For The Spectator; December 29, 1858
Full Text of Article
Messrs. Editors:--In looking over the city papers I find frequent mention made of the "Lecture Season", of the distinguished gentlemen who have thus far in the season feasted their audiences with the humorous, the profound, and the metaphysical. Why is it that a town, boasting so many advantages in other points of view, is totally without any facilities for entertainment in this respect. Can no audiences be allured from their homes to enjoy such performances? Does the town want so much in that thirst for intellectual gratification, which distinguishes places of less note, that it will cherish no project of the kind? Are there no men within our own corporation who have the capacity to entertain an audience? Surely none of these things are so.. Why then are we not favored with something in this line to while away the tedium of the long winter evenings? I know there is enough appreciative talent in Staunton to value choice literary productions; and I know, too, that this talent, would be greatly developed under the influence of such efforts. Shall we not then have lectures.
I propose, if there is a fire company in town--and I believe there is one--that that company originate a series of lectures. Do you not want some new machinery, young men? If so, can you not secure the services of some of your lawyers, ministers of teachers, to lecture for you at twelve and a half cents per night? I am sure an institution such as yours, which looks to the safe repose of every good citizen of the town, would meet with marked encouragement. And then not only your company would reap an advantage from such a series of discourses, but every intelligent man and woman in the town would feel under obligations [sic] to you for the entertainment these lectures would afford. At the Maryland Institute, Baltimore, such a course of lectures has been kept up every winter season for years past, and the people of Baltimore would hardly now know how to spend a winter without their accustomed lectures. Charles St. M. E. Church has also enjoyed similar advantages, for the purpose of raising funds for a noble purpose. New York and Philadelphia, and, indeed, every town north, which can muster a few thousand inhabitants, fail not to improve their winter seasons in this manner. We complain that all our school books are published North. We get up Southern Conventions and offer strong inducements for men to write, and labor for the advancement of Southern literature; and yet we are so lazy that we will neither write, lecture, or do anything else to stimulate our people to make intellectual advancement. Unless we pursue other methods to develope [sic] the latent talent of our people; unless we excite in them an ambition for higher enjoyments than such as are afforded by the gaming table, the bar room, the horse race, the shooting match, the political quarrel, and the thousand other worthless diversions which make up the sum total of the employments of Southern gentry--we had just as well quit holding humbug Conventions, and cease to afford the world the sorry spectacle of gaseous effervescence. It is really humiliating to see the utter worthlessness of Southern young men. Take your position with me for half an hour upon the corner of a leading street in any of our principal towns, and I will show you in the first half dozen young men that pass that way, a type of nine-tenths of the youth of our "Sunny South." The first who passes us by shall be a well dressed youth, with hat turned a little to one-side, and gently dropping toward the horizon; a large mustache shall adorn his superior labial; a five cent cigar shall be lodged in the corner of his mouth; a stout cane shall adorn his right hand. He has a lofty air. He is dressed in the latest style. You edge a little to one side, and feel much humbled in the presence of your condescending superior. He make you feel his greatness. You next hear him at a political meeting talking loudly of Southern rights, and Northern oppression. All would be very well, could you believe the man all he professes to be; but alas! these men want the elements of character to carry out in practice what they profess in public. Such is not the material to make us richer or wiser. We must have men at the helm of affairs who will do more than smoke cigars, drink whiskey, and utter impotent threats, to which their energy can never give efficacy. Let us, once for all, quit bragging.--Let us do, do should be the watch word of every man. But what does all this tend?--Why simply, let us have a series of good lectures this winter to begin with. Let our young men be told that life is real, life is earnest, and that to mould the destinies of a nation it wants more than the idle words of vaunting politicians--it requires energy of will and a mind to the work. I do believe much might be done to divert the minds of our young men, from their vagrant habits, by setting before them, in a series of good, sound, philosophical lectures, the ends of life.
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Prosecution of Mr. Deneale
Full Text of Article
The investigation of the charge against Mr. George E. Deneale, was concluded on Wednesday evening last, and resulted in his commitment for further examination before the County Court on the fourth Monday in this month.--Mr. D. was admitted to bail in the sum of $3,000, and has retured [sic] to his home in Rockingham. The great interest felt in regard to the matter induces us to present the facts of the case more at length. In doing so we shall endeavor to state fairly what is alleged against Mr. Deneale, and also the view taken of the transactions in question by the counsel engaged in his defence.
It seems that on the 16th day of November last, Mr. Deneale came to Staunton, in company with Mr. E. A. Shands, for the purpose of arranging some matters of importance with the Valley Bank. Mr. Shands had been to Staunton on that day attending to business of his own, and upon his way back met Mr. Deneale at Mt. Sidney, who stated his desire to consolidate his indebtedness to the Bank and solicited Shands to return with him to Staunton. Mr. Shands complied with his request, and on that night, a conference was held at Mr. Deneale's room at the Hotel, between Messrs. Deneale and Shands, and Mr. Taylor, the Cashier, and Mr. Trout, a Director of the Bank. Mr. Deneale stated that his object was to take up certain discounted notes and acceptances of a man named Hoover, of Washington City, for which Mr. D. was bound. Two of these were past due and protested, and two of them had not matured--the whole amounting to about nine thousand dollars. Mr. Allen C. Bryan, of Harrisonburg, was also an endorser upon some or perhaps all of these acceptances. Both Mr. Bryan and Mr. Shands had been the general endorsers of Mr. Deneale in the Bank of the Valley and the Bank of Rockingham, and had implicit confidence in his integrity. Mr. Deneale represented Hoover, who had been his cattle merchant, to be in failing circumstances, or that his property was so covered up that the money could not be made out of him, but thought if he had the paper in his hands and made a visit promptly to Washington, that he might arrange the matter with Hoover and save himself--Hoover owing him, according to his statement, about seventeen thousand dollars. Mr. Deneale proposed to effect his purpose by substituting his own negotiable note for nine thousand dollars, endorsed by Allen C. Bryan and E. A. Shands, in lieu of the Hoover acceptances. It was suggested at the conference on the night of the 16th, that the Bank would probably go into the arrangement if Mr. Deneale would execute a deed of trust, for the purpose of strengthening his endorsers. This Mr. D. professed his willingness to do, making an exhibit of his property, from which both Mr. Shands and Mr. Trout were satisfied of his solvency. The next day (17th of November) was the discount day at the Bank. Mr. Deneale's proposition for the discount of a negotiable note of nine thousand dollars, endorsed by Bryan and Shands, to enable him to lift the Hoover paper, came before the Board, Mr. Deneale having a blank negotiable note endorsed by Mr. Bryan in his possession. The Board declined to make the arrangement unless an additional endorser were given, or unless Mr. Deneale gave a deed of trust strengthening his proposed endorsers. The fact was communicated to him, and he expressed his readiness to execute the deed, either for the immediate benefit of the Bank, or for the security of Bryan and Shands. The Bank preferred the latter arrangement, and Mr. Deneale executed the deed to Mr. Trout, conveying to him a tract of land containing 107 acres, four negroes, seventy head of stock cattle, eight head of horses and four mules, an amount of property deemed abundantly ample to secure the nine thousand dollars, and expressing his willingness to give additional indemnity whenever it was desired. Mr. Shands states that he did not, and did not [sic] intend to endorse the note until this deed was executed. The deed given, the Bank made the arrangement and the parties returned to Harrisonburg, Mr. Trout having delivered the deed to Mr. Shands with the understanding that it was to be recorded whenever Shands and Bryan deemed that their interest or that of the Bank required it. Upon reaching Harrisonburg Mr. Shands learned that the negro woman embraced in the deed had been sold. He conferred with Mr. Deneale in regard to the matter, who informed him that the woman did not suit Mrs. Deneale, and that her place would be supplied by another, but that there was an abundance of property conveyed in the deed without the woman; and Mr. Shands became satisfied in regard to the matter. Subsequently rumors reached Mr. Shands, that Mr. Brock, the father-in-law of Mr. Deneale, laid claim to the negroes, and to the cattle, and that he (Deneale) had sold his home farm to Mr. Brock. Mr. Shands became uneasy, but Mr. Deneale promised that all should be right, stating, as Shands alleges, that the negroes were not his but Brock's, and that he (D.) was only entitled to the profits on the cattle over and above the purchase money. Subsequently Mr. Deneale did execute a second deed of trust to Mr. B. F. Michie, conveying all his property, and providing first for the security of his endorsers, Bryan and Shands, and for the payment of the debtors due to the Bank at Staunton. This second deed, however, did not embrace the negroes, but 30 of the cattle and the profits on the remainder. Mr. Shands recorded the first deed on the 23rd of December; Mr. Michie, the second, on the same day. The Property embraced in the first deed is in the hands of the Sheriff of Rockingham, claimed, by both Mr. Trout, the Trustee, and Mr. Brock.
These are the allegations against Mr. Deneale. The counsel for the defense contend, in the first place, that there was no false pretence; that Mr. Deneale was the legal owner both of the negroes and the cattle, and therefore had the right to convey them in the deed of trust. They claim that the true facts of the case are briefly these:--That Mr. Brock had advanced the money to buy the negroes, with the understanding that they were to be the property of his daughter, Mrs. Deneale; and had loaned the money to buy the cattle. That although the legal title to both was in Mr. Deneale, he felt the force of his obligations to Brock and his( D.'s) wife, and substituted in the second deed, for the security of his endorsers, other property in the place of the negroes and the cattle, upon which he conceived Brock and Mrs. Deneale to have an equitable, though not a legal claim. In regard to the negro woman, it was claimed by the defense that she had threatened to poison the family, and was sold during Mr. Deneale's absence, and without his knowledge; that the money for which she was sold was paid to Mr. Deneale, thus furnishing additional evidence that she was his property. In regard to all the negroes, that he had always claimed them as his own, purchased them himself, had them in his possession from the time of their purchase until they were taken by an officer, and that his statements in regard to their belonging to Brock were made while he was pressed by creditors upon a bed of sickness, and surrounded by circumstances going for to extenuate whatever misrepresentation he may have made as to the ownership of the slaves. That the slaves being legally his own, but Brock having an equitable claim upon them, there was not positively false representation either in asserting his own claim or that of Brock. It is contended that he did not intend to defraud anybody, much less Bryan and Shands or the Bank, whose security is largely increased by the provisions of the second deed. It is further claimed that he could not have designed to induce Shands to go upon the note by consenting to execute the deed, inasmuch as he had never been informed by Mr. Shands or anybody else that he (Shands) desired indemnity; in fact that Mr. Shands studiously concealed any such desire from him. The counsel took the ground that Mr. Deneale, so far from desiring to perpetrate a fraud, had been guilty of nothing in the whole transaction, inconsistent with the character of an honorable, upright, honest man.
The case was argued at great length, and with great ability.
For The Spectator; To Col. Fontaine, Presd't Va. C. R.R.
Full Text of Article
Dear Sir:--the people of this county are at a loss to understand why a change has been made in the running of the freight trains on your road, which subjects them to great inconvenience, without any corresponding benefit, as far as they can see, to your Company.
Why has Greenwood been made the night stand for the freight trains instead of Waynesborough? And why has such a schedule been adopted as to deprive the people of Waynesborough and vicinity of all benefit from the accommodation car heretofore connected with the freight train?
I understand there is a daily freight train to and from Greenwood, a point on your road, on the other side of the mountain, where there is little freight to be accommodated, whilst here we are required to put up with as bi-weekly train. Staunton and Waynesborough are certainly more important depots of freight than Greenwood; then why not extend your daily trains at least to one of these points?
As you are now running, the travel on the accommodation train, which heretofore paid a considerable revenue, is entirely cut off. Why is this? I understand your superintendent says it would not pay. I have been grossly misinformed if this is so. The point, however, can be easily settled by a reference to your books, which I am told will show that this accommodation car from Waynesborough, has paid every year, over one thousand dollars, nearly the whole of which was clear profit. By our present arrangement scarcely anything is saved in the expense of running, and this whole revenue is cut off and lost.
The utter disregard of the interests and convenience of the people west of the mountain, evinced by your Superintendent in making this change, has excited the suspicion in the minds of many persons, that he is little inclined to consult their wants and wishes in the management of the road; and when they contrast the facilities afforded by his schedule to the east, with their own grievances and inconveniences, they cannot but deplore the fact, that their section is powerless in the organization of the Company. Supposing that your board will at least investigate this matter, I call it to your immediate and serious attention. Harmony in the administration of the Company is to be desired by every friend of the road, but I say to you now in all candor and earnestness, and with perfect respect, that if we are to be thus treated as "outside barbarians" in the conduct and management of a work of common interest to east and west alike, by those in power, we shall be compelled by every consideration of interest and self-respect to seek a redress of grievances at the hands of a higher power than your Superintendent, yourself or your board, even though it should be at the expense of harmony and good feeling. This declaration is not made in a menacing spirit, but is simply intended to express our confidence that through the aid of the impartial representatives of the State, combined with the Western vote in the company, we have it in our power, whenever driven to extremities, to secure a respectful consideration of our rights. For you personally sir, I entertain the kindest feelings, and from my knowledge of your sense of justice, I am led to hope, that it is only necessary thus to call you attention to the subject to secure for us the speedy interposition of the Board to correct the error of a subordinate officer.
To prove that the present is a bad arrangement, I need only further state that freight loaded at Jackson's River on Monday evening, leaves there Tuesday morning, reaches Millboro' same day and then lies over till Wednesday, and then goes on to Greenwood, where it lies over again till Thursday morning, and then goes off, reaching Richmond Thursday night, taking the best part of a week to make the trip.
How do you suppose stock fares thus shut up in the cars three or four days? As this is a public grievance I bring it to your attention publicly.
Staunton, Jan 7th 1859; To the Voters of the Ninth Congressional District
For The Spectator
Mulberry Grove, near Brandy Station; December 27, 1858
Virginia To Wit
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