Hon. DAVID A. WELLS,
ON HIS RETIREMENT FROM THE OFFICE OF
SPECIAL COMMISSIONER OF THE REVENUE,
BY CITIZENS OF NEW YORK AND NEW ENGLAND,
AS A TOKEN OF ESTEEM FOE HIS UNSULLIED INTEGRITY
AND HIGH PERSONAL CHARACTER; AND AS A SLIGHT
RECOGNITION OF HIS INESTIMABLE SERVICE TO HIS COUNTRYMEN.
Commenting on the discontinuance of the office of Special Commissioner of Revenue, the "North American Review" used at the time the following language: "The system of taxation, by which the Government has been in receipt of its enormous income, was established during the war; and the man who deserves the most credit for its reform is Mr. David A. Wells, whom General Grant and Secretary Boutwell united in bowing coldly out of the public service. It was he who proved the capacity of the country to stand an enormous taxation, and pointed out the most convenient and legitimate sources of revenue; and the most continuous changes and improvements in our revenue system, including even those under the Administration that dismissed him, were but the following out of the suggestions and the line of argument which he had presented while in the Treasury Department. To him and to Congress, and to a generous and patriotic people, does the country owe the proud exhibition of debt and tax reduction."
General Garfield, in a debate in the House of Representatives, July 13, 1868, also paid the following handsome tribute to the work of Mr. Wells as Revenue Commissioner, saying: "I do not believe that any man appointed by the Government in the civil service has done for this country more work, and more valuable work, than David A. Wells. Into the financial chaos resulting from the war he threw the whole weight of a strong, clear mind, guided by an honest heart, and during the last three years he has done more, in my judgment, to bring order out of chaos than any one man in the United States."
As soon as it was known that Mr. Wells was to retire from his office at Washington, the appointment as chairman of a State commission for investigating the subject and the laws relating to local taxation was tendered him by the Governor (Hon. John T. Hoffman) of the State of New York and accepted; and in this new position Mr. Wells prepared and submitted to the Legislature two reports (in 1872 and 1873) and a draft of a code of laws. Both of these reports were subsequently reprinted in the United States and in Europe; and one of the first acts of the French Minister of Finance (M. Wolowski), after the conclusion of the Franco-German War, was to order the translation and official publication of Mr. Wells's report as Special Commissioner of Revenue for 1869. This compliment was further supplemented in the spring of 1874 by the election of Mr. Wells, by the French Acad-