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Valley of the Shadow

Valley Spirit: July 25, 1866

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-Page 01-

The President's Veto
(Column 4)
Summary: Contains a copy of the President's message to Congress, vetoing the Freedmen's Bill.
Full Text of Article:


The following is the veto message of the President, communicated to the House today:

To the House of Representatives:

A careful examination of the bill passed by the two Houses of Congress entitled "An act to continue in force and to amend an act to establish a bureau for the relief of the freedmen and refugees and for other purposes," has convinced me that the legislation which it proposes would not be consistent with the welfare of the country, and that it is clearly within the reasons assigned in my message of the 19th of February last, returning without my signature, a similar measure which originated in the Senate.

It is not my purpose to repeat the objections which I then urged. They are yet fresh in your recollection, and can be readily examined as a part of the records of one branch of the national legislature. Adhering to the principles set forth in that message, I now re-affirm them and the line of policy therein indicated. The only ground upon which this kind of legislation can be justified is that of the war making power. The act of which this bill is intended as amendatory was passed during the existence of the war. By its own provisions it is to terminate within one year from the cessation of hostilities and the declaration of peace. It is, therefore, yet in existence, and it is likely that it will continue in force as long as the freedmen may require benefit of its provisions. It will certainly remain in operation as a law until some months subsequent to the meeting of the next session of Congress, when, if experience shall make evident the necessity of additional legislation, the two Houses will have ample time to mature and pass the requisite measures. In the meantime the questions arise, why should this war be measure continued beyond the period designated in the original act? And why in time of peace, should military tribunals be created to continue until each "State shall be fully restored in its constitutional relations to the government, and shall be duly represented in the Congress of the United States?"

It was manifest, with respect to the act approved March 3, 1865, that prudence and wisdom alike required that jurisdiction over all cases concerning the free enjoyment of the immunities and rights of citizenship, as well as the protection of persons and property, should be conferred upon some tribunal in every State or district where the ordinary course of judicial proceedings was interrupted by the rebellion, at that time therefore, an urgent necessity existed for the passage of some such law.

Now, however, war has substantially ceased; the ordinary course of judicial proceedings is no longer interrupted; the courts both State and Federal are in full, complete and successful operation, and through them every person, regardless of race and color, is entitled to and can be heard. The protection granted to the white citizen is already conferred by law upon the freedman. Strong and stringent guards, by way of penalties and punishments, are thrown around his person and property, and it is believed that ample protection will be afforded him by due process of law, without resort to the dangerous expedient of "military tribunals," now that the war has been brought to a close.

The necessity no longer existing for such tribunals, which had their origin in the war, grave objections to their continuance must present themselves to the minds of all reflecting the dispassionate men. Independently of the danger in representative republicanism of conferring upon the military in time of peace extraordinary powers, so carefully guarded against by the patriots and statesmen of the earlier days of the republic, so frequently the ruin of governments founded upon the same free principles, and subversive of the rights and liberties of the citizens, the question of practical economy earnestly commends itself to the consideration of the law-making power. With an immense debt already burdening the incomes of the industrial and laboring classes, so inseparable connected with the welfare of the country, should prompt us to rigid economy and retrenchment, and influence us to abstain from all legislation that would unnecessarily increase the public indebtedness.

Tested by this rule of sound political wisdom, I can see no reason for the establishment of the "military jurisdiction" conferred upon the officials of the Bureau by the fourteenth section of the bill. By the laws of the United States, and of the different States, competent courts, Federal and State, have been established, and are now in full practical operation. By means of these civil tribunals, ample redress is afforded for all private wrongs, whether to the person or the property of the citizen, without denial or unnecessary delay. They are open to all, without regard to color or race. I feel well assured that it will be better to trust the rights, privileges and immunities of the citizen to tribunals thus established and presided over by competent and impartial judges, bound by fixed rules of law and evidence, and where the right of trial by jury is guaranteed and secured, than to the caprice or judgement of an officer of the bureau, who, it is possible, may be entirely ignorant of the principles that underlie the just administration of the law.--There is danger, too, that conflict of jurisdiction will frequently arise between the civil courts and those military tribunals, each having concurrent jurisdiction over the person and the cause of action; the one judicature administered and controlled by civil law, the other my military. How is the convict to be settled, and who is to determine between the two tribunals when it arises? In my opinion, it is wise to guard against such conflict by leaving to the courts and juries the protection of all civil grievances.

The fact cannot be denied that alone the actual cessation of hostilities many acts of violence, such, perhaps, as had never been witnessed in their previous history, have occurred in the States involved in the recent rebellion. I believe, however, that public sentiment will sustain me in the assertion that such deeds of wrong are not confined to any particular State or section, but are manifested over the entire country, demonstrating that the cause that produced them does not depend upon any particular locality, but is the result of the agitation or derangement incident to a long and bloody civil war. While the prevalence of such disorders must be greatly deplored, their occasional and temporary occurrence would seem to furnish no necessity for the extension of the Bureau beyond the period fixed in the original act.

Besides the objections which I have thus briefly stated, I may urge upon your consideration the additional reason that recent developements in regard to the practical operations of the Bureau in many of the States show that in numerous instances it is used by its agents as a means of promoting their individuals advantage, and that the freedmen are employed for the advancement of the personal ends of the officers instead of their own improvement and welfare, thus confirming the fears originally entertained by many that the continuation of such a bureau for any unnecessary length of time would inevitably result in fraud, corruption and oppression. It is proper to state that in cases of this character investigations have been promptly ordered and the offender punished, whenever his guilt has been satisfactorily established.

As annother reason against the necessity of the legislation contemplated by this measure, reference may be had to the Civil Rights Bill, no a law of the land, and as it shall remain unrepealed and may not be declared unconstitutional by courts of competent jurisdiction. By that act it is enacted "that all persons born in the United States and not subject to any foreign power, excluding Indians not taxed, are hereby declared to be citizens of every race and color, without regard to any previous condition of slavery and involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall have the same right in every State and Territory in the United States, to make and enforce contracts, to sue the parties and give evidence, to inherit, purchase, lease, sell, hold and convey real and personal property, and to full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings for the security of persons and property as is enjoyed by white citizens, and shall be subject to like punishment, pains and penalties, and to none other; any law, statute, ordinance, regulation or custom to the contrary notwithstanding."

By the provisions of the act full protection is afforded, through the District Courts of the United States, to all persons injured, and whose privileges, as thus declared, are in any way impaired, and heavy penalties are denounced against the person who willfully violates the law. I need not state that that law did not not receive my approval, yet its remedies are far more preferable than those proposed in the present bill, the one being civil and the other military.

By the sixth section of the bill herewith returned certain proceedings, by which the lands in the "parishes of St. Helena and St. Luke, South Carolina," were sold and bid in, and afterwards disposed of by the Tax Commissioners, are ratified and confirmed. By the seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth and eleventh sections, provisions, by law, are made for the disposal of the lands thus acquired to a particular class of citizens, while the quieting of the titles is deemed very important and desirable, the discrimination made in the bill seems objectionable, as does also the attempt to confer upon the commissioners judicial powers, by which citizens of the United States are to be deprived of their property in a mode contrary to that provision of the Constitution which declares that no person "shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." As a general principle, such legislation is unsafe, unwise, partial, and unconstitutional. It may deprive persons of their property who are equally deserving objects of the nation's bounty as those whom, by this legislation, Congress seeks to benefit.

The title to the land thus to be portioned out to a favored class of citizens must depend upon the regularity of the tax sales under the law as it existed at the time of the sale, and no subsequent legislation can give validity to the rights thus acquired as against the original claimants. The attention of Congress is therefore invited to a more mature consideration of the measures proposed in these sections of the bill.

In conclusion, I again urge upon Congress the danger of class legislation, so well calculated to keep the public mind in a state of uncertain expectation, disquiet and restlessness, and to encourage interested hopes and fears that the national government will continue to furnish to classes of citizens in the several States means for support and maintenance, regardless of whether they pursue a life of indolence or labor, and regardless, also, of the constitutional limitations of the national authority in times of peace and tranquility.

The bill is herewith returned to the House of Representatives, in which it originated for its final action.


Washington, D. C., July 16, 1866

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The Radical Plot For Another Civil War
(Column 1)
Summary: As the battle intensifies between Congress and the President, asserts the article, the Radicals are becoming increasingly militant in their beliefs, having "avowed their determination to resort to force, if necessary, to carry out their infamous schemes."
Full Text of Article:

Hon. Henry J. Raymond, editor of the New York Times], Chairman of the National Executive Committee of the Republican party, and member of the National House of Representatives, has startled the country by his exposure of the doings of their late secret caucus of the radical member of Congress. According to Mr. Raymond's report of the caucus proceedings, leading radicals there avowed their determination to resort to force, if necessary, to carry out their infamous schemes. Mr. Boutwell of Massachusetts, is reported on having said: "The battle has already begun, and if resistance was not much, the President would take possession of the Capitol. Any such attempt must and would be resisted by force."

Senator Lane, of Indiana, followed in a very excited speech demanding the enactment of stringent laws to restrain and curtail the power of the President--saying "he was ready to sit all summer, if necessary, at the point of the bayonet; that if a victim was wanted, he was ready; and declaring that a million of soldiers would flock to the capital to sustain Congress against the tyranny of the President."

This, says the Age, is very strong language, and not for "Buncombe," for this was thought to be a secret meeting. Another thing, as part of the chain of evidence of an ultimate aim of violence is to be remarked. Who in it that is talked of for President of the Senate--the possible successor of Andrew Johnson, during the eventful [UNCLEAR]? Not, Mr. Sherman, or Judje Harris, or Senator Morgan, or Mr. Anthony, or Mr. Femendon recess, or any relatively modern man, but the most reckless, ruthless, and unscrupulous Radical who has ever yet spring from the seething, fomenting, compost heap of abolition, Benjamin F. Wade, of Ohio, the boldest revolutionist of them all. If this choice be consummated, we shall regard it as the worst and most alarming symptom yet developed. Woe indeed to the country, its peace, its honor, its integrity, if is this even the head of God, in the form of the unlooked for disease, or the hand of the assassin, and the breed is not extinct, should remove the only man who now checks the course of mischief.

But does he stand alone? Will he be sustained? In other words and speaking more impersonally, what conservative elements may be relied on to resist or defeat the coming storm? Let us look for them intelligently and measure them exactly.--There is one element of this sort which would soon arouse itself and make it all felt. We mean the capital of the country--that which is more or less represented by or represents the public debt. If there be any class of men who ought to pray for social repose, it is the creditors of the nation--They know that the bonds they hold are constituents of a vast , aggregation of debt, as part of which is more sacred than another, and the whole of which presses with equal weight on the taxed industry of the country, and which that industry is barely capable of sustaining. But they also know that it is not more able to sustain it, and that any new disturbance, any deflection of this industry to profitless pursuits, any revolution, or serious threat, or appearance of revolution, would put the whole fabric in peril. Ought not the public creditor, night and morning on bended knee, to pray that those unseemly cabals should come, these ominous threats be silenced? Do not his instincts and his interest, too, teach him his duty to stand by the constitutional Chief Magistrate, him whom Br. Binney, in one of his high prerogative essays, if we mistake not, called "the government in action." Abraham Lincoln never needed more support from the property of the country than does Andrew Johnson now. We wish our voice of warning could reach (and just now it certainly does not) the nank parlors, and saving funds, and insurance offices, of the commuty, and they might be roused to a sense of danger ere it be too late.

Now are capitalists the only natural allies of the friends of continued and complete peace? Has the farmer, or laborer, or artisan, we mean those who labor always, anything to gain from new Revolution, and that a wanton one? Are the memories of the last war entirely dim? Are taxes so light that they should be increased? Are the thoughts of the distant dead faded away that bloody strife among neighbors is to be desired? These are the questions we can but briefly ask. Their answer is very obvious.

On our compact and harmonious organization the opponents of the new Revolution can faithfully rely--the great Democratic party North and South. It is pledged to the Constitution and it will fight for the Constitution. As to that there can be no mistake, and in the event of the new conflict now so ominously threatened, but which we pray Providence to avert, we may live to see the day when Radicalism, driven into a congenial corner of the land, may fall on its knee and beg for mercy.

In the meantime, to be forewarned is to be forearmed. We thank Mr. Raymond for his warning.

The National Convention
(Column 2)
Summary: Announces that the National Union Committee will hold a convention in Philadelphia on August 14th.
Origin of Article: Bradford Argus
The Soldiers' Convention
(Column 3)
Summary: With the Soldiers' Convention only weeks away, the piece notes that the veterans from Franklin have yet to select delegates to represent the county at the meeting.
Full Text of Article:

We desire to call the attention of the Democratic and conservative soldiers of Franklin county to the Soldiers' State Convention to be held in Harrisburg on the first of August, the call for which we published two weeks ago. It is important that the patriotic soldiers of our country, who fought of the Union and the Constitution should be well represented in that convention.-- Owing to the shortness of the time and the busy season, a county convention for the election of delegates has not been called, but we are glad to learn that it is the intention of a large number of our returned veterans to be present at the Harrisburg convention in person. This is right. Let there be a general turnout of the 'boys in blue," showing by their presence that they mean to maintain by the ballot that the Union and the Constitution for which they fought in the field.

It is but a few hours ride to Harrisburg, and we have no doubt the Cumberland Valley Railroad Company will cheerfully issue excursion tickets to all soldiers who desire to attend this convention, so that the expense will be merely nominal. Let a few of the leading spirits among our brave boys take this matter in hand, and make the necessary arrangements to have a large delegation of Franklin county boys at Harrisburg on the first of August. It will do them good and the country good. We should send a delegation of at least fifty.--It can easily be done. Let the necessary preliminary steps be taken at once.

The New Postmaster General
(Column 4)
Summary: In the wake of Dennison's resignation as the head of postal service, reports the article, Alexander William Randall has been nominated as his successor.
(Column 6)
Summary: Includes an account of the Democratic "monster mass meeting" held in Reading where speeches were given by gubernatorial nominee Hiester Clymer and several other prominent party members.

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Local and Personal--Stealing Fruit--Caution
(Column 1)
Summary: With the berries beginning to ripen on the trees and bushes in the area, the article reminds readers about legislation recently passed, which makes the theft of fruit a serious infraction.
Local and Personal--Death of an Old Citizen
(Column 2)
Summary: John Noel, one of the county's oldest citizens, died on July 19th, in Hagerstown at the home of his son-in-law.
(Names in announcement: John Noel)
(Column 4)
Summary: On July 18th, Alice Bell, daughter of Mary and George Palmer, died. Alice Bell was 6 months old.
(Names in announcement: Alice Bell Palmer, Mary Palmer, George Palmer)
(Column 4)
Summary: On July 19th, John Noel, 76, died at his son-in-law's residence in Harrisburg.
(Names in announcement: John Noel)
(Column 4)
Summary: On July 14th, Alexander McClelland, 87, died in Mercersburg.
(Names in announcement: Alexander McClelland)
(Column 4)
Summary: On July 18th, Mary Edmundson, 73, died.
(Names in announcement: Mary Edmundson)
(Column 4)
Summary: On July 17th, George Shatzer, 2, died near Waynesboro.
(Names in announcement: George Shatzer)
(Column 4)
Summary: On July 14th, John M. Kriner died near Waynesboro. John was 3 months old.
(Names in announcement: John M. Kriner)

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