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Valley of the Shadow

Valley Virginian: December 9, 1869

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About Those Schools
(Column 01)
Summary: This article discusses the various religious denominations and their plans to build female academies in the not too distant future. The many different sects are growing and adding wealth to the community, thus funding should not be a problem. The author suggests that Stauntonians disregard religious bigotry. The fundamental beliefs are the same, and each sect is working toward the same beneficent goals. What is important is that these schools are constructed as soon as possible, even if this means putting moneymaking enterprises temporarily aside. The author stresses the importance of imparting knowledge to the next generation, particularly the women. Knowledge, he says, cannot be squandered.
Full Text of Article:

What do our friends of the Baptist, Lutheran and Roman Catholic persuasions say about those first class female schools which intend, at no distant day, to establish at Staunton!

The Baptists are one of the most numerous, wealthy and intelligent denominations in the State. They have only to say the word and the thing will be done. In our community, they are represented by some of the most estimable citizens. Though not many years have elapsed since they established a church here, they have grown rapidly in numbers, wealth and influence, and now they have one of the largest and most respectable congregations in our town. In Eastern Virginia, they are still more potential, and from the ability of their clergy, they always be one of the most controlling denominations in the State. But the time has come when they must exercise enlightened liberality and public spirit, or they will allow themselves to be out-stripped in the race of well-being by other denominations of less pecuniary ability.

The Lutherans are not so numerous. But they embrace a considerable portion of the wealth and intellect of our community. They commenced from small beginnings, and by energy and zeal, have established a congregation which is steadily gaining strength and weight among our people. From what we learn, they are alive to the importance of educating the rising generation. They have an excellent college for males, at Salem, and all that is necessary, now, is to provide a first class female school, here.

They have the ability, and we believe they have the will. The future will determine that question.

The Catholics were the last, we believe, to establish a church here; and by indefatigable industry, they have extended their influence over a wide circle. Most of our foreign population belong to the Catholic Church. The devotion of the members of that church to its peculiar faith, and mode of worship, is proverbial. They are remarkable, also, for their liberality in contributing to every thing that is calculated to advance the interests of their church. In a worldly point of view, they are probably not as wealthy, in this particular vicinage as some of the other denominations. But they can command any amount of aid which they may need, from abroad, to secure a good female school here. Baltimore is an Episcopal--or, we believe, an Anti-Episcopal sect, and many of the most respectable and wealthy citizens of that city belong to the Catholic Church. With a little industry and enterprise on the part of the resident catholics, we have no doubt large contributions could be obtained from that quarter.

It will be seen from what we have written, that we cherish no feeling of sectarian bigotry. While we have our own preference in church matters, we are willing to extend to others the same liberty which we claim for ourselves. We regard the different denominations as but separate regiments in the great army of Christ. There is no antagonism between them. Whilst each may prefer to fight under its own peculiar flag, they are all marching on under the great banner of the cross!

The only contest among the various denominations should be, which can do the most good? Which can do most to repress vice, intemperance, and immorality? Which can do most to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked--to minister to the afflicted? Which can do most to sow the seeds of virtue and morality in the young and to educate the rising generation to such way as to qualify them, in afterlife, to fulfill all the high duties of christian men and women?

We are persuaded that one of the most effectual means of accomplishing all those great ends is by establishing good schools.

Assuming it, then, as a postulate that all denominations will concur in the high estimate which we place on schools--and especially female schools, as the most efficient means of promoting all the objects to which we have referred, we respectfully urge them now, to lay hold on these means. Let each of the above referred to, lose no time in laying the foundation of a first-class school.--Life is short. The time in which we can do good is limited. Our years are vanishing away like a dream. Our children are growing up around us. It is for us to determine what is to be their future career. As the twig is bent, so is the tree inclined. If we wish our children to grow up virtuous and intelligent we must educate them. Knowledge is better than Riches. Better give them sound instruction than untold wealth. In a few years the time for doing this will have passed. If we now shall devote ourselves to money getting and neglect our children, how bitter will be our remorse in after life, when we see those dearer to us than life--those for whom we have toiled to accumulate worthless gold, go astray in the paths of dissipation, ignorance and crime! How many will have occasions as their end draws near, to exclaim, oh! that I could live my life over again! How different my course would be! How I would spurn from me the dress of this world, and secure for my children the treasures of knowledge which cannot be squandered and which are the best safeguards of virtue!

In conclusion, we beg to suggest, that now is the time to commence exertions. This is the best period of the year to make contracts and secure lumber and other materials for building. If the work is commenced in the spring the buildings can be erected and be ready next September. Let no time be lost.

The Stay Law
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Summary: In this article, the author attempts to alleviate the anxiety expressed by most regarding the imminent expiration of the stay law. Most believe that when the law expires, all debt will come immediately due. The author suggests that things are not quite as bad as assumed. He outlines a simple plan of payment, illustrating that many citizens are both creditors and debtors. Thus, payment of one debt will provide the means for a creditor to pay his debts. The author hopes that all express patience and confidence during the upcoming years, further adding that abundant harvests, cattle and hogs will only increase the regions prosperity.
Full Text of Article:

We have every reason to believe that the Stay Law will now be extended beyond the 1st day of January next. Before that day, we confidently expect Virginia will be restored to her rights in the Union. When that event is accomplished, the new Constitution will go into full effect, and under the terms of that instrument, the Legislature is prohibited from passing any stay-law.

Debtors had, therefore, better commence their preparation to meet a trial which now seems to be inevitable. That many persons will be forced into insolvency, is certain. But we are so inclined to think, that the consequences, to the public at large, will not be so disastrous as generally imagined. When people hear that there are now unsatisfied judgments in our Courts, to an amount exceeding half a million of dollars, they naturally suppose that more than half a million of dollars will have to be raised by forced sale, to satisfy them. We are persuaded that this is a mistake, and that our people generally magnify the evil that is hanging over them. Almost every creditor is also a debtor, and vice versa. The chain of indebtedness runs through the whole community. Thus A. owes B. and B. owes C. and C. owes D. and on through the alphabet down through Z. When therefore Z. sues Y. --Y. sues X. and X. sues W. and so back to the beginning at A. Judgments are obtained on all these debts, and the aggregate of the judgments, presents a most formidable appearance. These judgments have hitherto been stayed, and the whole community has been quaking with fear of the catastrophe that will follow the expiration of the stay law. We are satisfied that the evil will be much less than most people apprehend. We believe that instead of having to raise half a million of dollars, by forced sales, one-tenth of that sum will be sufficient to pay off the entire indebtedness.

This may, at first view, seem to be paradoxical. But it is, nevertheless, true. And this is our explanation of the matter.

When the property of A. who stands at the top of the list, is sold, and the money applied to the payment of his debt to B--that supplies B. the means of paying C. who in turn will pay D. and so on, to the end of the alphabet and this the whole will be wiped out. The expiration of the stay law will, therefore, not bring such wide-spread ruin as most people fear. It will lead to a general settlement and adjustment of the balances. Some debtors will be broken up, as would be the case independently of stay laws. Others will be pressed, and put to inconvenience, but the evil has been greatly over-estimated.

There will be one counterbalancing benefit, which will outweigh many of the evils of the termination of the stay law. It is the restoration of confidence and better feeling between man and man. The feeling of uncertainty which has pervaded the public mind has created distrust on the part of the creditors. Men did not know what to depend on. A vague apprehension of repudiation took possession of many. Others doubted the solvency of debtors. These apprehensions caused hundreds of suits to be brought, which otherwise, would not have been brought.--Creditors wished to fix judgment liens on the lands of debtors, so as to render their debts safe, and to be in a condition to enforce them upon short notice.

All fears of repudiation, and of the ultimate safety of debts, will now be dispelled, and in a majority of cases--confidence will be established on a firm basis. Creditors will know that the courts are always open to them, and hence there will not be the same motive to press for payment. The good feeling which has always characterized our people will prompt them in all cases, where they can do it safely, to extend indulgence to debtors, who honestly desire and are striving to pay.

There is one class of debtors, however, who need not expect, and who really are not entitled to indulgence. It is that class who could have paid, but would not; who having means to pay debts which their creditor needed, refused to do so, and used the money in speculative enterprises. If such men are now pressed, they must remember that they brought the pressure on themselves.

We hope, however, that an indulgent spirit will be practiced by creditors, as far as may be practicable. They must remember, that wheat, flour, and the other staples, are now bringing low prices, and that the corn crop has almost entirely failed. Another year will make great changes in the condition of our people. An abundant harvest next summer, and a full crop of corn, with the fat cattle and hogs which may be expected, will furnish the means of paying a large amount of debt. Providence has blessed us beyond our deserts. Let us show our gratitude by forbearance.

The President's Message
(Column 02)
Summary: Summarizing a recent message from President Grant, the author gives a somewhat mixed review. While he is happy the president wants Virginia restored to its place in the Union, he laments the absence of general amnesty in the message. Further, the author criticizes the president's literary style and argument, saying it is disjointed, contradictory and generally unworthy of American statesmanship.
Full Text of Article:

The anxiously expected document was received too late for publication in this issue, but will be spread before our readers in the next.

We are happy to say that its recommendations in regard to Virginia are satisfactory. The President urges her immediate restoration to her rights as a member of the Union, and the admission of her Senators and Representatives to their seat in Congress.

We regret to perceive, however, that the President has not deemed it proper to make any recommendation in regard to the removal of disabilities under the 14th amendment. We had hoped, from some of his antecedents, that he would have taken distinct and positive ground in favor of general amnesty. But we confidently expect that Congress will, at an early day, give its sanction to that measure of repose and conciliation.

The message is rather shorter than usual, and in some of its recommendations is vague and obscure. While we have no disposition to criticize this document we are constrained to say that it is deficient in logical arrangement and devoid of literary merit. Upon the whole it falls greatly below the ordinary level of American State Papers. It lacks the and the graces of style by which the message of the earlier Presidents were distinguished. And in different paragraphs there are propositions which are apparently antagonistic, in principle, to each other. It would seem, either as if it has been written in different parcels, and at different times, or by different persons, and that the detached parcels had been badly joined together, and hence there is a want of harmony between the various parts. A careful revision of the document, by a mature mind, with a free use of the adage and the Jack-plane, would have been decidedly advisable.--But we apprehend there is no such master mind in the Cabinet, and hence the document goes to the country in a form which will reflect no credit on our government.

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(Column 01)
Summary: Robert M. Hicks of Waynesboro and Miss Annie E. Harper, daughter of Richard Harper, were married in Maryland on November 16th by the Rev. Mr. Henderson.
(Names in announcement: Robert M. Hicks, Annie E. Harper, Richard Harper, Rev. Henderson)

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