Governor Wells Makes a Speech Against the New Movement

January 22, 1869


Governor Wells, the governor of Virginia elected by the carpetbaggers, fears allowing the disenfranchised white people to vote again because he knows he won't get reelected. Thus, he pleads against the Committee of Nine before Congress.


GOVERNOR -WELLS MAKES A SPEECH AGAINST THE NEW MOVEMENT. The National Intelligencer, 21st, says : "Governor Wells, of Michigan, was before the House Reconstruction Committee yesterday, asking for the State of Virginia to be turned over to the tender mercies of the carpet-baggers under the Underwood constitution. He is the Governor of Virginia, so called, and the candidate of the car-pet-bagers at the next election for the same office. Remove the disfranchisements, and his chances are blue indeed. The 'new movement,' which withdraws opposition to negro suffrage, will secure a full third of the black vote for any respectable opponent of this individual. Hence we do not wonder that he is cross, uncomfortable, alarmed, and very busy denouncing the new movement and its authors. Drowning men catch at straws. The time has gone by when the carpet-bagger had the exclusive ear of Congress, and Governor Wells now finds a very different state of things from that halcyon period when he came up from Alexandria to plead before Mr. Thaddeus Stevens for Conpress to cut off twenty-five thousand Virginians, entitled to register, from the ballot, in order to carry the Underwood constitution and have himself made Governor. Such propositions it would now take even more than his assurance to make in a committee room ; he would only venture to whisper them on the sly to some equally unworthy and unscrupulous specimen of thfe carpet-bagger tribe. " In such distress, and at his wit's end, the leading Republicans of the two Houses, strongly inclined against disfranchisements in the State constitutions, reluctant to allow some thirty-seven separate State Legislatures to be dabbling in the pardon business for national offences, what was there for the played-out carpet-bagger to say or do ? Quite naturally he fell back on the ' outrage' dodge- not that he charged a wholesale slaughter of black innocents
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Joseph McEachon




“Governor Wells Makes a Speech Against the New Movement,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed November 28, 2022,