The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 2, July 1898 - April, 1899 Page: 17
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Oran Milo Roberts.
amendment was adopted at the State election of 1873, by which a
new court was required to be appointed, still composed of five
judges and holding for nine years. Governor Coke, on taking his seat
in 1874, appointed 0. M. Roberts Chief Justice, and Judges Moore,
Reeves, Devine, and Ballinger associate justices. Judge Ballinger
resigned in a few days and Judge Devine a year later, Peter W.
Gray and John Ireland being appointed to succeed them. Under
the Constitution of 1876, the court was again made elective, the
judges reduced to three, and the term of office to six years. Under
this Roberts was elected Chief Justice, and Moore and Gould asso-
ciates. Judge Roberts remained Chief Justice until the memora-
ble State Democratic Convention of 1878, when T'hrockmorton,
Hubbard, and Lang "locked" the convention for a week, rendering
a compromise imperative. A "commission" or conference com-
mittee of thirty-two members was selected to choose a candidate for
Governor, and they named 0. M. Roberts, then absent at his home
in Tyler. He accepted and was elected at the ensuing election,
and was re-elected in 1880.
In entering upon his service as the highest executive officer of the
State, his equipment was not exactly such as ordinarily insures suc-
cess and satisfaction. Lawyers and judges are not usually efficient
business men in any line. Still less are ,they generally careful finan-
ciers or practical administrators of affairs. But in these respects
Governor Roberts proved himself an exceptional success. He was
from the start a shrewd political economist, a sagacious states-
man in the department of governmental finances, and a broad, lib-
eral manager of every interest of public concern committed to his
care and encouragement. He was fond of calling attention to the
fact that the secret of satisfactory executive service in the manage-
ment 'of <a government consists in the correct solution of the finan-
cial problem. He often emphasized the point that the Premier of
England is usually the first lord of the treasury, and that in the
United States the secretary 'of the treasury has come to be the most
important officer in the Cabinet. On these lines he shaped his
policy 'and practice, 'announced the motto, "Pay as you go," and
through good and evil report adhered to his plans of rigid economy,
provident taxation, liberal but exact appropriations to public pur-
poses, and the utilization of every source of legitimate revenue and
every inducement 'towards building up the S'tate's population, in-
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Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 2, July 1898 - April, 1899, periodical, 1898/1899; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101011/m1/21/: accessed May 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.