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Valley of the Shadow

Valley Virginian: July 31, 1867

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The Reconstruction Meeting Monday
(Column 02)
Summary: A meeting to discuss Reconstruction was held in Staunton. It was heavily attended by African Americans. The mostly white speakers warned blacks not to trust Radicals and Northerners or join any political party. The people of the South should comply with Congressional demands, work hard, but remain independent.
(Names in announcement: David Fultz, Henry Davenport, Houf, A. H. H. Stuart, Philip Rosselle, Chapman Johnson, Garber, Lynn, Gen. Echols, Col. H. M. Bell, Jackson, Maupin)
Full Text of Article:

In another column we publish the resolutions adopted by a portion of the people of Augusta, at the Court House on Monday. While opposed to all parties and all meetings looking to the organization of any party in the State, we are glad to notice the good feeling that marked the proceedings on Monday. In these times it will not do to question motives. We try to give the facts.

There were about 200 colored men present and about 50 whites--not more than a third of the whites participating in the proceedings. David Fultz, Esq., explained the objects of the meeting. He spoke for about an hour and gave some good advice to the blacks. He warned them against the influences of demagogues and disabused their minds of the idea that any one wished to re-enslave them. He had been a slaveowner and he rejoiced that the institution no longer existed, and believed every slaveholder agreed with him. He complimented the blacks on their conduct during the war and said that History told of no race who had acted so well under such circumstances. He told them they must learn the important fact that they must live by labor and that their own people were their best friends. He urged upon them the necessity of voting for honest men; men they knew and could trust. He told them that party had ruined the country and that the Government was now in the hands of designing, corrupt partizans--that it was not the representative of the people. The South was under Military Government, &c. He then explained to them the nature and power of the written Constitution. He said that if you can't get your rights by petition; if you try to get them from all the branches of the government and fail, then you have the right of Revolution--but that right must not be confounded with the right of secession, which was no where recognized. He urged upon all the importance of aiding the work of reconstruction, under the Military Bills, as there was no other chance left us, and said the duties of the Convention to reconstruct the State, were so simple that it should not set over 24 hours. He earnestly asked all, in favor of peace, to vote for good men and speedily reconstruct under the present orders. The continued rule of the military would be political ruin. We must obey orders. It is our duty and interest to do so, and escape, or we will at last become so demoralized, under military rule, that we will seek safety in a Despot. He claimed honesty of purpose in advocating compliance with orders and said ultimate terms would make us shudder, therefore, it was best to accept the present; for, admitting the Radical party to be corrupt, we could not please them better than to defeat their present plans. Mr. Fultz was listened to attentively, especially by the colored people.

During the absence of the Committee on resolutions, Henry Davenport was called for and spoke. Said he did not know how to read and see what was going on like white folks, but had to gather what ideas he had from his intellect. He wanted to say to his fellow travellers, white and black, let us meet together and make laws for the universal fellowship of man. He was for peace and harmony and universal love. The colored people asked of the white "come and give us light." He gave way for the Committee, hoping 'that together we may live and die.'

Mr. Houf, white, objected to the appointment of only five delegates, and wanted every citizen, black and white, from Augusta, who might be in Richmond, and wanted to reconstruct, to be a delegate. Mr. Houf earnestly urged his point and wandered around considerable over "the Union," before he ended. He had learned to be a Union man from great men, like Stuart and Baldwin, in that very house; we must accept the Military Bills, while they were not such as he would have made, but there was no use depending on anybody North, and we should obey orders. Here he told an amusing anecdote about "cats" which brought down the house, but won't do to "narrate" here. Mr. Houf said he believed the Confederates were as honest as he was, and spoke feelingly about the "old Flag." Said he loved it, but he sympathized with the men who followed Stonewall Jackson, and he believed that there were never a greater set of patriots and heroes than those who followed Stonewall Jackson, under that infernal thing first raised in Montgomery. Mr. Houf gave the colored people good advice and told them to look to the men who will protect their own interests; that he thought they had been thrown into the political arena too soon. He warned them to listen not to politicians; listen not to Maine men who said they freed them, for it was not so. Abraham Lincoln would not have freed them, nor would the Democrat, but God Almighty did it. Don't attribute your freedom to any one but God, &c. Mr. Houf was pretty hard on the yankee and told another very pointed anecdote illustrating yankee character. He closed by advising the colored people to turn their hands to labor; their hearts to industry and all help to build up the country. He had named a boy after Hon. A. H. H. Stuart, the man who said that there was no hope for the country but in the Union, and he was a Virginian and an Augustinian.

Philip Rosselle, colored, was now loudly called. He said he would bestow any privilege on the people of the country and wished no man harm. Wishes to bestow on all men, white and black, equal political privileges. Thought the white people made a mistake about the blacks. The respectable colored people were of the same feelings. The black people wanted to live and work for the whites, for their dollars. He said his race had enemies both North and South, and he had seen the worst enemies of the colored man hailing from the North. He would say cling to the men who are your friends. He said his old master, Chapman Johnson, never allowed his children to call black folks "niggers," nor did any gentlemen. He denounced a Whig paper and said it was filled with "nigger" from beginning to end. Didn't think this was a good way to make colored people friends, and made some allusion to Mr. Garber's and Lynn's papers which we did not catch. Some say some white folks despise the colored people. The greatest fault he found was that they loved them too well. If you didn't believe it go to the colored schools and look at the complexion. Thought the white people were getting sense fast and that they had about got even with the white people, on the high rent question, by charging $3.50 a day during harvest. Closed by saying they were learning sense very fast, and some of them, listening to Mr. Fultz and the other lawyers, were getting to be pretty sharp at the law. He added that the next Thursday they would have another speaking, better speakers than today; that Gen. Echols and Colonel (H. M.) Bell would speak at the Colored Church. Plenty to eat would be there, for those who had the money, and all such were invited to eat--others to listen.

Mr. Jackson, Agent F. Bureau, being called for, said there was no success to be gained outside of party-organizations, and that there was no question up but that of Loyalty to the Government or Disloyalty; that every man is bound to vote for loyal men by his oath of Registration, and all could easily go back a few years, trace a man up, and know who was loyal and who was not. He didn't think it necessary to give them (the colored people) any advice about industry, &c., but he was satisfied it was not good policy on their part to hold so many meetings. Every meeting meant the loss of a day's work and that was an important item. (Right here a negro, behind us, remarked, "Captain Jackson don't want us to hear Gen. Echols and Col. Bell.") Capt. Jackson's speech was short, but it struck us that it did not please the colored people. They seemed to think he talked to them like a man who owned them and whom they were bound to obey, if we could judge by the remarks around us. One or two said: "Its no man's business how many meetings the Freedmen hold."

Mr. Maupin here made an amendment to Mr. Houf's motion, which was defeated. Just here the Immortal Philosopher, J. N., the great "reconstructed," appeared upon the scene and requested us to make an announcement that he would shortly "lift the veil." We pointed him to the Chair, and Mr. Fultz moved an adjournment. Then, "J. N." majestically throwing back his flowing locks from his princely brow, told the meeting "that Grant was right and so was Lee, and both were wrong," and that he would surely "lift the veil" that night. He was greeted with applause and, so, ended the chapter.

A Reconstruction Meeting
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Summary: The paper publishes the resolutions passed at the bi-racial political meeting which call for compliance with the demands of the Military Bill, support for a convention, and respect for the supremacy of the constitution.
(Names in announcement: Jacob BearJr., John Yates, George W. McCutchen, David Fultz, Samuel Cline, Samuel Driver, Phillip Rosselle, Benjamin Downey, Rev. George A. Shuey, Aaron Shoveler)
Full Text of Article:

At a meeting of the citizens of Augusta of all parties, without regard to race or color, held at the Court House on Monday, July 20th, 1867. On motion of Jacob Bear, Jr., John Yates was called to the chair, and Geo. W. McCutchen elected Secretary.

The object of the meeting being fully explained by Mr. Fultz, upon his motion a Committee of five were appointed by the Chair, to draft resolutions, expressive of the sense of the meeting. The following gentlemen were appointed. David Fultz, Esq., Samuel Cline, Samuel Driver, whites, Phillip Rosselle and Benj. Downey, colored. The Committee retired and in a short time returned, reporting the following preamble and resolutions.

This meeting deeply impressed with the importance of a speedy restoration of the people to their political rights, and to have once more elected them a Government of their own choice; securing to all the blessings of peace and prosperity; and heartily approving of the Convention proposed to be held in the city of Richmond on the 1st of Aug., to take into consideration the important subject of reconstructing the State Government, and restoring the Union. Therefore be it Resolved:

1st. That it is the imperative duty of every good citizen, of all parties and without distinction of color, promptly and in good faith, to give their aid to the work of reconstruction, in accordance with the requirements of the Military Bills.

2nd, That the only security for our Republican Institutions is a speedy re-union of all the States, under the constitution of the United States.

3d, That the Constitution of the United States is the Supreme law of the Land, and to the extent of the powers delegated, by it, every citizen owes allegiance first to that government: and it is only in reference to the reserved powers that his allegiance is due to the State Government.

4th, That David Fultz Esq., the Rev. Geo. A. Shuey, and Maj. John Yates, white, Benj. Downey and Aaron Shoveler, colored, be appointed delegates to represent this Meeting in the Convention to be held in Richmond on 1st of August next.

5th, That the Newspapers of Staunton, and the Richmond Whig be requested to publish the proceedings of this meeting
John Yates, President.
Geo. W. McCutchen, Secretary.

Our Young Men
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Summary: This article encourages the young men of the South to step in and fill the labor gap now existing in that section.
Full Text of Article:

In its last, in speaking of our young men, the Southern Planter gives wholesome advice in the following remarks.

"It is plainly the duty of our young men to meet this pressing exigency. They constitute the only remaining resource for the immediate supply of any considerable amount of labor. Let them strip themselves for the conflict; let them "roll up their sleeves," and "gird up their loins" for the noble work of resuscitating Virginia from her present paralyzed and prostrate condition; let them labor with the same self-denial and indomitable courage and perseverance with which they went forth to meet her assailants in the stern conflicts of the battle-field, and the work will be accomplished. The openings for the employment of our young men in their accustomed occupations are all filled to repletion and there yet remains a large number without employment. To continue in idleness--demoralizing and enervating idleness--is a thing to be abhorred by every ingenious, high-minded, honorable young man, and to eat the bread of dependence ought to be more galling to his pride than the performance of comparatively menial duties, if such were necessarily to be encountered, in pursuing the very laudable object of obtaining for himself an honest livelihood and in promoting with patriotic ardor and disinterestedness the honor and prosperity of the State. But no such humiliation awaits our young men. They will rather add dignity to their calling and bring to their aid an array of educated intelligence which will greatly accelerate the march of improvement. They will soon acquire a degree of practical skill, which, aided by their superior knowledge, will guide them in the introduction and management of such mechanical helps as their own enlightened experience may suggest or the inventive genius of the country may supply, and thus contribute to lighten the burden of human toil, remit the mind from the drudgery of debasing labor, and elevate it into the more ennobling spheres of activity, where accretion of strength is gained by the exercise of its powers, and where it successfully conserves the progress of society in civilization, wealth and social happiness. We reserve for a future number what we have to say on the subject of immigration and the sub-division of our lands.

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The Mail
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Summary: Service on route 4,608, between Staunton and Sangersville, has been increased to twice a week.
[No Title]
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Summary: Flour to be delivered in two weeks was sold in Staunton for $7 a barrel. "That is coming down to about the right thing."
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Summary: The paper asserts with irony that some "original Union men" who had been for the Union "when it was dangerous to be so" have been disfranchised, while some original secessionists can vote.

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Sound Logic
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Summary: This excerpt from the Charlottesville Chronicle argues that, counter-intuitively, the areas of that had been most united behind the Confederacy are the most respectful of the Federal military authorities, because they are not fighting old feuds between Unionists and Secessionists that developed during the war. Furthermore, the areas with smaller black populations such as the Valley, are more willing to provoke the Radicals because they have no need to fear the consequences as much.
Origin of Article: Charlottesville Chronicle
Full Text of Article:

A Federal officer recently assigned from the lower Valley to a post in the interior of the State remarked to us the other day that he had been gratified and surprised at the kind manner in which he had been received, and referred to the contrast it offered to the feeling manifested towards him at his former post.

The thing is easily explained. On the frontier the people were divided in sentiment; there were Unionists and Secessionists, who were exceedingly bitter against each other during the war. These feuds have been kept up since the war. Such a division of sentiment exists in Alexandria, Winchester, Harper's Ferry, Martinsburg, and to some extent in Norfolk.

There was no division of sentiment in the interior; all were Confederates; and when the war ended, they surrendered. The Federal officers have uniformly, so far as we have been thrown in contact with them, acted in a just, humane, and considerate spirit. We bear them no animosity. As a general thing they have not been called on to a great extent in a social way, because our people felt that this would look like an attempt to ingratiate themselves. They felt the natural reserve of a beaten party to seek the company of the victor. We know that this has been misconstrued, and in some cases Federal officers have taken it as an affront. It was no affront, and intended as none. For we feel under obligations to these officers for their kind and just administration, and they have evoked the most kindly feelings on the part of our people towards them as a class. But where citizens have kept aloof, it was because they did not feel that they could associate with military officers put over them on terms of equity. Good taste certainly required this course just after the termination of hostilities.

While on this subject, another observation occurs to us; irresponsible persons are much more violent than those who have to act in any matter of difference between themselves and others. We see this in the Northern Democratic press; it is as bitter as gall; it is loaded with denunciation of Congress and the Republicans; it urges the non-acceptance by the South of the Reconstruction bills. But the South, which has to act, which has to feel the consequences of intemperate language, which has to weigh the whole business calmly as practical question affecting its very existence, is quiet and silent. The same fact is illustrated within our State limits. Suddenly the Valley has become our South Carolina. The press of the Valley is much more "unreconstructed" than that of the East. The Staunton papers (excepting the Virginian) call on the people to vote against a Convention.--Why is this?

At the North, the Democracy can afford to talk and to denounce, and set up a race of martyrs. The radical storm can only burst on their heads in the shape of an election. No military will rule in their households; no negroes will upturn their social structure. In the Valley there are few negroes, and this explains why they are not as much disturbed as the people south of James River. This is why Mr. Baldwin is not as flexible as Mr. Flournoy. Mr. Flournoy has to deal practically with a great social cloud; Mr. Baldwin only looks at it like an astronomer through a glass. It is the difference between playing the martyr and writing on martyrdom.

It is the same thing in Maryland and Kentucky. They are the only Confederates left--now. If Congress takes them in hand, and ruins them, they will become as mellow as the Charleston Mercury.

This is the reason why our ladies and the clergy have been so violent. They do not act (the clergy are comparatively withdrawn from secular affairs.) The ladies merely give vent to generous sentiments--often with no sense in them. They did much by their thoughtless ardor to bring on the war. They did much to prevent an adjustment during the war. So with the clergy. These classes dealt with the abstract, and not with real controlling difficulties. The ladies took it for granted the thing would end like a novel--in some pleasant, heroic way. Dr. Dabney is writing on secession now.

There is no calculating the mischief the Northern Democracy are doing us now. The Republican there naturally concludes that the Philadelphia Age or the New York Day Book, of the National Intelligencer talks as the Southern press talks. The inference is that we are rife for another fight, and still struggling and kicking. It is a great mistake.--Charlottesville Chronicle.

[No Title]
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Summary: This selection from the Charlottesville Chronicle argues that the black population is doomed to shrink. Increased immigration from Europe will provide competition and will increase the white population's majority.
Origin of Article: Charlottesville Chronicle
[No Title]
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Summary: The paper asserts that "Sumner is color blind. He recognizes nothing but black."