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Valley of the Shadow

Valley Virginian: February 4, 1869

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Then and Now!
(Column 01)
Summary: The author submits an argument to the "fogies" holding on to their old ways. Peace and prosperity depend on being able to make the best of a bad situation. Thus, the author suggests moving beyond attacks on the "powers that be," and instead recommends that those "voluntarily broken on the wheel" join the new movement.
Full Text of Article:

"I am Jehovah; I change not." Thus God speaks, but mortals cannot give such utterance; change is written on every leaf of their record. The policy of yesterday will not suit the necessity of to-day. All experience demonstrates that we must mould our political action to suit uncontrollable events as they occur. In December 1867, from the then conservative standpoint, it was statesmanship earnestly to protest against negro equality and dispassionately to defy in emphatic reasoning the powers that be. Twelve months have produced new living facts for us to meet, which is part of wisdom--like old fogies or infatuated "Bourbons," to be voluntarily broken on the wheel, or to die in the last ditch of obsolete ideas, or like men equal to the emergency, and true to their country, to undertake to pilot the ship of state now wildly driven towards the rapids of adverse winds. Who can hesitate as to the right answer? We say, then, away with the futile effort of the opposition who arraign the leaders of the new movement on the charge of inconsistency and change of political chart. Come up and show that the last step is not demanded by every appeal of patriotism, show that your plan of masterly inactivity and submission to the Radical prescription will lead us to peace, harmony and prosperity; stand to the fore like men and accept the irreversible decision and make the best of it.

Mutual Confidence
(Column 01)
Summary: This article calls for sectional reconciliation on terms of "pure equality." The author suggests that before the war, the sections were on friendly, mutually beneficial terms, and he longs for that to again be the case. Significantly, he implies the North is responsible for any ill feelings. Northerners who hold onto sectional bitterness are reminded that Virginia was the birthplace of the democratic republic, and that the great Northwest expanse originated in Virginia. Thus, Virginia is a fundamental component of the republic, and should be treated accordingly.
Full Text of Article:

The Washington Express has an editorial which is certainly in the right spirit and worthy of the notice of the fire-eating men of the North. It says: "Confidence is said to be a plant of slow growth, but grow it must and will. Human hearts are not made for estrangements. All national difficulties between equals are, sooner or later, capable of adjustment. Monarchists and Democrats cannot mingle any more than can oil and water; but fellow citizens of the same republic, of kindred intelligence, cannot long essentially differ. They must unite.

For years before the war of 1861 the South and the North were more or less accustomed to speak of each other as "Southern brethren" and "Northern brethren." A sad alienation has since occurred; but, and as it is, it cannot last forever. Already the signs of mutual reconciliation are beginning to multiply and increase. It is just here and now that one of the high missions of the Democratic element of our country begins.--This element has always had a greater control over the South than any other of a political character. It was in the South, among the hills of Monticello that the purest Democracy of America had its birth. Its infancy was rocked in the hickory Hermitage of Tennessee. Is it any wonder that the chivalrous people of the sunny land should love their own offspring?

If the rulers of this nation expect to conduct its affairs successfully they must not ignore the South. As far as she has been alienated they must conciliate her. She must be restored to her place in the sisterhood of States, fully, freely, cordially, and on terms of perfect equality. Reconstruction is not the word. The South is already constructed, and has been since the days of Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry, and from the foundation of the Government. This country owes more of her best territory to the South than to any other portion of the Republic. The Jeffersonian ordinance of Congress, which opened up the area from the Alleghenies to the Rocky Mountains, was the free gift of the South.--The great giant of the Northwest was born of Virginia. All the tier of States and Territories, from the Ohio to the Pacific, lying on the gift of the old mother of Presidents, are her children's children.

Is it not graceful and becoming, therefore, that Virginia should be treated with all due deference? All such tributes of respect are peculiarly valuable at such a time as this.--They will carry us back as a people, to the chivalrous spirit of other times. We are much inclined, at this day to view all our national affairs through political, party, and commercial mediums. There is such a thing a genuine patriotism; there is a confraternity of State; there is a National Union; and they are based on kindred principles, on social exchanges, on general hospitalities. O, for the good old days of heartfelt sympathies, through every part of the Republic! Why may they not dawn upon us again? Is there any reason why we should continue to speak of any part of the country as distinct from the rest? Where all are peers, may not the ruling power be equal among all?

What is needed more to our nation than anything else is restored confidence. We have had enough of estrangements. It is time they should cease at once and forever. There is no interest of the South but is equally dear to the North. There is no interest of the North but as equally dear to the South. Perish the thought that we should ever be again estranged!

Virginia Sentiment
(Column 02)
Summary: Supporting the "new movement," the author explains that Virginia sentiment seems to now be moving in favor of discontinuing opposition to black suffrage. Those who claim otherwise do not understand that most now realize black suffrage is a fact. Instead of allowing blacks to fall under the spell of radicals, the new movement leaders would rather have black voters on their side.
Full Text of Article:

The National Intelligencer says:--"We published the other day resolutions unanimously adopted by the people of Washington county, on the motion of that learned and pure jurist Hon. S.S. Baxter, appreciating the "purity of patriotism of the gentlemen who recently visited Washington to avert the evils which threaten the present and future political right of the people of Virginia," and tendering their "their sincere thanks for their course." This ought to be sufficiently distinct, and yet this county has been claimed as hostile to the "new movement." Smythe and Bland counties, in Southwest Virginia, have each held meetings, and indorsed the "new movement." Nelson county, in East Virginia, almost unanimously sustains the movement; and Halifax county, containing more blacks, we believe, than any other county in the State, has put at the head of its delegation Hon. Thomas S. Flournoy, one of the original friends of the proposition. In Essex county the speaking was all in favor of the movement and ex-Senator Hunter, we are glad to see, heads the delegation to the convention of the 17th of March. Rockbridge and King George counties have gone adversely, but the impressions so far entirely refute the point so conspicuously made and relied on by Governor Wells, viz: that the people of Virginia do not favor the new movement. Those who did not understand it at first are now fast coming to its support. Sensible men are able to see that a movement and platform so earnestly opposed by Governor Wells and his carpetbagger must have good in it for the State.

Virginia, by her large preponderance of whites and their energetic character, is much better to face negro suffrage than South Carolina, Louisiana, Mississippi, or even Georgia. But this is not the only question. The reason why these shrewd party leaders in Tennessee and the cotton States have yielded this point is that they see negro suffrage is a fixed fact, and that the only way to secure a large portion of the negro vote for respectable men is to abandon opposition to their voting. Like sensible people, they make the best of the situation as they find it, and they prefer themselves to vote the negro instead of forcing him into the arms of the carpetbaggers. For a while the latter voted the entire class of blacks, but he lost his empire the day the whites stopped their war on negro suffrage. This lesson is very suggestive.

Virginia--Before the Reconstruction Committee
(Column 03)
Summary: Account of John Baldwin's testimony before the Reconstruction Committee. He discusses sentiment in Virginia and Augusta.
(Names in announcement: Col. John B. Baldwin, Judge Sheffey)
Full Text of Article:

Washington, Jan. 27--The attendance in the room of the Congressional Reconstruction Committee this morning was large. Among those present were noticed Judge Sheffey, of Staunton; ex-Gov. Fayette McMullen; Judge Sinclair, of Prince William; W. H. Gray and Senator Mercier, of Loudon; Mr. Cowardin, of the Richmond Dispatch; Douglas Wallack and others. But three members of the committee, Messrs. Boutwell, Payne, and Norris, were in the room during the first half hour of the session, but Mr. Bingham and two others dropped in before its close. It is the subject of remark that a full committee is never present, and that those most frequently absent are those supposed to be disposed to act with leniency towards the unfortunate people whose fate is in their hands.

Two hours--from ten to twelve--devoted to committee business, was consumed in an examination, by Mr. Norris, of Col. John B. Baldwin, and in listening to the statements of Charles Whittlesey. [Mr. E. E. White says Mr. Whittlesey resides in Alexandria, and not in Richmond, as the correspondent supposed.]

The basis of Col. Baldwin's examination was a written statement by him of the public sentiment in Virginia which had previously been laid before the committee, and which was intended to show that the people of the State as a whole were actuated by conscientious motives, would abide by the laws, in their relations with immigrants would be governed by the same rules that obtained in other States, and, with reference to their former slaves, though not regarding them as proper recipients of the privilege of suffrage, would allow them all the rights to which they might be entitled. During his examination he was asked whether a Democratic and Radical carpet-bagger would receive similar treatment in Virginia. He answered that he did not suppose in the whole range of natural history such an anomaly as a democratic carpet-bagger could be found, for it required either national or State executive appoint, or the military power, or the influence of the Freedmen's Bureau to constitute such an animal.

Mr. Baldwin, after his examination, made a statement concerning the reported ejectment of the colored members of a Methodist Church in Staunton, which was substantiated by sworn evidence now in the office of Gen. Stoneman, in Richmond, and which differed very considerably from the account of the same affair as given to the committee a few days since by Rev. Mr. Phelps, of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Charles Whittlesey then detained the committee over an hour in a futile attempt to invalidate the assertions made to the committee last week by Col. Baldwin. He had taken notes of what Col. Baldwin had said at that time, and had prepared for the occasion a lengthy narration, the bearing of most of which, however, upon the subject at issue--the plan of the committee of nine, and the removal of political disabilities--could not be perceived by the committee, and of which fact Mr. Boutwell informed him. He laid great stress upon the fact that the people of Virginia were in favor of a white man's government, and was amusingly non-plussed when Mr. Beck naively asked him whether the laws of his State--remarking that he understood he came from Connecticut--were not as rigorous in the exclusion of negroes from office as any laws in existence in Virginia.

During the session it was announced that the applications of those desiring the removal of their disabilities, with the reasons therefore, must, hereafter, be made in writing.

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Noisy Boys
(Column 01)
Summary: The paper reports that "quiet citizens" have been complaining of noise made after dark by "half-grown boys who should be at home studying their lessons. The police have their eyes on these chaps, and a $5 fine may do some good."
(Column 01)
Summary: The paper declares that "honest Northern men" who wish to settle in Augusta "with a view of becoming good citizens" are welcome. Several have arrived in Staunton "with satchel in hand" in the past week.
Sibert Steel Co.
(Column 02)
Summary: The paper reports that $41,000 have been invested in the Sibert Steel Company. The company has secured a location for its works near Buffalo Gap, about ten miles from Staunton. "This with the purchase made by Sibert on his own account makes that section a most important point, and does the county much good."
The Green-Eyed Monster
(Column 02)
Summary: The paper reports that "two negroes employed at the Asylum" had a fight last Monday night. Frank Harris knocked down John Smith and beat him so badly that his life was in danger. The cause was jealousy. Sergeant Parent arrested the offender and he awaits trial in jail.
(Names in announcement: Frank Harris, John Smith, Sgt. Parent)
[No Title]
(Column 02)
Summary: Mr. J. F. Maupin lectured before Staunton Council No. 47 on Monday night. His "clear, distinct, musical voice" "electrified and considerably edified" the audience. Mr. Newton and an excellent corps of officers have overseen the rapid expansion of the chapter.
(Names in announcement: J. F. Maupin, Newton)
(Column 03)
Summary: Capt. D. H. Spradlin and Miss Mollie E. Argenbright, both of Augusta, were married on January 19th by the Rev. J. H. Hott.
(Names in announcement: Capt. D. H. Spradlin, Mollie E. Argenbright, Rev. J. H. Hott)
(Column 03)
Summary: John L. Sheets and Miss Sarah E. Eutsler, both of Augusta, were married on January 21st by the Rev. John L. Clarke.
(Names in announcement: John L. Sheets, Sarah E. Eutsler, Rev. John L. Clarke)
(Column 03)
Summary: John M. Lambert and Miss Maggie A. Gardner, both of Augusta, were married on January 27th by the Rev. James Murray.
(Names in announcement: John M. Lambert, Maggie A. Gardner, Rev. James Murray)
(Column 03)
Summary: Mrs. Mary Brooke Bowcock, wife of J. O. Bowcock of Albemarle, died near Mint Spring at the residence of Col. James Cochran on January 26th. She was 26 years old.
(Names in announcement: Mary Brooke Bowcock, J. O. Bowcock, Col. James Cochran)
(Column 03)
Summary: Miss Kate Martin, daughter of E. S. Martin of Lee County and a student at the Deaf, Dumb, and Blind Institute, died at the Institute on January 25th. She was 16 years old.
(Names in announcement: Kate Martin, E. S. Martin)
Pay as You Go
(Column 04)
Summary: This article serves as a warning to those seeking to go into debt. Debt, says the author, is the root of moral turpitude, even if one has the proper backing to secure the money borrowed. Rather, the author suggests that all "pay as they go." This will help put an end to "suffering through the country."
Full Text of Article:

One of the most damaging customs that has ever cursed any country is the credit system, and more especially is it felt in times like these in which we have lived for the past few years. If there were needed a single healthy axiom to be added to the Ten Commandments, it should be, "pay as you go."--Debt undermines the principles of individuals and nations. Any man, or any community that recklessly makes use of the credit he or it may possess, gives evidence of a moral intemperance which, in nine cases out of ten, is little else than moral turpitude. We hold that a disposition to rush into debt, because one has the ability so to do, is an evidence of a lack of moral principle. No man has a right to incur an obligation, unless he can see, or thinks he sees, the certainty of possessing the means of discharging it.--The fact that he is able to give security for the performance of the promise to pay, does not detract from the serious responsibility he assumes. It is too well known that a very large percentage of the mortgage given results in the final loss of the mortgage of his entire security pledged; and it follows that he and his are reduced to penury and want, and this change is not at all calculated to improve the moral tone or elevate the moral sentiments of the suffering we behold through the county now.

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