Reminiscences of reconstruction in Texas ; and, Reminiscences of Texas and Texans fifty years ago Page: 20 of 58
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20 RECONSTRUCTION IN TEXAS.
in the hands of the Governor. He appointed the registrars of voters,
the boards of revision and appeals, and these officials presided
over and conducted the elections. The Legislature created a body
of State police, who were commanded by the Governor, and entirely
under his control. These police were scattered in roving bands over
the State, being made up of negroes and whites, many of the latter
men of desperate character. They were a constant menace and
source of uneasiness to the peaceable people of the State. They
were constantly arresting citizens on the most frivolous complaints,
and being without the strict discipline and control that ruled the
Federal soldier, they were such a source of fear and alarm that the
people of the State would gladly have exchanged them for the Federal
Governor Davis no doubt felt that the Confederate element in
Texas had treated him badly; but the writer is loth to believe that
his harsh rule as Governor, and the laws enacted by the Twelfth
Legislature and approved by him, were intended by him as retaliatory
punishment of his fellow citizens, for what he considered theit
bad treatment. He was a man of intense convictions, and never
entertained a doubt of the necessity and correctness of his course
and policy. It is, therefore, but charity to say that he believed
that the times and state of the country justified and demanded the
legislation he approved. When the writer became a member of the
Thirteenth Legislature, he believed Governor Davis was a corrupt
man. Noting the course and conduct of the Governor during the
session, he changed his opinion and became satisfied that the Governor,
in the sense of being corrupt for money, or bribery by money,
was entirely honest; and as an evidence of this, he died a poor man.
He was a man of imperious will, confident that his own views were
correct, and as a condition for securing office through him the applicant
had to submit to his control and be subservient to his views.
While the Governor appointed some good men to office, he made
many mistakes in this respect; for many good men of independent
character and views would not accept office under him, because they
would not submit to personal dictation and control. This is an
explanation of the many bad and indifferent appointments to office
he made; and while not indicative of corruption, in a money sense,
perhaps these appointments had the same effect on the efficiency
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Wood, William D. Reminiscences of reconstruction in Texas ; and, Reminiscences of Texas and Texans fifty years ago, book, 1902; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth14387/m1/20/: accessed October 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .