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Valley of the Shadow

Staunton Spectator: January 19, 1869

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Brief Thoughts on the "New Movement."
(Column 01)
Summary: The editors object to the idea of submitting two Constitutions to the voters of Virginia, on the grounds that it will force voters to choose between two documents that both allow "negro suffrage."
Full Text of Article:

If the distinguished gentlemen who compose the "Committee of Nine" at Washington, or any other number of gentlemen from Virginia in whose intelligence, integrity, and patriotism the citizens generally could as confidently rely, had gone there for the purpose of inducing Congress to modify the Underwood Constitution, by striking from that diabolical instrument its most objectionable features, and relieving the citizens from all disabilities save those imposed by the 14th amendment of the Constitution, their mission would have had the cordial approval and hearty "Godspeed" of most of the conservatives of the State. The opposition to the action of those who inaugurated the "New Movement," as it is called, rests upon the two propositions which form the foundation of their announced policy.

1st. To enter into a compact with Congress by which the citizens of Virginia would agree to accept negro suffrage in consideration of being relieved from disfranchisement and ineligibility.

2nd. To have a constitution, framed in accordance with the nature of this compact, submitted as an alternative at the same time with the Underwood Constitution unchanged.

The Conservatives object to the first on the ground that it abandons principle, and yields it for questionable temporary expediency, which, in the end, would be found to be a very grievous bargain. In a word, they think it is "paying too dearly for the whistle."

They object to the second, on the ground of policy, believing that, if the attempt be made to defeat the Underwood Constitution by voting for an alternative one guaranteeing negro suffrage, the almost inevitable result would be the adoption of the Underwood Constitution with all of its accumulate horrors. -- Thousands of Conservatives would feel that they could not conscientiously vote for such a Constitution, and thousands more would not. -- The result would be, the adoption of the Underwood Constitution unchanged. The propositions above stated should, in our humble opinion, be abandoned by the "Committee of Nine," and they should, in lieu thereof, exert their influence to induce Congress to modify the Underwood Constitution so that it would not be more restrictive than would be necessary to make it conform to the 14th amendment, and make it, in other respects, free from objection.

Then there would be but one Constitution submitted, and no necessity would exist for any man to vote in favor of negro suffrage who did not believe it to be both right and expedient. If that Constitution should be so modified, it might, in that shape, be adopted, though thousands, like ourselves, might vote against it, not only because of its objectionable character, but because the Convention which framed it was an unconstitutional body, and its action was not only violative of the rights of Virginia, but, in the eye of the Constitution of the United States, null and void.

P.S. -- Since the expression in brief of the views above, we observe by the last papers received that the "Committee of Nine" are now seeking to secure a modification of the Underwood Constitution. We hope that they may succeed in having it modified to the degree indicated above -- more might be hoped for, but even that cannot be confidently expected. -- Blessed are they that expect little, for they will not be disappointed.

The Proper Spirit
(Column 02)
Summary: Article from the Alexandria Gazette criticizing the "new movement"'s efforts to secure a compromise by agreeing to universal suffrage in the state constitution. Says Virginians should stand united against the Underwood Constitution.
Full Text of Article:

We heartily approve of the tone, temper and spirit of the articles of the Alexandria Gazette in reference to the "new movement," as it is now generally called. We published one of its articles in our last issue, and now publish another which appeared in that journal of the 14th. It is as follows:

We are sorry to see the subject of the recent Conference at Richmond made matter for rather, in some instances, acrimonious discussion, in some quarters of our State; for strife can do now no good and may do much harm. As we have repeatedly said, for ourselves, much as we regret the course of the gentlemen who composed that Conference, and however unfortunate and wrong we think the movement has been, we are perfectly willing to hear them, and to pause awhile for the results of their proceedings. A difference of opinion will not prevent us from doing them justice -- or induce us to do them injustice. Indeed, we have never believed that their mission to Washington would amount to much, one way or the other -- certainly nothing likely to result to the benefit of our citizens. We may be mistaken -- but this is our opinion. When we know exactly what they have said and what they have proposed, and what they have endeavored to effect, we will be all the better prepared to measure, censure, if any has been incurred, or bestow praise if any has been deserved. This much in hope of 'pouring oil upon the troubled waters.'

And now again, with all the lights before us, with all the recollections of the past, and as far as we can judge of all the prospects of the future, we hold on to the recorded and oft repeated declarations of our people not made to suit a political purpose dependent upon any party results of a Presidential or any other election -- and to principles and organization of the Conservative party of Virginia. -- We believe those principles to be true, constitutional, and in strict accordance with our duties, under the circumstances in which we are now placed, and entirely consonant with our obligations as citizens of the United States, acknowledging legal authority of the government and the laws. If "universal suffrage" as it is called, is upon us, or is to be forced upon us, we must submit. But, we never want to have it proposed, bargained for, or committees sent to Washington to effect in Virginia, upon "terms" or otherwise. In the meantime, let our people keep cool, and keep united. Let us obey the laws -- vote upon principle, upon such measures as those having the power may allow us to vote upon -- and as we think best conducive towards the honor and integrity of our State. This will, at least, command the respect of the best of those who are driving measures upon us, and however much we may suffer temporarily, will, in the end, be the best for our true and lasting interests. If we are to have before us first of all, the Underwood Constitution, let us all stand together to defeat that. If we succeed, and other things are submitted to our choice, let us meet them also, in accordance with our cherished principles -- and trust to an overruling Providence to support and sustain us or to enable us to endure what we may be called on to beat.

[No Title]
(Column 02)
Summary: The House Reconstruction Committee ordered the House to consider removal of the political disabilities of Judge H. W. Sheffey.
(Names in announcement: Judge H. W. Sheffey)

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[No Title]
(Column 01)
Summary: The Rev. Cornelius Tyree will preach in Staunton's Baptist Church every night this week.
(Names in announcement: Rev. Cornelius Tyree)
[No Title]
(Column 01)
Summary: The U. S. Patent Office issued two patents to Staunton's Samuel J. Baird for "motive power for sewing machines."
(Names in announcement: Samuel J. Baird)
Staunton Social Club
(Column 01)
Summary: The Staunton Social Club elected officers. An inaugural ball will be held at the Odd Fellow's Hall.
(Names in announcement: C. A. Heller, D. F. Ackerman, W. F. Summerson, John Donovan)
Valley Railroad Election
(Column 01)
Summary: The election on the subscription to the Valley Railroad will be held on February 6th. Prominent speakers will canvass the county in favor of the proposition.
(Names in announcement: Judge Sheffey, John Echols, J. Bumgardner, B. Christian, Dr. Harris, George Baylor, Jacob Baylor, B. F. Hailman, William M. Tate, J. Hotchkiss, M. G. Harman, John J. Larew, J. M. McCue, D. Fultz, I. Waddie, A. B. Cochran, H. M. Bell, David Fultz, Gideon Barnhart, Logan J. Maupin, Samuel D. Crawford, James S. Crawford, Dr. Harris, Chesley Kinney, Richard H. Dudley, J. H. Flecker, John Echols, David Bucher)
Subscription to the Valley Rail Road
(Column 02)
Summary: "A Farmer" writes a letter to the Spectator in favor of the subscription to the Valley Rail Road. He gives a very detailed argument explaining why the Road will ultimately reduce freight costs, and is thus a wise investment.
Full Text of Article:

The question to be determined by the voters of this county, on the 6th of February, is not one of taxation or no taxation. But the real issue is, shall we tax ourselves, for our own benefit, or permit other persons to tax us for the benefit of strangers. Taxation for the latter purpose is inevitable, in the form of high charges for freight for all time, by the Chesapeake & Ohio R. R. unless we agree to contribute for the extension of the Valley Road that is, impose a temporary tax upon our own property for our own benefit.

This result will be made evident by a consideration of the following facts:

The Balt. & Ohio Rail Road is at this time transporting flour from Wheeling to Baltimore, a distance of 380 miles, for 72 cents per barrel, or a fraction under 2 mills per mile. Whilst the Chesapeake & Ohio charges from Staunton to Richmond, a distance of 138 miles, 60 cents per barrel, or 4 1/2 mills per mile. Now when the latter Road reaches the Ohio River, it will come into direct and active competition with the Balt. & Ohio Road for the trade of the North West. And in order to compete successfully with that great Road, it will have to put its charges at the same rates. For example, instead of charging for the transportation of a barrel of flour 4 1/2 mills per mile, as it does now for the flour of Augusta, it will have to carry Ohio flour at the Balt. & Ohio Rail Road rates, or less than 2 mills per mile per barrel. This low rate of charges for the transportation of flour at the Balt. & Ohio Rail Road is the result of competition. But it must be borne in mind that the completion of the Chesa. & Ohio Rail Road will create no competition for the transportation of the surplus products of this county. The farmers will be left, as they are at present, "cabined, cribbed, and confined" to the Chesa. & Ohio Road; the only difference being that the road will be burdened by the increase of transportation consequent on its extension to the Ohio, and we all know the chance of way freight, in competition with through, when the trains are crowded. We will thus be left to the tender mercies of the Chesa. & Ohio Rail Road, and the measure of the charges upon the freights of the county, will be the necessities, or rather the cupidity, of that corporation.

But in order that the Chesa. & Ohio Rail Road may compete successfully with the Balt. & Ohio, it will have to keep up the charges on our productions; that is, upon all way freight. For the higher the charges, and the larger the profits derived from these, the better able will it be to compete with its great rival for the carrying trade of the fertile, and prosperous, the rich and radical, North West. And thus too, may any loss, it will sustain in this contest, be reimbursed to its coffers. It is evident that as long as we have but a single line of railway in our county their will be no motive for the reduction of our freights. But on the other hand whenever the Chesa. & Ohio reaches its western terminus, the strongest and most influential motives will be brought into operation, not only to keep up, but actually to increase the present high charges. It is evident that the excess of charges for carrying Augusta flour, over that charged for Ohio flour by the Chesa. & Ohio Road, will measure the amount of tax the farmers of this county will have to pay for the benefit of the farmers of Ohio. I feel fully warranted in the conclusion that if the Valley Road is extended, the charges for the transportation of flour from the county, will not exceed the present rates of the Balt. & Ohio Road. Because we will then have active competition between rival roads for the freights of the county, and the effect of competition is the same the world over, and cannot be different in the county of Augusta from what it is upon the banks of the Ohio. The effect of competition in the reduction of Rail Road charges can have no more striking illustration than in the fact that the Balt. & Ohio Road carries flour from Wheeling to Baltimore over a road whose grades at some points exceed one hundred feet to the mile, at less than two mills per barrel per mile, whilst the Chesa. & Ohio charges 4 1/2 mills per mile from Staunton to Richmond, over a Road whose grades do not exceed 75 feet to the mile.

Now the completion of the Valley Road producing these results, let us examine their effects upon the interests of this county.

I have already stated that the Balt. & Ohio Road transports a barrel of flour from Wheeling to Baltimore for two mills per mile, and that the Chesa. & Ohio Road, from Staunton to Richmond, charges 4 1/2 mills per mile. A difference of 2 1/2 mills per mile. Now the extension of the Valley Road securing to us the transportation of our flour at the rates of the Balt. & Ohio Road, the result will be the saving of 2 1/2 mills per mile upon every barrel of flour sent from the county by Rail Road, and will save upon every barrel sent from Staunton to Richmond 32 cents, and estimating the surplus flour of the county at only 60,000 barrels a year, we will have an aggregate saving to the county on the single article of flour of $19,200, a sum greater than the annual interest upon the amount we are called to subscribe. -- But if we fail to secure the extension of the Valley Road, which we will certainly do if we refuse to make this subscription, this sum of $19,200 will just measure the annual tax we will be paying on our flour alone for the benefit of the good people of Ohio and other States of the West. I will not stop to estimate the enormous sum to which this will be swelled if we take into the account all the other products of our industry exported from the county, and then add to them what is imported for consumption, such as plaster and other fertilizers, salt, &c., &c.

These benefits resulting from competition between rival roads will enure equally to the advantage of every part of the county, and not be confined to that section through which the road may happen to be located. For every cent taken off the cost of getting a barrel of flour to market, adds just that much to its price in the hands of the producer. Hence, although A, may not be brought really any nearer a depot than he is at present, yet this reduction in the cost of transportation will enure as much to his benefit as it will to that of B, who happens to have his farm adjoining a depot.

The beauty of this honorable emulation between two or more competing Rail Roads is, that the large benefits flowing from it diffuse themselves over every part of the community, and are not confined to favoured localities. The reduction of freight consequent upon the extension of the Valley Road will be enjoyed equally by New Hope and Parnassus, and the interests of Barterbrook will be promoted as much as those of Spring Hill. So that there is no ground for any feeling of opposition on the part of the "East Side" because the Road may possibly be located along the "West Side." The truth being that the great and permanent benefits which the extension of the Valley Road into our midst, will confer upon the county, will be felt "from the centre all round to the circumfrence." And therefore there is no foundation for any feeling of local prejudice or jealousy, in regard to this great work, for in the countless benefits it will confer, all our people, and every part of our noble old county must participate. It is true there are certain casual and incidental advantages, which will be unequally shared by the people, but this is always inseperable from such undertakings and ever will be so, and to hesitate or wait until they can be equalized is forever effectually to clog the wheels of public enterprise and improvement. I have forborne to say anything in reference to the benefits the county will derive from the reductions of freight upon articles of export other than flour: neither have I referred to the incalculable advantages, of even a small reduction, upon the immense amount of merchandise, of every kind and description, brought into the county for consumption, in which all the people must equally share; because I design this article to be suggestive, and not exhaustive. My chief motive in writing it is to direct the attention of the people to the immense importance of securing two Rail Roads that will compete for the carrying trade of this populous county. I will omit anything more than a simple reference, to the advantage we will derive from this road in securing a direct and quick connexion with the large and growing city of Baltimore. Those who send freight there know all about the high charges, vexatious delays, and general annoyance of frequent transfers.

There is one other matter to which I wish very briefly to direct attention. The length of the road from Harrisonburg to the Rockbridge line is near to forty miles. The construction of this road will cost some forty thousand dollars per mile -- making an expenditure in our midst of nearly two million dollars. The benefits of this large expenditure can scarcely be over-estimated. It will infuse new life and activity into every branch of business -- lighten our burdens, and in every way cheer, enliven, and invigorate the energies of our people. The benefits we would derive from this large expenditure of money amongst us would go far to warrant the subscription, on the part of the county, even if no other advantage was to accrue from the building of the Road. I trust, therefore, that all mere local interests, prejudices, and jealousies will be discarded, and that this good old county, always heretofore characterized by an enlightened liberality and public spirit, will present an undivided front, upon this, the most important question to her interests that she has ever been called upon to decide.


Valley Railroad
(Column 03)
Summary: "X" writes a letter to the editor arguing that the Valley Railroad will not be built without Augusta's subscription. He argues against another anonymous author's opinion that Mr. Garrett will build the railroad anyway and provides reasons why such an assumption is erroneous.
Full Text of Article:

A writer in the last Spectator, who "admits that the Valley Railroad will be a benefit to us" -- objects to the subscription, because he says, Rockingham lost her subscription to the Manassas Road; because the B. & Ohio R. R. will build the Valley Road for us; and advises us therefore to be patient!

His admission implies that, when the road is built, our farmers will have, first, a choice of markets where are the highest prices, second, a competition reducing the charges of carrying their produce to market, and bringing back their supplies cheaper in return; hence an immense saving of profit on the produce of the county, and every cent saved off the cost of getting into the last market goes directly into the pocket of the producer, instead of to the pockets of railroad officials. Therefore, our lands will rise in price, because the produce sold will bring that much more profit to the farmer. This will attract more capital to come among us. And while the road is building, will at once add to the money now in circulation, the $1,000,000, which will be spent in its construction along the whole length of the county.

Now, what, if Rockingham "lost" her subscription to the Manassas Road -- (which we do not admit) -- does Augusta, therefore, necessarily lose her subscription to a different road, and under different circumstances? (Augusta did not "lose" her subscription of $20,000 to the Central Road, in fact the land damages paid to a few of her citizens amounted to more than the whole county subscription, and the money spent in the county and put in circulation for that construction of the road, amounted to more than a million of dollars.) But, Rockingham lost her subscription to Manassas, because the war destroyed the Manassas Road, and broke up the Company; just as thousands of citizens lost their horses, wagons, crops, &c. -- Yet do they absurdly decline to put any more money in stock, horses, wagons, crops, &c., and sit down to starve for fear they will now lose their money thus again? The same pretense of argument would persuade any one never to engage in any business for fear he might break and lose money!

Why will "Mr. Garret build our road and pay for it?" His road already sucks the Valley effectually. He enters its very mouth at Harper's Ferry, and pushes up all along the Shenandoah, almost to its head at Harrisonburg; he reaches its heart at Staunton, via the Orange Road and Blue Ridge Tunnel; and at Salem, via Lynchburg, he taps its great Western water shed. Can the Valley be more completely in his grasp, even if it cost him nothing of the $5,000,000 necessary to "build and pay" for the Valley Railroad?

Indeed, as matters now stand, it is to the interest of Mr. Garrett not "to build and pay for our road." From Harrisonburg, through all the lower Valley, he now has a monopoly of the transportation; if the railroad is extended by building the Valley Road, there will be a competing railway route created against Baltimore from far below Harrisonburg in the direction of Richmond and Norfolk, via Valley Railroad and the Central from Staunton Eastward. -- When the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad is completed, Mr. Garrett may then find it to his interest to "build and pay for our road;" not until then, and that only, after this generation has died off, in the vain delusion, with which we have been lulled to sleep for thirty long years already, waiting for "somebody" to "build and pay for our road."

The last reports of the B. & O. R. R. Company show that it is now engaged in spending and pledging all its surplus capital in works of far more immediate importance to it than in building and paying for "our" road to create a competition against itself! It is now making a double track and shortening by straightening its line at enormous cost along its main stem; it is building a costly iron bridge over the Ohio River at Parkersburg; another over the Ohio near Wheeling; (these bridges costing more than the whole road through Augusta;) it is constructing branch roads (longer than the whole Valley Railroad) to Pittsburgh, via Connellsville; to Washington City, via Point of Rocks; to Hagerstown, via Frederick City; and to Strasburg, via Winchester; it has leased and is working at heavy cost the Central Ohio R. R., and the Marietta & Cincinnati Railroad; and it is establishing lines of Ocean Steamers to Liverpool, and another to Bremen, and others to Charleston, New Orleans, &c. Until these vast and pressingly important works are completed -- requiring not only all the surplus capital but the creation of a heavy debt besides -- how futile is the hope that "Mr. Garrett" will undertake to "build and pay for the our road!" It may be soothing to say "it will be done anyhow" -- but we will awake to the delusion when it is too late, for at least this generation, to repair the mistake. Already we are in danger of losing even the present chance; already even Rockbridge, discouraged by the apathy of Augusta, is mediating a proposition to divert its subscription to a short track connecting with the Orange to Baltimore, thence the Southside to Richmond, and then the Valley Railroad fails, and we are left at the mercy of a single Railroad monopoly for an indefinite future. Oh for a tithe of the ancient spirit and generosity which pushed Old Augusta to the head and lead of all great enterprises in the past! X.

(Column 03)
Summary: Benjamin F. Fisher and Miss Lucretia Spitzer, both of New Hope, were married in New Hope Church by the Rev. J. J. Engle.
(Names in announcement: Benjamin F. Fisher, Lucretia Spitzer, Rev. J. J. Engle)
(Column 03)
Summary: William Myers and Miss Rachel C. Shumake, both of Augusta, were married at Mt. Sidney on January 14th by the Rev. J. J. Engle.
(Names in announcement: William Myers, Rachel C. Shumake, Rev. J. J. Engle)
(Column 03)
Summary: William H. Bell of Augusta and Miss Kate V. Brand of Charlottesville were married in Charlottesville on December 31st by the Rev. J. E. Edwards.
(Names in announcement: William H. Bell, Kate V. Brand, Rev. J. E. Edwards)
(Column 03)
Summary: Robert J. Hope of Staunton to Miss R. Wardenburg of Baltimore were married on January 12th at the residence of the bride's mother by the Rev. Julien E. Ingle.
(Names in announcement: Robert J. Hope, R. Wardenburg, Rev. Julien E. Ingle)

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