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Valley of the Shadow

Valley Spirit: April 6, 1859

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Description of Page: Print gets very faint in the middle of the page. Columns 5 and 6 are a list of retailers for the county.

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Description of Page: Markets in column 4.

County News
(Column 1-2)
Summary: Miscellaneous county news, including the brief story transcribed above.
"Morals" of the Transcript
(Column 2)
Summary: Spirit has tried to stay out of Fry divorce case, but is now involved because the Transcript has "proclaimed itself the patron and protector of this wanton wife." Spirit comes down against her in the name of public decency and argues that she is a profligate adulteress.
Full Text of Article:

--We have purposely refrained from burdening our columns with details of the evidence in the Fry divorce case, now before our Legislature for its consideration and adjustment. As public Journalists we cannot believe otherwise than that the morals of a community are corrupted by the publication of such testimony; and further, we did not for a moment suppose that any one in this community felt any direct interest in this matter, whatever they might feel, in an indirect way, by being opposed to the principle of granting a divorce on such a shallow pretext as the one presented in this case.

It seems, however, we are to be made a party in this affair--willing or not willing--The Transcript has proclaimed itself the patron and protector of this wanton wife--the appellant in this case--and in its zeal in her cause would render the marriage rites a rope of sand to be broken by every wanton caprice or lascivious desire; and thus sap the very foundation of civilized society--weaken the force of the Christian religion-- annihilate every principle of morality, and substitute in their place the most shameless licentiousness, and the most frightful corruption and degeneracy of morals. In the face of such an enormity it would be a dereliction of duty in us to remain silent. The welfare of the community, and every obligation man is under to his fellow men, and his God, commands us to speak out in words of warning to the people to rebuke this highhanded attempt to palliate and justify such a monster wrong.

Our Representatives at Harrisburg are exhorted to "do justice to their constituency by vindicating the cause of this unhappy wife."--Leaving out the villainy embodied in this entreaty, the request is certainly a very modest one considering the source from whence it comes. We are only surprised that nothing more has been asked of the "gentlemen of the Senate and House of Representatives"--a small bonus, for instance, for the privilege of acting on the convenient suggestion! Mr. Grigg, the father of the "unhappy wife"--a plethoric old gentleman who stands depletion remarkably well--will, no doubt, see the . . .[text missing] . . . his friends in the Legislature against [word missing] damages for infringement of copyright, on the latest plan proposed for "doing justice to a constituency!" But seriously; we think we know the gentlemen who represent the 'constituency' hereabouts, well enough to venture the prediction that their "clear heads and generous hearts" will spurn this vile proposition and its author, as they would an unclean thing.--Whatever estimate others may place upon their pliability to such an infamous scheme we can not allow the thought to enter our mind that the demoralizing atmosphere of Harrisburg has so corrupted their hearts as to permit them to trample upon the sanctity of marriage, and give their sanction to Free Loveism in its most odious sense. Let them return to their constituents with their skirts reeking in a pollution of that sort and they will find that instead of being placed "as watchmen on the ramparts of public safety" they will be considered as "dead dogs in the ditch."

With the peculiar views of the Transcript we desire to have as little to do as possible, and were we not aware of the motive that prompted the Artful Dodger to give them publicity we would pass them over in silence as the vagaries of a diseased imagination. We will here present them to our readers that they may judge them for themselves, merely promising that it must be a bad cause, indeed, that requires such an advocacy:

"Take either of the causes for which a diverse may be granted by a Court, and analyze it. Adultery, for instance. This is admitted, by all, to be the highest crime against the marital relation. Why is it any more heinous than either of the other causes? It produces unhappiness. Yes, that is the secret; it does produce unhappiness. So does desertion produce unhappiness; so does the conviction of a husband or wife of an infamous crime and incarceration in a prison, produce, to their partner, unhappiness; so does cruelty produce unhappiness. Now is the unhappiness produced by the latter any the less intolerable because the victim cannot prove the body of the offense to the satisfaction of a Court and Jury. We infer, therefore, that the pith of all the legal causes of divorce, is that they each are fruitful causes of unhappiness."

We would charitably believe that these views were penned without due reflection as to their pernicious effect upon society. But we can find no ground for even that poor presumption to rest upon. They seem to have been deliberatively put forth to accommodate a selfish purpose regardless alike of moral principle or public decency. Let us "analyze" them: Any cause which produces unhappiness in married life is as valid a claim for a divorce as Adultery! In this view of the case, Adultery is either a very trifling offence, or every petty squabble between man and wife is equal to the crime of Adultery! The Transcript can take either horn of the dilemma and it will find itself as fatally gored by the one as by the other.

Let us acquaint our readers with the leading features in this case. It is the old story in a new dress. A gentleman in Philadelphia marries the spoiled child of wealthy parents--reputed the richest in that city. He is a man of business, and a man of sense--he marries the young lady in good faith and hopes to find in her an affectionate and intelligent companion through life. He is deceived--wofully deceived--she turns out to be a fool and a flirt, if not something worse, and in the first month after marriage meets her "affinity," in the person of a young Cadet, with whom she becomes desperately enamored and engages in a most scandalous and disgusting flirtation. Opens up a correspondence with her paramour and in letters filled with adulterous propositions lavishes upon him the most fulsome and mawkish epithets of endearment. Her husband begs, pleads, entreats, remonstrates, threatens--but all to no purpose, she is determined to have her "affair" out--her pappy's wealth can screen her from scandal and buy her a divorce. She fabricates a story of her husband's cruelty and spreads it before the Legislature praying to be set free from the trammels of matrimony. If her divorce is granted it is because her story is believed. In the light she represents her husband he is not willing to stand before the world, and he, therefore, resists the petition as every man entertaining a spark of self-respect or having any regard for his reputation, would do.

We conclude our remarks on this subject, for the present, with an extract from a letter of this profligate wife, written under her husband's roof, to her gallant young Cadet, at West Point:


"Now let me tell you what I purpose doing. I have about $900 in ready money with me, which will last for some time. My plan is to try and get a situation as a servant in some family in Philadelphia, or with some one who is going away as child nurse, maid, or anything of the kind, with a disguised name, of course, and I can easily get clothes that will be proper, and that no one will know me in. Then I thought of renting a room here, or in New York, and living where no one can find me. My last one is to take my clothes and go home; but then I am afraid of Mr. Fry's coming for me, as he says he has full authority over me. I will go by your advice, whatever it is; but you must not ask me to stay here. When you leave West Point, let me live in the same town with you, if it is as a comman servant. Let me be near you, and I shall be happy, for I cannot live without you. I read your letter over and over; but do not talk of a soldier's grave, for if you die, what have I to live for? I think the future looks brighter, if I can ever get away without being discovered. Can you not invent some plan? I think I would rather go to New York as I would feel nearer to you, and then I would be safer than here. I feel now, able to go through anything, for all my love is centered upon you, though perhaps, I ought not to say it. If you write, direct to some friend whom you can depend on, and get them to put it into the dispatch; then it is safe. Direct it in a different hand from the other one. There is nothing in the world I would not do for you, even to death. If you think it is better for me to go home, of course I will go, but I think it will be useless, as I will not be free if I go there. Forgive this long letter, but I feel that I can tell you everything. Mr. Fry asked me to tell him who I gave that daguerreotype to, but I would not tell him one word. I shall commence to morrow to gather my things together, and make up some common clothes, so if your advice is to leave, I can go immediately. Direct to Mrs. Fry, 1,817 Walnut street. Every feeling I have is centered in you. I must stop writing, as I think I have taxed your patience sufficiently. Don't send any letter to any one, unless you are sure of their being silent on the subject.

"Yours, most affec'y.

Franklin Railroad
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Summary: Report on a gang of track layers and a group of engineers has been busily working to reconstruct the Franklin Railroad. The Spirit expects the track to be finished soon.
(Column 3)
Summary: A gang of rowdies "took possession of our town and held undisputed sway just as long as they pleased" last Friday night. They broke doors, smashed windows, and assaulted negroes. "Through consideration for their 'phelinx' none of our officers interfered with them."
(Column 4)
Summary: Fire in house on W. Market Street.
(Names in announcement: A.H. McCulloch)
Teacher's Association
(Column 4)
Summary: List of subjects and topics to be presented at annual meeting of Franklin County Education Association: Orthography: D. S. Stail; Samuel Croft; Orthography: H. Omwake; J. C. Albertson Reading: Miss S. A. Reynolds; Miss M. E. Parker Mental Arithmetic: G. W. Retz; H. B. Kindig Mental Analysis of Problems: J. S. Smith; J. S. McEswaithe Written Arithmetic: D. S. McFadden; R. A. Moore Fractions: J. L. P. Dietrich; William Hayman Ratio and Proportion: H. S. Shade; Jno. W. Coble; Peter Swisher Interest: P. M. Shoemaker; R. K. Lehman Square and Cube Root: J. B. Ca??; F. A. Cain Writing: J. N. Snively; D. S. McFadden Geography: F. Montgomery; Joseph Eckhart Geography: J. W. D. Haven; Samuel Croft English Grammar: A. McElwain; James Mac. Thompson Petrology: Dr, Samuel P. Lane The rest is too blurry to read.
(Names in announcement: D.S. Stail, Samuel Croft, H. Omwake, J.C. Albertson, Miss S.A. Reynolds, M.E. Parker, G.W. Retz, H.B. Kindig, J.S. Smith, J.S. McEswaithe, D.S. McFadden, R.A. Moore, J.L.P. Dietrich, William Hayman, H.S. Shade, Jno. Coble, Peter Swisher, P.M. Shoemaker, R.K. Lehman, F.A. Cain, J.N. Snively, D.S. McFadden, F. Montgomery, Joseph Eckhart, J.W.D. Haven, Samuel Croft, A. McElwain, James Thompson, Samuel Lane)
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Summary: Married on March 25 in Fayetteville.
(Names in announcement: Rev. Henry Reeves, Henry Kroh, Florence Horner)
(Column 6)
Summary: Married on March 31 at Pleasant Retreat Parsonage.
(Names in announcement: Rev. Jas. Bishop, Benjamin Small, Margaret Miley)
(Column 6)
Summary: Married on April 1 in Chambersburg.
(Names in announcement: P. HammonEsq., John Winger, Catherine Suders)

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