Staunton Spectator: May 11, 1869Go To Page : 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
(Column 01)Summary: The editor spoke out against the government's policy of sticking with paper currency instead of going back to gold and silver, which he considers a much sounder currency. Urged people to invest in property to protect themselves and hinted that Virginia was a great place to invest.
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With the exception of the Confederate States and other revolutionary systems no government ever had such a currency as now constitutes the circulating medium of the United States. In all other governments, and in all former periods of our own, gold and silver were the measures of value. When we had paper of Banks, either United States, or State, it was redeemable in gold and silver, and whenever a Bank, without authority of law, failed to redeem its notes in gold and silver, it was discredited and forced into liquidation. This obligation to redeem was a constant check on the issue of paper. If a Bank issued too much, it was promptly sent home for redemption, and thus the gold standard was constantly applied to measure the value of the paper. As long as it was convertible into gold, it maintained its circulation. As soon as it became depreciated, it would no longer perform the functions of money.
But now the currency of the country does not even profess to rest on a specie basis. It is not even nominally convertible at the pleasure of the holder into gold and silver. There is, therefore, no fixed standard which can be applied to test its value. The whole volume of currency rests on credit. The U. S. Treasury notes have the faith of the government as the only pledge not for their present, but future redemption.
The notes of the Banks rest on a similar foundation. The Banks buy bonds of the U.S. and deposit them in the Treasury, and thereupon the government furnishes 90 per cent of the amount of these bonds in Bank notes for circulation. The U.S. Bonds deposited are the security for the redemption of these notes.
It will thus be seen that the whole system of currency is a stupendous system of credit.--There is no cash about it, and there are no means by which either the government or the Banks can be made to redeem their paper in gold.
As might have been foreseen, the currency is therefore as unstable and as shaky as the foundation on which it rests. The credit of a government, like that of individuals, depends on a thousand adventitious facts. If a farmer raises good crops, and is temperate, industrious and frugal his credit rises. If his crops fail--if he frequents bar-rooms and gambling saloons--if he idles his time and engages in rash speculations his credit falls. So it is with nations. If the government is wisely conducted--if the taxes are light--business prosperous--expenditures small--debt moderate and relations with other governments peaceful--its credit will be good. But on the other hand, if business is paralyzed by unwise legislation--if the people are over-taxed--if the public debt be onerous--the people discontented and the foreign relations be unsatisfactory, the credit of the government must decline.
A currency therefore which rests not on the solid basis of gold and silver, but on the unstable foundation of credit must always be fluctuating in value. Hence we have seen U.S. Currency ranging, when measured by the gold standard from 120 to 280--in other words in one condition of the credit of the country $100 in gold will buy $120 in greenbacks, while in another condition of government credit it will buy $280. And so it must continue to be. A wise and prudent course on the part of the government will increase the value of greenbacks as compared with gold, while a rush and indiscreet policy will diminish it. As an illustration of this fact we saw gold a few weeks ago down to 131, and now in consequence of Sumner's and Chandler's speeches in the Senate threatening war, and the prospect of trouble in regard to Cuba, gold has gone up to 138 1/2--a jar in our foreign relations will carry it up still higher, and a war with England or any other great foreign power would carry gold to 200, or, stating the matter in another form, the value of Treasury notes would be diminished one half.
Every blunder of the administration will more or less affect the currency, because it impairs the confidence of capitalists in the solvency of the government.
Seeing therefore that we have such an unstable currency, the practical question arises what should people who have money (currency) do with it?
Our answer is, the best policy is to vest it in some substantial property--real estate or personal property. Stocks and bonds partake of the instability of currency for they rest on credit. Even individual bonds and mortgages are not entirely secure because they may be paid off in depreciated greenbacks.
Land and houses are permanent. No convulsion in politics or finance can destroy them. short of an earthquake can swallow them up.
[6 lines unclear] The West is now filled up. Lands there are no longer cheap. Virginia presents the best field for investment, and her people no longer manifest a desire to emigrate. The tide is now flowing into Virginia--not out of her limits.
Another fact is worthy of consideration.--Thirty years ago, the government of the U.S. (Mr. Woodberry being Secretary) took measures through our foreign agents, to ascertain approximately the whole amount of silver and gold in the different countries of the world.--The aggregate was then estimated at one thousand millions. Since then the gold mines of California and the Pacific slope and of Australia and other countries have been discovered and developed, and the aggregate of gold coin is now not less than three thousand millions, and increasing at the rate of several hundred millions per annum. This large increase of the precious metals, even if there were no paper currency, would necessarily enhance the value of lands rapidly. Such must be the case, and our advice is to those who have money, to buy real estate, and to those who have lands, to hold on to them.
(Column 02)Summary: Tried to convince everyone in the state that the Underwood Constitution would be passed and so everyone had to get used to it. The best thing to do was to elect a friendly legislature and governor. To that end, the editor furiously opposed Wells and endorsed Walker as the best moderate candidate.
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It is now certain, says the Enquirer, that Virginia will go into the Union within twelve months under the Underwood Constitution in some form. That is settled. It does not matter whether it ought to be so or not. It does not matter whether anybody is to blame for it or not. We say it is a fact. Virginia will go into the Union in twelve months under the Underwood Constitution in some form.
Now, what are we going to do? We can modify this instrument, or we can refuse to modify it. We can strike out the test-oath, or we can let it stay. We can enfranchise some 15,000 of our best people, or we can leave them disfranchised. We can strike out the county organization article, or we can let it remain.--We write of course on the hypothesis that the President will give us a vote on these propositions.
Now we have got to live under this Constitution. We wish our readers to confront the facts. We have got to live under it until it is changed. If the people of Virginia are too indignant to ride to the polls and vote, we shall live under it as it claim from the hands of the Underwood Convention. We shall have about 98 per cent of the white population excluded from office and, perhaps, the jury box. We shall have a large number of whites denied the right of suffrage. We shall have our counties cut up into town-ships, and ruled by negro officials.
We may get along if these clauses are taken out. All whites can then vote, and we can control the State. All whites, excepting those who come under the operation of the Constitutional Amendment, will be eligible to office.--We shall have an opportunity to devise another system of county organization.
And this will have to be done by the Legislature. And, therefore, we are brought at once to the necessity of securing the Legislature.--We can do it, if we work. The Legislature will not only organize the system of county administration, but it will organize the militia, and legislate, perhaps, with regard to a system of public schools. It will lay all the taxes. It will elect two Federal Senators. It will elect some one hundred County Judges. It will, on the nomination of the Governor, elect the Circuit Judges and the Judges of the Court of Appeals. We say on the nomination of the Governor.
And, therefore, we must have as good a Governor as we can get. The issue is narrowed down to H.H. Wells and Gilbert C. Walker--which shall we take? We have got to choose. Not to act, is to act. We cannot escape voting. In undertaking not to vote, we yield the point--and accomplish the worst result by our own inaction. To be passive is really to decide in favor of Wells. For if all the white votes are merely silenced, Wells will be elected by seventy-five thousand majority. Mr. Wells does not expect our votes; he only aspires to our neutrality. Thus we cannot stand off from Walker without yielding the prize to Wells. You may not like the reasoning, but you cannot escape it.
Now without going into Mr. Walker's claims at all--we are for anybody against Wells. He is the most odious man to the white people of this State that has ever put his foot here--we think we need not except Underwood. They loathe him, they hate him--and he loathes us, and hates us. We are uncompromising and deadly enemies. He has marshalled the negroes against us, and taught them to hate us. Walker has not marshalled the negroes against us. But we are for anybody against Wells. We must kill him at all hazards.
(Column 04)Summary: Printed a letter from Alexander Cochran announcing his candidacy for the House of Delegates. Cochran stated his stand on several issues, including supporting the newly adopted constitution and Walker for Governor. Also urged all Virginians to get out and vote to keep the state in control of Virginians.
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STAUNTON, May 10th, 1869
Fellow-Citizens of the County of Augusta:
In obedience to the wishes of many friends residing in various portions of the County, expressed both publicly and privately, I announce myself a candidate for a seat in the next House of Delegates of Virginia.
If it should be the pleasure of the people to elect me to this position, I shall, irrespective of party considerations, work and vote to obtain the passage of such laws as will, in my judgment, secure the greatest amount of peace, prosperity and happiness to the people at large.
In the approaching election, soon to be held, I shall most unhesitatingly vote for the expurgated constitution and for what is known as the Walker ticket; believing the adoption of this course by the people is the only door of escape from the ultimate imposition upon them of an odious, tyrannical and unbearable government. And although the result of this line of conduct, in any event, is not as we would like to have it, yet I am firmly persuaded that in our subjugated, helpless condition, the exigency of the hour, makes it a high and patriotic duty to yield to the demands of inexorable necessity, accept the situation, and reconstruct the State upon the basis of the expurgated Constitution and the election of such men as are opposed to disfranchisements and test oaths, and who are identified with us in interest and sympathy.
This result, which is the best we can hope for can certainly be achieved if all will register and vote--Virginia, if her sons are true to her, can be placed under the control of Virginians, and the miserable carpet-bag scum and vultures of the north, who have come down among us to arrary one race against the other, in order that they may more easliy prey upon the substance and vitals of our helpless and prostrate people, can be sent back, howling, to their old haunts of vice and depravity.
These salutary results will only be attained, however, as a distinguished countyman said, in the late Conservative Convention, by united effort, induced by mutual conciliation and forbearance one towards another.
Let us then obliterate from our minds all past political differences leaving the dead past to bury its dead, and unite in one great band of friends and brothers, "among whom no contention shall exist, but that noble contention, or rather emulation of who can best work and best agree" in saving Virginia from degradation and ruin.
My devotion to Virginia has always been great, but since dark, heavy clouds have lowered over her and broken with remorseless fury upon her devoted head, I have drawn her closer and closer to my heart, until her destiny and mine have become inseparably locked up together, and should it be the will of the people to make me an humble instrument to aid in restoring her to peace and prosperity, I shall ever be grateful for the confidence reposed.
ALEXANDER B. COCHRAN
Vindicator and Virginian will publish
(Column 01)Summary: The paper expresses pleasure at the appointment of George W. McCutchen as president of the Augusta Board of Registration.[No Title]
(Names in announcement: George W. McCutchen)
(Column 01)Summary: Bishop Whittle of the Episcopal Church will be at Boydkin's Chapel near Mint Spring on May 18th and in Staunton on May 19th.[No Title]
(Names in announcement: Bishop Whittle)
(Column 01)Summary: Bill Johnson, whom the paper describes as "a negro boy", was arrested and put in jail for stealing clothing and table linens from Mrs. L. V. Allen of Staunton.[No Title]
(Names in announcement: Bill Johnson, Mrs. L. V. Allen)
(Column 01)Summary: The Staunton Friends of Temperance will hold a meeting and public demonstration on May 22nd during the visit of the Rev. Dr. Young, the State Lecturer.[No Title]
(Names in announcement: Rev. Dr. Young)
(Column 01)Summary: Brevet 1st Lt. F. E. Town was named commissioner and superintendent of registration and election for the district including Augusta by order of Gen. Canby.[No Title]
(Names in announcement: Lt. F. E. Town)
(Column 01)Summary: Edward H. Sears replaced A. T. Maupin as Staunton Post Master by order of President Grant. "The appointee, a son of Dr. B. Sears, is a worthy young man whose deportment since he has been a resident of this place, has been such as to secure for him the respect and friendship of our citizens."Married
(Names in announcement: Edward H. Sears, A. T. Maupin)
(Column 02)Summary: S. F. Houser and Miss Hattie G. Hess, daughter of William Hess, were married on April 29th at the residence of the bride's father by the Rev. C. Dameron.Married
(Names in announcement: S. F. Houser, Hattie G. Hess, William Hess, Rev. C. Dameron)
(Column 02)Summary: John A. McNutt and Miss Maria M. McCleary, both of Staunton, were married on May 4th at St. Francis Church by the Rev. Father Weed.Married
(Names in announcement: John A. McNutt, Maria M. McCleary, Fr. Weed)
(Column 02)Summary: Samuel G. Snider and Miss Polina A. Stinnett, both of Augusta, were married in Staunton at the Virginia Hotel on May 6th by the Rev. George Kramer.Deaths
(Names in announcement: Samuel G. Snider, Polina A. Stinnett, Rev. George Kramer)
(Column 02)Summary: Willie V. Yates, infant son of James M. and Mary L. Yates, died in Spring Hill on May 1st of measles and pneumonia. He was 18 months old.Deaths
(Names in announcement: Willie V. Yates, James M. Yates, Mary L. Yates)
(Column 02)Summary: Mrs. Martha Frazier died in Staunton at the residence of her son, William Frazier, on April 22nd. She was 79 years old. "The deceased was remarkable throughout life for her energy, activity, and industry; she was no less remarkable for her unselfishness, benevolence, and unostentatious charity. She remembered the poor, though not rich herself in this world's goods. She was an almost life-long member of the Presbyterian Church, whose faithful ministers and members she loved and cherished."
(Names in announcement: Martha Frazier, William Frazier)