Prepare for a separation
Excerpts from reports from Richmond by Monongalia County convention delegate Marshall Mortimer Dent from the lost March 16 and March 23, 1861, issues of the Morgantown Virginia Weekly Star, of which Dent was part owner and editor, as reprinted in the Daily Richmond Enquirer, March 26, 1861.
Marshall Mortimer Dent, an owner of the Morgantown Virginia Weekly Star, in northwestern Virginia, reported for his newspaper from his seat in the Virginia Convention. In March 1861, he grumbled about how people in Richmond, including slave traders, treated western delegates and opponents of secession. That led him to denounce the state's tax policies that placed a limit on the taxable value of slaves and that worked to the interest of eastern slaveowners but provided no limitations on the taxable value of any other property. This was especially unpopular in the western counties where there were comparatively few slaves. "We, therefore, tell the people of Western Virginia," Dent concluded, "to prepare themselves for a separation from their Eastern brethren. It is bound to come sooner or later, and that being the case, the sooner the better. We call upon our people to stand up for their rights." The Daily Richmond Enquirer reprinted Dent's reports with sarcastic commentaries.