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Valley of the Shadow

Valley Virginian: September 23, 1869

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Election of U. S. Senators
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Summary: This article questions the logic of anyone who supports the election of Senators by the State Legislature. Reconstruction laws heavily restrain the Legislature, forbidding it to act as a legislative body. Thus, the paper suggests that since the Legislature cannot act locally, it should not elect senators. The Legislature should not act at all, until of course, Virginia is restored to its rightful place in the Union.
Full Text of Article:

We perceive that some of our contemporaries, and especially the Richmond Dispatch are earnestly pressing the election of U.S. Senators, by the Legislature of Virginia, at the session which will commence on the 5th of October.

We must confess that we were surprised when we found these intelligent journals taking this position, because, according to our reading and recollection of the opinion of Attorney General Hoar, the Legislature cannot, under the reconstruction laws, do any act which is not expressly authorized by those laws. The only thing which, by those laws, they are authorized to do, is to organize, and vote on the fifteenth amendment.--When they have done this, they are functus officio, until after Congress shall have approved the Constitution. This was our impression, but in deference to the views of our contemporaries, we have taken the pains to refer again to the opinion of Attorney General Hoar. After disposing of the test-oath, he proceeds as follows:

"But, on the other hand, I fully concur with the view of the General commanding in Virginia, that under the reconstruction acts of Congress no officer or legislator is competent or should be permitted to exercise any of the functions or powers of his office within that State, except so far as those acts themselves provide, without taking the oath which is referred to in the statute of 1867, above quoted. The act of April 10, 1869, requires the Legislature to meet at a time which it designates. That it is to meet implies that it is to come together for some purpose. It is required under the previous law to act upon the question of adopting the fourteenth amendment to the Constitution of the United States before the admission of the State to representation in Congress. I am of opinion, therefore, that it may come together, organize, and act upon the amendment, but that until Congress shall have approved the Constitution and the action under it, and shall have restored the State to its proper place in the Union by recognizing its form of government as republican, and admitting it to representation, the Legislature is not entitled, and could not without violation of law, be allowed to transact any business, pass any act or resolve, or undertake to assume any other function of a Legislature, if the test oath has not been required of its members; and that no officer ejected under the new Constitution can enter upon the duties of his office, without taking the oath, while military government continues.

Very respectfully,
E.R. Hoar,
Attorney General.

How our friends can get around the language of this opinion, we do not understand. It seems to us as plain as day, that under that opinion, any attempt to do any thing else than to vote on the 15th amendment (which the Legislature is expressly authorized to do), would be sheer usurpation. "The Legislature is not entitled, and could not, without violation of law, be allowed to transact any business, pass any act or resolve, or undertake to assume any other function of a Legislature, if the test oath has not been required of its members." Can words be plainer? Is not the election of senators one of the highest Legislative duties? Can it be supposed that Congress intended to allow the Legislature to perform an act of this character when it was not competent to do any other Legislative act, even of a local character? The election of Senators affects all the States, local Legislation affects only Virginia. Is it reasonable to suppose, that Congress would authorize a distrusted, quasi rebel legislature to perform such an important national function as the election of Senators, when it would not trust them to pass a road law or a tax bill? We think not. We are, therefore, clearly and decidedly of opinion that the Legislature has no authority whatever, to elect Senators, or perform any other legislative act until after Congress shall have approved the constitution, and restored Virginia to her rights in the Union. We trust, then, that our Legislature will not consent to engage in any hazardous experiments. Let's "stick" to the line of duty marked out for us by Hoar's opinion, instead of embarking on a wide and stormy sea of political and party excitement. By adhering to the course indicated by the Attorney General we will give offense to nobody. By an opposite course we may encounter perils and difficulties, the nature of which no one can foresee.

Shenandoah Valley Railroad
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Summary: Public meetings have been held in Valley counties to support the proposed Shenandoah Valley Railroad, a rival plan to the construction of the Valley Railroad. The Valley Railroad looks to connect the Valley to the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad through the Manassas Road. The Shenandoah Railroad envisions a northward connection with a line through the Valley joining the Pennsylvania network of roads.
The Farmer vs. Fair
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Summary: The author of this article considers the work of the farmer to be far more virtuous, healthful, mind easing, and beneficial than any other occupation. Comparing the work of the farmer to that of the politician, merchant, editor and professional, this piece points out that many of the problems suffered by those in the latter occupations are not applicable to farm life. With agriculture so important to economic prosperity, it is a wonder that more people do not enter into the farming vocation. Finally, the author points out that the oncoming fair will be successful through the help of all the energies the local farmers have to offer.
Full Text of Article:

It will not be deemed misappropriate at this particular juncture, when the public mind is so much directed to Agriculture and its products, to offer some reflections in regard to the approaching Fair and the advantages the Farmer enjoys in comparison with other pursuits. After the contentions and turmoils of political life, and the exhausting labors of Legislative halls, we find the Statesman and the politician seeking repose and retirement on the farm. The advantages, the beauties and the pleasures of this glorious life have been poetized time and again by our sweetest bards. After the uncertainties and toils of a Merchant's life have worn down his energy and health, he desires with a longing hope to spend the remnant of his days in the peaceful pursuits of agriculture. Professional men, too, fondly indulge in the same expectation, after the flower of their youth and the mature energies of their manhood have been consumed by the harassing cares and grave responsibilities of their calling. The Editor, also, ardently cherishes the hope of seeking repose and contentment in the quite pursuits of agriculture after the rough contests he has had with his fellow man, the rivalries and the jealousies peculiar to his occupation.

Are we hazarding too much when we say that all, or nearly all, who have tried the experiment, have fully realized the full fruition of their hopes?

Every profession and pursuit has its cares and annoyances, for we are told that man must live by the sweat of his face, and agriculture is not free from them; but we speak by comparison when we say that agriculture combines more positive pleasures with fewer annoyances, than any other pursuit or calling we are acquainted with.

The reasons why this is so are plain, and may briefly be stated thus: In the first place it is the most independent of all other pursuits; and in the next place it is the most healthful. And thirdly, it is the most remunerative of any other employment.

It is the most independent because the farmer, unlike the politician and merchant and professional man, is not compelled to have daily intercourse with men, and to exercise all prudence and forbearance, to pander to the prejudices of this one and the conceits of that one, and to bear with all the ill-temper and presumptions of those with whom they have to deal. It is the most healthful, because the farmer has only physical labor to perform, while other professions have mental labor, which is exhausting and harassing.

Having said this much in regard to the Farmer and his pursuits, we will close by briefly alluding to the Fair, which has been instituted for his benefit more than any other. All persons are more or less interested in its success, but the farmer is peculiarly so, and it is incumbent on him to contribute everything in his power to make it a success. No little amount of money has been expended and much taste displayed in beautifying and ornamenting the Fair grounds, and he above all others should exert all his energies to render the Fair an honor to old Augusta.

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Staunton Female Schools
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Summary: The Methodist, Presbyterian, and Episcopal Female Schools have commenced their new sessions with overflowing numbers. "The healthful climate and conservative character of the people of this section make Staunton a peculiarly desirable place for female schools."
Augusta Fair
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Summary: Preparations are ongoing for the Augusta County Fair. A new road has been laid and the trotting track and foot paths have been improved. A "magnificent" rotunda building will display works of industry and host concerts.
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Summary: John Shea and Miss Rebecca Jane Coiner, both of Augusta, were married on September 15th by the Rev. E. T. R. Trippe.
(Names in announcement: John Shea, Rebecca Jane Coiner, Rev. E. T. R. Trippe)
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Summary: Mrs. Lucretia Cox died in Staunton at the residence of her husband on September 14th. She was 43 years old.
(Names in announcement: Lucretia Cox)

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