Governor Wells and the State Stocks

July 5, 1869


Governor Stoneman from California wrote to tell that Governor Wells tried to sell Stoneman Virginian state owned railroads for Wells' own personal profit.


Governor Wells and the State Stocks. The reader is quite familiar with the charges that Governor Wells last year tried to sell the railroad stocks held by the State. This he has denied. His denial was never believed; and General Stoneman, now in California, has written a letter to the Richmond Whig asserting that Governor Wells did make to him a verbal proposition to sell out the State's interest in one of the railroads. The General asked him to put his proposition in writing. But that he never did--not he--catch him at it! General Stoneman states further that Governor Wells afterwards sent another person (not willing to try it again himself) to him with a similar proposition with regard to another of the railroads of the State, "and may, perhaps," says the General, recollect the reply that was returned to this latter proposition." Very likely; but Wells is not the man to mention either just now. He would as soon tell all about the missing letter. There is much about these State stocks that cannot see the light. Wells's tracks were well covered up. There was "a consideration "--perhaps more than one--that nobody save the parties to it are likely ever to hear of. Even should they fall out and quarrel, they will hardly be so indiscreet as to "peach," as that would be to expose equally the impeacher and the impeached. There is no doubt that the first railroad alluded to was the Virginia and Tennessee, and the second the Orange and Alexandria railroad. The scheme of the persons proposing to purchase was to consolidate those roads with the view of cutting off all the Virginia towns. Wells didn't care anything about that. His interest in the sale was of a wholly different nature. He would sell the stocks of the State in any other railroad, and help any other consolidation for the same "consideration." Now, any exposure that may be made of Mr. Wells will, we suppose, have no effect upon his prospects. His followers are not the persons to desert him for crime. Indeed, that seems rather commendable in their eyes--there is in it that which propitiates a fellow-feeling. But, people of Virginia, how can you submit to be ruled by a man who has been true to no one ?
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Ali O'Hara




“Governor Wells and the State Stocks,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed May 18, 2022,