Valley Spirit: February 10, 1864Go To Page : 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 |
Description of Page: Most of the page is taken up by reprints of letters written by General McClellan to Lincoln and Stanton on the eve of the Peninsula Campaign in 1862.
Our Washington Letter
(Column 1)Summary: The Washington correspondent to the Spirit and Times reports that "nothing of very special importance" has happened in Congress since his last letter. He notes that the commutation money on the conscription bill was reduced from $400 to $300 and that a bill equalizing the pay of white and black troops was discussed. Mr. Blair of Missouri offered a bill to investigate commercial intercourse with the rebellious states. His proposal is being interpreted as an attack on Secretary Chase, "who has the supervision and direction of this branch of the plundering business."
Description of Page: Poetry and fiction
Description of Page: Poetry, anecdotes, agricultural advice, and four columns of classified advertisements
Description of Page: Includes miscellaneous war news.
Shall Freedom Survive
(Column 1)Summary: The editors predict that 1864 will see a "great civil contest" in the loyal states between the forces supporting the Constitution and those supporting "usurped power." The Lincoln administration is determined to hold on to power, and the editors believe its rule is part of a larger plot to rob the American people of their civil liberties and impose a new, despotic regime on the country. As evidence, the editors point to Lincoln's proposed reconstruction plan, which would allow the loyal ten percent of the Southern population to rule over the rest of the disenfranchised former rebels. With oppressive conditions such as those existing in one part of the country, say the editors, it will not be long before civil liberties fade in the other parts.
Full Text of Article:[No Title]
The year 1864 will probably be one of the most eventful in our country's history. Battles, the most severe of the war, will be fought, homes will be made desolate, wives will be made widows, children will be made orphans and the hills and valleys of our beloved country will will [sic] be drenched anew in blood, with what result as to ending this fratricidal struggle we cannot tell. But the contest with armed rebellion in the South is not the only issue to be decided in the present year. A great civil contest is approaching in the loyal States, which, in the opinion of many--and we share that opinion--will decide the fate of republican institutions and constitutional government. The issue will be made up between usurped power on the one hand, and the constitutional rights of the people on the other. Upon the decision of this issue will depend the future welfare of the country.
Our rulers have most shamefully betrayed the trust committed to their hands. While professing a desire to suppress rebellion and violations of law, they themselves have become violators of the law. Pretending to put down revolution in the South, they have inaugurated revolution at the North. Entrusted by the people with immense power, for a high and noble purpose, they have used it to strike down the people's liberties. The innovations on the Constitution and the outrages against individual and personal rights have followed each other in such rapid succession, increasing in violence and boldness every time they are repeated, that he who fails to see their logical sequence must be a dull observer of passing events.
The startling usurpations of power on the part of the Executive and those acting under his authority, have justly alarmed the public mind. In addition to many other acts of like character, we have seen within the past year, the freedom of the ballot struck down by an armed soldiery in our sister States of Maryland, Delaware and Kentucky, and election farces enacted in solemn mockery. It has also been intimidated, by no less a personage than Mr. Seward, that Mr. Lincoln will not surrender his seat "without bloodshed," even though a majority of the people should declare in favor of another. Taking these things in connection with the total disregard of Constitutions and laws which has marked the course of the present Administration, we are forced to the conviction that there exists a deliberate and settled purpose on the part of the dominant party to subvert the liberties of the people and change our constitutional form of government. The conclusion is irresistible that military despotism, the worst form of tyranny, is staring the people in the face and waging war upon their rights, and unless they meet the issue boldly and fearlessly, with brave hearts and, if need be, with strong arms, the people will be overthrown and fanatics drunk with power will sing their songs of triumph over the grave of liberty.
The avowed policy of the Administration towards the States in rebellion will lead directly to the result we have indicated, even if that result were not deliberately intended. Unless the policy is changed the result is inevitable. That policy is subjugation and the reduction of those States to the conditions of Territories or conquered provinces. These Territories are to be subject to the will of the President, his decrees to be enforced at the point of the bayonet. As soon as one-tenth of the inhabitants of any State thus reduced, swear to sustain all the proclamations of the President--past, present and to come--they will be permitted to form a new State Constitution--in accordance with the will of the President, of course--and organize a new State government, and the army and navy is to be used to aid the one-tenth in keeping the nine-tenths in subjection. Such is the President's plan of "reconstruction" as foreshadowed in his late message. Will any sane man pretend that this plan is in harmony with the spirit and genius of the Government founded by Washington and his compeers; or that it is a government "deriving its powers from the consent of the governed?" We think not.
But it may be said that this plan of arbitrary government is only to apply to the States in rebellion. This may be true and it may not be true. Judging from elections in neighboring States to which allusion has already been made, where a free expression of opinion was prevented by federal bayonets, we are inclined to the opinion that it is intended to apply the same absolute rule to all the States just as soon as those in power feel themselves strong enough to attempt it. But whether it is so intended or not this policy must end in the destruction of republican institutions. And the reason for this is too obvious to need an argument. Two antagonistic systems cannot be administered by the same government in the same country. You cannot apply an arbitrary or despotic system of government in the same country. You cannot apply an arbitrary or despotic system of government to one section of the country and preserve republican liberty in the other. The idea is absurd. Reduce one section to a state of vassalage and it will not be long before the other is found in the same abject condition.
We, of the North, might be permitted to retain, for a brief period, the shadow of our former rights, but to expect to retain even the shadow long, would be indulging in delusive hopes. The people must awake to the fact, that this great issue between licentious power and constitutional freedom must be decided, perhaps for all time, in the coming presidential canvass. Already the minions of power are marshalling their forces and laying their plans with a view of controlling the result. And we say to all, who have hearts to love their country, that if they would save its cherished institutions, they must go to work to meet the issue. Let every true man do his whole duty in this crisis, and all may yet be well. Let every patriot gird on his armor and go forth, "unawed by power and unbribed by gain," and battle manfully against despotism in all its forms, remembering that now, more than ever, "eternal vigilance is the price of Liberty."
(Column 2)Summary: The editors direct the reader's attention to an article in another part of the paper, where a "gentleman of learning and intelligence" argues that blacks are in fact not descended from Ham. Therefore, the curse pronounced on Canaan, one of Ham's sons, does not explain the present condition of black people. The editors claim neither to endorse nor reject this position, but they give it "with the view of promoting inquiry after the truth on this mooted question." Whether or not one believes that blacks are under the curse of Canaan, conclude the editors, it has as much scriptural foundation as the doctrines that clergy interpret to give support to a war to abolish slavery.The Descendants of Ham
(Column 5)Summary: This letter writer takes issue with the Spirit's claim that blacks are the descendants of Ham and that because they are under the curse of Canaan, their present circumstances can be explained.
(Names in announcement: Rev. S. J. Niccolls)Full Text of Article:
Editor of the Spirit and Times.
SIR: In your criticism upon the Thanksgiving sermon of the Rev. S. J. NICCOLLS, there is one point to which I wish, with your permission, to call the attention of an intelligent public. I desire to do so because it is one of those vulgar errors which have some to be widely believed, without the slightest foundation of evidence, and indeed against all the evidence in the case. I refer to the notion that the negroes as the supposed decendants of Ham are resting under the curse of the Almighty as recorded in Gen. 9, 25-27. It is not my purpose to defend the sermon of the Rev. Mr. Niccolls, or to animadvert upon the opinions and views set forth in your criticism. I desire simply to discuss a question of interpretation and history, for the sake, if possible of dissipating a groundless and vulgar error.--You say that "it is there written,"--[illegible] in the Scriptures--"that the enslavement of the black race is one of the Almighty's great purposes, whereby out of evil he educes good," and you then refer the curse upon Canaan to "the descendants of Ham, the African race." Now what are the facts in the case?
First as to the passage itself. The terms of the passage clearly limits the curse to the descendants of Canaan, the youngest son of Ham. Three distinct times is the curse repeated and exclusively referred to Canaan. And when Ham is first spoken of as seeing the nakedness of his father, he is spoken of as Ham "the father of Canaan." So that clearly Canaan is the obnoxious person in the mind of the inspired writer. I need not refer to the difficulties with which this passage has puzzled all interpreters. Suffice it to say that no true solution can be attained without a careful consideration of the relations of enmity existing between the people of Israel and the Canaanites when this Scripture was writtten, and that no interpretation can be admitted by reflecting men, which makes the curse upon Canaan to be the immediate consequence of the conduct of Ham. It is rather to be regarded as a prophesy of a fact foreseen to be realized in the future, and uttered as a humiliating rebuke to the irreverent Ham. Limiting then, as the terms of the passage do, the curse to the descendents [sic] of Canaan, let us inquire who were they? All the information respecting them which we have, we get from the Scriptures themselves. "And Canaan begat Sidon his first born and Heth, and the Jebusite and the Amorite and the Girgasite, and the Hivite and the Arkite and the Sinite, and the Arvadite and the Zetnatite and the Hamathite, and afterwards were the families of the Canaanites spread abroad. And the border of the Canaanites was from Sidon as thou comest to Gerar, unto Gaza: as thou goest unto Sodom and Gomorrah, and Admah, and Zeboim, even unto Lesha." Here the tribes and boundaries of the Canaanites are clearly laid down. They occupied what is now known as the land of Palestine, from which they were driven, being destroyed enslaved and scattered abroad by the victorious Israelites. And in the history of the wars of Israel for the possession of the promised land the above names continually occur. There is not one particle of evidence that any African tribe descended from Canaan; but conclusive evidence of the contrary is found in the fact that the perfect type of the negro head, unchanged in a single peculiarity in the lapse of centuries, is found upon the Egyptian monuments of a date contemporaneous with, or prior to, the conquest of Canaan by the children of Israel.
If for the sake of covering the case it is insisted that the curse extends to all the descendents [sic] of Ham, we are led into difficulties and absurities equally great. The four sons of Ham were Cush, Mizraim, Phut and Canaan. The family of Cush appears to have divided, part of it going eastward where Nimrod founded the great Babylonian empire, and into Arabia, and part going southward to Ethiopia.--The part of the family of Cush which remained in Asia became the great conquerors and empire builders of antiquity. Mizraim is the ancestor of the Egyptians. The common Hebrew word for Egypt or the Egyptians is Mizraim, i. e. the Two Egypts. And no one need be told that the ancient Egyptians were not a nation of slaves, but a highly cultivated, civilized and powerful nation. The valley of the Nile is indeed the cradle of the world's art, science, learning and law. It witnessd the most wonderful development of human history and civilization considering all the circumstances, which the world has even [sic] seen. To this day her achievements are a marvel and mystery. Like her mysterious sphinx she stands dark and solemn in the desert twilight of the mighty past.
"The burnt out torch within her mouldering hands,
That once lit all the East."
Of the descendants of Phut we have scarcely any mention in Scripture. The points of their migration are wholly conjectural. It is surmised by some that they moved southward and peopled various parts of Africa. By others it is supposed from certain radical elements of language that they moved to the extreme north of Asia, peopling the vast steppes of Siberia, and pouring forth in subsequent times those great tides of barbarian life which repeatedly overrun Europe.
Can we then in this total uncertainty as to the origin of the African tribes, presume to fix upon them the curse upon Canaan? And even conceding that Africa was peopled by certain branches of the family of Ham, on what principle do we concentrate the curse upon them and not on the conquering people of the plain of Shinar, and on the wise sages of Egypt?
But as we said at the outset the curse is limited in its own terms to the descendants of Canaan, and its significance was fully exhausted in the history of that people. The attempt to fasten it upon the negro because of the incidental circumstances of his present history is a singular instance of the tendency of mankind to make the conclusions of their judgment minister to their prejudices.
(Column 5)Summary: Rev. F. W. Conrad will preach in the Lutheran Church in Chambersburg on Sunday morning, February 14.
(Names in announcement: Rev. F. W. Conrad)
Description of Page: Includes a statement of receipts and expenditures of the local poor house as well as two columns of classified advertisements.
(Column 1)Summary: The editors complain that, with the return of soldiers to town, Chambersburg has taken on a warlike appearance. The town has suffered from far too much drinking and "rioting." They call for a series of lectures by clergy to combat the problem.
Full Text of Article:"Where is the Borough of Chambersburg?"
Since the return of a portion of the army to this place, our town has presented a warlike appearance and--we are sorry to say it--been very disorderly. Drunken men are as plentiful as [illegible] , and profane oaths appear to be the medium through which thought is communicated.--Taverns, Eating houses and Ale Shops are doing a thriving business, and if the present state of affairs continues much longer some additional arrangements for the manufacture of Strychnine whiskey, and Cocaine Indicus Ale, will will [sic] have to be made. If it is desirable it should cease, some stringent notification should be served on our keepers of Hotels and Ale houses and a series of free lectures, by some of the reverend clergy, on sin and wickedness in general and drunkeness, rioting and profanity in particular, should be announced forthwith.
In all seriousness, an effort should be made by the officers in command, and our borough police to put an end to the outrageous violations of morality and common decency exhibited openly and shamelessly on our streets in open day. Night is rendered hideous by the howling imprecations and riotings of drunken men. Females can no longer venture abroad after nightfall, without having their ears shocked with obscene language and foul oaths, at each street corner, and in many instances, of recent occurrence, some have been grossly insulted. It is high time that an effort should be made, by our citizens, to correct, in some measure at least, this intolerable evil.
(Column 1)Summary: The editors wonder why the Town Council has done nothing to clean or maintain the roads in town, which they claim are filthy and muddy. They ask for a sum to be appropriated to clean the streets to make them more presentable and to avoid disease.
Full Text of Article:Important Legal Decision
We were hailed on the street, one day several months since, by a man with a ten cent borough shinplaster in his hand, with the above interogatory. We told him--judging from the aforesaid shinplaster--that, that part of the "borough" which he wished to see, could, be found in Fahnestock's grocery store next our office. Now we would like some one to inform us what has become of that part of the "borough" whose duty it is to see that the throughfares of the town are kept in a passable condition--we mean the town council. The streets lanes and alleys are now in such a state as to reflect disgrace on all concerned; mud and filth everywhere abound. The gutters and sewers reek with noisome smells and poisonous exhalations, breeding disease and death. Main Street from the German Reformed church to North Point is one mass of liquid mud. The street cross flags are covered up from view and wo [sic] to the unfortunate biped who unluckily steps off the stones. Will not the members of the council make some effort to perform their duties and have the streets cleaned? Will they not appropriate a small sum out of the borough fund to its legitimate purpose, and have the streets and alleys properly cleaned, thereby removing this intolerable nuisance; and saving present discomfort and, very probably, future pestilence? We shall see.
(Column 1)Summary: A Philadelphia District Court decided last week that it was the purchaser's responsibility during a property transaction to pay the appropriate stamp cost in the transfer. This settles, says the editors, a "much agitated and important question."The Tax on Whiskey
(Column 1)Summary: The editors report that liquor interests have been lobbying Congress to remove the tax on whiskey in the revenue bill. They have apparently nearly succeeded, as the Senate reported the bill out of committee with a recommendation to strike that tax as well as the one on cotton.The Draft
(Column 2)Summary: The editors reprint a letter from the Provost Marshal General's office to the Assistant Provost Marshals in the states, endorsing the President's call for 500,000 new troops to be raised.Court of Inquiry
(Column 2)Summary: A court of inquiry is being held in Washington to investigate the case of Col. A. A. Gibson of the 2nd Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery. Gibson refused to accept a flag presented by the State of Pennsylvania to his regiment on the grounds that they were fighting for the United States and not Pennsylvania. A number of men were recruited in Chambersburg by Lieut. B. F. Winger for that regiment, and the editors wish to hear more about the case.Where Are All the "Cents"
(Names in announcement: Lieut. B. F. Winger)
(Column 2)Summary: The editors complain about the lack of cent coins, noting that it is getting harder and harder to find enough to change a five-cent note. With so many new ones having been minted, they wonder who is holding them, as the metal is worth less than the face value.A Snug Little Sum
(Column 2)Summary: The editors note that Franklin County contributed $51,798.43 in taxes to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania last year.Arrested
(Column 2)Summary: George White was arrested in Steubenville, Ohio several days ago and brought to Chambersburg on a charge of "Mayhem and Assault and Battery" on the person of Cyrus H. Brown during the Confederate occupation last June. White has entered bail for his appearance at the next term of court.Accepted the Call
(Names in announcement: George White, Cyrus H. Gordon)
(Column 2)Summary: Rev. F. W. Conrad of Lancaster City has accepted the call to the Pastorate of the Lutheran congregation of Chambersburg. He is known to be a "able and eloquent Divine" and the editors are sure that the congregation will find his ministrations "acceptable and profitable." He will be installed around the first of April.Enlistments
(Names in announcement: Rev. F. W. Conrad)
(Column 3)Summary: The enlistment in this area is proceeding rapidly, thanks to the large bounties being offered by the federal and local governments. Many of the townships and districts of the county have already filled up their quota, and the editors predict that the county quota will be filled by the end of the week.
Full Text of Article:(No Title)
The work of enlisting men for the army is progressing briskly, in this place, under the stimulus of large government and local bounties. The quotas of many of the townships and districts of the county are filled and others nearly so, and if the ball is kept moving the quota for the entire county can be filled this week. Every man is personally interested in this matter, and should do all that lies in his power to encourage volunteering, as the army must be filled up, either by voluntary enlistments or by another draft.
(Column 3)Summary: At a meeting at Plough's School on Wednesday, February 3, a group of Green Township citizens wrote to the township authorities to inform them that they are responsible for the education of "the colored families of Africa, located at the southern end of the township."
(Names in announcement: Jacob Glass, Jacob Bollinger)Full Text of Article:Teachers Institute
At a meeting of the citizens of Green township, held at Plough's School House, on Wednesday the 3d inst., it was
Resolved, That the officers of this meeting notify the authorities of --------castle borough that in the future, this township expects them to look after the interests of the colored familes of Africa located in the southern end of this township, in educating their children and supplying their other wants, as the philanthrophical [sic] bounty of fifty dollars wont see the colored friends out.
Jacob Glass, Prest.
Jacob Bollinger, Sec'y.
(Column 3)Summary: The Teachers Institute of Lurgan District met at Boxbury on January 30, and elected J. W. DeHaven president and D. A. Stouffer secretary. Space prohibits the editors from including all the proceedings, but they report a large attendance.Fast Work
(Names in announcement: J. W. DeHaven, D. A. Stouffer)
(Column 3)Summary: Messrs. Franciscus and Oyer threshed 160 bushels of wheat in three-and-a-quarter hours on the farm of David Zullinger in Letterkenny Township, using a Waynesboro Separator. This is a considerable improvement on the old mode of beating out grain with a flail.Married
(Names in announcement: Mr. Franciscus, Mr. Oyer, David Zullinger)
(Column 4)Summary: George Knepper of Funkstown married Anna Jemima Smetzer of Quincy Township on January 28.Married
(Names in announcement: Rev. S. McHenry, George Knepper, Anna Jemima Smetzer)
(Column 4)Summary: John R. Thomson and Josephine Waddle, both from near Scotland, Franklin County, were married on January 25 at the residence of the bride's mother.Married
(Names in announcement: Rev. J. Hassler, John R. Thomson, Josephine Waddle)
(Column 4)Summary: Franklin Yaeger and Louise Silvers, both of Chambersburg, were married on February 7.Married
(Names in announcement: Rev. M. Wolf, Franklin Yaeger, Louise Silvers)
(Column 4)Summary: G. B. Bowman and Rebecca Shoop, both of Mercersburg, were married there on January 27.Married
(Names in announcement: Rev. J. W. Buckley, G. B. Bowman, Rebecca Shoop)
(Column 4)Summary: Jacob L. Coffman of Mt. Morris, Illinois, married Kate Wolf of Welsh Run in Mercersburg on January 23.Died
(Names in announcement: Rev. J. W. Buckley, Jacob L. Coffman, Kate Wolf)
(Column 4)Summary: William Charles Mentzer died on January 25 near Fayetteville, aged 16 years, 10 months and 7 days.Died
(Names in announcement: William Charles Mentzer)
(Column 4)Summary: Robert Horner Swigert, son of Robert and Martha Swigert (formerly of Franklin County) died on January 5 at Fountain Green, Illinois, aged 3 years and 3 months.Died
(Names in announcement: Robert Horner Swigert, Robert Swigert, Martha Swigert)
(Column 4)Summary: Joshua Stinger, son of John and Martha Stinger, died on January 29 near Upton, aged 7 years, 3 months and 18 days.Died
(Names in announcement: Joshua Stinger, John Stinger, Martha Stinger)
(Column 4)Summary: Caroline Ruply, daughter of George and Mrs. Ruply, died in Mercersburg on July 1, aged 5 years and 1 month.Died
(Names in announcement: Caroline Ruply, George Ruply, Mrs. Ruply)
(Column 4)Summary: Matthew McKee died on January 19 at his residence in Green Township, aged about 60 years.
(Names in announcement: Matthew McKee)
Description of Page: Classified advertisements
Description of Page: Classified advertisements
Description of Page: Classified advertisements (including the statement of county receipts and expenditures) and a directory of advertisers