Search the
Browse Newspapers
by Date
Articles Indexed
by Topic
About the
Valley of the Shadow

Valley Spirit: December 26, 1866

Go To Page : 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |

-Page 01-

-Page 02-

The Democratic Party Vindicated
(Column 1)
Summary: In the wake of the Supreme Court's decision in the "Indiana Conspiracy case," it has become clear, says the Spirit's editor, that the Democrats were justified in their opposition to the use of military commissions to try civilians.
Full Text of Article:

The great issue between the Democratic and Republican parties during the war, related to the power assumed by the general government to arrest civilians "without due process of law," and try them before illegal military commissions. The Democratic party, earnestly protested against this assumption on the part of a Republican administration, as a flagrant infraction of one of the plainest provisions of the Constitutions, destructive of the personal rights of the citizens as guaranteed by that sacred instrument, dangerous to public liberty and tending directly to over throw of our free institutions. This was the main issue between the two parties during the war. The Republican party threw aside the Constitution as a thing [UNCLEAR] for the emergencies of civil war, and proceeded to assume all sorts of unwarranted and extraordinary powers, being governed solely by what they chose to call "military necessity." Under the [UNCLEAR] of "necessity" persons were arrested all over the loyal States upon vague suspicion that they were in sympathy with the rebellion, or upon the false information of spies and pimps of the administration, without having afforded them an opportunity disproving the charges preferred against them, or even of knowing what the charges were; or else they were taken before an illegal Military Commission, "organized to convict," and either hung or sent to the Dry Tortugas to undergo an imprisonment at hard labor during the continuance of the war.--It is needless to cite instances of proof of what we allege. The facts are too well known to the country.

Against these gross outrages and usurpations the Democratic party solemnly protested. They contended that the Constitution was the supreme law of the land; that it was intended by its authors to meet every emergency of war as well as peace, and that any departure from its teachings or violation of its requirements by those sworn to "protect and defend" it, was usurpation.--For its defence of the Constitution and the liberties of the people under it, the Democratic party was everywhere denounced as disloyal, and in sympathy with treason.--absurd and paradoxical as the proposition is, to defend the Constitution was to defend treason in the eyes of the party in power.--So far did the bold usurpers at Washington lead the people astray that the Democratic party really became odious on account of its heroic defence of the great chart of human freedom. It was worth a man's liberty, not to say his life, to speak out boldly in defence of the chartered rights of American citizens. The citizens of our own community have not yet forgotten the time when a certain "A. S. Ashmead, Lieutenant and Provost Marshal" ruled the town of Chambersburg and vicinity with despotic sway, enforcing his illegal orders with bayonets in the hands of a "Provost Guard" composed of Baltimore plug nglies. All must remember how he picked up peaceable and unoffending citizens on our streets, and sent them off under guard on the first train to his master at Baltimore, the redoubtable Gen. Schneck, to undergo a mock trial before a "Military Commission," and to be sent across the lines or suffer some other infamous and illegal punishment. And when we ventured in these columns to protest against those outrages on the personal rights and liberty of our citizens, we were waited upon by this military [UNCLEAR] , with all the pomp of an eastern Bashaw, and notified that, unless we refrained from criticizing his conduct and actions in the future, we likewise would be arrested and have assigned to us a quarters in Fort McHnery. Thus were the personal rights of the citizen violated with impunity during the reign of "military necessity" and "military commissions." We have referred to transactions which took place in our midst because our people are familiar with the facts. Other and still greater outrages were committed in other sections of the country, in the name of "military necessity." The blood of hundreds of american citizens who were murdered by these illegal commissions cries aloud from the grave for vengeance against the usurpers at Washington under whose authority these things were done.

But, notwithstanding the odium which attached to the Democratic party for its noble defence of the rights of the people, during the perilous times through which we have passed, the day of its vindication has at last come. the highest judicial tribunal of the country--the Supreme Court of the United States--has just rendered a decision affirming, in the most positive terms, the position of the Democratic party on the right of military commissions to try civilians. The Supreme Court declare all such trials to be illegal and unconstitutional. the case in which the decision is given, is known to the country as the "Indiana Conspiracy Case." Several citizens of the State of Indiana were arrested by the military authorities in 1864, for conspiracy, tried before a military commission and sentenced to be hung. Before the day fixed for their execution, their sentence was commuted by President Johnson to imprisonment for life. The case was then brought before the United States Circuit Court for Indiana, on a writ of habeas corpus, for the discharge of the prisoners. The two Circuit Judges being divided in opinion, the case was certified to the Supreme Court, where the final decision was rendered as above referred to.

The opinion of the Court refers to the importance of observing the constitutional guarantees for the protection of the citizen in his person and property, and declares that the "experience of our past history shows the wisdom of the framers of the Constitution, in constructing it to be alike efficient in war as in peace." The learned Judge who delivered the opinion then continues: "The powers of the Constitution should bot be strained to suit emergencies, for on its maintenance in all its integrity, depend our liberties and fee government, not only in the present, but for all time to come."

What Democrat does not feel an honest pride in being a member of that glorious old time-honored party, whose position on a fundamental question of constitutional government is thus judicially endorsed by the highest Court in the land? What better vindication could it ask? and what higher monument to its patriotism and fidelity to law?

Attacking The Supreme Court
(Column 2)
Summary: Denounces the Washington Chronicle, a Republican journal, for running an article that rebukes the Supreme Court for its judgement in the Indiana Conspiracy case.
Origin of Article: Washington Chronicle
Editorial Comment: "Forney's Washington Chronicle has the following bold attack on the late decision of the Supreme Court in the "Indiana Conspiracy case:"
Full Text of Article:

It can scarcely fail to shock the sensibilities and provoke the severe rebuke of loyal men everywhere. The exultation of Intelligencer over it will awaken a jubilance echo throughout rebeldom, and the hearts of traitors will be made glad by the announcement that treason, vanquished upon the battle-field, and hunted from every other retreat, has at last found a secure shelter in the bosom of the Supreme Court.

The military commission thus denounced as usurpation has existed as a legitimate instrumentality, in the hands of the war-making power, from the foundation of the government: It has again and again been recognized by Congress composed of the greatest statesmen, jurists and patriots of the nation, and has been constantly employed by all our most illustrious generals as a potent agency for the suppression of the rebellion. President Lincoln, himself an able lawyer, and, as a Chief Magistrate, most careful of human life, confirmed and executed the death sentences of this tribunal in numberless cases. Yet we are now told that all this array of learning and patriotism, and experience and loyalty, which has given unhesitating support to the military commission is to be held for naught in the presence of a single voice of the Supreme Court. The bravest, truest and wisest men of the land, who have used this tribunal in defense of the national life, are thus branded as felons and we are now told that the real criminals of the war were not the traitors, spies, guerillas, and assassins tried, but the patriots who tried them. This extraordinary decision will doubtless receive the attention of Congress at an early day.

"This extraordinary decision will doubtless receive the attention of Congress at an early day!" Was such a sentiment ever uttered before in this land of constitutional government? Just think of Congress sitting in judgement on the decisions of the Supreme Court! Is there any further evidence needed to prove that the radicals intend to revolutionize this government? We think not. If it were not for the serious dangers threatening the permanency of our foe from government through these revolutionary doctrines now being pressed upon the country by the radicals, the absurdity of the above propositions would be really amusing.

The Age, in commenting on the above extract from the Chronicle says: "This attack upon the Supreme Court for acting strictly within its line of sworn duty shows what the anti-constitutional party are prepared to do in order to carry out their plans. All the judges of the court agreed that in the particular case before them the "military commission" was a "usurpation." Chief Justice Chase said that Congress gave no power to try the accused by a 'military commission;" but, on the contrary, he had made express provisions for the adudication of such cases before the civil courts." In this state of facts, a military commission, in open defiance alike of the Constitution and an express statute of Congress, proceeded to try, condemn and order for execution a citizen of Indiana. That was an illegal act, an usurpation of power, and it could not be made either legal or constitutional by the acts of General Hovey, General Hooker, or the late President of the United States, Mr. Lincoln. The Supreme Court of the nation is the final arbiter, and in this case they have rested their decision upon such facts and principles as must command the respect and support of every man in the nation who is not blinded by passion and willing to overthrow all law and order, and leave the dearest rights of American citizens, those affecting their lives and liberties, at the mercy of any political faction that may happen to be in the ascendancy at any particular period in the history of the nation.

The last sentence of the article copied from the Chronicle , which is promulgated in advance in order to give the cue to the Radical press, contains a threat that is full of meaning. "This extraordinary decision will doubtless receive the attention of Congress at an early day," means that congressional action will be evoked to prevent the Supreme Court form championing the Constitution and the rights of citizens under that instrument. If the President defends the States or the people against the usurpations of Congress, he is threatened with impeachment, the "block and the axe," and when the Supreme Court assumes a position on the same broad line of sworn duty, Congress is called upon to review its decisions at an early day. This part of the Radical plot against the union and the rights of citizens under the Constitution, and hence the eagerness and ferocity with which it is defended by the Chronicle, hence the indecent attack made upon the Supreme Court by the allegation that treason has "at last found a secure shelter" in that august tribunal.

The line that separates Radicals from the friends and defenders of a constitutional form of government in this nation is daily becoming more distinctly marked. The Supreme Court, in this case of Milligan, has but affirmed principles recognized as sound, legal and constitutional by lawyers and statement of all parties, and yet for so doing they are denounced and their motives are assailed in a most indefensible manner. This shows the drift of Radical opposition to the continuance of a form of government where life, liberty and property are protected by sure constitutional provisions, and should arouse the attention of freemen to the real designs of this dangerous faction."

Gen. Grant Taught A Lesson In Loyalty
(Column 4)
Summary: The article criticizes the Harrisburg Telegraph for asserting that Gen. Grant is disloyal because he endorsed Gen. Pickett's application for pardon.
Origin of Article: Patriot and Union
Editorial Comment: "The ex-mule contractors, ex-office holders and ex-speculators in the necessities of the government, who write the editorials of the Harrisburg Telegraph, (Geary's home organ--owned by Cameron) have been giving General Ulysses S. Grant a lecture on loyalty and honor. The following appeared as editorial in that sheet on the 9th:"
Trial by Military Commission--Decision by the U. S. Supreme Court
(Column 5)
Summary: Provides a synopsis of the Supreme Court's decision in the Indiana case, which also includes the dissenting opinions of Justices Chase, Wayne, Swayne, and Miller.
A Petition of White Men Presented to Congress
(Column 7)
Summary: Senator Saulsbury, of Delaware, introduced a petition challenging the constitutionality of the Congressional Act that grants black men the vote in the District of Columbia, but denies that same privilege to white immigrants who have not resided in the country for five years.

-Page 03-

Local and Personal--Give Us Railroad Time
(Column 1)
Summary: To make things easier for railroad passengers, the brief piece suggests that the clock in the Court House should be set so that it is in sync with the clock at the depot.
(Column 3)
Summary: On Dec. 18th, Daniel Deardorf and Lizzie J. Hess were married by Rev. B. S. Schneck.
(Names in announcement: Daniel Deardorf, Lizzie J. Hess, Rev. B. S. Schneck)
(Column 3)
Summary: On Dec. 20th, John Y. Miller and Sue E. Hess were married by Rev. B. S. Schneck.
(Names in announcement: John Y. Miller, Sue E. Hess, Rev. B. S. Schneck)
(Column 3)
Summary: On Dec. 18th, Joshua Lane and Mary Neal were married by Rev. S. H. C. Smith.
(Names in announcement: Joshua Lane, Joshua Neal, Rev. S. H. C. Smith)
(Column 3)
Summary: On Dec. 30th, at the residence of Mr. Rhinehart, Godfrey Greenawalt and Carrie Zettle were married by Rev. S. H. C. Smith.
(Names in announcement: Rhinehart, Godfrey Greenawalt, Carrie Zettle, Rev. S. H. C. Smith)
(Column 3)
Summary: On Dec. 19th, at the residence of Mr. Shields, Joseph Sackman and Charlotte M. Rames were married by Rev. J. Keller Miller.
(Names in announcement: Shields, Rev. J. Keller Miller, Joseph Sackman, Charlotte Rames)
(Column 3)
Summary: On Dec. 20th, Leander Yankey and Amanda Slaughentraup were married by Rev. J. Keller Miller.
(Names in announcement: Leander Yankey, Rev. J. Keller Miller, Leander Yankey, Amanda Slaughentraup)
(Column 3)
Summary: On Dec. 18th, William Blankey, 75, died in Greenvillage.
(Names in announcement: William Blankey)
(Column 3)
Summary: On Dec. 13th, Catherine Ann, daughter of Dr. William J. and R. T. Thompson and wife of James Sheffler, died in Rossville, Indiana at age 37.
(Names in announcement: James Sheffler, Catherine Ann Sheffler, William J. Thompson, R. T. Thompson)
(Column 3)
Summary: On Dec. 15th, Dr. W. G. Thompson, 37, died in Rossville, Indiana, having moved from Franklin county 2 months to attend his sister. Dr. Thompson passed away 2 days after the death of Catherine, the result of hemmorage.
(Names in announcement: Dr. W. G. Thompson, Catherine Sheffler)

-Page 04-

Description of Page: This page contains advertisements.