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Valley of the Shadow

Valley Spirit: January 15, 1862

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-Page 01-

Description of Page: Article occupies entire first page and is carried into the first two columns of page 8.

First Annual Message of Andrew G. Curtain, Governor of Pennsylvania
(Column 1)
Summary: This article reprints Governor Curtain's January 8 address to the State Senate and House. Curtain deals with the finances of the state first and then turns to a number of issues surrounding railroad construction and financing. He then spends the bulk of his address discussing Pennsylvania's participation in the war effort. He lauds the patriotism of Pennsylvania volunteers and notes that thus far Pennsylvania has contributed 109,615 men to the cause. He also discusses purchases of armaments by the state and then briefly turns to other state issues.

-Page 02-

Description of Page: Poetry, fiction, and classified ads, including repeat of previously published judicial notices

The Release of Mason and Slidell
(Column 3)
Summary: Suggests Congress pass a resolution disapproving of Secretary of State Seward's release of Mason and Slidell, in order to avenge the honor of the country vis-a-vis Great Britain.
Origin of Article: Dubuque (Iowa) Herald

-Page 03-

Description of Page: Fiction and classified advertisements

-Page 04-

Description of Page: The editorial on abolitionists occupies half of page 4.

To The Public
(Column 1)
Summary: George H. Mengel has sold the Valley Spirit to P.S. Dechert, who had been connected with the paper until two years ago, when he sold his interest to Mengel, and to B.Y. Hamsher, former Clerk of the Courts of the County, a Democrat who was elected in a majority Republican county. Mengel thanks his subscribers for their patronage and assures them that no change will be made in editorial content. The Valley Spirit will continue to speak as the voice of Franklin County Democrats.
(Names in announcement: P.S. Dechert, B.Y. Hamsher, George H. Mengel)
Full Text of Article:

We have disposed of the Valley Spirit Printing Establishment to Messrs. P. S. DECHERT and B. Y. HAMSHER by whom the paper will hereafter be published. This arrangement will make no change in the business relations our patrons hold with this establishment. The size, price and tone of the paper will remain unchanged, and the business department of the office will be conducted as heretofore. The new firm will take charge of the entire business of the establishment from the first of January, 1862. It is not necessary for us to bestow an extended eulogy on the gentlemen to whom we have sold out. Their characters as honest men and good citizens will be endorsed by every man in this community. They possess all the qualifications necessary for conducting a successful and popular paper, and one that will not only command the support of its own party but the respect of the public generally. Mr. DECHERT has been connected with the Valley Spirit ever since its establishment in this place in 1848, until about two years ago when he sold out his interest to the undersigned. He was always looked upon as the business man of the establishment, and in truth, to his energy and tact is the paper indebted for the extensive patronage it now enjoys. He will be found careful and prompt in all business transactions and never fail to deal justly by, and give entire satisfaction to the patrons of the establishment. Mr. HAMSHER is a gentleman of unblemished moral character, honored and esteemed by all who know him. He is a sterling Democrat and most ardently devoted to the principles of his party. In 1857 he was nominated by the Democratic party for the office of Clerk of the Courts of this County, and although the party is in the minority, he was elected by the very handsome majority of nearly three hundred votes. He fulfilled the duties of his office faithfully and intelligently, and it was the general remark that we never had a more attentive and accommodating officer to fill the position he occupied in our Courts. We know of no man in the county who would be more acceptable to the Democratic party in connection with their political organ than Mr. HAMSHER. Under the judicious management of these gentlemen the Valley Spirit cannot fail in maintaining the high character it has acquired, and retaining and extending its circulation and patronage.

In taking leave of our patrons we would return our thanks for the very liberal patronage and many acts of kindness bestowed upon us while connected with the Spirit. We labored, in return, assiduously and conscientiously for the advancement of the Democratic party, and from the very generous support we have uniformly received we feel that our efforts have been appreciated and fully rewarded. In retiring we would bespeak for the new firm the patronage of the public in general, and from the Democracy that "aid and comfort" which they, as the publishers of the political organ of the party in this county, are entitled to claim.

Chambersburg, Jan. 1862

To the Patrons of the Valley Spirit
(Column 1)
Summary: The new owners assure readers that the Valley Spirit will continue to speak for the Democratic party and they ask for a special show of support from its readers. They also promise to make needed improvements.
(Names in announcement: P.S. Dechert, B.Y. Hamsher, George H. Mengel)
The Abolitionists at Work
(Column 2)
Summary: Editorial arguing that, of the two forces seeking to keep the Union apart, abolitionists are far more pernicious than secessionists--the latter are fighting for property, while the former are fighting for a misguided ideal. Abolitionists have become obsessed only with freeing the slaves, regardless of the consequences that freeing African Americans would have on the country. The editorial was prompted by a petition circulating in Franklin county, apparently through the churches, supporting the emancipation of slaves in the Confederacy.
Full Text of Article:

There are two classes of politicians in our country engaged in efforts to prevent a restoration of the Union--the Secessionists of the South and the Abolitionists of the North. He stands ready to sacrifice everything near and dear--the Union itself--for the sake of the negro. The Secessionist asks to be "let alone" in the enjoyment of his property or he is ready to break up the Union and set up for himself. The one is contending for his "rights"--the other for an "idea." The Abolitionist professes to be chuckfull of philanthropy for the negro--we mean the negro a far off--"a way down South," but he entertains the most supreme contempt for the black man around him. He would move Heaven and Earth to free the slave, and elevate him to an equality with the white-man, but the free negro at his door might come up as a worthless weed and rot where he grows for ought he cares. This is the fanatical one-sided idea that has crazed the heads of so many northern politicians. We might laugh at the absurdity of the thing as we do at spiritualism, free loveism, and all the other isms that go hand in hand with Abolitionism, was there not such "a method in the madness" as to produce a great deal of trouble in the country. With this fanatical faction the "Constitution of the United States is a Covenant with Hell;" the Flag of our Country--the Glorious Stars and Stripes--is "Hates Polluted Rag;" the leader of this Abolition party, but a short time ago, declared that he went in for a dissolution of the Union because he "considered the dissolution the abolition of slavery, and if the Union made every man as wise as Solomon, and as pure as St. John, and as safe as an angel in the courts of Heaven, to cling to it would be a damnable crime while slavery exists!" It is these atrocious sentiments, and others like them, that have provoked the present war, and to prolong it to the "bitter end" the nigger is dragged into the contest by his wooly-head at every turn until it has resolved itself into a war for the special benefit of Sambo, and his abolition admirers. To fight for the maintenance of the Union or the defence of our Constitution and Government is no part of the abolition creed. With them the motto is "the Union may slide but hold on to the nigger!" Is it to be wondered at that the Southern people felt alarmed at their position in the Union, with four hundred millions of property in slaves endangered by the advent of such a fiendish party to power? The country was well warned of the mischief that abolitionism was brewing in the land. That wise statesman and pure patriot HENRY CLAY made this wonderful prediction in the United States Senate in 1839, which has been literally fulfilled:

"Sir, I am not in the habit of speaking lightly of the possibility of dissolving this happy Union. The Senate know that I have deprecated allusions, on ordinary occasions, to that direful event. The country will testify that if there be anything in the history of my public career worthy of recollection, it is the truth and sincerity of my ardent devotion to its lasting preservation. But we should be false to our allegiance if we did not discriminate between the imaginary and real dangers by which it may be assailed. Abolitionism should no longer be regarded as an imaginary danger. The Abolitionists, let me suppose succeed in their present aim of uniting the inhabitants of the free States, as one man, against the inhabitants of the slave States. Union on one side will beget union on the other; and this process of reciprocal consolidation will be attended with all the violent prejudice, embittered passions and implacable animosities which ever degraded or deformed human nature. One section will stand in menacing and hostile array against the other. The collision of opinion will be quickly followed by the clash of arms. I will not attempt to describe scenes which now happily lie concealed from our view. Abolitionists themselves would shrink back in dismay and horror at the contemplation of desolated fields, conflagrated cities, murdered inhabitants and the overthrow of the fairest fabric of human government that ever rose to animate the hopes of civilized man."

Thus said the great and good statesman HENRY CLAY. His counsel was heard and heeded by the men of his day and there was no civil war in the country. He knew where the real danger lay and pointed out Abolitionism as the evil that would ultimately overthrow the Union. He was a man of peace and the friend of compromise for the sake of the Union, but if he lived at this day and would talk of peace he would be pronounced a "traitor," and of compromise a "coward." The conservative men of the country, backed by the entire Democracy, have labored long and faithfully to avert the calamities that now hang over the land like a funeral pall; they have warned the people that unless a stop was put to the progress of Abolitionism it must surely end in the dissolution of the Union. The warning was unheeded--a sectional party, reared on the basis of Abolitionism, was elevated to power and at once the horrors of a fratricidal war burst upon us, "attended with all the violent prejudices, embittered passions and implacable animosities which ever degraded or deformed human nature." Thus has the prophesy of CLAY become true.

But why trouble ourselves about Abolitionism? The skirts of the Democracy are clear of it, it is only known among us by name, and is confined to a handful of crazy fanatics in "Yankee land" who take up with spiritualism, free-loveism, abolitionism, and every other ism, that tends to infidelity. We have surely none among us who would be misled by such a scandalous, wicked and treasonable doctrine! Come, gentle reader, allow us to undeceive you. We have men--ah, Christian men--in our own county who are as rabid Abolitionists at heart as Loyd, Garrison or Wendell Phillips. Some of them even pretend to be followers of the "meek and lowly Jesus" but in place of preaching the Gospel of "peace and good will towards men," mistake their calling and exhibit, in and out of the pulpit, the most infuriated spirit of vindictiveness towards the whole Southern portion of their common country. They would rather every foot of our country would be drenched in fraternal blood than concede one iota of their miserable idiosyncrasies. These are the men of the same stamp of the New England Puritans, who killed the Indians, hung the Quakers, drove out the Baptists, drowned women for witches, and all in the name of Religion! Have we the evidence that this species of fanaticism is rampant among us? We think we have. The following petition is now abroad for signatures in a part of Franklin County and many have deluded into signing it through church influence. It is a most arrant abolition imposition on the loyal people of the county, and strange to say a few Democrats have been deluded by the arch machinations of these destroyers of our country into signing it--these worse than madmen who talk of restoring and preserving the Union by emancipating the negroes! Such an absurd idea could only originate in the addled brain of a stark-mad Abolitionist. But let us have the "petition" that wise and patriotic citizens may judge it for themselves and heap on it the full measure of their condemnation.

"As petitions of vital importance have been presented to Congress asking for the unconditional emancipation of the slaves of the Rebel States, and also to assign territory to them where they can enjoy the protection of the Government.

AND WHEREAS--Congress should receive the united sympathy and Mutual cooperation of the friends of freedom in the North.

AND WHEREAS--The various Christian Denominations form a very important part of the community, whose testimony ought to be, and hereby is given on behalf of human right, Law, Justice and liberty together with an unequivocal condemnation of Southern Treason, and Slavery, therefore

Resolved, 1st that we will unite in sustaining the men in the Cabinet and in Congress who will advocate the cause of universal emancipation of the slave population and their colonization in a southern territory to be under the protection, care and government of these United States.

Resolved, 2nd that this preamble and resolution be signed by men representing the various Protestant Churches in the Northern states, a copy of which to be forwarded to the president, Cabinet, Senate and House of Representatives."

Signed by Rev Joshua Kennedy, Jacob B Cook, Dr. Henry K. Byers, John McLean and 107 others.

We confess we were mistaken in regard to the extent of the anti-slavery feeling among us. We could not suppose that patriotism was at such a low ebb. That there was among us those who are willing to see our gallant army fight to free the negroes without caring what becomes of the Constitution and the Union. This scheme of emancipating the negroes is a programme of blood and horrors. It cannot be carried out without violating the Constitution and destroying the Union for ever. Those who favor this infamous proposal will boldly tell you that the Constitution must be set aside. They are well aware that it recognizes Slavery and protects it in the States were it exists, but that is of no consequence in their minds. The war must be prosecuted for the entire and total abolition of Slavery or it can meet with no favor at their hands. This is the issue they have thrown upon the country which is to divide the sentiment of the Northern people and crush out every spark of Union feeling in the South. The North has, heretofore, been united and her people making great sacrifices, and contributing men and money to carry on the war for the restoration of the Union and enforcement of the laws. The Abolitionists would pervert it from this object and make it a grand scheme for the emancipation of the negroes. Will our army fight in such a cause? To free four millions of ignorant negroes would be one of the most inhuman acts that could be inflicted on the people--white and black, north and south. If they were allowed to come North, and if you free them you give them the right to go where they please, there would be an influx of these creatures that would create among our laboring men an enormous competition, by which their wages would be reduced to the lowest standard of European poverty. But the idea is to "colonize them in the Southern territory to be under the protection, care, and government of the United States." This is displaying an amount of ignorance concerning the nature of our Government that would disgrace the most ignorant negro in the land. It could not, of course, be carried out unless the Union is restored, and if again restored it must be on the basis of allowing the States to control their domestic affairs after their own fashion. The negroes set free by the act of the general Government would be immediately re-enslaved by the Southern States if found in them, nor could the Government prevent this without destroying the rights of the States and revolutionizing the entire character of our institutions. But the most ridiculous portion of the above petition is the plan proposed to free the negro from the individuals and make the Government his master. The Government is to become a slave-holder and work the nigger for the benefit of the Northern Abolitionist. The negroes are to be taken from their present masters and made to cultivate, "under the protection, care and government of the United States" the cotton fields of the South to enrich the Lords of the Loom in the North. This is a new feature in abolitionism and Yankee economy with a vengeance. The fact is while the Abolitionist pretends to feel for the supposed sufferings of the slaves they have always kept an eye single to their own pockets, and would run a cargo of slaves into a Southern port tomorrow if it were not for the blockade. Men have only to look at this emancipation question fully, fairly and frankly and they will soon satisfy themselves that it is unsound in law and morals, and henceforth keep their signatures clear of Abolition petitions.

[No Title]
(Column 6)
Summary: Proclaims that the state Democratic party has never enjoyed such good organization at the State House, despite losing control of the House, since it was the regular Democrats' refusal to cooperate with "fishy" Union Democrats which brought about their defeat. The party was now free of "impure elements" and is poised for victory in the future.
Origin of Article: Harrisburg Patriot and Union

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Description of Page: Page also contains general war news and classified advertisements.

(Column 1)
Summary: Thanks Senator A.K. McClure and Representative W.W. Sellers for providing public documents to the paper.
(Names in announcement: Hon. A.K. McClure, W.W. SellersEsq.)
War News
(Column 1)
Summary: The Valley Spirit will be expanding its coverage of the events of the war.
Brass Band
(Column 1)
Summary: George Seilhamer, Esq., will recite his humorous poem in conjunction with a concert to be given by the Brass Band next Tuesday in Franklin Hall.
(Names in announcement: George O. SeilhamerEsq.)
(Column 1)
Summary: The Festival of the Fayetteville Union Sunday Schools was held on Christmas evening. It consisted of presentations by Rev. Samuel Crawford, Rev. Niccolls, and William Heyser, Esq.; Rev. W.H.R. Deatrich and Rev. Joshua Kennedy also took part in the exercises. The school sang devotional and patriotic songs, the Fayetteville Brass Band played, and a "social chat" was held afterwards. The school was recently reorganized on "broader union principles to embrace all that appreciate and love to work in the duty of giving moral and religious instruction to the youth of Fayetteville...."
(Names in announcement: Rev. Samuel CrawfordD.D., Rev. Niccolls, William HeyserEsq., Rev. W.H.R. Deatrich, Rev. Joshua Kennedy)
Burglars About
(Column 2)
Summary: Two "young villains" looked in the window of Samuel George's house south of Grind-Stone Hill Church, but Mrs. George rapped on the window and scared them off.
(Names in announcement: Samuel George)
(Column 2)
Summary: Capt. Daniel G. Thomas acknowledges the receipt of 80 pairs of woolen socks from the "Ladies of Guilford Township" to be distributed to Pennsylvania Volunteers.
(Names in announcement: Capt. Daniel Thomas)
[No Title]
(Column 2)
Summary: The Rev. C.P. Krauth Jr. will preach in the Lutheran Church next Saturday and Sunday.
Tribute of Respect
(Column 2)
Summary: Representatives from all the printing offices in Chambersburg met in the offices of the Franklin Repository and Transcript to commemorate the death of William H. Seiders.
(Names in announcement: William H. Seiders, R.P. Hazelet, George H. Mengel)
Letter from the 77th Regiment
(Column 4)
Summary: Writes to update readers on activity of 77th Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers, quartered on the North Bank of the Green River in Kentucky. Jacob Royer, from near Waynesboro in Company A, under the command of Captain McKesson, died; James Ronlet, from near Shippensburg in Company C under the command of Captain McNally also died. Daniel Levanite from Franklin County, in the Battery Company, has been lost but it was not certain if he was drowned or taken prisoner--he was sent out to collect water, and his kettle was found later but no trace of Levanite. Confederate cavalry had been active in the area so it was possible that he was taken prisoner. Generally, the 77th is in good health and spirits, and Slumbaugh says he will make sure soldiers send the remittances due their families.
(Names in announcement: Jacob Royer, James Ronlet, Daniel Levanite)
Trailer: F.S. Slumbaugh
Tribute of Respect
(Column 5)
Summary: A meeting of the Hope Fire Company held on January 7th adopted a resolution of commemoration for their deceased member William Seiders, who was killed while serving as a member of Company D, 11th Regiment, Pennsylvania Cavalry.
(Names in announcement: William Seiders, A.C. McGrath)
Wanted 15 Able-Bodied Men
(Column 5)
Summary: Advertisement for enlistees for the company commanded by Capt. A.J. Brand, currently quartered at Camp Curtain in Harrisburg. Application should be made at Brand's Hotel in Chambersburg.
(Names in announcement: Capt. A.J. Brand)

-Page 06-

Description of Page: Classifieds

-Page 07-

Description of Page: Classifieds

-Page 08-

Annual Report of Henry D. Moore, State Treasurer
(Column 2)
Summary: Moore discusses three primary areas of activity of his department: the issuing of state bonds, at 6% interest, to fund the wartime expenditures of the state; the means by which the state will pay the $1.9 million dollar tax levied by the federal government for support of the war effort; and the default of the Wyoming Canal Company on the $281,000 in bonds the state holds. Moore added a commentary on the unjust structure of state tax laws, which, he argues, allowed wealthy holders of bonds, mortgages, and other securities to escape taxation and threw the tax burden onto real property holders.