Claims for Wells

August 16, 1869


The Dispatch thought that their distrust and distaste for Wells ended when Walker was elected. However, Wells continues to stir up trouble claiming that some Virginians corrupted the election. He also claims that he secured the opportunity to vote down the iron-clad" oath in the Underwood Constitution but this is a false claim.


Claims for Wells. We had hoped that Wells, having been completely defeated, would have subsided decently and decorously. But in this hope we have been disappointed. His organ has shown a restiveness and inconsistency quite characteristic of a dissatisfied and defeated party, not sustained by a conscientious approval, and hoping yet, by sonic trick, to repair damages and rob their triumphant adversary of some part of his victory. Some days it has been all peace and embowered in olive branches. Anon it was full of devilment--impugning motives--fruitful of unscrupulous accusations--and fluent with information from Washington assuring everybody that the recent election was like the fruit of the desert, deceitful: and fated to become only dust and ashes. Here we all understand the organ and the men whose interests it represents--merely sordid and so contemptibly small as only to embrace a wagon load--one of Garber's spring wagons--of white men, chiefly "adventurers" from the North. They make a great deal of fuss through their organ. Fuss that makes its greatest noise at a great distance. Here it is not heard. Nobody knows anything about it. It is not as audible as a pack of Chinese pop-crackers. We say that these indications show that Wells, who engineered so many prosecutions for violation of the revenue laws in a manner that only filled his pockets and never brought any man to trial--would not rest content; but would continue to vex us with his thimble-rigging--his schemes to keep in office in Virginia. So in addition to all the pop-crackers of his Richmond organ, we have someone firing off a gun for him in the Washington Chronicle. This person--as likely to be the lantern-jawed, sharp nosed Dudley as anyone else--claims that he did everything for Virginia; that he (Wells) secured us the opportunity to vote down the iron-clad and to vote down the disenfranchisement. Of course everybody knows this to be a great lie. But, then, these Wellsites hope by impudence to achieve what honest men would consider utterly impossible--i.e., to make people believe that what they knew was merely a fancy, and what never happened, was absolutely true. They will swear a man out of his own identity. Could there be anything more impudent than the assertion that H. H. Wells secured to Virginia the opportunity to vote against the iron-clad oath and the disenfranchisement of the constitution? We have never heard of a greater piece of impudence. We listened to that man's testimony before the Reconstruction Committee. A more sweeping accusation against a people than was his against the people of Virginia could not have been uttered. He considered them unworthy of trust, and deduced that they ought not to be allowed to participate in the Government. So to allow them to take part in public affairs would be fatal to all Union men--all "loil citizens." And now to see so prescriptive a man--one so devilishly malignant towards the people of Virginia--so bitterly opposed to placing the slightest faith in them--to conferring upon them the poorest privileges of freemen--to putting them upon an equality with negroes--set up as their especial friend as having secured them the opportunity of voting down the abominable features of the Underwood constitution, is the most impudent and unblushing thing of the day. Assurance can go no further--lying can go to no greater extreme. When will this Catiline--this Wells--cease to abuse our patience ? When will he cease to vex the Slate and scandalize humanity ? When the State is reconstructed--when justice is done to the people--when the Government is in the hands of honest men--then WELLS will die and disappear. Then there will be an end of the peculiar rascality and assurance which has been born of carpet-baggery, and which, we believe, has not at any time heretofore in this world made its appearance.
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Ali O'Hara




“Claims for Wells,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed March 29, 2023,