Search the
Browse Newspapers
by Date
Articles Indexed
by Topic
About the
Valley of the Shadow

Staunton Spectator: February 9, 1869

Go To Page : 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |

-Page 01-

Horrors of Reconstruction
(Column 05)
Summary: Recounts the "horrors daily occurring" in the reconstructed territory of Arkansas and Tennessee, and encourages Virginians to maintain their resistance to reconstruction or face similar horrors.
Full Text of Article:

One would suppose that the most ardent admirer of radical reconstruction, would find in the experience of those Southern States which have passed the magic ordeal, such "food for thought" as would at least suggest a doubt as to the reality of those blessings so commonly regarded as inseparable from that condition. Those beatific visions of happiness and prosperity which the "truly loyal" so rapturously describe, might be regarded as "mere figments of the brain" if contrasted with the horrors daily occurring in those communities which are now the blessed recipients of Congressional legislation.

Without pausing to portray the delectable condition of Brownlow's domain, where daily outrage and nightly violence mark the era of returning peace and amity, without lingering to note the vacillating steps with which the craven Holden essays to follow in the wake of the bolder but not more malignant rulers of Tennessee, or to describe the outrages, the arsons, the murders, the rapes, which with unvarying monotony attest the blessings which, in every reconstructed State, flow from governments administered by "loyal citizens," we would, in all candor, ask of those gentlemen whose new-born zeal in the cause of reconstruction has hurried them forward with reckless speed to the attainment of their desire, whether the harrowing scene now daily occurring in "reconstructed" Arkansas, will not suffice to disturb their equanimity and demand a pause in the hurry and precipitancy which mark the character of the "late movement." A whole community placed under martial law by a carpet-bag Governor, drum-head courts martial, military execution and armed occupancy of whole sections of the State -- these, under any circumstances embrace an array of evils, before which the human mind instinctively recoils with horror and dismay; but how greatly are these feelings intensified, how immeasurably are these horrors increased, when we remember that the "military" who lord it over Arkansas to-day and live at free quarters upon her citizens, are composed mainly, if not exclusively, of NEGRO SOLDIERS -- of ruffians recruited for this very service by reason of their anxiety to participate in the carnival of rapine and blood promised by the "loyal" partisans of "reconstructed" government. When we read in the reports daily coming up from that unfortunate State, of houses burned, property destroyed, citizens shot, and defenceless maids and matrons ravished by brutal negro soldiers, and when we know that absolutely no redress is afforded for these fiendish atrocities, when we find an officer of the army, sent out for the purpose of examining into these outrages, coolly reporting that martial law was required to protect the loyal citizens, and that under its potent influence quiet is being rapidly restored in these sections where disorders were formerly committed, and especially when we find this official referring to acts of violence committed on women and murders on men as " a few examples of insubordination and lawlessness on the part of the soldierly, who in many localities were of necessity composed exclusively of negroes," the soul absolutely sickens at the reflection, that any community in our land should be thus shamelessly abandoned to the mercy of such a set of cut-throats and bandits. And yet this is done, in a "reconstructed" State -- these scenes are enacted where "Congressional policy" has had its perfect work, and a "restored sovereignty" is proudly cited as evidencing the wisdom and efficiency of Radical statesmanship.

Does any thinking man suppose that similar scenes might not occur in Virginia, when reconstructed on the same model plan? With a carpet-bag Governor, who boasts of being actuated by the "spirit of John Brown," placed at the head of affairs, with negroes controlling every election, and dictating public policy in a large portion of the State, how long will it be before a "militia system" similar to that of Arkansas will be seen here, and "martial law" be made the potent agency whereby "rebel sympathizers" are brought to terms, and conservative citizens converted into "loyal leaguers??"

Virginia to-day is in a condition absolutely enviable, when contrasted with that of any of the reconstructed States. Under the government of the military no such harrowing scenes as disgrace humanity, and make of Arkansas a hell on earth, can occur here, for military rule here means a white soldiery, controlled in the main by gentlemanly officers, not negro soldiery under the command of malignant scalawags, and hounded to their hellish work by a greedy and vindictive carpet-bag Governor.

Reconstruction under the Congressional policy has as yet borne no fruits in other States which should tempt Virginia so eagerly to seek in it for the panacea of our ills. "Restoration to the Union" has in no instance been accompanied with the blessings which were promised as the necessary accompaniment of negro suffrage. Let Virginia then adhere to her former policy -- let her act in accordance with her oft-repeated declaration of undying opposition to this peculiar feature of Radical policy; and whatever may be the consequence, we shall at least have preserved not only our "consistency," but our honor, although some may, with reprehensible flippancy, ridicule the former, and, with more culpable folly, sneer at the latter. -- Lynchburg News.

-Page 02-

"Walk into my Parlor"
(Column 01)
Summary: An extract from the Alexandria Gazette, mocking an invitation made by the Radicals to members of the former Whig party. The Gazette believes that such an invitation will be rejected by all Whigs who adhere to their true principles.
Full Text of Article:

The Alexandria Gazette says that, "never was there a better illustration of "Love's Labor Lost," or the "Needlessness of an Invitation," than is shown of the address of the Richmond State Journal to the Old Whigs -- that is, those who were Whigs in old party times -- most affectionately, earnestly and urgently exhorting them to "come in" and join the Radical party! If it had only headed its persuasive article, as a motto, with the lines---

"Will you walk into my parlor, said the spider to the fly,
It is the prettiest little parlor that ever you did spy"

--the whole thing would have been complete.

But, seriously. Never were people more mistaken, than are the leaders of the Radicals, if they suppose, for an instant, that former party distinctions are to prevail with or operate upon the former Whigs in Virginia, to affiliate in the slightest degree, politically, with the Radical party. They have not a single political principle in common, and the events of eight years past have sundered them, politically, as far apart as the poles. No inducements of place, or distinction, or power, or gain, or success, could bring about, with men who regard principle, such a monstrous coalition; differing as they do on constitutional doctrines, on measures of policy, foreign and domestic; in ideas, in sentiments, in motives of action, and in the very fundamental principles of government. And when we speak thus, we are confident we speak for all, (with rare exceptions,) of those who were Whigs in days gone by, and who are not now in communion with the Radical party.

When we read the temptations held out, in the article to which we refer, we could not but think, not irreverently or by way of comparison, but as suggestive, of another temptation recorded in Holy Writ, "where all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them" were shown, and the promise made "all these things will I give thee, if thou will fall down and worship me" -- and of the answer given to that offer!

Constitutional Amendments
(Column 01)
Summary: Article from the Alexandria Gazette expressing opposition to all the Constitutional amendments proposed after the Civil War.
Full Text of Article:

With the Alex. Gazette, "we have been, and are, totally opposed to the whole batch of "constitutional amendments" that have been brought before Congress during and since the war, and that continue to be brought in, up to this day. They are "only evil and that continually." If any of the propositions have merit of any kind, this is not the time, in this day of change and disintegration, to present them; much less to force them upon the people. If we had "peace" -- and were in a peaceful and prosperous career of civil government, we would be willing to consider some changes in the organic law which considerate, right thinking men, might judge to be necessary or expedient. But, now, it is manifest that most of these so-called "constitutional amendments" are designed for miserable temporary party purposes, and as party expedients. We prefer, infinitely, the Constitution as it was. The tinkers at the Constitution only batter and disfigure that noble instrument, and injure its beautiful symmetry and proportions. In a word, in our opinion, they are not competent by character, wisdom, virtue, good principles, or common sense, at this day, and at this time, to amend the Constitution. They ought to confine their operations to other and more congenial matters. If the course of legislation shows no respect to the Constitution -- let the instrument itself remain on paper! It will be at least, even if unheeded -- a silent rebuke! And that is as much as we can expect at this time!"

The New Movement
(Column 03)
Summary: Quotes from articles in other papers discussing the "New Movement's" actions before Congress. The New Movement believes that Congress is generally supportive of their idea of universal suffrage and universal amnesty, and is waiting for General Grant to take office and further promote the movement.
Full Text of Article:

The New York World says: The "new movement" in Virginia likewise assumes a startling interest. We have heretofore stated this to be an effort on the part of a few prominent Virginians to procure the ratification of the proposed constitution on condition that the restrictions on suffrage and office-holding be stricken out, but in the light of fuller information, are reluctantly inclined to believe that, while this was at first the animus of the "movement", it has now degenerated into something very like a "ring" to build up a radical party within the State of better materials than had gone to the formation of that organization heretofore. The Editor of the Richmond Whig, which sustains the "movement" as originally meant, writes to his paper from Washington that it is vitally necessary to its success that Gen. Grant and the republican leaders be convinced that the people of Virginia will not use their enfranchisement for the purpose of proscription -- which is all very well -- "or to build up a party to antagonize General Grant's administration, or to fill our public offices with men offensive to the Washington authorities," which is not so well, being a plain matter of bargain and sale to the effect that Virginia may come in on guarantee that she sustains Grant, right or wrong, and puts none but radical proteges in power. It is proper to say that the editor of the Whig does not endorse this writing only for information; but the facts narrated by him show very conclusively that, however honest and patriotic the intentions of those gentlemen favoring the "movement;" it is not the purpose of the rogue Congress to even consider it save at the price of a direct adhesion to the radical party. That there will be this abasement, or that, if consented to, the people of Virginia will ratify it, are things we do not believe.

The Washington Correspondent "X" of the Baltimore Gazette, under date January 31st, says:

"When the "new movement" in Virginia was in embryo the people of that State were warned that it could only be productive of mischief. What the Radicals mean by "universal suffrage" and "universal amnesty" is made sufficiently manifest by the vote on the "fifteenth amendment" to the Constitution, which passed the House yesterday by a strict party vote, except Bingham, of Ohio, and Polsley, of West Virginia. The negroes are to be forced to vote everywhere, and the whites are to be excluded to any extent the carpet-baggers and negroes may choose to inflict upon the South. To show the use to which the "movement" is put by the dominant party, I quote from its organ of this morning. In arguing in favor of the acceptance of this amendment by the Northern State's the Chronicle says:

"We might also ask what Republican can falter in the face of the fact that even the late champions of slavery -- men who to extend and perpetuate that institution sought to destroy the Government -- are now accepting the civil and political equality of the race they lately enslaved!? We cannot but regard the success of this measure as a foregone conclusion, for we believe that it will be supported not only by Republicans, whose principles it embodies, but by many Democrats."

The following is an extract from the Editorial correspondence of the Richmond Whig dated Washington February 1st:

"If the people of Virginia desire any relief and liberality at the hands of Congress, the course for them to pursue is plain. They will have to accept, not as a matter of choice, but as a necessity, the fact of negro suffrage, and they will have to accept it in good faith. It is through that only that they can hope to get a liberal State Constitution, or any relief from disabilities. There is one thing more they will have to do, and that is so to act as to convince Congress and the other authorities there that any powers and privileges and powers accorded to them will not be used to the prejudice of the negroes or to the building up of a party to antagonize the incoming administration, to persecute Union men and Republicans, whether settlers or natives, and to place their State in the hands and under the control and guidance of men who shall be obnoxious to the national authorities, by reason of their violence, their vindictiveness, then opposition to national sentiment, or their political antecedents. As far as my information extends these are pre-requisites, which will not be dispensed with, and I believe that Virginia can only get the terms above indicated by complying with these conditions. It is for the people of that State to determine for themselves. I am here to take observations and to communicate them to your readers and I want them to understand precisely how they stand and what they have to expect."

The Washington correspondent "E" of the Balt. Gazette under date of February 2nd says:

"This special meeting of the Judiciary Committee of the Senate, held a few evenings since to consider the propositions submitted to them by the Richmond Committee of Nine, resulted in satisfying the Conservative members of that committee that nothing was to be done to relieve Virginia from the embarrassment of having either to adopt the Underwood Constitution or to continue under military rule. Senator Hendricks had expressed a strong belief that the committee would inaugurate the movement desired by the Richmond gentlemen, but yesterday he assured his friends that the proposition was hopeless and advised them to abandon the whole thing. The result has been that the committee from Virginia have returned.

It is due to Mr. Conkling of New York, to say that he was the only Radical on the committee who was disposed to listen to the statements made by Colonel Baldwin and others, and who expressed any sympathy for Virginia or Virginians. It is now understood among the Radicals that the constitutional fight in Virginia is to be a desperate one, and that the first legal act of the new Administration will be to throw its whole weight and influence in favor of adopting the Underwood Constitution by which the larger portion of the white population of the State will be disfranchised. In a discussion to-day at the room of the Radical Executive Committee, Mr. Schenck, the chairman of the committee, declared that Virginia was to be the battle-field of the new President, and the party could soon determine whether President Grant's purpose was to stand by his party as firmly as General Grant did."

The above should be taken, we suspect, cum grano salis.

The following is an extract from the Editorial Correspondence of the Richmond Whig dated Washington Feb 2nd:

"It is questioned by none that, in consequence and by reason of the efforts of the Committee of Nine, Congress is more liberally disposed towards Virginia than it was before these efforts were made. Of course no one can undertake to say what precise form this new-born liberality will take. Congress may or may not act finally on the subject during the present session -- and we certainly can afford to wait a few weeks for the relief we have been so slow in asking. Some think that the Virginia propositions as they stand, will be acceded to. Others think that modifications of them will be made. There are those who anticipate that Congress may remit Virginia to a territorial condition, which would devolve upon the President (General Grant) the appointment of a Governor, Territorial Secretary, Marshal, Judges, &c. A Legislature would then have to be elected by the people to frame a constitution of State government -- and suffrage and eligibility would be subject only to such restrictions as are imposed by the Fourteenth Amendment, and such general Federal laws as are in operation. I give you the skeleton and leave you to fill it up. -- There is on the part of some an idea that our military commander may be given full jurisdiction over the subject, with instructions to submit the constitution to some prescribed form or forms. Whatever may be done, of one thing you and your readers may feel assured -- things have been foreborne by Congress in consequence of the Virginian movement that would certainly have been done without it -- and Virginia will get more liberal terms by reason of it than were possible without the efforts made."

The following are extracts from the last letter of the Editorial Washington Correspondent of the Richmond Whig;

There is no disposition among the Virginians now here to press the movement to a finality during the present session. One formidable difficulty that would have to be encountered in such an effort, would arise from the vast secamulation of business that is pressing upon the two Houses, and that has precedence over this. I think that our friends here will all be perfectly content if they can get a favorable report from the Senate Judiciary Committee. It will by no means stun or dishearten them if they get no report at all. Their thoughts are now chiefly directed to the incoming administration, and there are many reasons why they should be so directed. In one month General Grant will be inaugurated.

* * * * * * *

"It is believed, and there is good ground for the belief, that he will use his influence to promote the success of our Virginia movement, and to procure for us all, if not more than we have asked. Such is the confidence felt in General Grant's good wishes and purposes that there are few, I am inclined to think, who would not willingly submit it to him to prescribe terms, to take a sheet of paper and write down his own form of adjustment. Under such circumstances the proper policy would seem to be to forbear any attempt to hurry up the present Congress, however favorably it may be supposed to regard this movement. If it choose to act of its own motion so well, if not let Virginia wait patiently and hopefully for General Grant's succession. She has more to hope than to fear from it."

-Page 03-

[No Title]
(Column 01)
Summary: The paper encourages citizens to go to the "rich musical treat" this evening at the Odd Fellow's Hall. Admission is 25 cents.
[No Title]
(Column 01)
Summary: The revival at the Baptist Church continues. Several participants have confessed conversions and a dozen were baptized on Sunday night. The Rev. Dr. Broaddus will preach for several nights.
(Names in announcement: Rev. Broaddus)
[No Title]
(Column 01)
Summary: The Staunton Council, Friends of Temperance, will meet on Friday nights. The organization is "in a most flourishing condition." Their membership is constantly increasing.
[No Title]
(Column 01)
Summary: The ladies and gentlemen of the Catholic Church gave a tableaux and charades in the town hall on Friday. They hope to raise funds to rebuild the schoolrooms of St. Francis Church that had been destroyed by fire.
Husting's Court
(Column 01)
Summary: The court tries five people for charges of petit larceny and the circulation of obscene materials. All are found guilty.
(Names in announcement: Thomas C. Elder, Henry Jackson, George W. Hardeman, Margaret Marshall, Alex Patterson, Michael Sullivan)
Full Text of Article:

At the February term of this court for the town of Staunton, Thos. C. Elder, Esq., was duly admitted to practice in that Court.

Henry Jackson (colored) on an indictment for petit larceny was found guilty and sentenced to 30 days' imprisonment in the county jail.

Geo. W. Hardeman, on an indictment for obtaining property on false pretence, was found guilty and sentenced to 30 days imprisonment in the county jail.

On two several indictments for petit larceny, Margaret Marshall, (colored) was found guilty -- sentenced in one case to 20 days' and in the other 30 days' confinement in county jail.

Alex. Patterson (colored) on indictment for petit larceny, found guilty and sentenced to six months' imprisonment in jail.

Michael Sullivan on indictment for selling obscene books, found guilty, fined $200 and sentenced 12 months' imprisonment in jail.

Also for selling cards with obscene prints, he was found guilty, fined $100, and sentenced to 6 months' confinement in jail.

The Grand Jury found 42 indictments.

[No Title]
(Column 01)
Summary: B. F. Fifer, on behalf of the Fire Company, thanks the white and black citizens of Staunton for their assistance at a recent fire.
(Names in announcement: B. F. Fifer)
(Column 05)
Summary: William W. Obaugh, formerly of Mt. Solon, and Miss Maggie E. Ferren of St. Clairsville, Ohio, were married in Ohio on January 7th by the Rev. J. Grant.
(Names in announcement: William W. Obaugh, Maggie E. Ferren, Rev. J. Grant)
(Column 05)
Summary: George A. Coiner and Miss Mary E. Ewing, both of Augusta, were married on February 4th at the residence of the bride's father by the Rev. H. Tallhelm.
(Names in announcement: George A. Coiner, Mary E. Ewing, Rev. H. Tallhelm)
(Column 05)
Summary: Darius Edward Drumheller and Miss Mollie Ann Gochenour, both of Augusta, were married on January 28th by the Rev. Martin Garber.
(Names in announcement: Darius Edward Drumheller, Mollie Ann Gochenour, Rev. Martin Garber)
(Column 05)
Summary: Mrs. Margaret B. Whitmer, wife of Samuel Whitmer, died near Parnassus after a short illness on February 1st. She was 62 years old and had been "a useful member of the Methodist Church for more than 40 years."
(Names in announcement: Margaret B. Whitmer, Samuel Whitmer)
(Column 05)
Summary: Alexander Fountaine, a native of Augusta, died in West Virginia on January 25th. He was 38 years old.
(Column 05)
Summary: Samuel J. D. Fisher, nephew of S. J. Davis of Staunton and son of John Fisher formerly of Staunton, died in West Virginia on January 19th of a fever contracted on the Wabash River. He was 24 years old.
(Names in announcement: Samuel J. D. Fisher, S. J. Davis, John Fisher)

-Page 04-