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Valley of the Shadow

Valley Spirit: February 12, 1868

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The Grant-Johnson Correspondence
(Column 01)
Summary: Gives a negative view of General Grant handing over the War Department to Stanton after Johnson dismissed the latter. Says Grant's correspondence revealed his betrayal of Johnson in order to further his presidential ambitions. Ends by calling on voters to send Radicals packing before they seize all governmental powers.
Full Text of Article:

The correspondence, which we publish today, between General Grant and President Johnson, is of an exceedingly damaging nature to the character of the distinguished hero of the War. It affords another striking corroboration of the fact, hitherto so signally exemplified, that a General, in attempting to play the part of a statesman, is very frequently a complete failure. General Grant has evidently waded into water entirely too deep for him. Had he been satisfied to rest upon the laurels won in the suppression of the rebellion, he would have been honored by the American people without exception. Whilst the discerning minds of the nation have failed to discover a military genius in him like that of the First Napoleon, which so often electrified the world by the novelty and boldness of its achievements, yet even they have been silenced into acquiescence in the general tribute of admiration which is always paid to a successful military hero. Not only was Grant successful in compelling a surrender of the rebel armies, but the terms of capitulation extended by him, were so generous and chivalric, that he was successful also in subduing for a time the blood-thirsty spirit which had taken possession of a portion of the Northern people. Whilst some would have preferred harsher terms, yet everybody was disposed to rejoice inasmuch as the war was over, the Union was preserved intact, and the honor of the National Government completely vindicated. General Grant's honor as a soldier was the first consideration with him then. The ambition to be President had not then entered his mind. He had not yet become the plaything of designing politicians. And, therefore, in the matter of the surrender of Lee, he rose above all selfish and vindictive emotions, and acted as his keen sense of honor as a soldier prompted him to act.

But hardly had the rebel soldiers reached their homes, before the mutterings of discontent began to be heard among the Radical leaders, North, who regard perpetual disquiet as absolutely essential to the existence of their party. They began to coin libels upon the whole Southern people, and sought to impugn the good faith of the surrender. General Grant then went South, and on his return reported favorably as to the disposition and feeling among the Southern masses. The nation saw in this action on his part, an earnest love of law and order, and a strong desire to witness the people of the several States of the Union united in heart as well as in name.

Meanwhile, President Johnson was laboring, for the accomplishment of this object. But, so bitter had the Radicals become at his opposition to the new schemes which they were devising for the enfranchisement of the negro to perpetuate their power, that they began to cast about for ways and means to retard reconstruction, and thus bring discredit upon his administration.--In pursuance of this design, they resorted to the most iniquitous measures to tie the hands of the President, disregarding the Constitution entirely whenever it stood in their way. They passed the Tenure of Office Bill, so as to keep Stanton, who was acting as a spy upon the President's movements, in the Cabinet. Possessed of no delicacy or refinement of feeling, Stanton remained in the War Department in opposition to the wishes of the President, and even absolutely refused to surrender his portfolio after being plainly requested so to do. The President then, in the exercise of his clear, constitutional right, suspended Stanton, and appointed General Grant, Secretary of War ad interim.

Upon the reassembling of Congress, a movement was set on foot to restore the displaced Secretary. It became necessary, in order to insure the success of this scheme, to have General Grant to favor it. At once he was announced by leading radical papers throughout the country as the Radical choice for the Presidency. Mass meetings were called in the large cities to further his nomination.--Poor Grant was tickled, gratified, and at length crazed with the idea. His brain whirled at the thought of reaching such a proud distinction. He saw that, if he was to obtain the nomination of the Radical Convention, he must do something to promote the interests of the Radical party. He therefore undertook to "carry water on both shoulders."

Secretly in sympathy with, and privy to, the Radical plot, and intending to play false to the President at the most critical period, he induced the President to believe that he would so act as that, in case he did not wish to be involved in the controversy himself, the War Department should pass under the immediate control of the President before the Senate could re-instate Stanton. The allegation on the part of the President is, that General Grant, both impliedly and expressly, promised him either "to hold on to the office of Secretary of War ad interim against the action of the Senate", or to surrender it to the President before such action was had." He did neither. On the contrary, as soon as the Senate announced its action to him, he vacated the office, and allowed Stanton to take possession.

Nobody of average common sense can doubt that there was such an understanding between Johnson and Grant. aside from the indubitable positive testimony upon the subject, it is so natural as not to admit of question. What could be more reasonably conjectured than that the President, engaged as he was in an open contest with Congress, having nothing favorable to expect from it, would be anxious to understand General Grant's views upon the effort, which was likely so soon to be made, to return Stanton to the War Office? What more natural than that he should seek for information as to Grant's contemplated action in view of the probable action of the Senate?

But we are not left in doubt. President Johnson says, that he read his letter to four of the five members of the Cabinet who were present at the interview between Grant and the President, and that they all corroborate his statement that Grant admitted that he had made them promises. In the administration of justice in our courts, when one witness testifies to one state of facts, and five or six witnesses, of equally good standing, testify to an entirely contradictory state of facts, the verdict is never in favor of the statement of the single witness. And so, we apprehend, the verdict of the nation is not likely to be in favor of the man distinguished though he be, who seeks to conceal his hypocrisy, and willfully misrepresents his action in order to attain the object of his ambition, when his hypocrisy is unmasked, and his misrepresentations are exposed by four witnesses, who are entirely disinterested, and who with one accord agree that General Grant has written his letters to the President for political capital at the expense of the truth. How his name would have shone upon the pages of history, if he had manfully resolved that he "would rather be right than President"! All men love candor.--No man is more despicable than the double-dealing miscreant who barters his own honor for temporary power.

The word of a man occupying the position of General Grant ought to be as good as his bond. This correspondence reveals the fact that his word is not of much account. Perhaps this bond would not be much better.--It certainly was not a few years ago. This violation of his plighted faith will be a lasting stain upon his honor. The infamy of it will cling to him like the shirt of Nessus. It will be a complete set-off to the prestige of his name, and will utterly dissipate the nonsensical ideas of his availability as a Presidential candidate.

When the Radicals called upon the so-called Secretary of War for a copy of this correspondence, before the ink was dry upon Grant's last letter, and of course before the President could frame a reply, they thought that, as Grant had the last word, the people would shout Hosannah to him for his thorough destruction of Andrew Johnson.--But on the contrary, Grant's admirers in secret bow their heads in shame, and are awaiting, in painful silence and anxiety, the answer of the President with its accompanying proof, which will settle the question of Grant's duplicity beyond all cavil. The Chicago Convention will certainly not present as the Radical standard-bearer, a man who has been set in the pillory for all time.

But not alone is Grant guilty of breaking his promise in a matter of so much moment. He is also guilty of insubordination. The President is, by virtue of his office, Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States. The Secretary of War is his Clerk. He has no rank in the army. He is not a General, Major or Brigadier-General, Colonel, Lieutenant-Colonel, Major, Captain, Lieutenant, or even a private. He has no place in the army whatever. He is not, in a military sense, the superior of General Grant. Now, the President, having suspended Stanton as his Secretary, or Clerk, and being unwilling to recognize him in that capacity at the unauthorized bidding of the Senate, commands General Grant not to obey any orders issued by Stanton in the name of the President.--General Grant refuses to obey, and says, that as Stanton has informed him that he has received no order from the President revoking the authority, heretofore exercised by him, to issue such orders, therefore, he will assume that any such order issued by Stanton has been issued by direction of the President. Could presumption go further? Grant does not question the genuineness of the President's order to him. He admits to genuineness. But he openly disregards it, and virtually takes the position that he is not bound to obey the order of the President unless it is transmitted through his Clerk, or worse still, that he is bound to obey an order, issued by an aforetime Clerk in the name of the President, although the Clerk has been summarily dismissed, and he, Grant, has been apprised of the fact that he is no longer recognized as the instrument through which the orders of the Commander-in-Chief are conveyed. The position is too contemptible for argument. It refutes itself. It needs only to be stated to be overthrown.

But where is all this leading us? Whither are we drifting? Congress openly trampling upon the Constitution; trammeling the Executive in a way hitherto never dreamed of, legislating against the judiciary and endeavoring to overthrow that bulwark of our rights and liberties; seeking to invest the negro with power to rule the white men of the country; and now, the General of the army striking hands with Congress in this nefarious work; setting an example of insubordination to every private in the army--what does it all mean? Surely we are in the midst of a terrible revolution, bloodless as yet it is true, but how long it is to remain so, God only knows. The conviction forces itself upon our mind, that the Radicals intend to usurp power, if they can not gain it at the next Presidential election. We call upon the conservative citizens of the country to awake from their sluggishness. Let the press sound the alarm. We must not lie upon our backs, hugging the delusive phantom of hope until our enemies have bound us hand and foot. The next call that comes to our ears from Radical headquarters may be a call to arms. That call must be resisted. Let us prepare to meet the crisis when it comes. Let us get ready to defend our rights, and the free institutions of our country, as men who have a proper appreciation of their importance and value. Republican government is now on trial. We will show ourselves false to the teachings of our ancestors, and unworthy to live in a free country, if we tamely, and cravenly submit, and allow it to be overthrown by the reckless fanatics at Washington, who would rather see the pillars of the fair fabric of the American Republic broken down, than see the power, lately exercised and so terribly abused by them, slip from their hands.

Money--Too Plenty in the Cities and Too Scarce in the Country
(Column 02)
Summary: The article denounces the accumulation of money in banks, making currency difficult to come by in the countryside. The paper blames the situation on the Republicans. "The wicked refusal of the Radicals to restore the Union has worked great injury to all parts of the country. Commerce is stagnant, manufactures are languishing, and trade in all its branches is dull."
Impeachment Again
(Column 03)
Summary: Responds to the rumor of another attempt at impeachment of Johnson. The paper says the next step will be Radicals suspending him from office pending a trial. The people, the article asserts, will rise up and stand by Johnson to prevent such a scenario should the Radicals proceed.
Full Text of Article:

It is a current rumor in Washington City, we are informed, that another effort is soon to be made to impeach the President. We presume that the impeachment agitators have grown bolder on account of Stanton's success in remaining in the War Office, together with the fact that Grant has either become so angry, or is all the time so drunk, as that he can easily be persuaded to run his soldiers into the White House, and decare himself dictator. There can be no doubt of the fact that the re-agitation of this subject means mischief. A vote in favor of impeachment would likely be followed by a resolution suspending the President from office during trial. Then would come the test of the President's courage. We insist--the Democratic party insists--that when that hour comes, if come it does, the President shall resist the effort to suspend him from office pending the trial, with all the force he can command. Let him sound the notes of resistance loud and clear, and hundreds of thousands will spring up in response to his call, determined to protect the Executive from the lawless encroachment of the Legislative Department of the Government. We want no child's play then--no mistaking his men--no reliance upon such creatures as Grant, but the country will demand the exercise of wisdom and boldness. The best way to fight fire is with fire. Let the President give the Radical plotters to understand--the sooner the better--that every one who is concerned in the plot to deprive the nation of its head, will be held to the strictest account and may, ere he is aware of it, find himself looking out from the windows of some gloomy fortress, a prisoner, after the manner of the political prisoners of the "late lamented" Lincoln. Let him arrest the conspirators summarily, and hunt up the law afterwards. In times of great public peril, when the Republic is in danger, the people will applaud the conduct of the brave man who strikes boldly, and saves the nation from anarchy. This was the argument of the Republican party during the war. Let them learn their own lesson by experience. If Andrew Johnson allows himself to be suspended from the Presidential chair pending his trial, if trial there be, he will deserve the execrations of mankind, and no Democrat will weep to see his head severed from his body. The Democracy are growing impatient at these startling attempts at revolution--they are getting tired of these endeavors to frighten them into submission to the Radical policy, and they will stand by the President, if he is true to himself, and the dignity of his great office, to the bitter end.

Grant's Unsteady Habits
(Column 06)
Summary: The paper gives a string of negative testimony about Grant's drinking habits.

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Prisoners Removed
(Column 01)
Summary: Sheriff John Doebler moved William Stoner, Calvin Blouden, and Lewis Anderson, "all colored men convicted at the last term of the court," to the Eastern Penitentiary.
(Names in announcement: John Doebler, William Stoner, Calvin Blouden, Lewis Anderson)
Election of A Delegate
(Column 01)
Summary: The Democratic County Committee elected W. S. Stenger to represent Franklin County at the state Democratic convention.
(Names in announcement: W. S. Stenger)
The Final Lecture
(Column 01)
Summary: Col. A. K. McClure will deliver the final lecture in the series designed to aid the poor of Chambersburg. He will speak on Mormonism.
(Names in announcement: A. K. McClure)
Death of Mrs. Col. B. F. Winger
(Column 01)
Summary: The wife of Col. B. Frank Winger died suddenly in Greencastle after a short illness. "She was a lady of substantial worth, and, owing to her sociable disposition, was a favorite in, as well as an ornament to, society."
(Names in announcement: B. Frank Winger)
Gilmore Lodge of the Good Templars
(Column 01)
Summary: The Fayetteville Lodge installed a number of officers.
(Names in announcement: Charles W. Lego, J. Harns White, A. B. Shively, Lizzie J. Black, James Downey, Levi J. Wolf, William Crooks, J. L. Bittinger, R. F. McElroy, Maggie L. Cook, John Long, Emory Henderson, Sadie J. Black, D. B. Greenawalt, Anna Cook)
Dr. Schneck's Lecture
(Column 01)
Summary: The paper praises Dr. R. F. Schneck's lecture on Herculaneum and Pompeii delivered for the benefit of Chambersburg's poor.
(Names in announcement: Dr. R. F. Schneck)
Henry Ward Beecher Coming
(Column 02)
Summary: The paper announces that Henry Ward Beecher will deliver a lecture on "Work and the Workman" in Chambersburg. George R. Messersmith has been in contact with him.
(Names in announcement: George R. Messersmith)
Abate the Nuisance
(Column 02)
Summary: The paper denounces the "gauntlet" the ladies of Chambersburg have to face every Sunday after church. "The young men and boys form two rows outside, just about far enough apart to allow a gentleman and lady (without hoops) to pass between them, and, remaining in that attitude until the last inmate has passed out, stare into the faces of the ladies, and occasionally make remarks upon their personal appearance."
Keefer's Church
(Column 02)
Summary: Only seven men are still living among the original subscribers to Letterkenny's "Keefer's Church."
(Names in announcement: Dr. Hunter, William McClelland, John Sprecher, Michael Dice, Henry Wiest, Samuel Peckman, Martin Snider, Jacob Palmer, John Heckerman, Isaac Miller, Barnet Wolff)
The Cumberland Valley Rail Road
(Column 02)
Summary: The following number of passengers were carried from stations on the Cumberland Valley Railroad during the last fiscal year: Greencastle, 13,104; Chambersburg, 33,464; Scotland, 2,045; Shippensburg, 16,768. The following stations shipped the following pounds in freight: Greencastle, 29,554,845; Chambersburg, 53,858,239; Shippensburg, 39,002,826.
(Column 05)
Summary: David Hruble and Miss Anna A. Miller, both of Chambersburg, were married by the Rev. S. H. C. Smith on February 4th.
(Names in announcement: David Hruble, Anna A. Miller, Rev. S. H. C. Smith)
(Column 05)
Summary: Susan J. Winger, wife of B. Frank Winger and daughter of the late William Dufield of Welsh Run, died on February 5th. She was 31 years old.
(Names in announcement: Susan J. Winger, B. Frank Winger, William Dufield)

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