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Valley of the Shadow

Staunton Spectator: January 26, 1869

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-Page 01-

The Valley Rail Road Subscription
(Column 04)
Summary: "A Farmer" responds to a letter to the January 12th Spectator. This letter argued that subscribing to the Valley Rail Road would be a waste of money, for the Company would build it even without Augusta's investment. "A Farmer" argues that this is incorrect, and that the Company will only construct the Rail Road if Augusta accepts some of the cost.
Full Text of Article:

In the last "Spectator" I presented some reasons in favor of the proposed subscription by this county to the capital stock of the Valley Rail Road.

I now propose to examine an objection which has been urged with some earnestness and apparent sincerity. The objection is, that the interests of the city of Baltimore, and the Baltimore & Ohio Rail Road, are sufficient to secure the extension of this Road to Salem, passing through the entire length of our county, without any contribution upon our part, and that we may thus enjoy all the advantages which will flow from it, and incur none of the burdens of its construction. The people of the county are therefore advised to fold their arms in listless inactivity, and wait until (according to a correspondent of the Spectator of the 12th), "Mr. Garrett finishes the road to Staunton." This "masterly inactivity," so vehemently recommended by the opponents of this subscription, calls to mind that Hero of Greek fable, who coming to a rapid and deep stream which poured its dark floods athwart his pathway coolly and deliberately seated himself upon its banks to wait until the turbid waters should flow by, and permit him to pass over dry shod. And had he not, according to the philosophy of the Spectator's correspondent, reason for his conduct; for "tendency of events was surely in his favor" -- the current being rapid. Now, is the interest of the city of Baltimore in this enterprise, sufficient to justify her in incurring the expense necessary to its completion? Let us examine this question, briefly, in the light of facts.

Baltimore has already secured the trade of the Valley as far South as the county of Rockingham. She is likewise connected by the Alexandria & Orange, and Lynchburg and Tennessee Roads with all the Valley South of Salem; these roads also connect her with that system of railways running through Tennessee, Northern Georgia, Alabama &c. The only country then whose trade she can hope to secure by this extension is that of the counties of Augusta, Rockbridge and Botetourt. And in these she will have to share with Richmond, by means of the Chesa. & Ohio Road, in this county, the North River improvement in Rockbridge, and the James River & Kanawha Canal in Rockbridge and Botetourt.

So that all the advantages Baltimore can secure is a part of the trade of the three counties I have named. (It must be remembered that the extension of the Valley Rail Road to Salem will secure to the to the city of Baltimore no new railroad connection, for she is already connected with the road Southwest of that point). Now is this sufficient to justify, on her part, the very large outlay necessary to carry the Valley road to Salem? As fertile, prosperous, and enterprising as these counties are, would not the certainty of securing their entire trade be purchased at too high a rate, if she should pay for it -- the whole cost of building a railroad from Harrisonburg to Salem?

That the city of Baltimore has a large interest in this extension is evident, but it is not enough, by a great deal, to justify her in undertaking it alone; nor to warrant us in depending upon her in a matter so vital to our interests. Yet it is enough to secure her hearty co-operation, valuable assistance, and liberal contributions of money. In fact, without her aid the counties immediately interested cannot build the road.

But in order to secure that aid we must put our own shoulders to the wheel. If under the advice of the opponents of this subscription we do nothing but fold our arms and call upon Hercules, we will be left sticking in the mud for all time. The only way in which we can secure the extension of this Road, so essential to our interests, is by a just and fair contribution of our own means. I think I may well ask if it comports with the high spirit, and just pride of an honorable and chivalrous community to be influenced by appeals, to such a narrow and heartless selfishness as is involved in the objections I have been considering? Addressed to a narrow-minded and penurious people they might have influence, but with the citizens of this noble county, who have always been characterized by generous and public spirited conduct, they will, I feel sure, have less weight than the lightest down that floats upon the summer breeze.

There is another branch to the objection I have been considering which I wish briefly to notice. It is that the Baltimore & Ohio road will extend the Valley road, at least as far as Staunton, in order to "tap" the Chesapeake and Ohio. A brief consideration of this matter will show, I think, that there are no grounds upon which to build such a hope. The great object in constructing the Ches. & Ohio road is the trade of the Northwestern States. And for this she must compete with the Baltimore & Ohio on the banks of the Ohio river; and if she can there, at the start, offer such advantages and facilities, as to secure that trade by what process is the Balt. & Ohio road to deprive her of any part of it by "tapping" at Staunton, or any other point on her line? The Ches. & Ohio road can effectually prevent any diversion of trade from her line by discriminating in her charges against all freight for the point "tapped" by her rival.

The correspondent of the "Spectator," referred to before, has quite a jeremiad over the fate of Rockingham in reference to her Rail Road subscription, and says she now owns the stock in the Manassas Road, but her bonds are still unpaid. This may be true for aught I know to the contrary. But this I do know, she has the road, which is much better than the stock, and I venture the assertion that Rockingham would not to day exchange the road for her bonds. She will receive every year two or three times the amount of interest she has to pay in the enhanced price of her corn crop alone. A FARMER.

The Valley Railroad
(Column 05)
Summary: "Salem" writes to cast disgrace on the Augusta residents who oppose funding the Valley Railroad. He argues that the money spent in taxes will be made up in lower freight rates, and that both travellers and farmers would benefit.
Valley Railroad
(Column 05)
Summary: "Baltimore" writes to oppose the funding of the Valley Railroad on the grounds of common business sense. He argues that Baltimore can, should, and will fund the road. Augusta's small contribution can do little to get it built, and putting the county and its taxpayers in debt cannot be justified by freight savings, especially when interest is taken into consideration.

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The Rule of Radical Policy
(Column 01)
Summary: Editorial concerning the proposed amendments to the Underwood Constitution. Predicts that Congress will accept or reject these amendments based on the political interests of the Radicals.
Full Text of Article:

We publish in this issue the memorial of the Conservative "Committee of Nine" to the Judiciary Committee of the Senate, which will enable our readers to see what the "Committee of Nine" has done, and the character of the amendments they propose to the Underwood Constitution. The next, and more important thing, is to know what Congress will do in reference thereto. And yet, it is impossible to predict with any degree of certainty what action Congress will take. If we knew what the opinions of the majority of the Congressmen were in reference to the effect the adoption or rejection of these amendments would have upon the Radical party, we could, with confidence, predict what course they would adopt.

If they were satisfied that the Underwood Constitution unchanged would be adopted, and would not injure their party, they would reject any propositions of amendment.

If, on the contrary, they believe that it will be rejected unless modified, they will agree to modify it to the extent merely which is necessary, in the opinion, to secure its adoption and protect their party against injury.

They care not a fig about the rights of either the white or colored citizens of the South. -- They look alone to the interests of their party. If they thought the negroes would not vote with their party, they would not allow a negro to vote. If the whites of the South would vote with their party, they would not allow the negroes to vote, even if they would vote with their party, for then they would not need their votes.

They care not for the rights of either color in the South. They would enfranchise or disfranchise either race as the supposed interests of their party would dictate.

The alpha and omega of the policy of the Radicals is the supremacy of their party in power. When relief to the Southern people from outrageous oppression will redound, in the opinion of the Radicals, to the interest of their party, they will be willing to grant such relief, and not before.

The Underwood Constitution is of such a horrid character that the more sensible of the Republicans believe that it injures their party by exciting the disgust of all respectable persons, and this class of Republicans are in favor of having it modified.

Before the Reconstruction Committee
(Column 02)
Summary: Account of negotiations between Virginians and the Reconstruction Committee over attempts to amend the proposed Virginia constitution. Summarizes the arguments in favor of and against the Underwood constitution, with disfranchisement of whites the main point of contention.
Full Text of Article:

The chief struggle so far between the Conservative "Committee of Nine," laboring to secure a modification of the Underwood Constitution, and the Radical committee from Richmond striving to prevent it, has been before the Reconstruction committee of the House of Representatives. Gov. Wells heads the delegation of Radicals from Virginia who are working like beavers to prevent Congress from assenting to any change of the Underwood abomination. He is accompanied and aided by Whittlesey, Fields Cook, Geo. Rye, Clements, and others.

On Thursday last, Gov. Wells and Geo. Rye made statements on their side of the question before the Reconstruction committee.

As reported by Cowardin of the Dispatch, Gov. Wells said that he did not believe that loyal men would be safe from wrong and outrage if the white people of Virginia were all enfranchised; he believed that the only mode of protecting them would be to adopt the constitution made by the Underwood convention as it was; he was satisfied that the adoption of the plan of the committee of "nine" would break down the Republican party and destroy the last hope of "loyalists" in Virginia; he was sure the people, whatever they might say now, would in a few years take away the rights of the negro unless the Republican party became strong enough to protect them; and the only way to secure strength to that party was to give it power to direct the restoration of the State -- none but the Republican party could secure justice to all classes and rebuild the State -- there could be no justice, no education, no prosperity, save through the Republican party -- that party would invite immigration, insure the safe investment of capital, and put Virginia in a way of rapid improvement. He assured the committee that there were ten millions of dollars ready at this time to be brought into the State under Republican auspices to build railroads, etc., etc. He declared that the new movement had not the support of Virginians -- that he did not believe that ten thousand white people in Virginia would support it; that if it was carried it would have to be carried by Republican votes; but the Republican party would not vote for it -- they were opposed to reconstructing Virginia in that way; they would be willing to see the whites enfranchised after a few years, when it could be done safely; but not now. It was asked whether, if the plan of the nine succeeded, the loyal men would have anything to compensate them for the concession that would be made. He replied, "None whatever."

Geo. Rye endorsed the statements of Wells; though he had previously declared that he differed widely from him. The old man could not withstand the pressure that was doubtless brought to bear upon him by his fellow radicals.

Immediately after these proceedings, one L. C. Tibbetts, hailing from Virginia, filed with the Reconstruction Committee charges against General Stoneman. They were received by Mr. Boutwell, who remarked that the subject was beyond the jurisdiction of the committee, yet the committee would look into it. The charges may be put under the general head of disloyalty to the reconstruction acts and thwarting the "loyal" plans in Virginia.

On the next day, Friday last, Col. Baldwin, as the Representative of the Conservative "Committee of Nine," addressed the Reconstruction Committee. His address was of considerable length and was very able. The following is the account of the days' proceedings before the Reconstruction Committee as furnished by the Associated Press despatch:

"Colonel John B. Baldwin, of Staunton, at the request of the committee, first explained fully the legal aspect of the Methodist Church Property question, and the bearing of that question on the peace and harmony of society in Virginia.

Mr. Phelps, representing the Methodist Episcopal Church North, was present; and began his reply, but gave way to allow Colonel Baldwin to state, on behalf of the Virginia committee, their views in regard to the constitution of Governor Wells and the means of successful reconstruction. Colonel Baldwin spoke eloquently for an hour, and was listened to with marked attention. In reply to questions of the committee, he expressed his confident belief that the people of the State would support and carry out in good faith the plan which he advocated.

Mr. Boutwell, the chairman of the committee, said that Congress and the people of the North were anxious to remove political disabilities at the South as soon as they should feel it could be safely done. He could not see how guarantees could be given by Virginia that loyalists would be protected, but would like to hear Mr. Baldwin on the subject.

Mr. Baldwin, in reply, said that, upon his own responsibility as a Virginian and gentleman, they would be safe in Virginia as anywhere in the world, and that the people and courts would give full force to the laws and perfect protection to all men and all classes.

Mr. Franklin Stearns, of Richmond, at the request of the committee, spoke on the subject. He said that since the defeat of the Democratic party the people of Virginia were ready to comply with the reconstruction laws, and that more than half of the property-holders were ready to restore the State on the basis proposed by the committee of nine. If the State was restored under the pending constitution, with disfranchisement and county organizations stricken out, she would immediately have her prosperity revived, and rapidly grow in wealth and population. So restored, justice would be impartially administered, and all classes completely protected. Mr. Stearns was listened to attentively, and his statement made a decided impression."

The Washington correspondent "E" of the Balt. Gazette gives the following in reference to the statements of Baldwin and Stearns -- the latter a consistent Union man whose "loyalty" has not been questioned:

"The Hon. J. B. Baldwin, of Virginia, addressed the Reconstruction Committee of the House this morning at considerable length, elaborating the views which have already been published by authority of the Richmond committee, and maintaining that the people of Virginia were honest in their purposes, but that a very large majority were in favor of the committee's programme. In these views Mr. B. was vigorously sustained by Franklin Stearns, Chairman of the Radical State Central Committee of Virginia. Mr. Stearns condemned the Underwood Constitution, and said that it would be defeated by an honest vote of the people, but that its defeat would leave the State still without a civil government, and subject to all the whims and caprices of military rule. Hence, as the representative of the Radical party of Virginia, he favored the programme of the Conservative Committee, which did offer the people some prospect of a stable civil government. Mr. Baldwin did not conclude his argument, but will return to it next Wednesday morning. The Radical members of the committee intimated no opinion, but listened with great attention to the statements submitted. The belief, as expressed by a gentleman who was present is, that the committee was favorably impressed with Mr. Baldwin's remarks. Nevertheless, the "outside" Conservatives, who are here from Virginia watching the progress of events, predict an utter failure of the Richmond programme, particularly in view of the violent action of the House of Representatives in retaining a Radical member in his seat after the Committee on Election had twice reported against his right to be there.

A special telegram to the Alexandria Gazette dated Friday last says:

"The Virginia Committee are still laboring for their plan. Col. Baldwin this morning, addressed the Reconstruction Committee in a speech which occupied an hour and a half, which was listened to with marked attention and great interest, and is regarded as an able effort.

The Judiciary Committee of the Senate have as yet done nothing in reference to Virginia and the Radicals from Richmond and other parts of the State are stirring to prevent any action.

Vote for the Valley Railroad
(Column 04)
Summary: "Well-wisher" writes a letter to the Spectator in favor of the Valley Railroad subscription. He focuses on the effects it would have on freight costs and property values.
Full Text of Article:

Augusta County will stand deplorably in her own light should she refuse to assist in building the Valley Railroad. If our people will take a calm view of the question divested of all passion and prejudice, they will not fail to see how greatly they must be benefitted by this Road. Our County already stands foremost in wealth of all the counties of the State; this is abundantly shown in a late article in the Enquirer and Examiner, which the Spectator will no doubt republish. But great as her wealth already is, it is small in comparison with what it will be if her people will only display a proper energy and enterprise in developing her magnificent resources; they owe this to themselves, to their children, and to the kind Providence who has given them such a good land for their inheritance.

We have already a Railroad running East and West across our County, giving us the advantage of the markets of Richmond and Norfolk; what we now need to complete our prosperity is a Road which shall cross it North and South, and connect us directly with another and greater market, that of Baltimore. We would then have the advantage of two markets competing by direct lines for our products, and two Railroads competing for the carrying of them. Now, does not the veriest simpleton know, that if he has anything to sell, he can generally get a better price for it if there are two persons wanting to buy, than if there were but one; and can any one doubt that the rival cities of Baltimore and Richmond will bid against each other for our trade? Again, it takes not a very wise man to understand that if he has anything which he wishes carried to market, that he can get it cheaper, if there are two parties who are eager to carry it, than if there were but one man who had this monopoly of the carrying business, and who could therefore say, "If you want any carrying done you must pay me what I choose to demand, for there is no one but myself who can do it for you." Now Baltimore owns an interest in a great part of the line from here to Baltimore, and Richmond owns a large interest in the line from here to Richmond, so that it will be manifestly to the interest of the these cities, when they are brought into direct competition, to put the freights on their respective roads down to the lowest possible figure, in order to get our trade. But these cities will not only be each desirous of buying from us, but each will also be eager to sell to us, and therefore will find it to their interest to have the freights on dry goods, groceries, plaster, artificial manures, and indeed everything we buy from them, put as low as possible in order to induce us to buy. So that with two competing cities, and two rival Roads, we will sell everything we need to buy, on better terms than at present. Now if the farmers of Augusta, under the advantage of two roads, will be able to get their flour to market cheaper by 25 cents per barrel than they do at present -- and that this will be the case, has been and can be demonstrated -- the saving on the freight of flour alone will every year amount to nearly or quite the whole yearly tax that will be imposed on the county in consequence of its subscription to the Valley Road. If, for instance, a farmer owns land valued at ten thousand dollars, the Railroad tax on his land would not exceed twenty dollars, and if this same farmer had a surplus of 750 barrels of wheat, or 150 barrels of flour, for sale, he would get it taken to market at 25 cents per barrel cheaper than at present, by which he would save $37.50, which would pay his tax and leave $17.50 of clear gain in his pocket. But, as we have already argued, he will save not only on the transportation of his wheat, but on the transportation of his corn, rye, oats, cattle, hogs, and everything else he sends to market, or if he sells these same things in Staunton the merchants can afford to give him better prices for them, just in proportion as the freights are lower.

The building of the Valley Railroad will also greatly enhance the VALUE of our lands. A rise in the price of lands naturally and invariably follows whenever any section of county is penetrated by a Railroad. A late issue of an agriculture paper speaking of "Farming Lands near New York," remarks, "nearness to a railroad, or close proximity to water communication, in all instances exerts more influence in fixing a high price on land than any other one consideration." The reason is obvious; the greater the facility and the less the cost to the farmer of getting his surplus products to market, the larger are his net profits, and, of course, the larger the profits which can be made from land, the greater will be, not only the price, but also the real value of the land. -- Let us suppose the case of two farms of equal fertility, one so near a railroad that it costs only 30 cents to market a barrel of flour, the other so distant that it costs 60 cents to get a barrel to market; now let us suppose that on each of these farms fifty acres are in wheat, and that each of them produces 150 barrels of flour. In the one case it will cost $45 to market the flour, in the other it will cost double, that is $90 to do the same. One farmer therefore pockets $45, every year from his fifty dollars, more than the other does. Now this $45 represents the interest at 6 per cent on $750. Is not therefore the fifty acres in the one case worth $750 more than the fifty acres in the other or, which is the same thing, ought not the one tract to sell for $15 more per acre than the other tract?

Or, let us suppose the case of a farmer who every year cultivates fifty acres of land in wheat, and raises 750 bushels, or 150 barrels of flour. He has been in the habit of paying (at 60 cents per barrel) the sum of $90 yearly to get his crop to market; but another Railroad comes along -- the Valley Railroad for instance -- which will carry his floor at 35 cents per barrel, and he thus saves 25 cents on each barrel which amounts to a savings of $37.50 every year on his wheat crop. In other words, in consequence of its costing him less to get his flour to market, his fifty acres now yield him, every year, $47.50 more than they did before; now $37.50 is the interest at 6 per cent of $625; ought not then the fifty acres to sell for $625 more than they would have sold for before, or, which is the same thing, are not the fifty acres REALLY WORTH $12.50 more, per acre, to the farmer than formerly?

Many men admit that the Radicals raise the price of land; but then they say, "we don't want the price of our lands raised, because we don't want to sell. But the truth is, as shown above, Railroads raise the price of lands, because they really add to their VALUE, and that increased value is the same whether a man continues to hold his land and to pocket the additional profits, or whether he chooses to sell it at the advanced price. If one should propose to any man owning a ten-thousand dollar farm, that he should spend twenty dollars a year for five years in manuring it, offering him a reasonable certainty that at the end of the five years his land would, by this means, be worth, in the market, twelve thousand dollars, he would scarcely refuse to do so. Why then should the same man refuse to be taxed twenty dollars a year for five years, for the purpose of building a Railroad through his county, which will make his land equally worth at least twelve thousand dollars, whether he holds it himself, or sells it, or wills it to his children, with this difference in favor of the Railroad, that it will last forever, while the effects of the manure would speedily disappear under careless cultivation.

Want of space forbids me to say any more, but I will be glad hereafter to add a few other considerations in favor of this Road, hoping that meanwhile my country-men will come to the same conclusion with their


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Public Meeting
(Column 01)
Summary: A Public Meeting was held regarding the "New Movement." Col. J. B. Baldwin and A. H. H. Stuart spoke in defence of the movement while Col. Bolivar Christian and Col. J. H. Skinner spoke in opposition.
(Names in announcement: Col. J. B. Baldwin, A. H. H. Stuart, Maj. Absalom Koiner, J. Marshall Hanger, Col. Bolivar Christian, Col. J. H. Skinner)
(Column 05)
Summary: James Henry Desper and Miss Ann B. Tailey, both of Augusta, were married in Washington D. C. on January 15th by the Rev. B. H. Gray.
(Names in announcement: James Henry Desper, Ann B. Tailey, Rev. B. H. Gray)
(Column 05)
Summary: James A. H. Lessley and Miss Mary E. Hanger were married at Lock Willow, Augusta County, on January 21st by the Rev. P. Fletcher.
(Names in announcement: James A. H. Lessley, Mary E. Hanger, Rev. P. Fletcher)
(Column 05)
Summary: Mrs. Mary Hill Silling, wife of the late William Silling, died at the residence of her son-in-law, James Padgett, near Sherando, Augusta County. She was 82 years old.
(Names in announcement: Mary Hill Silling, William Silling)

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