Spirit of Jefferson

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Spirit of Jefferson










Benjamin F. Beall Charlestown, (West) Virginia June 25, 1867

Topics Reconstruction,Politics

The Monkeys Stirred.

At some period between the years 1861 and 1865 , there located at the county seat of Berkeley, two wandering Yankees, who stuck up their shingles to practice law in the courts established by the Boreman dynasty; and although they came unheralded and without pedigree, they were soon found to possess the necessary requisites to become radical leaders, and they were taken up and placed in position -- the one made a senator from this district, and the other prosecuting attorney of the county of Berkeley Another official or political relation these unknown characters sustain to the public. In Berkeley county the radicals have an organ, and at its editorial head fly the names of these two legal adventurers -- Hoke and Wissner. It is not often that we get to see a copy of the "Berkeley Union," but a friend has kindly placed us in possession of the last number, in which we find the following article: --


We have had several conversations with prominent men of Jefferson county in regard to the villainous and slanderous articles in the Spirit of Jefferson, under the head "Big Show." There is a point at which forbearance ceases to be a virtue, and we will inform the benign, loyal, reconstructed rebel editor, and that known contributor of his, the bushwacker, guerrilla guide, that other animals will be shown up if this thing is not stopped; and as Shepherdstown seems to be the place from which they make their selections, we will also make a few selections from the same town, i.e., a few rebels among which preachers who formerly owned their mulatto children, and women of doubtful character, occupying high social positions in the estimation of the F.F.V.'s, will not be exempted. We dislike exceedingly to enter into personalities, but we want rebel editors to understand that loyal men will be protected from their malicious assaults. A word to the wise, &c.

We do not wish our readers to understand that we intend to nauseate them with a controversy with the paper in question -- a controversy which would be damaging to the reputation of any decent journal, but as the article above conveys a cowardly attempt to intimidate us in our work of exposing the radical leaders of this county, we take up the gauntlet that is thrown down, and avail ourselves of the opportunity to give expression to our views and feelings, without fear, favor or affection.

First then, as to the articles which are termed "villainous and slanderous." For nearly two years we have been exposing with an unsparing hand, the rascalities of the leaders of the radical party of Jefferson -- those who have been honored with position, and those who have thrust themselves into notoriety. -- In all that time we have published nothing that we are not fully prepared to substantiate, and the proof of which is at our command at any day that an issue may be joined. The force of our articles has been the foundation upon which they rested -- truth, undeniable and indisputable. To sum up briefly:--

We charged Joseph A. Chapline, one of the Senators of this District and the grant gyasticus of radicalism in this county, with having purchased goods of a house in Baltimore, for which he gave a check on a Bank in Hagerstown in payment, knowing at the same time that he had no money on deposit in said Bank, and that the check was repudiated by the officers of the Bank, when presented. This charge we can prove, and other acts equally damaging we have yet in background, and which shall be forthcoming in due time. We have charged Joseph T. McKevitt and Anthony Turner with unprincipled conduct in the discharge of their duties as members of the Board of Registration of this county. Does any one doubt our ability to prove these charges? Let the issue be made, and we are ready to meet it. -- We have charged Byers, a ranting hypocrite of the Northern Methodist church, with having, in the excess of his piety, punched out the eye of a bull and attempting to trade a horse which he knew to be unsound. This is true to the letter, and we are ready to furnish the proof. We charged John Spangler with having exhibited himself to Gov. Wise as a "live Know-Nothing." Hundreds are willing to testify to the truth of this charge, though it is not known that he ever repeated the exhibition. And so throughout the whole series of articles published by us, there has been nothing said about these radical leaders than cannot be sustained by competent witnesses in a court of justice -- and this they themselves well know.

And these are the "loyal" men who are to have protection from the assaults of "rebel" editors. As to the character of that protection. Is an attempt to be made to disprove our charges? Is there to be any manly resort to vindicate these craven-spirit "loyalists?" We have no intimation of anything of the kind, but we have a promise of just such protection as poltroons and cowards alone would offer -- a threat to invade the private circle, and visit upon innocent persons, punishment for offences which they have had no part in committing. Feeling their inability to rescue themselves from the odium which the exposure of their meanness has brought upon them, they seek to retaliate upon unoffending ministers and females. Let them dare attempt this game, and our word for it, there will be found manliness enough at Shepherdstown to resent and punish the cowardly insult.

We know nothing of the characters of the editors of the Berkeley Union, but we have no doubt they are susceptible of successful ventilation, and as they are high in the confidence of the radical party, we shall give ourselves some trouble to ascertain their private histories, so that we may be able to give them that place in the "big show" for which they seem ambitious.

A word in conclusion. We are not to be intimidated or turned aside from our purpose. We started with the purpose of breaking down the radical party, in this county, and we are succeeding. The few decent men who belonged to that party, are becoming shamed of their leaders, and are quitting the rotten concern. After we have fully succeeded in accomplishing our work at home, we mean to turn our attention to Berkeley county, and we invite the co-operation of the conservative men of that county in the work of overthrowing this political abomination -- this incubus upon the prosperity and happiness if the people. Furnish us with the facts, and we will lay them before the people. You have had bond-forgers in your midst. One of them is suffering in his own person the sins of his accessories. Ferret out the participants in this nefarious transaction who are yet at large, and if they are to go unwhipt of justice, let them be branded with a mark as indelible as that of Cain, who slew his brother. We are through for the present, but the "show" will be continued indefinitely.