Message of Gov. J. S. Hogg to the twenty-third Legislature of Texas. Page: 11 of 28
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MESSAGE OF THE GOVERNOR. 11
power to destroy them nor to revoke their charters, she has the right to tax
them and to limit their right to acquire property, to prescribe the time and
method of its alienation, and to exclude them from the State on conditions
and terms consistent with vested rights, at will. Many of them are chartered
abroad with the provision in the grant that they shall not own lands within
the grantor government, but may go elsewhere for that purpose. If
they were good, this condition would not be in them. It is not well for a
great people, in the exciting race for wealth, to overlook this germ now
being sowed among them, which, if neglected long, will spring into an overshadowing
growth that can neither be checked nor destroyed. l'here is a
land famine in most of the old world and in many sectio,ls of the new. In
the natural drift of affairs it may reach Texas within the next generation.
Nothing can so readily precipitate it as the land corporation. When
known that there are now in nine of the old States only seven acres capita;
that in nine of the others there are only twenty acres per capita; that in
twelve others, comparatively new States, there are only twenty-two acres per
capita; that in nine strictly Southern States there are only thirty-five acres
per capita, and that in the whole United States. including the territories,
there are only thirty-seven acres per capita of the whole population, and that
about one-tenth of these lands are possessed by land corporations, there is at
least some excuse for a thoughtful people to be agitated at this time over the
land problem. While the whole area of Texas amounts to about seventyfour
acres per capita of her population, she is confronted with the most serious
condition of corporate ownership of about one-fourth of it all. Statistics
show that in the United States from 1870 to 1880 the cultivable lands
in stable crops increased sixty-six per cent; while from 1880 to 1890 the
increase thereof was only twenty-six per cent. The evident cause of this is
the growing scarcity of agricultural lands throughout the government. The
bread-producing land of the world is fast being exhausted while the breadconsuming
people are increasing. As the ratio of production decreases, the
ratio of bread consumption from year to year steadily increases. The land
problem, after all, underlies the bread problem. It is the duty of the government
to understand this and to act wisely for the good of posterity. This
can best be done by restrictive laws, making corporate land monopoly impossible
for the future. While the American people have escaped the evil
of land monopoly under the laws of primogeniture of the old world, they may
yet find themselves involved in a more serious condition-that of land monopoly
from titles in perpetuity caused by corporate ownership.
To comply with this demand of the people of Texas, therefore, who had
the right to make it, a law now becomes necessary by your honorable bodies
and the following suggestions therein are respectfully made:1.
I)eclare that land corporations are contrary to the genius of a free
government, and shall ilereafter exercise no rights in Texas except such as
may be expressly authorized by law.
2. That no such corporation shall hereafter be chartered or be permitted
to do business in the State after a limited period named.
3. That further acquisition of title or interest in land for speculative,
agricultural or grazing purposes shall be prohibited.
4. That those now holding title to or interest in lands for agricultural cr
grazing purposes, or that may, under the provisions of the law authorizing
them to purchase real estate in collection of debt, hereafter acquire interest
in or title to such land, shall within a specified time, consistent with vested
rights, alienate them to natural persons, wind up their corporate affairs, and
leave the State on prescribed penalties and forfeitures.
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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/m1/11/: accessed August 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .