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Valley of the Shadow

Valley Virginian: November 27, 1867

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[No Title]
(Column 02)
Summary: The New York Herald declares that "Radical politicians in the South are teaching the colored race to expect what it can never realize while there is a Southern or Northern sword left to defend Caucasian blood--blood originally purer than that of Africa."

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Mass Meeting of the People!
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Summary: The white voters of Augusta met to appoint delegates to a Conservative Convention to be held in Richmond. Alexander H. H. Stuart and others addressed the crowd and called on all white men to save Virginia from "degradation" by registering, voting, and opposing any Constitution drafted by the Radical Convention. They also commented on race relations and the likelihood of a race war.
(Names in announcement: Col. Bolivar Christian, William M. Tate, Maj. Marshall Hanger, Alexander H. H. Stuart, Col. John B. Baldwin, Richard Mausy, Capt. James Bumgardner, Col. George Baylor, Judge John Kenney, Col. James H. Skinner, Thomas J. Michie, W. H. H. Lynn, A. M. GarberJr., Maj. H. M. Bell, Dr. W. S. McChesney, R. W. Burke, B. Cowan, Hugh G. Guthrie, Dr. S. Kennerley, R. Emmet Guy, Maj. John A. Harman, George A. Bruce, Maj. J. M. McCue, Capt. E. W. Bailey, Dr. B. F. Walker, Dr. Robert Hamilton, S. Dorsey Hanger, William F. Smith, Joseph A. Waddell, Powell Harrison, Gen. J. D. Imboden, Jacob Baylor, T. G. Stout, Dr. T. W. Shelton, Y. H. Peyton, Gen. Kenton Harper, Col. M. G. Harman, Col. Rudolph Turk, G. M. Cochran, Lewis Bumgardner, C. R. Mason, Samuel X. Kerr, William Withrow, D. N. Van Lear, Dr. J. M. Tate, J. W. Bell, John B. Watts, Col. John D. Lilly, J. D. Craig, J. G. Fulton, Col. F. F. Sterritt)
Full Text of Article:

Last Monday the people of Augusta were called upon to assemble in mass meeting, to organize the Conservative element of this county, and appoint delegates to the Conservative State Convention to meet Dec. 11th in the city of Richmond. Right nobly did they respond to the call. We have never seen a larger or more respectable body of the representative men of Augusta together, and they manifested a lively appreciation of the important duties before them. An interest that gave an earnest of thorough work at the next election. The old leaders of the people came out and their presence and speeches convinced the most skeptical that every thing depended on thorough organization, and a united front against the demon of Radicalism.

On motion of Col. Bolivar Christian, Wm. M. Tate, Esq., was offered the Chair. On motion of Major Marshall Hanger, the editors of the Staunton papers were appointed Secretaries.

Col. Christian explained the object of the meeting, and moved that the Chairman, and four others to be appointed by the chair, constitute a committee to select twenty delegates and the same number of alternates to represent this district in the Conservative Convention to assemble in Richmond on the 11th of December. This motion was adopted, whereupon the Chair appointed Col. Bolivar Christian, Hon. A. H. H. Stuart, Col. John B. Baldwin and Richard Mausy to constitute the committee.

Capt. James Bumgardner forcibly referred to the necessity of organization by the Conservatives of the State to bring out a full vote. He proposed the appointment of a Central Committee of 25 for the county, with Committees in each Magisterial District.

Col. George Baylor said he had changed his mind on the affairs of the country, and dwelt at length on his attempts to register. He was refused, not because he was a member of the Secession Convention but because he had been a Corporation Magistrate. He took an appeal and he had never heard from it since. He could not vote; was not free. He wanted yet to be free; he wanted to be re-instated--he wanted his rights under the law, even as it was under the Congressional plan. We ought to be ready, every one of us, to defeat the Constitution to be formed by the Radicals. Every man in Augusta should register and be prepared to vote it down. Can we expect to live under such things, when 600,000 negroes are enfranchised, and whites are disfranchised? It can't last. Such a state of things can't last, if every man will do his duty, in a county like this.

Judge Kenney here presented a resolution to add the members of the Committee to the list of delegates to the Convention. He expressed his hearty approval of the proceedings, and urged prompt action.

Capt. Bumgardner's motion came up. Col. John B. Baldwin objected to the number (25) and suggested 40, one Superintendent for the whole county, and one for each magisterial district. He elaborated upon the benefits of the policy of organizing in squads of ten, and most forcibly urged its adoption all over the State. Capt. Bumgardner accepted Col. B's amendment and it was adopted.

[unclear] the Hon. A. H. H. Stuart said: It had not been his purpose to utter a word in reference to the matter now before the meeting, but as the gentlemen who had spoken had confined themselves exclusively to the specific propositions which had been submitted, he felt impelled to say a few words on the general subject now under consideration. He was afraid that the people had not been sufficiently awakened to the magnitude of the issues now before the country, and their deep personal interest in them. This was manifest from the fact--the shameful fact--that more than two thousand of the intelligent registered voters of Augusta had failed to attend the polls. The effect of this apathy had been to endanger the success of the conservative candidates. Heretofore when political events had taken place in Virginia, they were in regard to the choice of men who were to administer the government under the Constitution, and in reference to mere questions of administrative policy. But now far more important issues demanded the notice of the people. The question now presented for decision of the people affected not merely the policy of administration, but the very existence and peace of civil society. A wicked attempt is now made by an unscrupulous party in violation of the Constitution and of every obligation held sacred among men, to subvert the whole structure of our institutions, and to invert the position of the elements of which it is composed. It has always been received as an axiom in politics, that the virtue and intelligence of the constituent body were the only safe foundation on which free government could rest. The stability of all representative republican governments depends on the amount of those qualities professed by those entrusted with the election franchise. The effort now is to disregard this cardinal principle, and to sink the virtue and intelligence of the country and bring its ignorance and vice to the surface, as the controlling power of the government. He need not describe the consequences of such a process. All must see that the results would be the utter overthrow of all securities for life, liberty, and property. [unclear] knowledge of these facts the dominant party in Congress, not having the fear of God before their eyes, but produced by the instigation of the Devil--in violation of the obligations of the Constitution--of the sanctity of official oaths--and of their duty to their fellow men were persistently seeking to fasten upon us degradation and ruin.

Mr. Stuart then dwelt ably on the duty of every one to use every effort in his power to avert from [unclear] and fearful [unclear]. [unclear] was allowed to register, owed to himself, to his family, to his friends and to his country, to register. [unclear] failed to do so was false to his country--false to his race--false to the principle of freedom and to every obligation of position.

Mr. Stuart said he had never been the advocate of universal suffrage even when suffrage was confined to white men. He thought George Mason stated the true principle in the Virginia Bill of Rights, when he limited it to those who had a permanent interest in and common attachment to the community. But if such limitations were proper, then how much more so are they now, when a new element, so potent for mischief, and so ignorant of the practical bearings of all political questions, was introduced into our political community.

Mr. Stuart said that slavery was forever dead in the United States, and he doubted if there was a single man in the sound of his voice, who would be willing to have it re-established. All are ready to treat it as a thing of the past, and he believed that all were disposed to treat the negro race fairly and kindly. For himself, he entertained and always had cherished, the kindest feelings for them. He had sought to do his duty by those who had been his slaves, and he believed they cherished for him the kindest sentiments. Since their emancipation they had not hesitated to apply to him for such favors as they needed, and he was happy to accord them. He believed that if the negroes had been let alone they would have got on in harmony with the whites. But mischievous and designing men had been sent among them, to deceive and mislead them. The recent elections showed that they had been successful. It was natural that those ignorant and confiding people should be misled. He was not disposed to deal harshly with them for this error. It was not their fault, but that of the knaves who deceived and betrayed them. But the time was now at hand when the colored people must decide, with their eyes open, what their future course would be. If they persisted in arraying themselves against the southern whites, they must take the consequences of their folly. They certainly were intelligent enough to know who were their best friends. They could decide who fed and clothed and sustained them. They knew they got all their employment from the people of the South, and not of the North. If they would go North, they would find how they are treated there, and how they would be excluded from factories and from most all the profitable avocations of life. In this connection are referred to the attempts of the son in law of Fred. Douglas to run a hack in Rochester, when his hack was broken up and his personal safety endangered.

Mr. Stuart then referred to the falsehood of the allegation that the people of the North were willing to confer the elective franchise, and other political rights on the negroes. In refutation of this he referred to the 50,000 majorities in Ohio and New York against the proposition and proportionate majorities in other States.

Mr. Stuart said he had always been satisfied that Abolitionism was not the offspring of any kind feeling to the negro. He believed it had its birth in hostility to the whites of the South, in part, but in a larger degree to the cupidity of the North. The population of the North was overcrowded. Access to the great West was now difficult. They wanted an outlet in the South; they wanted the profits of the employments now pursued by the negroes; they wanted to get rid of the negroes, that they might get their places. In a word, the Northern hive is ready to swarm, and they wish to occupy and possess our goodly heritage. He had long believed that this was the true philosophy of Abolitionism, but it was only lately that it had been openly avowed. Heretofore there had been a flimsy veil of humanity thrown over it, but recently all disguise had been thrown off, and it is acknowledged that Abolitionism was founded in hostility to the negro. In proof of this, Mr. Stuart referred to the celebrated Helper Book--The Impending Crisis--which contained the most elaborated and vigorous assault on slavery that had ever been published. This book was considered so important that it was endorsed and commended to public favor by a large majority of northern members of Congress, and by a larger portion of the northern press.

That work has done its office. Slavery has been abolished. That was the first act in the drama and now the curtain rises on the second. Helper, the accredited organ of the Abolition party is now out with a second book, called by the fantastic title of "Nojeque." The very first sentence in this second book is substantially as follows--"If I were to say that my object in writing this book is not merely to write the negro out of the United States, but out of existence, would be simple God's truth." And, in a recent publication by Helper in the National Intelligencer, he says his great object is to drive the negro out of the country by colonization or extermination. He says, in substance, that as long as the negroes were cared for and protected by intelligent and influential masters, it was impossible to displace or remove them. But now that they are deprived of that protection, the work is of easy accomplishment.

Here, said Mr. Stuart, is a frank avowal of the truth. Here is the whole story. The object was to get the negro out of the country. To effect this the protection of the master must be withdrawn. The attack could not be made successfully in front where the masters were defended by the Constitution, and the negroes shielded by the master. Abolitionism was a flank movement on the negro. It was intended to cut the cord which bound him to his master, and secured for him the protection of the master. It was intended to cut turn him loose on the community, friendless and helpless, where he would readily fall a victim to the knavish designs of his pretended friends. This has been done, and now the cry for colonization comes from Helper and his associates. Drive the negro out to make room for the hungry hordes of the North. The people of the South have not yet responded to this appeal. The next step is to array the negroes against the whites of the South and thus provoke a collision of races. If they are finally successful in this, then the negroes will be without friends, South or North, and there will be one general, simultaneous movement of the whites North and South, to get rid of the whole race, and removal or extermination must close the drama. The colored people should be made to understand the true condition of things, and if they then choose to rush madly on their fate, they must bear the consequences of their own folly.

Mr. Stuart urged activity and organization for the coming struggle. He held that it was important that every man should regard it his duty to see active means to have every registered voter at the polls. The issues were almost as important as those of life or death. Those who failed to do their duty now, deserved the penalty inflicted on deserters in the face of an enemy.

Mr. Stuart said that after the war there was a general and prudent desire on the part of property holders to avail themselves of amenities and pardon so as to avoid confiscation. He was one of those who never feared there would be a general confiscation by Congress. But he did believe there was serious danger of what was substantially confiscation, by enormous taxation under State authority now. Those who owned no property would wield the power. They would bear no share of the burden of taxation, but would reap all the profits, and they would levy taxes with a heavy hand, until people would be obliged to sell their lands to [unclear] on them for [unclear] on the system of taxation [section unclear].

Mr. Stuart touched on other topics which we [section unclear] not appeal to every man present not only to ponder all that he had said, but to bear his admonitions along to every neighborhood and to [unclear] at one last earnest, [unclear] and patriotic effort to ensure our beloved state from the degradation and ruin with which she is threatened.

Col. Baldwin, being called upon, amusingly alluded to his being disfranchised. He had almost begun to feel himself "out of the ring," but would try and show them how things looked to a "man up a tree." He concurred in Mr. Stuart's remarks. He believed the ultimate, and intended, result would be a war of races, unless we could unite and vote the Constitution to be made, down. Every white man owed it to his race and color, to come forward now, register and vote it down. He had the kindest feelings for the negro. He spoke as a friend of "Cuffee"--he liked him in his place, and he wished it distinctly understood that he looked forward to a war of races with no pleasure. He urged, as a friend of the negro, that we should vote down the Constitution to be framed, keep the negro in his proper place and save his throat from being cut. In a struggle between the races, this is the inevitable result. All of his former slaves still lived with him as their best friend. He illustrated the difference between the issue now and in 1861. Then, if such an issue had been placed before us there would have been no division among our people, and there would never have been a surrender. He fitly chastised "mean whites" who are leading the poor negro to destruction, and urged the kindest treatment of the latter by our people. A man who wouldn't register and vote now should be looked upon as worse than a "deserter" during the war--with scorn by every decent member of society, but language failed in attempting to describe the white fellows who voted with negroes against his race. He told the people of the danger of not voting--of giving away to apathy, and concluded, that if the white people rally as they should, in Virginia, the State is safe.

Col. Jas. H. Skinner being loudly called for fully endorsed Messrs. Stuart and Baldwin's views. He urged the kindest treatment to the negroes. He did not blame the negro for anything he had done, so far. It was the work of designing white men, &c.

The meeting then adjourned.


Thos. J. Michie, W. H. H. Lynn, A. M. Garber, Jr., Col. Jas. H. Skinner, Maj. H. M. Bell, Dr. W. S. McChesney, R. W. Burke, B. Cowan, Hugh G. Guthrie, Dr. S. Kennerley, R. Emmet Guy, Maj. John A. Harman, Geo. A. Bruce, Maj. J. M. McCue, Col. George Baylor, Capt. E. W. Bailey, Dr. B. F. Walker, Dr. Robt. Hamilton, S. Dorsey Hanger, Wm. F. Smith.


Joseph A. Waddell, Powell Harrison, Gen. J. D. Imboden, Jacob Baylor, T. G. Stout, Dr. T. W. Shelton, Y. H. Peyton, Judge John Kenney, Gen. Kenton Harper, Col. M. G. Harman, Col. Rudolph Turk, G. M. Cochran, Lewis Bumgardner, C. R. Mason, Saml. X. Kerr, Wm. Withrow, D. N. Van Lear, Dr. J. M. Tate, J. W. Bell, John B. Watts.


The Chair appointed the following superintendents of organization:
For the County--Col. John B. Baldwin.
Magisterial Dist. No. 1--Col. B Christian; No. 2, Col. M. G. Harman; No. 3, Col. Jacob Baylor, Esq.; No. 4, Col. John D. Lilly; No. 5, Geo. A. Bruce, Esq.; No. 6, J. D. Craig, Esq.; No. 7, Gen. K. Harper; No. 8, J. G. Fulton, Esq.; No. 9, Col. F. F. Sterritt.

Distressing Accident
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Summary: Dennis Murphy, "one of our most respected Irish citizens," died while attempting to slow his hand car with a pole break. He was thrown in front of the vehicle which ran over him, breaking his neck, back and thigh. He had been returning from a trip to Swoope's Depot with his wife and two ladies.
(Names in announcement: Dennis Murphy)

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