in hand, says that there is no other community he would rather receive praises from than the New York people, resumes his seat and the weed, and on matters of state utters not a word.

[No Title]
(Column 02)
Summary: The Louisville Courier claims that Grant "committed himself to a magnanimous policy when he received the surrender of Southern armies". He is bound by honor to pursue a fair policy, without regard to partisan concerns.
Full Text of Article:

General Grant, says the Louisville Courier Journal committed himself to a magnanimous policy when he received the surrender of Southern armies. He has never withdrawn that committal in any public manner. We trust he never will withdraw it. Presently he will be the supreme head of the nation, with power to do what Andrew Johnson tried to do, that is to restore the Union to the people of both sections. If he does that, he will crown his administration with glory. If he does it not, he will break the plighted word of a soldier, given to the South in the presence of the world. We do not mean to assume in advance that he will disgrace himself and the country by a harsh course of procedure toward the people of the South. Nor do we pledge our support in advance if he does the clever thing. There is a wide difference of policy between the Republican and Democratic parties outside of reconstruction. Reconstruction ought not to be a partisan question at all. General Grant ought not to allow it to be so. It should be abandoned by the common consent of all parties, and the States of the South be returned to their equal place in the Union with out any restraints that are not imposed on the States of the North, and with no other guaranties than those supplied by their manhood and their necessities.

Bankrupt Petitioners
(Column 02)
Summary: Advises debtors to declare bankruptcy before the stay-law is revoked.
Full Text of Article:

Persons wishing to avail themselves of the benefits of the Bankrupt law should file their petitions before the 1st of January, for at that time the 50 per cent clause will go into effect, and parties will have to pay 50 per cent of their indebtedness or be debarred the benefit of the law. As Congress has once postponed the time for the operation of that feature of the law, it is not probable that it will do so again.

There may be some who have not applied because they think the stay-law will be kept in force; but that law expires by limitation on the 1st day of January, and it is pretty well understood that Gen. Stoneman will not have it continued, though that would accord with the wishes of a large majority of the citizens of the State.

It would be well if we could have a stay-law for ten years providing that the debtor should annually pay the interest and 10 per cent of the principal of his debts - failing to do which would debar him from the privileges of the law.

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[No Title]
(Column 01)
Summary: Speeches about the Valley Railroad will be given at Waynesboro on Friday.
[No Title]
(Column 01)
Summary: The revival at Staunton's M. E. Church South is still in progress. To date there have been 40 conversions and 34 who have joined the church.
Valley Railroad Meetings
(Column 01)
Summary: Lists the times, dates, and places in Augusta county where prominent citizens will speak on the Valley Railroad question.
(Names in announcement: Gen. John Echols, Maj. William M. Tate, Capt. James Bumgardner, Col. J. B. Baldwin, Maj. H. M. Bell, Col. M. G. Harman, Col. B. Christian, Capt. Jed Hotchkiss, Capt. R. H. Catlett, Maj. J. M. McCue, Maj. Absalom Koiner, A. H. H. Stuart)
Staunton Lyceum
(Column 01)
Summary: The Staunton Lyceum debated whether Staunton should vote a $100,000 subscription to the stock of the Valley Railroad Company, on condition that Staunton be a point on the road. It was decided 10-1 in the affirmative. Ranson, Young, Hotchkiss and Harman argued in the affirmative; Latane, Powers, Skinner and Clarke in the negative. Debaters were assigned for future topics.
(Names in announcement: Ranson, Young, Hotchkiss, Harman, Latane, Powers, Skinner, Clarke, McCoy, Ryan, Mauzy)
The Next Administration
(Column 02)
Summary: The Norfolk Virginian writes that the government currently operates without any guidance. When Grant takes power, he will act according to the circumstances.
Full Text of Article:

The speculations which are indulged by the Press in regard to the policy of the President elect, if compiled would fill many folio volumes; and, as we read them, we cannot forbear the reflection that, as Grant has been the child of circumstances in the past, he will in the future adapt themselves to these. The time is coming when the "man on horseback" will clatter on his iron shod steed through the streets of Washington; but the day is not yet. We must drift on further towards the breakers which fringe the shores of the future. For the present the mere mechanisms of the Government will keep us afloat.

It is a curious fact, known to comparative anatomists, that the heart of a shark will continue its regular pulsations long after it has been cut from the bosom of the monster, whose circulation it once controlled. We have seen this; pulse after pulse is recorded, while the great body to which it once gave animation is cold and stark. So with the mere machinery of our Government. It will go on day after day, gradually becoming less vigorous in its operation, until at last with its final pulsation the system of which it was born becomes extinct. When that day arrives we shall find that some aspiring young man will take the reins of Government in his gauntleted hand; but for the present the pulsation still goes on with automatic force, and the next administration will be shaped, as we have said, according to circumstances as they may arise. -- Norfolk Virginian.

Female Suffrage
(Column 02)
Summary: The Richmond Whig opposes female suffrage because it will corrupt women by involving them in politics.
Full Text of Article:

The Richmond Whig says that it is not on account of the suffrage, or from any apprehensions that woman would make it worse, that we object to female suffrage. But it is on woman's account -- for our own sake; for the sake of humanity -- that we would save her from this fatal contamination. While she is pure, we have a rallying point. When she becomes debauched by politics, the last altar is profaned; our last resource is exhausted; the last hope of humanity is extinct.

(Column 03)
Summary: John W. Arey and Miss Lou C. Wheeler, both of Augusta, were married on November 18th by the Rev. Thomas E. Carson.
(Names in announcement: John W. Arey, Lou C. Wheeler, Rev. Thomas E. Carson)
(Column 03)
Summary: James W. Weade and Miss Ella F. Davis, both of Augusta, were married on November 19th at the residence of the bride's mother by the Rev. J. J. Engle.
(Names in announcement: James W. Weade, Ella F. Davis, Rev. J. J. Engle)
(Column 03)
Summary: Abraham Miller and Miss Emma V. Beard, both of Augusta, were married at New Hope on November 22nd by the Rev. J. J. Engle.
(Names in announcement: Abraham Miller, Emma V. Beard, Rev. J. J. Engle)
(Column 03)
Summary: John S. Lipscomb and Miss Cornelia C. Hunter, both of Augusta, were married at the residence of John N. Hunter on the South River on November 24th by the Rev. C. S. M. See.
(Names in announcement: John S. Lipscomb, Cornelia C. Hunter, John N. Hunter, Rev. C. S. M. See)
(Column 03)
Summary: Jacob F. Webb and Miss Susan M. McComb, both of Augusta, were married near Barterbrook on November 26th by the Rev. C. S. M. See.
(Names in announcement: Jacob F. Webb, Susan M. McComb, Rev. C. S. M. See)
(Column 03)
Summary: Mary Caperton Echols, infant daughter of General John Echols, died in the Staunton residence of her father on November 30th.
(Names in announcement: Mary Caperton Echols, Gen. John Echols)
(Column 03)
Summary: Mrs. Abbie Shields died of paralysis at the residence of George Crobarger, near Greenville, on November 7th. She was 82 years old.
(Names in announcement: Abbie Shields, George Crobarger)

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