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Valley of the Shadow

Valley Spirit: March 16, 1870

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The Border Claims
(Column 01)
Summary: Continues its coverage of the pending border claims bill in the legislature. Again refutes those who are against it, gives all the good reasons why it should be passed speedily. Also outlines the details of the bill and steps taken to avoid corruption by speculators.
Full Text of Article:

The Committee of Ways and Means of the House of Representatives, at Harrisburg, have amended the bill for the payment of the border losses. Or rather, they have substituted a new bill for the one that was originally introduced by Mr. Dill, of Adams. That bill, it will be remembered, proposed to take all the money out of the State Treasury at certain fixed dates, without making provision in any way for supplying the requisite amount to the Treasury. This bill is based upon a different principle. There is very little money to be paid out of the Treasury immediately, under its provisions, Certificates of indebtedness are to be issued to each claimant for the full amount of his, or her claim, bearing five per cent, interest, clear of all taxation, except that imposed under the laws of the United States. And in order that these certificates may be redeemed by the State, a separate Fund is established, into which shall flow all the revenues from the counties named in the bill, and whenever the sum of one hundred thousand dollars is realized from these sources, over and above the amount necessary to pay the interest, it shall be applied to the purchase of certificates to that amount, at whatever price they can be obtained, but they shall not be redeemed at a price above their par value.

All the money that will come directly out of the Treasury will be as much as is required to pay the claims under one hundred dollars, and the fractional parts less than one hundred dollars of all claims exceeding one hundred dollars. It is not apprehended that this amount will exceed one hundred thousand dollars.

The State becomes the owner of these claims at once, and will, no doubt, make an effort to collect the amount from the General Government. Whatever sum it succeeds in collecting, is to be applied to the Fund created by this act.

As there has been such a terrible hue and cry about these claims having been bought up by speculators at mere nominal figures, and being pressed by "a powerful lobby" in the interest of these speculators, it may be well for those who circulate and those who believe such statements, to turn their attention to that portion of the bill which relates to assigned claims. The permission is clear and distinct that the Assignees of such claims shall only receive the amount which they paid for the same, and, on failure to show how much was actually paid, the claims are to be rejected altogether. This ought to shut the mouths of all the hired libelers who have abused our people without stint, and sought to prevent the recognition of the justice of these claims by the State, on the grounds that they are in the hands of a few men who will grow immensely rich if the Legislature should pass this bill. There is nothing more untrue. We have again and again made the statement that not a single claim in Franklin county has been assigned. Notwithstanding this fact, several journals, both daily and weekly, have not only refused to correct their gross misstatements, but, on the contrary, have repeated them with greater emphasis and virulence. They have sinned against us in the face of light, and knowledge. To such organs, there is little use in appealing for justice. Yet, we are bound, in duty to our people, to make another denial of these false charges. There has been no assignment of any claims. The truth of this ought to be seen at a glance. The perfect cheerfulness with which everybody receives this provision in the new bill in relation to assigned claims, ought to convince any one, that the persons who are to receive payment, are those who suffered the losses. If it were not so, a universal howl would go up from the throats of the "speculators" and "thieves and robbers," who would thus find their immense profits completely cut off.

Our people are not tanaceous about the particular features of any bill. Of course, they would prefer to have the money paid down to them at once. It would enable them to pay off their debts and relieve themselves forthwith from the terrible anxiety of years. It would roll an immense burden immediately from their shoulders. But they see the difficulties which lie in the way of prompt and full payment in money, and they do not ask the State to attempt an impossibility. And now, that the Committee of Ways and Means have seen fit to substitute a new bill, by which payment is to be made in certificates, they acquiesce heartily. They accept it at once, and ask for its passage as speedily as possible.

There is, on the part of our people, a voluntary surrender of a large amount that is justly due to them. We refer to the interest on these losses. Since the last of them were incurred, almost six years have elapsed. The man who lost five thousand dollars in 1864, has lost, in addition eighteen hundred dollars in interests, calculating it at only six per cent. The people of this Borough to whom there is an unpaid balance due of twelve hundred thousand dollars, has lost in interest, four hundred and thirty-two thousand dollars. Some of the losses were incurred seven years, and some, nearly eight years ago. For this there is no claim being made. They are simply asking for the principal. And yet who does not know that if they had had the amount which they lost, they might have realized an average of eight per cent on their money during these six years?

It seems to us that the State ought not to ask of us any longer sacrifice than this. The trouble is that when a claim of any kind is made on the State for payment, the parsimonious creatures, who delight in being called the watch-dogs of the Treasury, array themselves against it without regard to its merit, just as though the State is not as liable to contract debts as an individual. We would be far from taking the position that every claim made against the State should be paid. On the contrary we believe that all claims should be scrutinized closely. For this reason, we have invited the strictest and closest investigation into the character of these claims, and we do not fear any inquiry honestly conducted. But we do not call calumny, investigation. We do not call sneers, arguments. We do not call invective, logic. The calm, dispassionate inquiry, that disdains unworthy means, and seeks only for the truth, is what we are not afraid of. We do not indulge in acrimonious retorts and bitter taunts, against which those who hurl their poisoned shafts at us might not be proof. If any editor will advance a single argument why these claims should not be paid, we will meet it, and try to refute it. Thus far we have looked in vain for any fact which should be an obstacle in the way of our success. The means resorted to have failed entirely in their purpose. There is an uncharitableness about them which does not commend itself to the minds of legislators. The guerilla style of warfare has been adopted by our enemies, instead of that which we have taken. We have presented a bold open front all the time, challenging inquiry to the fullest extent. Pursuing such a course, and being thrice armed because our quarrel is just, we have the utmost confidence in our success.

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(Column 01)
Summary: W. W. Beardelee, Travelling Agent for the Singer Sewing Machine Company is in Chambersburg at the Montgomery House. Anyone seeking information on the machines are encouraged to see him.
(Column 01)
Summary: The Fannettsburg Lyceum has been meeting regularly throughout the winter. They recently discussed whether or not love is a stronger passion than anger.
(Names in announcement: Capt. J. H. Walker, Dr. J. W. Campbell, J. F. K. Kegerreis, J. A. Foust, M. Z. Kegerreis, A. A. Skinner, J. H. McAllen)
The Theater
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Summary: A theatrical company will be holding a performance in Repository Hall next week. The paper advises citizens to stay away. The editors know nothing about their reputation and suspect they are looking to make money on gullible thrill-seekers. It would be wiser to save money for the many instructive lectures Chambersburg offers.
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Summary: Edward N. Senseny, son of Dr. A. H. Senseny, graduated from Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia. He will join his father's practice in Franklin County. Howard L. McKinstry, son of William D. McKinstry, graduated from the University of Pennsylvania.
(Names in announcement: Edward N. Senseny, Dr. A. H. Senseny, Howard L. McKinstry, William D. McKinstry)
Meeting of Border Claimants
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Summary: A mass meeting of citizens pursuing border damage claims met in Chambersburg on March 9th. Resolutions were passed attacking rumors that speculators and lawyers are behind the claims. "The citizens of the border counties having born the common calamities of war in common with all the other counties of the Commonwealth deem it but an act of simply justice and right, that having been a break-water for the hosts of the rebellion, they should be compensated for their losses."
(Names in announcement: Maj. J. C. Austin, Jacob Hoke, John Huber, John Cree, J. L. Black, J. W. Fletcher, Dr. E. D. Culbertson, Dr. William H. Boyle, J. S. Brand, J. N. Flinder, A. M. M'Culloh)
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Summary: The banking house of Austin, Elder, and Fletcher has passed under control of what will be called the Franklin County Bank. C. H. Taylor, late teller of the National Bank of Chambersburg, will be in charge.
(Names in announcement: Austin, Elder, Fletcher, C. H. Taylor)
(Column 05)
Summary: John Evrett and Miss Cynthia Ann Reeder, both of Metal, were married on February 17th by the Rev. J. Smith Gordon.
(Names in announcement: John Evrett, Cynthia Ann Reeder, Rev. J. Smith Gordon)
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Summary: Christian Lutz and Miss Annie E. Foster, both of Franklin, were married on February 17th by the Rev. T. C. Hillheimer.
(Names in announcement: Christian Lutz, Annie E. Foster, Rev. T. C. Hillheimer)
(Column 05)
Summary: Mrs. Catharine Thomas died at the residence of her son-in-law J. M. Bishop on March 2nd. She was 76 years old.
(Names in announcement: Catharine Thomas, J. M. Bishop)
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Summary: George Knepper Sr. died near Mt. Hope on February 19th. He was 77 years old.
(Names in announcement: George KnepperSr.)
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Summary: Mrs. Julia C. Grove died in Chambersburg on February 22nd. She was 79 years old.
(Names in announcement: Julia C. Grove)
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Summary: Mrs. Fanny Witherow, wife of James Witherow, died near Carrick on March 7th. She was 49 years old.
(Names in announcement: Fanny Witherow, James Witherow)

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