Speeches delivered by Pat M. Neff, Governor of Texas, discussing certain phases of contemplated legislation Page: 58 of 61
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for Texas than any other citizen of his generation; last, but by
no means least, that sleepless watchman on the walls who never forgot
the people, James S. Hogg.
Your presence here as lawmakers is typical of the presence of all
the people of Texas. You have been selected by your constituents in
accordance with the provisions of our Constitution. They have deposited
'all their power in your hands. I commend and congratulate you
that you have seen fit to lay aside for a time personal affairs and the
private pursuits of life and gather here as the representatives of five
million people who can only be heard and can only be represented by
your voice and by your vote. What a broad and ample field you have
in which to serve.
A BROAD FIELD FOR SERVICE.
You are the honored representatives of a country larger than Germany-larger
than France-larger than was America when she whipped
the conqueror of Napoleon. You represent a State providentially dowered
with vast and varied natural resources; favored with four hundred
miles of water front, an open gateway to the world; enriched with agriculture,
horticulture, stock raising, mineral productions and a thousand
other enterprises, all vying in a friendly rivalry for recognition as the
principal industry; a commonwealth occupied by a people loyal, patriotic,
and true. To be the representatives of such a State and the spokesmen
for such a people is an opportunity for honor that comes to but
few in this world. Whether these opportunities for honor to you and
me shall ripen into real honor or shrivel into dishonor depends upon
whether we shall comprehend the duties that are always the correlative
of opportunity, and undertake to perform them with courage, charity
and humility, obliterating personal interests and rising to the heights of
patriotic effort in behalf of this great State.
A sacred trust is that of a lawmaker. His function is the highest
known to man. He is clothed with the power and the duty to act for
the people. What he commands, they must do. He gives direction to
their conduct and to their activities. The people place their burdens
and their poblems in his hands. They look to him to protect them in
life and property; they look to him to expend their money judiciously;
they look to him to safeguard their interests; they look to him to
strengthen their government, to lift high their ideals, and to keep at
all times, unsullied and untarnished, the honored commission which
they with full confidence placed in his hands. Thus to serve is a
noble ambition. I congratulate most heartily this lawmaking body,
that you selected this legislative hall as a forum in which to toil and
struggle for a greater Texas. No man should consider himself too
big or too busy to take an active interest in the political affairs of his
country. Politics is a broad and ample field for noble endeavor. In it
is won or lost at last the things worth while that touch the lives not
only of the living, but shape the destiny of generations yet to be. Therefore,
my friends and co-workers, with mutual confidence, with enlarged
Here’s what’s next.
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Neff, Pat M. Speeches delivered by Pat M. Neff, Governor of Texas, discussing certain phases of contemplated legislation, book, 1923; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth5835/m1/58/: accessed April 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .