10 HITR OFTXS
NEW CONSTITUTIONS AND THE ADMINISTRATIONS.
Now, in January. 1875, all the most irritating
partisan questions being out of the way
and the minds of the people in comparative
rest, Governor Coke recommended the adoption
of a new State constitution, as many
clauses in the one then existing . were cumnbersome
or obstructive, and becoming imLore
so with tlhe advance of events. In his imessage
to the legislature meeting that winter,
which was a long document of ninety-two
octavo pages, he recounts in detail all the
small necessities and desired improvements
in the government, as well as the large ones,
discussing them at length. Amonug many
other statements was one to the effect tlat
Mexican nmarawiders were doing more miischief
on this side of thle RIio Grande than they had
done before for a nunmiber of years. Federal
aid was asked for protection against them.
By an act of August 13, 1870, veterans of
the revolution which separated Texas from
Mexico, including tlIe Mier prisoners, were
to receive pensions. Comptroller .Bledsoe,
by mistake, extended the provisions of this
law to persons not properly entitled to the
benefit of it. At any rate this was the reason
given by Governor Davis on the occasion
of his vetoing two items of appropriation to
pay claims of veterans. By this act the governor
exposed himself to the attack of his
Democratic enemies, who charged him with
entertaining hostile feelings toward the veterans.
By a subsequent act of the legislature,
however, the list of pensioners was
increased, and by the end of the year the governor
became alarmed at the rapidly increasing
number of claims. He said tha Darden
and Coke, in the course of a year or so, issued
$1,115,000 worth of bonds in pension. About
1,100 persons came up as " veterans" in
struggles between Texas and Mexico. The
law was soon repealed.
In March, 1875, another constitutional
convention was provided for. August 2d the
people cast 69,583 votes for the convention,
electing delegates, and 30,549 against it.
The convention assembled at Austin, September
6, following, and completed its labors
November 24. The new constitution was
ratified by the popular vote February 17,
1876, when 136,606 votes were cast in its
favor and 56,652 against it. On the same
day a general election was held, when the
regular Democratic State ticket prevailed.
Coke was re-elected governor, by a majority
of over 102,000 votes, over William Chainbers,
who received 47,719 votes.
In this new constitution the following are
some of the more noticeable features: In the
bill of rights the provisions of the constitution
of 1869, which declared secession a heresy,
and the constitution and laws of the
United States tlhe supreme law of the land,
are omitted. Provision was made to increase
the number of members of the house of representatives
to 150, at the rate of one additional
member for each 15,000 inhabitants at
each fresh apportionment. The number of
senators was permanently fixed at thirty-one.
The legislature was to meet every two years,
the governor's term of office reduced to two
years, and his salary from $5,000 to $4,000.
The article of the old constitution respecting
suffrage was so changed as to make no reference
to "race, color or former condition."
Foreign immigration was discountenanced.
As soon as the legislature met, the governor
pointed out defects in the constitution,
recommending amendments, especially with
reference to the judicial system. The governor
also stated, in his message to tlie legis.
HTISTOR Y FTXS
Lewis Publishing Company, publisher. History of Texas, together with a biographical history of Milam, Williamson, Bastrop, Travis, Lee and Burleson counties : containing a concise history of the state, with portraits and biographies of prominent citizens of the above named counties, and personal histories of many of the early settlers and leading families. Chicago. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth29785/. Accessed December 21, 2014.