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Valley of the Shadow

Staunton Spectator: April , 1870

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Register that you may Vote
(Column 01)
Summary: The paper reminded readers to register so they will be eligible to vote.
15th Amendment Celebration
(Column 01)
Summary: Described how Richmond's African-American community held a celebration upon passage of the 15th amendment.
The Income Tax
(Column 02)
Summary: The Spectator reported that a Congressional Committee issued a recommendation against the extension of the income tax. Argued against the income tax because dishonest men will evade paying their share, which will hurt honest taxpayers.
Full Text of Article:

The Ways and Means Committee of the House of Representatives have agreed to recommend non-concurrence in the extension of the income tax another year. The pressure on Congress to abolish this inquisitorial tax is very great, and it may yield. There never was a worse law, for the reason that it bears unequally upon the people -- the honest and conscientious men alone making correct returns, while those who are less scrupulous, make such reports as suit themselves. The law was never intended to last, and ought to be abolished at once.

(Column 04)
Summary: Anonymous contributor "X" wrote to the Spectator, claiming that a law being considered for debt relief was both unconstitutional and unwise. The law would bar creditors from selling debtors' property at less than its full value even though a similar law in Illinois was declared unconstitutional. "X" also believed that acts making it more difficult for creditors to obtain payment discouraged investment.
Full Text of Article:

MR. EDITOR: -- The newspapers throughout the State contain many articles in favor of what is called "relief" to the debtor classes. -- The general idea seems to be that the Legislature should provide by law, that no property should be sold, under execution, unless it will bring something like its value.

As a matter of morals and of equity between man and man, this may be all right, and it would be a very desirable thing, if by agreement between creditors and debtors this rule could be adopted.

But as a question of law it is impracticable. It has been tried and failed. The Constitution of the U.S., which is the supreme law of the land, and over-rides all State laws and constitutions which come in conflict with it, provides that no State shall "pass any law impairing the obligation of contracts."

In 1842, the Legislature of Illinois passed a law, exactly like the one which it is proposed that the Legislature of Virginia should pass, viz.: that no sale should be made of property levied on, under an execution, unless it should bring two-thirds of its valuation according to the opinion of three householders.

The validity of this law was tested in the U. S. Circuit Court of Illinois, and upon a certificate of division between the Judges, the case went to the Supreme Court of the U.S., and at the January term of 1844, it was considered and decided.

The case was that of McCracken vs. Hayward, and will be found reported in 2nd Howard, 608. The purpose of the decision, as appears from the abstract of the Reporter, is in these words: "A law of the State of Illinois, providing that a sale shall not be made, of property levied on, under an execution, unless it will bring two-thirds of its valuation, according to the opinion of three householders, is UNCONSTITUTIONAL AND VOID."

This decision settles the matter of relief, in that form, beyond all controversy.

Is it not, therefore, idle, to tantalize people with the hope of relief which cannot be afforded? Any attempt at relief of this kind, will certainly prove a delusion and a snare. If the Legislature were to undertake, in defiance of the Supreme Court, and of the Constitution of the U.S., which they have sworn to support, to pass such a law, as seems to be desired by many, it would, promptly, be decided to be "unconstitutional and void," even by our State Courts, because they are bound to respect the Constitution of the U.S.

The only hope of relief to debtors is, by an appeal to the sense of justice, and kind feeling of their creditors. They must try to make the best arrangements they can, for a gradual liquidation of their debts. And although it is fashionable with some to cry out about extortion, griping, grinding the faces of the poor, "Shylock creditors," &c., we are persuaded these are exceptional cases. There may be some bad men who may be disposed to use their power as creditors to oppress their debtors; but we are happy to say, that in nine cases out of ten, no such feeling animates creditors as a class. A very large proportion of the suits that have been instituted in our county, were brought with no such purpose. In most cases, the object was to render the debts secure by obtaining judgment liens. This having been accomplished, most creditors will be disposed to make fair arrangements with their debtors.

It might not be unprofitable to enquire how far the outcry about relief and repudiation may have stimulated creditors to adopt stringent measures for the collection of their debts. It is said, by leading London journals, that the movements in Congress looking to partial repudiation, have seriously affected the credit of the U.S. and the market value of our national bonds. A like cause will doubtless affect the credit of individuals. Capital is proverbially timid, and credit is a sensitive plant. The bare suggestion of relief measures inspires distrust, and causes all who hold bonds, to sue on them, and seek to collect or secure them. Indiscreet advocates of illegal forms of relief, therefore, by their mistaken action, aggravate the very mischiefs which they desire to avoid. X.

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[No Title]
(Column 01)
Summary: William Hoover has been appointed Notary Public of Augusta.
(Names in announcement: William Hoover)
[No Title]
(Column 01)
Summary: James M. Karicofe of Mt. Solon received a patent for a corn-planter.
(Names in announcement: James M. Karicofe)
(Column 01)
Summary: Jacob T. Parrent, J. W. Hilbert, and Ned Burke moved three horse-thieves arrested in Staunton from Augusta to West Virginia, where they will stand trial. "Jacob T. Parrent has rendered efficient service in the arrest of horse thieves--having been instrumental in the arrest of five within the last six months."
(Names in announcement: Jacob T. Parrent, J. W. Hilbert, Ned Burke)
County Court
(Column 02)
Summary: Listed the appointed officers of the County Court under the new Constitution.
(Names in announcement: John N. Hendren, William A. Burnett, James W. Baldwin, George W. McCutchen, William Hoover, John W. Cline, R. G. Byers, J. H. Craun, W. A. Reed, William H. Bull, R. T. Gamble, George Harlan, James Bumgardner, John Towberman, Thomas M. Donoho, J. H. Stover, John G. Stover, Joseph A. Waddell, Thomas D. Ranson)
Full Text of Article:

The new County Court system, provided by the present Constitution of this State, was inaugurated in this county on yesterday -- Judge John N. Hendren presiding.

He appointed the following officers to serve till their successors shall be elected in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution:

Clerk of the County. -- Wm. A. Burnett; and as his deputy, Jas. W. Baldwin.

Sheriff of the County. -- Geo. W. McCutchen; and as his deputies, Wm. Hoover, Jno. W. Cline, R. G. Byers, J. H. Craun, W. A. Reed, Wm. H. Bull, R. T. Gamble and Geo. Harlan.

Commonwealth's Attorney. -- James Bumgardner, Jr.

Commissioners of the Revenue. -- John Towberman, 1st District; and as his deputy, Thos. M. Donoho, J. H. Stover, 2nd District, and as his deputy, John G. Stover.

Commissioners in Chancery. -- Jos. A. Waddell and Thos. D. Ranson.

Dramatic Reading
(Column 02)
Summary: Prof. Scharf will read Sheridan's comedy of the "Rivals" in the Town Hall tonight. Everyone, especially students, should attend.
(Names in announcement: Prof. Scharf)
[No Title]
(Column 02)
Summary: "Many Voters" wrote to suggest James E. Hanger for nomination to the office of County Treasurer.
(Names in announcement: James E. Hanger)
[No Title]
(Column 02)
Summary: "Many Farmers" wrote to suggest Robert W. Burke as a replacement for A. B. Cochran as representative to the legislature.
(Names in announcement: Robert W. Burke, A. B. Cochran)
(Column 03)
Summary: Jacob Knisely and Miss Amanda C. Showalter, both of Augusta, were married on April 14th by the Rev. W. H. Forsyth.
(Names in announcement: Jacob Knisely, Amanda C. Showalter, Rev. W. H. Forsyth)
(Column 03)
Summary: Sarah H. Henkel and Charles Koiner of Augusta were married in New Market at the residence of S. D. Henkel on April 18th by the Rev. S. Henkel.
(Names in announcement: Sarah H. Henkel, Charles Koiner, S. D. Henkel, Rev. S. Henkel)
(Column 03)
Summary: Patrick Henry Cain and Miss Virginia E. Humphrey, both of Augusta, were married on April 14th by the Rev. A. A. J. Bushong.
(Names in announcement: Patrick Henry Cain, Virginia E. Humphrey, Rev. A. A. J. Bushong)
(Column 03)
Summary: Mrs. Catharine Fulwider died at her residence in Dutch Hollow, Augusta County, on April 12th. She was 101 years old.
(Names in announcement: Catharine Fulwider)

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