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Valley of the Shadow

Staunton Spectator: September 13, 1870

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-Page 01-

Voters of Staunton
(Column 05)
Summary: Anonymous writer "VOTER" rails against the proposed vote for furnishing stock to the Valley Railroad. His concerns included the high taxes on property which would accrue, further taxes issued by town and state authorities to cover the stock, and the likely chance that railroad directors would squander the money. Urged all voters to think very carefully about their interests before voting for the stock.
Full Text of Article:

The Railroad authorities in dividing $1200,000 subscription to the Stock of the Valley Railroad Company, between the Counties and Towns in the Valley, gave to Staunton in the division $100,000, one-tenth of the assessed value of her property, while the other Towns and Counties received about one-thirtieth of the assessed value of their property, and we accepted this unequal amount without hesitation. After this improper and dangerous policy, $50,000 more is demanded under the last that "Staunton will not be made a point." And this hardship of placing the hard-earned means of the citizens of Staunton at the mercy of the Valley Railroad Company, is to be forced upon the tax-payers by the votes of non-property-holders, under an ordinance of doubtful validity, passed by the Council without authority. And we are to submit, with no protest, no opposition. Men of property, this is no trifling question, for if adopted it will prove the knell of hope to the welfare of Staunton, and to treat this momentous subject with indifference, is not only foolish, but it is the height of madness. It is contrary to every principle on which reasonable men act, in relation to their own private affairs. To retain the profits of our business or to prevent the loss of a few dollars, we will submit to ruinous privations, and yet we seem to remain perfectly indifferent to the unreasonable demands made upon our property, and take no step to put a stop to the Railroad demands that will throw a dismal gloom over our future welfare and happiness. We are called upon to ratify by our votes an agreement or contract between the Valley Railroad authorities of the one part, and the Town of Staunton on the other part, and as prudent men we should examine the provisions of this contract before voting, and see if we are not driving a hard bargain.

1. We are asked to vote $150,000 to the Stock of the Valley Railroad Company upon the only condition, that the Town of Staunton shall be made a point in the main line of the Valley Railroad.

2. For the purpose of paying said Stock as it may be called for, the Council shall appoint an agent to negotiate a loan, and issue bonds of the Town to secure the same.

3. At the time the council shall make its levy for such Town, it shall levy a tax on all subjects liable to State tax to pay the interest on the bonds of said Town so issued, and create a sinking fund to redeem the principal thereof at a period not to exceed thirty years.

4. And from year to year the Council shall repeat such assessment until the debt and interest be fully paid.

Here is a solemn contract which we are asked to ratify by our votes on the 17th day of September, and the Town the only party in the contract bound. The Railroad authorities are in no wise bound, and it is by no means certain, after they receive the money on the $150,000 of Stock, we will secure the Road, as we insist on no guarantee. This is a very loose and a very extraordinary contract. It is a miserable Shylock bargain, and if we adopt it we will find the Railroad authorities exacting the last dollar on the Stock, if the Town bonds are submitted to public auction and cried off in the Streets of our Towns and Cities at 25 cents in the dollar. And for all this sacrifice we have the old stale and threadbare answer, that the people are deeply interested in this Road because it will add value to the houses -- manufactures and population will be increased, and if these promises are realized it will be the first time in the history of a Virginia Town.

Let us pause a moment and each one ask himself, how shall I meet the claims upon my property to carry out this contract, which will remain in full force and virtue for 30 long years? And in order to aid the Tax-payers to arrive at an intelligent answer, we will give you a few plain figures, which we think will hardly be gainsaid.

$150,000 worth of Stock upon the basis of the Council, (which will have no binding force) not to dispose of the Stock at a greater discount than ten per centum, and five per centum to negotiate said bonds, will create a Railroad debt of $172,500; the interest on which at 6 per cent is $10,350; sinking fund per annum 2,500, making $12,850, so that the Railroad tax will be $1.07; Town tax $.55, State $.50, making $2.12, and we are assured that the Legislature at its next session will be compelled, in order to provide for the interest, and a sinking fund for the State debt, to levy a tax of $1.00, and for the current expenses of the State a tax of 50 cents, so that we will have a tax of $3.62 on each hundred dollars worth of property. Can any observant or reflecting man say this will not be a hardship. Let us not then throw a veil over our responsibilities, for when we shall have leisure hereafter to reflect, we will realize the fact that we are tax ridden, and that Staunton will increase in wealth and prosperity, only in proportion to the increase of the County of Augusta. VOTER.

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A Word of Caution to the Conservatives
(Column 01)
Summary: Editor warned Conservatives about the importance of proper nominations in the upcoming election. Claimed Conservatives and Democrats had an excellent chance to retake Congress unless they nominated candidates disqualified from federal office because of inability to take the test oaths. Called on county organizations to keep this fact in mind when selecting candidates for Congress.
Full Text of Article:

The coming election of Representatives to Congress is one of unprecedented importance to the Southern States. Upon its result the most vital interests of the South depend. We think that there is strong ground to hope that the Conservatives and Democrats may carry the next House of Representatives. But the contest will be a close one. The majority, either way, will be small. A single District may control the result and give the organization to the radicals on the one hand, or the Conservatives and Democrats on the other. In view of these facts, it is of the highest importance that the people of the South should make no mistake by which they may lose a single member, and thereby endanger the organization of the House, with the immense advantages that may result from it.

The test-oath is general in its terms. It applies to every member, North and South, unless his disabilities have been removed. It is a mistake to suppose that a person who labors under no disabilities by virtue of the 14th amendment, can take his seat in Congress without swallowing the test-oath. A man who is not disfranchised under the 14th amendment, can sit in the State legislature or fill any State office. But it is not so in regard to Congress or Federal offices. No one can take his seat in Congress or fill any federal office, without taking the test-oath, unless his disabilities have been removed by act of Congress.

In nominating members of Congress, therefore, care should be taken not to nominate any one who does not fall within one or the other of these two classes. In other words, the nominee must either be able to take the test-oath, or his disabilities must have been removed.

The nomination and election of any man outside of these classes, be his merits what they may, will be futile, for he will not be allowed to take his seat.

We regard this as a matter of so much importance that we think the Executive Committee at Richmond, ought, at once, to issue a circular warning the people of the several Districts to bear these facts in mind in making their nominations. It would be unpardonable for any District to endanger the supremacy of the Conservatives and Democrats in the House of Representatives by a blunder of this kind.

We beg leave respectfully to call the attention of the Committee to this important duty, and we also request our contemporaries at Richmond to sound a note of warning.

Primary Meetings and Convention
(Column 01)
Summary: Announced upcoming meetings for choosing delegates to the County convention. Called on all voters to be fair in the proceedings lest the unity of the Conservative party fall apart at a crucial time.
Full Text of Article:

At each place of voting in the county, meetings will be held at 3 o'clock P. M. on Saturday, the 17th inst., for the purpose of electing three delegates to the County Convention which will be held in the Court-house at 1 o'clock on Monday, the 26th inst., for the purpose of nominating county officers, and for the selection of Delegates to the Congressional District Convention which will meet in Harrisonburg on Wednesday, the 5th of October, for the purpose of nominating a candidate for Congress.

The precinct meetings should be fairly conducted, so that the Convention, composed of Delegates elected by these primary meetings, shall fairly represent the sentiments of the voters of the County. There should be no intriguing, and no dishonest packing -- otherwise, the chief object in holding a Convention will be defeated -- that object being to secure the harmony and unity of the Conservative party. If there should be good grounds to charge unfairness in the nominations or improper manipulation of the Convention, the effect will be to divide and distract rather than to unite and harmonize the party. Such a result should be carefully guarded against.

Interesting Correspondence
(Column 03)
Summary: Printed a letter written by many prominent citizens of Augusta to A.H.H. Stuart and his reply. The first letter requested Stuart to change his mind and run for a seat in Congress. Stuart's reply accepted their request and outlined what he would do if elected, including removing all political disabilities and supporting internal improvements.
Full Text of Article:

STAUNTON, VA., Sept. 9th, 1870.

Hon. Alex. H. H. Stuart:

DEAR SIR -- Our present most estimable Representative in Congress, Hon. Wm. Milnes, having announced his determination not again, under any circumstances, to be a candidate for election, and being impressed, as we are, with the conviction of the great importance to the District to have as its Representative in the next Congress, a gentleman of the largest experience in public affairs, and of the most comprehensive and statesmanlike views of the proper policy of our Government in the future, we respectfully, but earnestly, request you to allow us to announce you as a candidate for election to a seat in the next House of Representatives of the Congress of the United States, subject to the decision of the District Convention to be held in Harrisonburg on the 5th proximo.

We are, very respectfully,

Your obedient servants,

Jos. A Waddell, Jos W Earman, John Paris, Jas Bumgardner, jr., L R Waddell, James F Patterson, D S Young, J A Gilkeson, C T Cochran, G W McClure, Robt Cowan, A T Gilkeson, Wm Crawford, Theo Gamble, G K Harper, James H Blackley, Davis A Kayser, P N Powell, M A Bright, F M Young, W C Eskridge, A Hoge, Alex H Sitlington, Wm Frazier, H M Bell, C W S Turner, J Wayt, C C Francisco, A F Kinney, Jno B Evans, Thos A Bledsoe, B F Points, M Harvey Effinger, Thos J Michie, H L Gallagher, Jno A English, Robert G Bickle, Jno B Hoge, O C Morris, Taylor G Hoge, Thorton Berry, Geo H Eyster, David S Bell, John A Patterson, Wm S McChesney, Lewis Whitmer, P O Palmer, Thos P Wilson, Z D Shafer, S Travers Phillips, H A Glenn, D F Clemmer, John Echols, Jno H Parkins, Jno A & Y M Bickle, Thos C Elder, P B Hoge & Bro, Jas E Taylor, Wm B Kayser, E T Kinney, Wm G Sterrett, James Ker, George Baylor, A M Fauntleroy, R H May, H H Peck, A D W Reed, B G Bagby, A Gardner, J Alex Waddell, Logan J Maupin, T W Shelton, D R Williams, George Harlan,

STAUNTON, Sept. 12th, 1870.

Messrs. Jos. A. Waddell, John Paris, Leigh R. Waddell, D. S. Young, C. T. Cochran and others:

GENTLEMEN -- I have had the honor to receive your favor of the 9th inst., in which you request me to allow you to announce me as a candidate for election to a seat in the next House of Representatives of the Congress of the United States, subject to the decision of the District Convention, proposed to be held in Harrisonburg, on the 5th proximo.

In reply, I beg leave to say, that if it shall be ascertained that your invitation is in harmony with the general wish of the people of the District, I will not feel at liberty to withhold such service as I may be able to render.

In the fall of 1865, I was elected by a District, composed, in a large part, of the Counties which constitute the present District, to a seat in the House of Representatives, but was not allowed to qualify. Since that time, my political disabilities, under the 14th amendment of the Constitution of the United States, have been removed, by act of Congress, and in the event of my election now, there would be no legal obstacle to my taking my seat.

It may be proper to add that if the voters of the District shall honor me with their suffrages, I should labor assiduously to accomplish the following, amount other, important objects.

1. The immediate removal of all disabilities, resulting from the civil war, and the restoration of harmony and fraternal fellowship between all sections of the country, which the abuses and usurpations of partisan power have hitherto tended to prevent.

2. A tariff for revenue, to cover the expenses of an economical administration, and to meet the just obligations of the Government, as opposed to the existing system of exorbitant protection for special monopolies, and undisguised partiality for favored interests.

3. Reduction of the present odious and oppressive scale of taxation, both as applied to imports and internal revenue.

4. Rigid economy in every department of the Government, and retrenchment of expenses.

5. Reform of the public service in all its branches, civil, military, and naval.

6. A sound National Currency, equally distributed among the States, and protected against speculations.

7. The rights of intelligent labor against all selfish combinations to degrade and depreciate it.

8. Legislation by which the public lands will be reserved for actual settlers, and as a resource of national credit, in opposition to the Radical policy of enormous grants to speculators and corrupt schemes of appropriation for the benefit of one portion of the country at the expense of the other.

9. Aid from the Government of the U. S. in the most available form, to complete the line of Water Communication between the Chesapeake and Ohio.

10. Strict and impartial neutrality in the contests between other nations, cultivating friendship with all, and entangling alliances with none.

In conclusion, Gentlemen, I pray you to accept my profound acknowledgments for the confidence which you have shown in me, and for the very flattering terms in which you have been pleased to convey your invitation.

Very respectfully,

Your ob't servant,


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Religious Interest
(Column 01)
Summary: The Rev. J. J. Engle has been conducting a religious revival at Trimble's school house, three miles from Staunton. Twenty people have recently professed faith in Christ.
(Names in announcement: Rev. J. J. Engle)
Schools of Staunton
(Column 02)
Summary: The paper reported that the students of Staunton's female academies started to arrive by train for the fall semester. A list of Staunton's schools and faculty followed: Virginia Institute (Episcopalian), Rev. R. H. Phillips, Principal; Augusta Female Seminary (Presbyterian), Miss Mary Julia Baldwin, Principal; Wesleyan Female Institute (Methodist), Rev. William A. Harris, Principal; Staunton Female Seminary (Lutheran), Rev. J. I. Miller, Principal; Kalorama School For Men; Staunton Academy, Charles E. Young, Principal; Eastwood School, Pike Powers, Principal. Staunton also has: Classical School, Dr. Downey; Catholic School, Miss M. A. Collins; Primary School, William H. Waddell; Miss Lizzie Kinney's school.
(Names in announcement: Rev. R. H. Phillips, Mary Julia Baldwin, Rev. William A. Harris, Rev. J. I. Miller, Charles E. Young, Pike Powers, Dr. Downey, M. A. Collins, William H. Waddell, Lizzie Kinney)
(Column 02)
Summary: John L. Patterson and Miss Emma A. Overholt, both of Augusta, were married near Waynesboro on September 4th by the Rev. James E. Seneker.
(Names in announcement: John L. Patterson, Emma A. Overholt, Rev. James E. Seneker)
(Column 02)
Summary: John Bush died at his residence near Deerfield on September 7th. He was 87 years old.
(Names in announcement: John Bush)
(Column 02)
Summary: Augustus F. T. Myers, infant son of Samuel K. and Geraldine F. Myers, died on Christian's Creek on September 4th. He was 4 months old.
(Names in announcement: Augustus F. T. Myers, Samuel K. Myers, Geraldine F. Myers)
(Column 02)
Summary: Daniel Fall died near Churchville on August 29th of obstruction of a main artery. He was 52 years old. "By this unlooked for event, the wife has been made a widow, the children orphans, and a large circle of relations and friends bereaved; while the church and community have lost one of their very best members."
(Names in announcement: Daniel Fall)

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