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Valley of the Shadow

Valley Spirit: February 26, 1868

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President Moving on Stanton's Works
(Column 01)
Summary: Details Johnson's attempts to remove Stanton from the War Department and Stanton's resistance. Editor wants the matter brought before the Courts, certain of a verdict against the Tenure-of-Office Bill. Also fears Radicals will fight against such a verdict and do everything they can to prevent a judicial decision.
Full Text of Article:

Stanton does not find the War Department a bed of roses. True, he sleeps in it, but not from choice. It is a matter of necessity. He fears that, if he leaves it for a single night, he may find, at the dawn of day, some other person in possession. The President is bent on "re-occupying and repossessing" the war office. He has no idea of surrendering his constitutional right to have a Cabinet of his own selection. He does not intend to permit the Senate to encroach upon his privileges to the extent of forcing upon him, as one of his Secretaries, a man whom he has already suspended from the position, in whom he has no confidence, and between whom and himself there are irreconcileable differences of opinion and policy. Accordingly, he has issued an order removing Stanton. in so doing, the Radicals say that he has violated the Tenure-of-Office-Bill, and has thus shown a disposition to resist the Legislative Department of the Government. This,they say, renders him liable to impeachment.

In suspending Stanton as Secretary of War, the object of the President was to secure harmony and unity of action in his Cabinet. He knew that "a house divided against itself, can not stand." A man of sensitive feelings, a man of refinement, and one who possessed a keen sense of honor, would have thought it the deepest degradation to remain in such a position; when he was not wanted and when he could not harmonize his views with the opinions of the other gentlemen composing the Cabinet. Not so with Stanton, however. His conscience never troubled him upon this subject. He showed no hesitation in acting the spy. He faltered not at the idea of attempting to hold his place in defiance of the Executive will, and without a single precedent in the history of this nation to sustain him. He, therefore, refused to vacate the War Office, and only yielded "to superior force" in the person of General Grant. Afterwards, he conspired with General Grant to get possession of the office, and, through the damnable infidelity of that officer, succeeded. Here, then, was the extraordinary case, for the first time presented, of a person obtaining possession of one of the Cabinet positions by a trick, without the knowledge and against the will of the President, and claiming to hold it in absolute disregard of his wishes, and open defiance of his authority. The President then determined that this question must be tested. He desired to know whether or not Congress, in a moment of hot anger, could lop off from the President the privilege of selecting his own Constitutional advisors. He resolved that it should be decided whether he or Congress was to be the judge of the propriety of the removal of a Cabinet officer. The correspondence with Grant shows this fact conclusively, that the object of the President in obtaining from Grant the promise not to surrender the War Office to any one but himself, was to have the matter brought before the Courts, so that the opinion of the highest judicial authority in the land might settle the question for all time to come. We are of the opinion, therefore, that the President in issuing the order removing Stanton was animated by the same purpose. He still desires to have the question submitted to the Courts. In commanding Stanton to surrender the War Office to Adjutant General Lorenzo Thomas, he places the matter in a position for judicial investigation and decision. If Stanton persists in his refusal to vacate, the Adjutant General will, doubtless, apply to the Courts for a , directing Stanton to deliver possession of the War Department to him under the order of the President.--Stanton will then plead the Tenure-of-Office-Bill as a defense, and the issue will thus be made up.

Or, should the Adjutant General take possession of the office by bringing "a superior force" to bear upon the mulish Stanton, he will of course yield under protest, and may then apply to the Courts to redress his grievances.

We can not have any doubt as to what the decision of the Court will be. Neither have the Radical leaders any doubt on this subject. They are afraid to allow a decision. They feel assured that the Tenure-of-Office-Bill can not stand the test of judicial scrutiny, judged by the standard of the Constitution. Hence they will resort to every device in order to prevent a decision by the Courts. And even should a decision be rendered by the highest Court in the land against them, we believe that they are so fanatical, and so desperate because of their fanaticism, that they would counsel a resistance of its solemn decree. But let them beware. Perhaps it is best for President Johnson to invoke all the forms of law to his aid before he resorts to coercive measures. He seems inclined to do so. But these Radical leaders can rest assured that, once the Court has decided that he had a constitutional right to remove Stanton, Stanton will be removed if it takes the whole military force of the United States Government to do it. The people are in no mood to tolerate insubordination and further infractions of the Constitution. The President understands this, and threats of impeachment, therefore, carry no terror to his heart. If he had served Stanton as he deserved, he would have ordered the Adjutant General to seize him by the nape of the neck and the seat of the breeches and pitch him into the street. Or, if President Johnson had been inclined to indulge in the exercise of such arbitrary power as characterized the administration of "the late lamented," he would have had a little bell rung, and would have ordered the refractory Stanton to be immured in the old Capitol prison, there to be fed on bread and water, and left to wonder by what authority such summary process was enforced.

The Border Relief Bill
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Summary: Expresses support for a bill pending in the Legislature which would compensate losses suffered during Confederate raids. Gives precedents for such action and hopes the Legislature will grant at least partial, if not full, compensation.
Full Text of Article:

We stated last week, that the bill which contemplates payment for losses sustained by the border counties during the war, had been reported to the House by the committee to which it had been referred, and we expressed a hope that the Democratic members of the Legislature "would show themselves willing to do justice to the plundered citizens of the border, and let the Radicals shoulder the responsibility of defeating this bill, if it is to be defeated." But we hope the bill will not be defeated. We trust there is enough generosity in the hearts of the people of that portion of the State which escaped the ravages of the enemy, to impel them to "make others' woes their own." They would never miss the little it would take from them, whilst many a sufferer would be rescued from pecuniary ruin.

Precedents are not wanting for such action as we urge upon the Legislature. During the Revolutionary war, the Continental Congress made an appropriation for the benefit of the citizens of Portland, who had been plundered by the British. During that same period, the Colony of Connecticut donated five hundred thousand acres of land to the sufferers at New London, part of the town and the shipping in the harbor having been burned by the British. And within the last month or two, the State of Indiana has compensated her citizens for the losses they sustained by Morgan's raid. We have, then, to support the bill now before the Legislature, precedents established by the Continental Congress and by one of the "United Colonies" in the days of the Revolution, and by one of our sister States at the present time. But if no precedent could be found, the appropriation ought still to be made, as being right in itself and demanded by every consideration of justice and benevolence.

It will not do to say that the finances of the State would be crippled by this appropriation. The Governor in his Message and the State Treasurer in his Report represent the Commonwealth to be in the most flourishing condition financially. If what they have said officially be true, the State Treasury would experience no embarrassment if drawn upon for the amount appropriated by this bill.

We print the bill in another column. It will perhaps disappoint those citizens of Chambersburg who suffered by the fire of the 30th of July, 1864, inasmuch as they would receive nothing under its provisions. Our own view is and always has been, that all the losses sustained ought to be paid in full. But if compensation in full for all losses cannot be obtained at present, we in Chambersburg who suffered by the fire, and to whom partial justice was done by the appropriation of the 15th of February, 1866, ought to be content to see something done for those who have heretofore received nothing. Let us bravely bear up under our losses, and work on and hope that justice will some day be done us. Citizens of the town who were plundered during the various invasions, would come in under the bill. We regret that it does not provide for the payment of all losses, but we presume the Representatives of the border counties have satisfied themselves that an act so comprehensive as that could not be passed at this time. "A half loaf is better than no bread at all."

We see nothing objectionable in the bill, except that clause of the first section which provides that the relief proposed to be granted "shall embrace sufferers whose buildings with contents, were burned by deserters from the armies or the draft."--These were acts of ordinary incendiarism, and if the owners of such buildings had taken the precaution to insure them, the Insurance Companies are bound to pay. If they were not insured, the fault was their own and they are entitled to nothing for their negligence.

(Column 02)
Summary: Reports that the House voted 126 to 47 to bring articles of impeachment against President Johnson for removing Edwin Stanton from the War Department. The paper calls on the people and veterans of Pennsylvania to rally to the President's defense. "This fanatical Congress is thus seeking to drag the President from his Chair in order to accomplish its hellish purposes."
Another Letter from Robert Criswell
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Summary: Criswell wants to clarify he is still a Republican but does not support the Radicals anymore. He is in favor of Johnson and gives some reasons why Grant would not be a good candidate for President. Reiterates a fable at the end of the article to further his case.
(Names in announcement: Robert Criswell)
Full Text of Article:

Brooklyn, Feb. 20, 1868

Messrs. Editors:--From a remark you made in your paper of the 6th inst., you seem to think I have gone over to the Democratic party, bag and baggage; but I have merely left the Radicals and joined the Conservatives of the Johnson and Doolittle kind--Johnson being my choice for the next President. If your party unite on him, the Conservative Republicans will join you in electing him over any Radical that can be brought out. "A word to the wise," &c. Of course we would not join you should you nominate a man of the Vallandingham stripe; in that event, if the Radicals had Chase for their standard-bearer, we would go for him, as he is undoubtly their best man, a statesman of ability, and one that will fill the office with dignity and honor. The greatest objection we have to him is, that he is sorely afflicted with the disease called "nigger on the brain." I was not in favor of Grant before, but since his correspondence with the President, am more opposed to him than ever. He is asking too much of the people, to believe his single statement before that of the President, and four of his cabinet officers, and if he is a candidate he will find out next November which side of the story the majority of them believe. An unprejudiced person with half an eye can see his duplicity in this whole matter and how he was playing into the hands of the Radicals, and deceiving the President at the same time. After this correspondence, Commodore Vanderbilt, a high-toned millionaire of New York, dropped the General, as many others have done. The General is a young man yet, and he had better tarry four years more at Jericho, until his beard is grown longer; and if he improves his statesmanship and morale in that time, he might be elected then; besides, his military reputation will likely gain instead of lose by the delay. A President should be like Ceasar's wife--above suspicion.

It is said John Morrissey could borrow $50,000 in Wall Street on his word of honor alone, without the stroke of a pen; but I am afraid a celebrated General could not get that amount in that way, as the lender might think when pay day came around, perhaps, he would say, "I don't owe you anything, say what you please to the contrary notwithstanding."

A Southerner was once telling another of his great shooting exploits: that he once shot a deer at a great distance through the hind foot, and through the head at the same time. Of course, the listener was incredulous, and the Southerner asked old Joe, his colored man, if it was not true. "Yes, massa, you see de deer was not more den three miles from us, and as massa fired de gun I saw a fly on de deer's dead, so he lift his hind foot to scratch off de fly; and at de same time I saw de ball go through de foot and de head--dat is a fact." But after his listener had departed, old Joe took his master to task: "Massa, de next time you tell such a story, don't put him so far apart; I had plaguy hard work to bring him togedder."

So the next time the General tells a story, let him make it hang together better.

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New School
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Summary: Samuel H. Eby plans to open a select school in Greencastle.
(Names in announcement: Samuel H. Eby)
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Summary: The Rev. Dr. Talmage of Philadelphia will deliver a lecture in Repository Hall on "Rocks on which People Split."
[No Title]
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Summary: The paper thanks William H. Koontz for a copy of the Agricultural Report.
(Names in announcement: William H. Koontz)
[No Title]
(Column 01)
Summary: The paper reports that the exhibition of Major Hershberger's panorama of the burning of Chambersburg was "a great success." Large crowds attended, making it difficult to find standing room on Saturday night. "The Major has been eminently successful in his delineation of the striking scenery of the section. Nothing could be more accurate than his view of Cove Gap; and Silas Harry, the Prince of Stone Bridge Builders, never built a better Stone Bridge than the Major has painted on his Panorama. The various views of Chambersburg, both before and during the burning are very correct." The Major plans to exhibit it throughout the area.
(Names in announcement: Major Hershberger, Silas Harry)
Rev. James Kennedy's Lecture
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Summary: Rev. James Kennedy gave a lecture in the series for the benefit of the poor on "blindness." Kennedy related humorous personal anecdotes of his mistakes and struggles. He argued that God enhanced the other senses to make up for blindness. The paper suggests, however, that enhanced hearing may be due to the fact that the blind rely more on their ears, resulting in natural improvement.
(Names in announcement: Rev. James Kennedy)
Market House
(Column 01)
Summary: The town of Greencastle wants a Market House, and the paper endorses the idea.
The Presbyterian Church
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Summary: The newly renovated Presbyterian Church in Greencastle opened. Rev. J. W. Wightman, pastor, gave a dedication sermon. The renovations, that included colored glass and frescoed walls and ceilings, cost $7000. E. E. Bair of Chambersburg was the contractor and builder.
(Names in announcement: Rev. J. W. Wightman, E. E. Bair)
Origin of Article: Greencastle Echo
(Column 03)
Summary: Edward D. Kendig of Orrstown and Miss Lottie A. Wilson, daughter of William Wilson of Metal, were married on February 16th.
(Names in announcement: Edward D. Kendig, Lottie A. Wilson, William Wilson)
(Column 03)
Summary: Sidney Gledmill of Chambersburg and Miss Kate Yockey of Cumberland County were married by the Rev. F. Dyson on February 20th.
(Names in announcement: Sidney Gledmill, Kate Yockey)
(Column 03)
Summary: Eve Keefer, wife of Isaac Keefer, died in Hamilton on February 7th. She was 83 years old.
(Names in announcement: Eve Keefer, Isaac Keefer)

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Description of Page: Advertisements and agricultural advice appear on this page.