Message of Governor O. B. Colquitt to the thirty-second legislature of Texas. Page: 7 of 24
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selling of intoxicating liquors or gambling in their club
rooms. I recommend that the law be amended so as to give the
Secretary of State full power to inquire into the purpose of such
clubs before he accepts their charters for incorporation. It should
be written in the charters of such social clubs that unlawful dispensing
of liquor and gambling is prohibited; and each member should
be made liable for a violation of the law and the terms of the charter
and be subject to prosecution.
It has been vaguely insinuated that I am favorable to a policy
which would permit these unlawful social corporations to continue
their business, but those who cast out such reflections are blinded
with personal or political prejudice to such an extent that they are
willing to sacrifice the truth in exchange for what they think will
serve them as political capital. If the Legislature will amend this
law there will be no charters issued by one department of the State
government and straw men set up for another department to knock
down. The shame of it in one instance will be stopped and the expense
of it in the other will be done away with.
Local option is the most rational form of Prohibition. I am not
myself, as all informed persons know, a believer in the principle of
Prohibition, but I do believe in the public policy of local option, for
it confers upon the people of any community the right to either license
or prohibit the liquor traffic in any community or county. Because
of my convictins on the general principle some have sought
to create the idea that I would wink at violations of the local option
statutes. Under the provisions of our Constitution and laws it is
not made the direct duty of the Governor to see to the detail enforcement
of these statutes, other constituted authorities having been
provided for this purpose, but it is my purpose to invoke all the
energy of the law to the full extent of the Governor's power to see
that the local option statutes are enforced in a judicial, orderly and
constitutional way. I believe in personal liberty, with proper restraints
by the law, but unlawful license will not be tolerated where
the Governor is given authority to prevent it in any case, or by any
class or by any official.
ENFORCEMENT OF THE LAW.
All officers charged with the duty of doing so should see that all
laws are fairly and justly enforced. Laws may not be in accordance
with the individual view of a public servant whose duty it is to enforce
them, but if the law is unjust, the impartial enforcement of it
will bring the injustice of it to the public attention, and they will
demand its repeal. I believe that it is the duty of a public official
to enforce the law, whether he agrees with it or not. I trust to have
the co-operation of heads of departments of the State government,
as well as county, precinct and municipal officers, in the enforcement
of all laws. But whether I have this co-operation of individual officers
or not, I shall try to fully discharge all constitutional require
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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/m1/7/: accessed September 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .