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Valley of the Shadow

Staunton Spectator: June 1, 1869

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Culpable Apathy
(Column 01)
Summary: Denounced all those who seemed indifferent to voting in the upcoming election. Claimed that if they failed to vote, the ruin of the state would be on their shoulders.
Full Text of Article:

We are pained to learn that many are so inexcusably apathetic, and seem so indifferent about registering, and about voting in the elections which will take place on the 6th day of July. Unless the masses of the people be aroused from this feeling of indifference we will be utterly and irretrievably ruined. Those who will fail to do their duty in that election will be responsible for the ruin which will be entailed upon the State by their culpable remissness.--Such remissness will be worse than criminal.

This class of persons should remember that there are sins of omission as well as of commission. On the day of that election the voters will have a chance, the only one that will be presented, of rescuing their State from impending ruin.

The golden opportunity should not be allowed to escape unimproved--when lost, it will be lost forever. Those who will fail to register and vote will regret it deeply and sorely as long as they may live, and their children will reproach them as the authors of the direful ruin wrought, and the intolerable evils visited upon them and their posterity.

Who Can Register?
(Column 01)
Summary: Summarized the requirements needed to register to vote, which appeared to be very lenient.
Full Text of Article:

It should be borne in mind that all who did not take an oath to support the Constitution of the United States before the war can register, it matters not what they did during the war, or what they may have done since.

No one who is qualified to register should fail to do so as soon as the opportunity shall be presented. The only test required is an oath that you did not before the war take an oath to support the Constitution of the United States and after that, participate in the rebellion. It requires the conjunction of both these facts to disqualify from registering.

If you took an oath to support the Constitution of the United States before the war, and did not participate in the rebellion, you can register, and if you did not take such oath before the war, you can register, it matters not what your conduct during the war may have been.

Register and vote

Registration and Election
(Column 02)
Summary: Described in detail the procedures laid out by General Canby for the qualifications needed to register and vote in the upcoming elections.
Full Text of Article:

We publish on the first page Gen. Canby's order concerning registration and elections.

The revision of the registration lists is to commence on the 14th day of June, and to continue for ten days(exclusive of Sundays.) The Boards will strike from the lists of registered voters the name of any person not entitled to vote, and will add the name of any person who may at that time possess the requisite qualifications to register.

Two white and colored persons of each district or ward shall be selected by the Board as challengers of the right of any person to register.

The election takes place on the 6th day of July. The polls to close at sunset, unless in the opinion of the commissioners at any voting place the vote cannot be polled by that hour, in which case they shall be kept open until 10 P.M.

Two persons from each political party may be selected to act as challengers at the polls, at each voting place, through whom all challenges of the right of any person to vote shall be made.

Let it be remembered that Registration is necessary to voting. This is the loading the gun; you fire it afterwards if you please, and as you please.

The number of election precincts in the towns will be increased, as there is to be one for every four hundred voters. We regret that this will not help us in the country. Great inconvenience was experienced in some instances in the election for the Convention in 1867 in consequence of the great distance which the voters had to ride or walk to get to the voting places.

The Votes to be Cast
(Column 02)
Summary: Listed all the offices and sections of the constitution to be voted on in the upcoming election. The editor especially urged voters to reject the test-oath and disenfranchisment clauses.
Full Text of Article:

In the coming election each voter will have a number of votes to cast. Besides voting for Governor, Lieut-Governor, Attorney-General, Congressman at large, Congressman for the District, State Senator, and members of the House of Delegates, he will have three votes upon the constitution. The constitution will not be voted upon as a whole, but in parcels.

There will be a vote upon Clause 4th, Section 1, Article III--a vote upon Section 7, Article III--and a vote upon the remaining portion of the constitution.

The first--clause 4th, Section 1, Article III, denies suffrage to a large portion of the white citizens, including all whoever held any office, civil or military, Federal or State, and is called, in brief, the disfranchising clause.

The second--Section 7, Article III--embraces the iron-clad test-oath which would exclude from the right of being elected to any office ninety out of every hundred white citizens, and is commonly called the test-oath or ineligibility section. Against both, all should vote.

[No Title]
(Column 02)
Summary: Tried to convince blacks to disavow Republicans and join their old slaveowners in friendship because the latter are the true friends of blacks.
Full Text of Article:

As the Lynchburg Virginian says, "the whites largely outnumber the blacks in this State; they possess the power which wealth gives, and they have superior intelligence to enable them to wield it for their own protection. Now, we ask any black man having the least perception, what hope there can be for his race in provoking a contest against such odds? No; the true policy for the black man is to court the friendship of the whites--not that of scalawags and carpet-baggers, like those who now seek to use him, with the view of promoting their own, selfish ends--but of the old slave-owners and property-holders of the country; for, after all, those who once owned the negroes, having grown up with them, are still their best friends.

[No Title]
(Column 02)
Summary: The paper reminds readers that only persons eligible under the 14th amendment can vote or run for office. The editors warn voters not to cast ballots for ineligible candidates because wasting votes could result in the election of a radical.
Letter from Hon. A. H. H. Stuart
(Column 05)
Summary: Printed a letter from A.H.H. Stuart, who put forth his reasons for supporting the Underwood Constitution but not the disfranchisement and test-oath clauses. His main points were that Virginians had to choose between Radical rule, continued military rule, or self-rule. He knew many people would be disappointed by this decision, but he felt it was the best scenario Virginia could expect.
Full Text of Article:

The following letter from Hon. A.H.H. Stuart addressed to a distinguished gentleman in Albemarle, which we copy from the Enquirer and Examiner of Saturday last, will be read with interest:

STAUNTON, May 24th, 1869

My Dear Sir--When I casually met you a few days ago, you requested that I would express to you in writing my views of the course the people of Virginia should pursue in regard to the questions about to be submitted for their decision under the President's proclamation. I now proceed to do so.

There certainly was much disappointment felt when it was ascertained that the President had failed to include the "county organization" clauses of the constitution among those which were to be submitted to the people to be voted on separately. It was known that the President had expressed strong opposition to these clauses, as tending to segregate the white and colored population by a geographical line, and to impair the productive power of the State, by separating the labor of the country from the capital of the Commonwealth. Hence a confident expectation was entertained that he would afford to the people an opportunity of striking these objectionable features from the proposed constitution.

In the first excitement occasioned by this disappointment, some persons expressed their purpose to try and defeat the whole instrument by voting, first, to strike out the disfranchising clauses and the test-oath, and then, against the instrument thus expurgated.

This disposition was not unnatural under the circumstances. Within the four years which have elapsed since the close of the war, the people of Virginia have been subjected to so much disappointment, annoyance and obloquy, that they have become sensitive, and in some degree soured. But, unfortunately, we are in no condition now to take counsel of our wishes. We are not in that happy state, in which we can afford to indulge in the luxury of a little ill-temper. We are bound by inexorable necessity to confront the stern realities of our situation, and to make the best we can of them.

After giving to the subject the best consideration, I have satisfied myself that it is the true policy of the people of Virginia to vote to strike out the test-oath and disfranchising clauses, and then to vote for the adoption of the residue of the constitution. I admit that it is a painful necessity, yet it is not the less a necessity. It is true that we will not get all that we had expected to get, yet I think it is obvious that by so doing we gain a great deal. The constitution, even when expurgated, will be a very objectionable instrument, but it is certainly much better than in its original form, and in my judgment, it is infinitely preferable to constitution at all. We can at least live under it for a time, with the certain assurance, that after a while, we can greatly improve it.

It would tax my time and your patience too largely to give all the reasons which have brought my mind to this conclusion. But I will state one or two of the most prominent:

It seems to me that in casting their votes under the President's proclamation, the people are called on to decide where the political power of the State is to rest hereafter, and who are to control her destinies in the future. They will have to elect between three competing propositions, neither of which is entirely acceptable, but there is no other open to us. These propositions are:

1st. To take the Underwood constitution pure and simple.

2d. To vote the whole constitution down.

3d. To adopt it with the disfranchisement and test-oaths stricken out.

Let us now consider what is the practical bearing and effect of each one of these propositions. Let us see how it will affect the future status of the political power of the Commonwealth.

If we allow the Underwood constitution to be adopted with all its disqualifications it is obvious that we voluntarily disfranchise ourselves for a generation to come, and place the political power--the power to control our lives, liberty and property--in the hands of the carpet-baggers and the worst classes of our own people. I presume there are few intelligent and upright men in the State who will favor this proposition, and I therefore pass it by without further commentary.

Let us now consider the second. Suppose we vote the whole constitution down--what follows? Some contend that matters would stand as they are. Assuming such to be the fact, I ask is not that bad enough? We would have Wells for our nominal Governor, and all our offices filled by aliens and strangers. We would have justice administered under military supervision and by appointees of a military commandant. But what assurance have we that matters would remain as they are? How do we know whether our situation will not be rendered more intolerable than it now is? By voting down the constitution altogether we in effect recommit the whole political power of the State to a radical Congress. Has the past action of that body been such as to render it desirable that they should again assume unlimited control over our destiny? I must acknowledge I think not. If we virtually decide that we will have nothing to do with shaping our own fortunes, we compel Congress to take upon itself that office.

The third proposition is, then, the only one that offers any hope of escape from the terrible evils by which we are threatened. If we strike out the restrictive features and then adopt the residue of the instrument, while we do not gain all we want, we at least place the political power of the State in the hands of the better classes of the people of Virginia. We snatch it from the grasp of the carpet-baggers and their allies, and we withdraw it from the control of a Radical Congress.

We will entitle ourselves to a restoration to our rights in the Union, and to the withdrawal of military supervision and control over us.--We can elect officers and enact laws of our own, and within a year or two, after the excitement incident to these political struggles shall have passed away, we can call a new convention and form a new constitution adapted to our existing condition. By striking out the disfranchisements and test oaths almost the whole body of our population will be clothed with the power to vote and be rendered eligible to office. The principle of popular sovereignty will be established on a firm basis, and the voice of our own citizens will be potential in framing our future organic law, and shaping our future policy.

I have thus stated, I think fairly, the three propositions, between which the people of Virginia are compelled to choose. If there be any other open to them, I am not aware of it.

Ought the people of Virginia ot hesitate between them. I think not. I think they ought to expurgate the constitution, and then adopt it.

But it is all important that we should spare no pains to secure a good Legislature and a good Governor. The reasons are too obvious to require enumeration. They will readily suggest themselves to every intelligent mind. If we expect good laws we must elect a good Legislature. If we desire and wish an honest execution of the laws we must choose a wise and honest Governor. And while this is, at all times, necessary, it is especially so now. The new Legislature will have to enact all laws necessary to put the new government into operation. The constitution is not self-enforcing, it requires legislation to give effect to it. The new Governor will be clothed with the veto power to check hasty and improvident legislation. Need I say anything to show to the people the necessity of making a wise selection of those who are to wield powers fraught with so much of weal or woe to the State?

Very truly yours, &c.


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[No Title]
(Column 01)
Summary: Alex B. Cochran has scheduled a series of night-time meetings in which he will discuss the political issues of the day. He deliberately set times so as not to interfere with farm labor.
(Names in announcement: Alex B. Cochran)
Memorial Celebration
(Column 01)
Summary: The annual celebration of the Memorial Association will be held next Saturday. "Persons should bring flowers and garlands with which to decorate the graves of the soldiers who lost their lives whilst engaged in defense of the South." A poem written by Dr. J. L. Brown will be sung by the Musical Association, and one written by Father Ryan will be read.
(Names in announcement: Dr. J. L. Brown)
[No Title]
(Column 01)
Summary: The Staunton Musical Association are rehearsing for a performance of the operatic cantata entitled the "Haymakers" on June 10th. The piece has received praise all across the country. "As it graphically delineates scenes and incidents in the life of a farmer, our country friends especially will be highly interested, and ought to be present." The music ranges from grave and serious to gay and comic, and should be enjoyed by all.
Valley Musical Association
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Summary: The association met last week at the Tinkling Spring Presbyterian Church near Fishersville. The Rev. T. D. Bell, president, presided and Prof. Evans directed the singing. 77 members and a large number of spectators attended. A concert was given at the close of the exercises.
(Names in announcement: Rev. T. D. Bell, Prof. Evans)
May Queen
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Summary: St. Francis Catholic Church crowned a May Queen last Friday. Miss H. Hurley was selected for the honor and was attended by a large court.
(Names in announcement: H. Hurley, Mollie King, Fannie McLaughlin, Regina Kelley, Lena Scherer, Julia Hurley, Nannie Deneur, Maggie Crow, Ella McCarty, Hannah Deneur, Mary Quinlan, Mary Fallon, Irene Kelley)
Valley Musical Association
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Summary: "K." writes to the paper to give an account of the recent meeting of the Valley Musical Association at Tinkling Spring Church. "Its meetings were attended by a large and brilliant assembly of young people from this and the adjoining counties. The exercises were highly interesting and delightful and prove that our people have as fine voices and talent as any other people. With proper cultivation and exercise they could rival the finest schools of Germany." To that end, the society is pushing for construction of a school in Staunton. "The subject of music is justly attracting much attention in this section of country."
(Column 04)
Summary: Charles B. Berry, M. D., and Miss Ella D. Bear were married near Churchville on May 26th by the Rev. P. Fletcher.
(Names in announcement: Charles B. Berry, Ella D. Bear, Rev. P. Fletcher)
(Column 04)
Summary: William Smiley and Miss Hannah A. Lucas, both of Augusta County, were married on May 20th by the Rev. J. M. Shreckhise.
(Names in announcement: William Smiley, Hannah A. Lucas, Rev. J. M. Shreckhise)
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Summary: Henry Bedinger Michie, son of Henry B. and Virginia B. Michie, died in Staunton on May 24th. He was 6 months old.
(Names in announcement: Henry Bedinger Michie, Henry B. Michie, Virginia B. Michie)

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