New York Times, “Virginia Frightened,” April 7, 1857

    Source citation
    “Virginia Frightened,” New York Times, April 7, 1857, p. 4: 2.
    Newspaper: Publication
    New York Daily Times
    Newspaper: Headline
    Virginia Frightened
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    Newspaper: Column
    Date Certainty
    Leah Suhrstedt, Dickinson College
    Transcription date
    The following text is presented here in complete form, as it originally appeared in print.  Spelling and other typographical errors have been preserved as in the original.

    Virginia Frightened.

    The designs of the “North American Homestead Company,” and their benevolent intention of resuscitating the old and exhausted lands of Virginia, appear to have created a tremendous consternation among the sea-board inhabitants of the Old Dominion. The landing of CORTEZ in Mexico, or of the valiant ADELANTADO in Florida, did not cause half the terror among the simple aborigines of those parts that the anticipated descent of ELI THAYER upon Eastern Virginia has done among the chivalry from Richmond to Accomac. The bare prospect of an irruption of industrious Yankees, with an army of shoemakers, blacksmiths, carpenters, wheelwrights, and school masters at their back, coming into the quiet old counties on the James River, and building up populous towns and busy villages quadrupling the value of land and increasing the population of the State, has given some of our Virginia cotemporaries a tertian ague. Mr. PRYOR’S new paper, The South, has been thrown into horrible spasms of dear by merely reading the programme of the Homestead Company, whose stockholders he mildly denominates, “paupers and prostitutes.”

    The South counsels immediate and sturdy resistance to ELI and his hard-fisted myrmidons, who propse to overturn the existing order of society in Virginia by improving its waste lands and making its deserts to blossom like the rose. Like that noble English poet who sang:

    “Let laws and learning, arts and commerce die,
    But let us keep our old nobility-“

    The South means to sacrifice everything to its slave pens and the old unprofitable trade in niggers. Like Rolla they want no change, and least of all such change as ELI THAYER and the North American Homestead Company can bring them. Our Virginia cotemporary is savagely facetious at the idea of the Yankee invaders coming to the eastern shore with the base design of getting a good dividend for their investment. Like Pistol, he evidently entertains the opinion that base is the land or investment that pays in the shape of a dividend.

    Among our extracts in another column upon this subject, will be found an exceedingly sensible article from the New-Orleans Commerical Bulletin, which we respectfully commend to the attention of The South. That able journal- which can hardly be suspected of Abolition or even Anti-Slavery tendencies- takes the liberty of saying that Virginia owes her steady material decline and degradation to the fact that all the energy, ability, enterprise, and industry of her sons are wasted upon Federal politics, instead of being devoted to the development of their own resources and the improvement of their farms, the building up of their manufactures and the enlargement of their commerce. If Virginians will quit office-hunting, and grow more ambitious of prosperity and development than of place and plunder, their lands will no longer be desolate and dependent upon Yankee “paupers” for the labor that is to make them valuable.

    But, in default of all more rational resources, the hope of The South is in Governor WISE, who will permit “no nice technicality of legal forms” to stand in the way of the expulsion of all Yankee-land speculators from the worn-out soil of the Old Dominion. Upon this point also the New-Orleans Bulletin gives The South some good advice. It does not see any more clearly than we do how the Chivalry of the Order of the South is going to help itself. The owners of land in Virginia will be likely to sell it to the highest bidders, and no questions asked; but, even though they should object, the mortgagees might not, and those who buy the land will be likely to do as they please with their own; and even Governor WISE could not prevent them from deep plowing, which is the most treasonable act that will probably be attempted. But the Virginians may; if they are resolved upon it, by the most simple process in the world, prevent these contemplated Yankee invasions. All they have to do is to put their land at so high a price that it cannot be profitably purchased, and ELI THAYER and the North American Homestead Company will let them vigorously alone, they may rest assured.

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