Message of Governor O. B. Colquitt to the thirty-second legislature of Texas. Page: 4 of 24
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in August, 1908, in San Antonio; but those who entertained
it will certainly concede that the platform demand for legislative
rest should be heeded by the Thirty-second Legislature. "We believe,"
says the ninth plank, "that the general welfare demands
that the people shall not be annoyed by constant political agitation
and they should be relieved therefrom in order that they may, undisturbed,
pursue their usual avocations, to the end that they may
be contented and prosperous, and we promise an intelligent and
strict enforcement of the law by lawful means and the enactment
of such additional laws only as are absolutely necessary to protect
the public and the rights and liberties of the people." I most cordially
approve this platform expression and shall cheerfully observe
its recommendations in so far as they apply to the Governor. I hope
to have the cordial co-operation and approval of the Legislature.
Our laws regulating and defining the rights of corporations are
very strong and efficient and I do not believe we need or that the
people demand further restrictive legislation along this line at this
time; but there is a very urgent demand that the people be given
time to adjust themselves to the laws we already have and rest from
the passage of new ones and the consequent agitation and uncertainty
that precedes and follows their enactment.
SUBMISSION OF PROHIBITION AMENDMENT.
I believe sincerely in representative government. When we depart
from this principle we will, in my opinion, soon be dashed upon
dangerous breakers and our government will become submerged by
a. wave of Socialism. The right of a people composing a district,
entitled to a Representative or a Senator in the Legislature, to direct
their representative in legislation affecting them and their rights,
is inherent. I believe in the observance of party law rightly exercised
as strongly as I do in the enforcement of constitutional enactments
by the Legislature; but party dictum should never supplant
the right of local self-government, or deny to the people of any
legislative district the independent right to petition the Legislature
for redress of wrongs that may be suffering, or the right of independent
representation and a distinct voice in legislation. To deny
this independent right of a people to control, direct or instruct their
legislator is to deny the principle of representative government and
establish the will of majorities as the absolute law of the land. For
a political party to arrogate this right to itself, by a plurality preponderance
of votes cast in a political primary, would be a denial
of equal voice and rights to the people of separate legislative districts,
and a government of political despotism would take the place
of constitutional liberty. Governments are not instituted merely to
give expression to the voice of majorities that they may unrestrainedly
carry their will into effect, but also guarantees that minorities
and individuals shall have equal protection, in all of their rights of
person and of property. We should, therefore, always bear in mind
that, while today we may belong to the majority, on the morrow we
may be numbered with the minority. The political majority should
never so far forget its own rights, as well as the just exercise of its
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Colquitt, O. B. Message of Governor O. B. Colquitt to the thirty-second legislature of Texas., book, 1911; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth5834/m1/4/: accessed March 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .