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Valley of the Shadow

Valley Spirit: August 09, 1865

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Absolutely Free
(Column 3)
Summary: Denigrates the decision made by the Connecticut Legislature to pass a resolution declaring that all men ought to be free and are deserving of the same rights and privileges.
Full Text of Article:

The Connecticut Legislature, which adjourned a few days ago, adopted a series of resolutions, among which this is one:

"All men within the limits of the United States ought to be absolutely free; and no permanent discrimination in rights and privileges ought to exist between different classes of free men.

We suppose the wise legislators intended in this resolution to use the word "men" in its restricted, masculine sense. They did not mean to include women in their assertion of right. Their resolution, therefore, is not open to criticism on this ground. But the broad statement that "all men within the limits of the United States ought to be absolutely free," is so absurd that it challenges notice. We need not pause to define the word free. No definition that can be given to it will make this assertion correct doctrine. The men who adopted the resolution could not possibly be such ignoramuses in political economy as to believe it themselves. If every man was "absolutely free," what would become of property and life? How long could local or general peace and prosperity be kept? What would be the relations of the strong to the weak? --We are pained at the signs of time when we see legislative bodies dealing in these claptraps of politics, using sounding phrases like this to catch the ears of unthinking people. If the members of the Connecticut Legislature really believe the absurd doctrine here enunciated, they are no more fit to be legislators than were the Jacobins in France. They are equally insane with those men who made the world to abhor the very idea of liberty by their attempt to establish absolute freedom. We do not refer to the Indians, to foreigners recently arrived, to criminals, to insane persons, or other exceptionable cases. These are amply sufficient to attract the notice of thinking men, but we direct attention only to the manifest folly of a Legislature asserting that every man ought to be absolutely free, when its own existence is for the very purpose of making laws which shall prevent men from being absolutely free. We have no doubt that these very men, in this very Legislature, had been enacting laws restraining the freedom of various classes of people in their own State just before they passed theis "bunkum" resolution about the United States. The second branch of the resolution is as foolish as the first.

Where the Danger Lies
(Column 4)
Summary: Criticizes northerners who continue to resist the re-unification of the country on the grounds that the South has still not shown itself adequately contrite for the war. This group, the article proclaims, is the greatest impediment to national reconciliation. The Southern rebellion may have been crushed, but "Northern fanaticism remains rampant and threatens perpetual war."
Origin of Article: Journal of Commerce
The Fruits of Negro Equality
(Column 5)
Summary: Traveling to Panama to see how that country has managed since slavery was abolished, a writer from the New York Herald reports on the condition of the freedmen there in order to gauge the probable effects of emancipation on blacks in the South. Using statistics that point to rising illegitimacy rates, he asserts that morality among ex-slaves in Panama has declined precipitously since they gained their freedom, an occurrence that seems to be taking place in the U.S. as well. Under these circumstances, it will prove disastrous to grant the former bondsmen in the South the right to vote.
Origin of Article: New York Herald
Editorial Comment: "The Panama correspondent of the New York Herald, under [the] date of July 19th, gives the following account of the working of negro equality in that portion of Central America. The writer says:"
Full Text of Article:

You may suppose that much I have heretofore written in regard to affairs in this State is because I have taken a prejudicial view of matters and things, and have not taken pains to inform myself properly as to their true condition. I will now give you an outline of a conversation I had few evenings since with a native of Panama--a gentleman of education and refinement--one who knows and thoroughly understands his country, and would upon no account say anything against it. I wanted some information on the subject, and frankly told him so, and what use I intended to make of it. The first question I put was: "What is the population of the city of Panama and suburb arrabal [unclear]" Answer--"About twelve thousand, including foreigners." --Second--"What proportion of the twelve thousand are pure white?" Answer--"Less than two thousand." Third--"Of the children born among this population what proportion are legitimate?" Answer--"About three-tenths, and these nearly altogether among the whites, for there are but few marriages among the blacks." He went on to say that on one occasion he took a census of an adjoining department of this State, and among eleven hundred persons he found seven married couples only. What I have given you is a very fair picture of the state of society hereabout, and you will find it about on a par--no worse--than other parts of the world where the negro has, by mistaken sympathy, been brought above his proper level. From knowledge of what the Southern States were prior to the rebellion, I feel perfectly safe in asserting that--notwithstanding Mrs. Stowe, Fanny Kemble, Butler and others--there were more legitimate children born among the slaves than there are among what is termed "freedmen." Morality among them here is a thing almost unknown, and some of the cases of incest you hear of are of the most revolting and disgusting character. --I will say one thing, however, in favor of the class who are natives of this soil--that in everything they are as far advanced above the Jamaica negro as it is possible to be. --The latter has very likely acquired some little education: this at once makes him saucy arrogant and desirous of aping all the manners and customs of the white men. The Jamaica mulatto is far worse, and can excel the world for impudence, and in nine cases out of ten is utterly worthless. They are shunned by the natives, and the lowest term one can use here towards a black or mulatto is to say that he is a "Jamaica nigger." This cuts like a two-edged sword, and is more telling in its effect than if you were to use the vilest words known in the English language. I had intended to drop the black subject, but thought that a little information from the best source about "Mosquerra's progress in civilization" would not be amiss, and might throw some light on what might be expected to the United States should the same couse be pursued with the "freedmen" there as has been in this country and among the West India Islands--namely, universal suffrage.

There are important facts and pertinent to the real issue which the people of this country are called upon to decide. If forcing the negro race into equality with the white in Central America without preparation or training has produced the results described, what right have we to hope that like causes will not produce like effects in the United States? To be sure the colored men in this country are a step in advance of those in Jamaica and Central America, but even here the effect of sudden emancipation upon the moral condition of the freemen has been disastrous. What then, may not be feared if the radical programme of negro suffrage be engrafted upon emancipation? The example of Jamaica and Central America should not be overlooked by moralist when balancing in his mind the proofs for and against negro equality and negro suffrage. We should decide this question as Christians and not as mere politicians.

As You Like It
(Column 6)
Summary: Defends Gov. Perry from attacks in the Republican press. Recently, the Radicals have been critical of South Carolina's provisional governor for an inflammatory speech he delivered prior to his appointment. According to the article, the fact that Perry delivered the address while still a private citizen is sufficient grounds to absolve him from the various criticisms.
Origin of Article: New York Times
A Soldier's Opinion of Negro Suffrage
(Column 6)
Summary: The Union soldier's letter contains his views regarding the issue of suffrage--"the highest, most important of all our political rights." In the communication, he rails against the prospect of giving blacks the vote since they, "in their present state of degradation," are incapable of exercising the franchise properly.
Origin of Article: Connecticut
Editorial Comment: "A gentleman of Bridgeport, Ct., received a letter a few days since, from a soldier in the army, in which is the following passage:"
Full Text of Article:

"I see by the papers sent me, that there is much talk about giveing negroes the right to vote. It is all d--d nonsense. To know the negro, you ought to see them as we see them here. Of all human kind, they are the most debased and worst. They are but little above the brute creation--cattle in human form. The right of suffrage is the highest, most important of all our political rights. To give these beings this right, in their present state of degradation, would be damnable; to those who have been brought in contact with them as we have, the thought is sickening. In their present condition of freedom, they are wrose than when under the direction and control of their masters. They do not know enough to know what freedom is. All construe it to mean freedom to live in idleness--freedom to 'lie around loose,'--to roll in the dirt--to bask in the sun--to wallow in their own filth--to steal whatever comes within their reach, if they can do it and not be seen. To place such creatures on a level with the electoral class, is lowering the Republican form of Government to a degree that must make it the laughing stock of the whole world. God save us from such madness.

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Whither We Are Drifting
(Column 1)
Summary: With the conflict over, the article calls for the resumption of civil rule throughout the country, including the South. It asserts that there is no reason for the region to remain under military authority, nor, it continues, should any stipulations be placed upon those states formerly in rebellion before they can be fully readmitted into the Union. President Johnson has the power to reverse the current course and return the country to its commitment to states' rights, but should he fail to do so, the Spirit forewarns, the country will face a crisis of immense magnitude.
Tricks of the Radicals
(Column 2)
Summary: Having been "outflanked" by President Johnson over Reconstruction, the Radicals have embarked on a desperate plan to portray Southerners as unwilling to abide by the terms established for them to return to the Union. The article contends that the Radicals hope "to induce the President to believe these fabrications" so that he will abandon his current position and take a more hardline approach, adopting the Radicals' view toward black suffrage.
Full Text of Article:

The radicals having been completely "flanked" by President Johnson's reconstruction policy are now endeavoring to force the President to abandon his position by the circulation of the most absurd falsehoods. The plan is to systematically libel the Southern people by originating stories of great dissatisfaction among them and unwilling on their part to submit to the conditions laid down by the President. They hope by this means to retard the work of pacification and reorganization in the South until they can perfect their plans to force negro suffrage upon the people of the Southern States as a condition of the return to their Union. If they can induce the President to believe these fabrications they imagine he will abandon his present position and adopt the radical view of the case. Even "conservative" Republicans, who but a few weeks ago were loud in their praise of the President's policy of restoration, are now heard to say that "the South will compel the President to hold them as conquered provinces," when they well know it is the Northern radicals that are attempting to do the "compelling." This transparent trick will fail if President Johnson is made of the stuff we think he is.

A recent canard of this sort was telegraphed from Raleigh, N.C., all over the country, to the effect that the "native element" of that State were openly threatening to hang Union men and negroes, as soon as the troops are withdrawn. Governor Holden disposes of this lie in the following card to certain North Carolinians in New York:


To Kemp P. Battle and J. M. Heek, St. Nicholas Hotel, New York.

GENTLEMEN: In reply to your dispatch I have to state that the great body of the people of this State are loyal and submissive to national authority; that I do not apprehend that Union men will be hanged or punished; that, if all the troops should be withdrawn, and we should not have an efficient local police-guard, there might and probably would, be disturbances in some localities, but, upon the whole, there is no ground for apprehending that emigrants will involve themselves in civil strife by coming to North Carolina. Let them come with confidence in the future. Our people generally will be glad to see them.

Very respectfully


Provost Marshal Shot
(Column 3)
Summary: The article, from the Bedford Gazette, corrects the Associated Press' report on the murder of John Crouse, the deputy provost marshal of Bedford county, by John P. Reed. Reed had recently returned from Canada where he had studied law during the war. The article emphasizes that Reed did not go to Toronto to avoid conscription; rather, he was drafted long after he had become a student. Also involved in the altercation was Reed's brother, Mengel, who, the news service alleged, served in the Confederate army. The two are now in custody.
Origin of Article: Associated Press; Bedford Gazette
Full Text of Article:

BEDFORD, Pa. Aug. 1.
Jacob Crouse, late duputy provost martial of Bedford County, was shot dead in the street to-day by John P. Reed, a lately returned Canadian refugee. His brother, Mengel Reed, who has been in the rebel army, was also engaged in the affray. They have been arrested and lodged in jail. --Great excitement prevails in consequence of the affair.

The above is a telegram to the Associated Press. It is due to truth to say that John P. Reed, Jr., was not a Canadian refugee. He went to Toronto to study law, and for no other purpose. When he went there he was a free man. Neither the Government nor any private individual had made any claims upon him from which he found it necessary to flee; and when drafted, long after he became a student at Toronto, he put in a substitute and received an honorable discharge from Capt. Eyster. His brother Mengel was captured at McConnellsburg, by the rebels, and re-captured by the Union troops near Gettysburg a few days after. --Neither of them were arrested, but placed themselves in the hands of the Sheriff. --This is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Bedford Gazette
(Column 2)
Summary: George H. Mengel, a former publisher and proprietor of the Spirit is parting company with his co-owner, B. F. Meyers, Esq., to take command of the Bedford Gazette.
(Names in announcement: George H. Mengel, B. F. MeyersEsq.)
Full Text of Article:

Mr. George H. Mengel, a former publisher and proprietor of the SPIRIT, has associated himself with B. F. Meyers, Esq., in the ownership and management of this able Democratic journal. We are sorry to lose Mengel, as our right hand man in the SPIRIT office, but can't see how we can help it. --We have less regret, however, in the matter, knowing that the gallant Democracy of Bedford will be the gainers in soon having their favorite paper so improved typographically, as to vie with any in the State. Editorially it don't seem to require much improvement.

New York World
(Column Bloodhounds of Zion)
Summary: Maligns radical northern ministers who continue to speak out against the South, preaching violence and zealotry.
Full Text of Article:

There is a large class of preachers whose violence toward the South, now being vented in the churches on Sundays, looks and sounds ridiculous by contrast with the changed temper and revival of old regards at the North. Such hot-headed zealots are the exponents of the worst passions of every civil crisis, and kindle while they share a violence and a ferocity of temper to which the laity can rarely attain, since most of the laity are less likely than such members of the clergy to mistake their irregular passions for divinely inflamed ardors. While the ministers of the gospel have sought to sooth the exasperations and molify the hates generated by sectional strife and a bloody war; while from one end of the vast theater of our war to the other, for four long years, they have comforted the afflicted, consoled the dying, and borne beside them both, to the borders of the grave, the only lamp whose rays penetrate and illumine the darkness beyond, these other fitly-dubbed "bloodhounds of Zion" have been galloping to and fro crying for more slaughter, and exasperating the measured hotility of armed combatants in to malignant hatreds, fit only for devils. --This is not strange. In the civil wars of England, as of any other land, such preachers have been the exponent of the worst passions any where kindled among the people; but oddity and the ludicrousness of the thing to be remarked among these creatures just now is, that their brains are boiling while those of their followers are becoming cool, and like those thermometers whose indexes register the maximum of temperature and do not follow the mercury down the tube, they still fancy themselves in the lead of affairs which in fact have stranded them high and dry, and they gesticulate as wildly, and scream for their glut of blood as fiercely as ever they did when men believed and obeyed them. AS CATO, no matter what his theme, would finish off his speech saying: "and it is only my opinion that Cathage must be destroyed." so these pestilent fellows finish off their prayers to Heaven for mercy and forgiveness to themselves with a due distribution of Divine vengeance on the unforgiven South, and conclude a sermon on a Saviour's love with an exhibition of their own capacity to hate--"being also of the opinion that negroes should vote and copperheads be damned."

Whereas there is now hardly one political journal at the North which deems public necessities to demand a liberal use of the gallows, there is a "religious" journal at Buffalo, edited, doubtless, by some noodle who knows as little of the difficult science of politics as many politicians know of the mystery of godliness, which cries out for "hanging the fiends." A reverend brawler by the name of J.D. FULTON, whose mental constitution would seem to be such that, whatever the degree of his own piety, he can propagate nothing but superstition in one sex and infidelity in the other, tells his hearers to "wait a few years if you want to see men damned in this world, and you will behold these chivalric southrons meeting with their deserts." Really, now, is it a mundane St. Paul we have among us? "Slavery has gone out of the South and CHRIST is going in." Or, after all, is it a John the Forerunner who speaks: "Up North we had made up our minds about the southern confederacy, and we thought it just as bad as hell, so that when we didn't want to say hell we said southern confederacy." Is this ribald tongue sacred, then, or is its looseness more shocking and shameless than the most outrageous profanity of a drunken Fulton Market fisherman?

In the face of exhibitions like these it would seem as if the press could not suffer any scruples to hinder it from unfrocking all these pulpiteers whom ignorance drives to teaching politics, and irreverence to making game of the gospel and of Almighty God. It can serve no ill purpose to tell the people just what these ribaldry-mongers are. They are false to their commissions. They teach not religion, but irreligion; not piety, but infidelity; not even politics, but intolerance; and in young hearts they make a stony sterility, where neither faith nor good works can take root. It is these ordained mountebanks who think to save souls by telling their congregations that, "although lamb in the butchers' shops is worth nine cents a pound, they may all have the Lamb of GOD for nothing:" who are so forward to instruct the American people how to restore good government, compose a disordered state, adjust the balances of political power, and how to harness the social and industrial forces which are impelling these states along the track of their mighty career. On themes like these, for which they have neither faculties nor training, they may, nevertheless, continue their effrontery of discoursing as teachers; but their cloth cannot long protect them from being stripped and lashed for their ignorance and impudence, just as other men always are who make a similar exhibition; and if the result shall be that the stripping and the lashing exposes not only their incompetency in temporal things, but shall happen also to lay bare their spiritual nakedness, so much the better for all except those who say "pious" with closed nostrils.

The Work of Restoration
(Column 4)
Summary: The article applauds the efforts at national reconciliation now underway, but warns that more needs to be done. In addition to improving mail service between the sections and opening waterways and ports to business, the federal government needs to return to civil law if the country hopes to resume its "normal condition of affairs."
Origin of Article: Holidaysburg Standard

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Local and Personal--Sad Tragedy
(Column 1)
Summary: Recounts the stormy circumstances leading to Jacob Crouse's death at the hands of J. P. Reed, Jr.
(Names in announcement: J. P. ReedJr., Mengel Reed, Schell W. Reed, Jacob Reed, Jacob Crouse)
Origin of Article: Bedford Gazette
Full Text of Article:

On Tuesday morning last, our usually quiet town was thrown into a state of intense excitement, by the shooting of Jacod Crouse by J.P. Reed, Jr., both of this place. We will try to narrate the circumstances under which this unfortunate affray took place, as accurately as we can gather them from those who were witnesses of the occurrence. --Mengel Reed, a student of medicine in Philadelphia, and a brother of J.P. Reed, Jr., has been staying at his father's house for some days on a visit. Whilst Mengel was sitting in front of his father's house and frequently when walking with ladies on the street, Crouse would call him "rebel," "traitor," and accost him in this wise, "How are you, Reb?" This was borne silently by Mengel until Saturday, when sitting in front of his father's office, Crouse, passing him, said, "How are you, Johny?" Mengel replied that he would cane him, if he would continue to insult him. J.P. Reed, Jr., hearing the altercation between them and asked what was the matter, Mengel replied, "This creature has insulted me again." J.P. asked Crouse, "Did you?" The latter replied "Yes, I did!" and came menacingly toward J.P., who struck him and knocked him down. Crouse, being a powerful man, rallied, when he was again knocked down by Reed. At this juncture, the peace officers interfered and the parties were separated. On Saturday night, as Schell W. Reed, a brother of Mengel and J.P. Reed, Jr., was going from his uncle Jacob Reed's house towards his father's, Crouse leaped upon him, struck him to the ground and was beating him terribly, when J.P. Reed, Jr., came to the rescue and knocked Crouse down several times. At this crisis a large crowd had gathered in the street, and for a few minutes there seemed to be imminent danger of a riot. Through the exertions, however, of the constables and Capt. Adams, of the 187th, order was restored. Thus matters stood until Tuesday morning, when J.P. Reed, Jr., and Jacob Crouse met on the street. Crouse said something to Reed, and the latter told him he wanted to have nothing more to do with him, at the same time turning to walk away. As Reed turned, Crouse struck him with a stone nearly felling him, and was in the act of striking him with another stone, when Reed fired upon him, killing him almost instantly. This is a sad, sad affair, and we hope may be the last of the kind it shall ever be our painful duty to record. Mr. Reed gave himself up to the authorities and was placed in the county prison. We hope our readers will not make up, or express, any opinion in regard to this case, in view of the fact that some of them may be called to sit upon it as jurors. Reserve your opinions until you hear the testimony in court.

P.S. An effort has been made by the counsel for the prosecution, to prove a conspiracy for the killing of Couse, which has utterly failed. No one was committed except the three Reed boys. The physician of J.P. Reed, Jr., says he is hurt badly by the blow received from the stone in Crouse's hands, and that if he had been struck a few inches higher he would have been killed.

Local and Personal--Deceased Prisoners
(Column 1)
Summary: The Spirit announces that it has received a copy of a pamphlet listing the Pennsylvania soldiers who died at the Military Prison at Andersonville, Georgia, between February 26, 1864 and March 24, 1865. The twenty-four page work contains close to 1,800 names.
Local and Personal--Grand Pic-Nic
(Column 1)
Summary: The Chambersburg Cornet Band is holding a picnic on August 16th, at Brown's Mill.
News Items
(Column 2)
Summary: The New Orleans Picayune reports that "on account of the demoralization" of black labor, white southerners have "vigorously and industriously taken hold of the work themselves and are producing some of the best crops now growing."
Origin of Article: New Orleans Picayune
[No Title]
(Column 2)
Summary: According to the Louisville Democrat, over 60,000 former slaves have crossed the Ohio River, under the authority of Gen. Palmer, since the first of May. At this rate, the journal declares, all of Kentucky's black population will "pass away" in less than one year.
Origin of Article: Louisville Democrat
Rebel Loss in the War
(Column 3)
Summary: Using calculations issued by Governor Parsons, of Alabama, who estimated that 70,000 out of the 120,000 men from his state who served in the Confederacy had been killed or disabled, the Cincinnati Gazette speculates on the total losses suffered by each of the rebel states.
Origin of Article: Cincinnati Gazette
Full Text of Article:

Governor Parsons, in his proclamation to the people of Alabama, prelimnary to reorganization in that State; estimates that 120,000 men of that State went upon the battle-field of whom 70,000 are dead or disabled. If we apply the same ratio of enlistments in the other States that held out during the war, and make an approximation of the numbers sent out from the remainder of the slave States we shall have the following interesting table as calculated by the Cincinnatti Gazette:

States Enlistments Dead and Disabled Alabama, 120,000 70,000 Arkansas, say, 50,000 30,000 Florida, 17,000 10,000 Georgia, 131,000 76,000 Kentucky, say, 50,000 30,000 Louisiana, say, 60,000 34,000 Mississippi, 78,000 45,000 Missouri, say, 40,000 24,000 Maryland, say, 40,000 24,000 North Carolina, 140,000 85,000 South Carolina, 65,000 40,000 Tennessee, say, 60,000 34,000 Texas, say, 93,000 53,000 Virginia, say, 180,000 105,000 Total 1,124,000 600,000

If all the men who were once got into the rebel army were retained during the war or during their ability to serve, there were according to this calculation, 464,000 men in the rebel service at the close of the war. --But if allowances be made for desertion, &c., and for the sick in the hospitals who have recovered and are not counted by Governor Parsons among the diabled, we shall find this number of 494,000 diminshedto something like the actual number that either surrendered to our forces or scattered to their homes immediately after the fall of Richmond. It seems, therefore, from this verification of the solution of the problem that Governor Parsons was not far from the truth.

(Column 5)
Summary: On July 29th, John Hawbecker, son of Jacob Mentzer, died at age 2.
(Names in announcement: John Hawbecker Mentzer, Jacob Mentzer)
(Column 5)
Summary: On August 2nd, George B. Price, 33, died in Waynesboro.
(Names in announcement: George B. Price)
(Column 5)
Summary: On July 17th, James McCush, 73, died in Quincy township.
(Names in announcement: James McCush)
(Column 5)
Summary: On August 1st, Henry Blenttinger, 80, died near Fayetteville.
(Names in announcement: Henry Blettinger)

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