Virginia Memory, Library of Virginia
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Union or Secession
  • "Settle this tax question"
In a speech to the Virginia Convention on April 18, 1861, George Wythe Randolph, of the city of Richmond, conceded that western Virginians deserved a constitutional amendment to require that slaves be taxed at market value.
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  • "Pass this tax ordinance"
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"Settle this tax question"

Excerpt from a speech of George Wythe Randolph on April 18, 1861, printed in George H. Reese and William H. Gaines, Jr., eds., Proceedings of the Virginia State Convention of 1861 (Richmond: Virginia State Library, 1965), 4:288.

The day after the Virginia Convention adopted the Ordinance of Secession, George Wythe Randolph, of the city of Richmond (and grandson of Thomas Jefferson), conceded that because a large number of western delegates had voted for secession, he believed that eastern delegates should join them in proposing an amendment to the state constitution to require that all property be taxed at its market value. The Constitution of 1851 had placed a limit on the taxable value of slaves 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. The convention submitted an amendment to the voters, who ratified it on May 23, 1861.

Excerpt from a speech of George Wythe Randolph on April 18, 1861, printed in George H. Reese and William H. Gaines, Jr., eds., Proceedings of the Virginia State Convention of 1861 (Richmond: Virginia State Library, 1965), 4:288.

I beg leave to say that the first thing to be done now, as I understand, is to settle this tax question. For one, I am prepared to say that, after what has been done in this house by Western members, I am prepared to face the consequences and give them a satisfactory adjustment of that question.