The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 83, July 1979 - April, 1980 Page: 106
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Following their victory in the election of 1869, the Radicals, led by
Governor Edmund J. Davis, announced their legislative priorities.
Davis stressed the need for a state police organization, more secure jails,
and frontier protection in a program to promote law and order. Fearful
that some local officials might not properly enforce all laws, Davis also
urged the creation of a militia system which would be directly under
his control. As governor he would be empowered to declare martial law
whenever he deemed it necessary and to send in militia forces to ensure
the enforcement of the law.
The Radicals' position with regard to railroad subsidies was less
clearly defined. During the election campaign Davis had urged other
Radical candidates to show "hostility to the Railroad and other rascally
'chicken pie' schemes." In a speech before the legislature Davis doubted
the need for railroad subsidies: "The absolute necessity, for State aid
(beyond a liberal charter and right of way) is not apparent to me as a
necessity to insure the success of any honest and feasible enterprise." He
pointed out that the state had already loaned $2,750,000 and donated
5,ooo,ooo acres of land to the companies in exchange for the construc-
tion of only 5oo miles of railroad. Davis did suggest that if a subsidy
were granted by the legislature, it be granted to a single line on a route
between the Red River and the Rio Grande.4 Other railroad routes,
presumably, could do without subsidies.
Even before the election of i869 several railroad promoters began to
formulate their own legislative goals. Perhaps in anticipation of prob-
lems with the new legislators, some lobbyists such as John Hancock
started exploring the possibility of making a joint effort to secure the
passage of railroad subsidies. Hancock believed that a combined effort
could produce a subsidy bill that would provide for state loans of
$20,000 per mile of track in addition to the usual land grant of sixteen
sections per mile. As Hancock explained, thie demand for railroads was
so great that the people of Texas would submit to almost anything to
get a few more miles constructed." Former Governor James W. Throck-
morton, now a railroad promoter, corresponded with Hancock concern-
ing the new legislature and together they developed a strategy for
3Texas House Journal, I12th Legilatmec, Fitsl Session (Austin, 1870). 17-31, Apr 2g,
4E. J. Davis to James P. Newcomb, Sept. 26, f169, Box 2Floq (first quotation), James P.
Newcomb Papers (Archives, Barker Texas History Collection, University of Texas at
Austin); Texas House Jorinal, 121/h Legs , )ust Sess, 21-22 (second quotation), 23, Api.
3John Hancock to E. B. Nichols, Oct 27, 1869, Box 2A1(g2, William Pitt Ballinger Papers
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 83, July 1979 - April, 1980, periodical, 1979/1980; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101207/m1/138/: accessed March 30, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.