West Virginia payment to Virginia unfair
As a follow up to Howard Swint's excellent perspective in Sunday's Gazette-Mail concerning West Virginia's separation from Virginia (May 19), I would like to add a few thoughts.
At the time of separation, Virginia insisted that West Virginia should pay a share of the state debt, although only one state institution had been built in the western territory. The problem continued to be an important issue in state politics until 1915. In that year, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that West Virginia owed Virginia $12,393,929. The final payment of the debt was made in 1939.
Not only is this amazing, it is totally wrong. Virginia rebelled and separated itself from the Union. West Virginia then left Virginia and stayed loyal to the Constitution.
Virginia should have been forced to pay war reparations to West Virginia for all cost and damages incurred by its illegal separation from the Union. This should have included payment for our dead and injured troops and civilians, all property damage plus payment to cover the cost of our mobilization to defend ourselves.
Instead, we had to pay Virginia over $12 million. In addition, because we were paying during the Great Depression, the damage to the West Virginia economy must have been great.
President Lincoln surely rolled over in his grave on this one.
For all those sympathetic with the romantic notion of "The Great Lost Cause," imagine how much $12 million translates into today's equivalent.
It may make you think that West Virginia was on the losing side, and not the Cavalier State of Ol' Virginny.
Give me boring and beautiful any day