Message of Gov. J. S. Hogg to the twenty-third Legislature of Texas. Page: 10 of 28
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MESSAGE OF THE GOVERNOR.
thereof, shall be admitted and received in evidence of the validity of the
bonds and the coupons thereto, which may have been so purchased.
5. Make it a criminal offense for any officer or person who may be a
party to tlle execution or sale of any fraudulent or fictitious bond; or who
may knowingly issue, execute or take part therein of any bond in excess
of legal authority.
By passing a law substantially embodying these features, the public credit
will be protected and shielded from opprobrium, investments in such securities
guaranteed absolute safety. economy promoted by a reduction of interest,
the spirit of extravagance checked, and the present and future generations
justly guarded against obnoxious public burdens that no government should
encourage or permit.
The Constitution declares that, "Perpetuities and monopolies are contrary
to the genius of a free government and shall never be allowed, nor shall the
law of primogeniture or entailments ever be in force in this State."-Art. 1,
Section 26. The laws of this State regulating the estates of deceased persons,
are amply sufficient to give full force and effect to the spirit of the
constitution against primogeniture and entailments. But there is no law to
check or limit title to lands owned by corporations nor to prevent monopolies
of real estate by them. While land corporations cannot, as such, be
chartered under the laws of this State, yet under the law authorizing the'
Secretary of State to grant permits to foreign corporations to do business
witlhin the State, they are chartered in other States and foreign countries
and are operating here in the purchase and ownership of lands. Titles to
many million acres are now vested in them, the lands withheld from settlement
except at exorbitant prices, without any law regulating or controlling
or limiting the corporate rights in any respect whatsoever. There is danger
in this condition, which seems to have aroused the people; for, in their
convention last August, they adopted the following platform on that subject:"16.
We demand the enactment of a law that will define perpetuities
and prohibit the operation of land corporations in this State, requiring those
now holding title or possession of lands for agricultural, horticultural, graz.
ing and speculating purposes, excepting overflowed and irrigation lands. to
dispose of the same within such reasonable time as may not impair vested
The purpose of this demand is wise and just. Land corporations having
in view the ownership of large bodies of soil, portend land monopoly with
titles in perpetuity. There is no institution more inimical to the genius of a
free government; none that should be more strenuously prohibited. Permit
corporations of this class to operate much longer in this State, grouping
together large bodies of agricultural and grazing lands, and the time is not
far off when, if the people are permitted to buy homes at all, they can only
do so at prices and on such terms that bondage of themselves and their
posterity must be the result; for an excessive mortgage debt on a home,
bearing annual interest high enough to deman(d the surplus products of labor
to meet it, means no more nor less than bondage of an aggravated form.
The condition of other States in this respect cannot fail to be a valuable lesson
to Texas. A corporation has been defined to be an artificial being,
invisible, intangible, existing only in contemplation of law, with life perpetual.
No power can check its franchises nor limit or destroy its life except the
government that grants its charter. Operating in Texas lands now are Scotch
and British corporations and those of other States. While the State has no
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Hogg, J.S. (James S.). Message of Gov. J. S. Hogg to the twenty-third Legislature of Texas., book, January 12, 1893; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth5861/m1/10/: accessed June 25, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .