Message of Gov. J. S. Hogg to the twenty-third Legislature of Texas. Page: 8 of 28
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MESSAGE OF THE GOVERNOR.
further building of railroads in the State. It might as well be said here, that
if the advent or continuance of new capital, or the further building of railroa,ls
in Texas, depends upon the absolute surrender of the rights of the people
in this respect, it would be well now to let them part with us forever.
Fictitious bonds are not capital nor the representatives of capital. They are
the fruits of crime, threatening to sap the life of commerce, and to create in
this government tramps and millionaires at the expense of the liberties of the
people. Texas has granted to her railway companies thirty five million
acres, or a territory sufficient to make a number of respectable States. She
has exacted less of them, and has conferred more privileges, franchises, and
wealth upon them. than perhaps any other State in the American union. She
has taxed them lighter than most any other country, and stands ready yet to
encourage them by every legitimate measure consistent with fair dealing and
justice to her people. The law under consideration, if carefully and strongly
drawn and passed. will prevent the practice of such frauds and swindles so
long perpetrated through this abuse of corporate franchises, and will encourage
the investment of honest capital in railway improvement. It will protect
commerce from unjust burdens, guard the people from bankruptcy and servility,
and add strength and respectability to the independent autonomy of the
State government, which must in time command the approval of all impartial,
This State has not escaped the mania prevalent throughout the United
States for loading posterity with debts they do not owe by the issuance
of interest-bearing honds to gratify the extravagance of the present
generation. At best, public bonds, as a rule, are not unmixed with evil.
County and municipal bonds generally bear an interest of from six to eight
per cent, and are payable sometimes beyond the life of the generation executing
them, for the construction of roads, streets, and public buildings, which, in
the nature of things, will have washed away, grown into disuse, or collapsed
into decay long before the debts are due. To load posterity with the debts of
the present cannot he excusable on any other ground than absolute public necessity.
The people appear to have been so impressed when last August, speaking
through their convention, they made use of the following expression:i1
5. WTe demand the passage of a law that will prevent the useless and
extravagant issuance of bonds by cities, towns, and counties in the State, confining
them within constitutional limitations to actual public necessities, so as
to preserve the public faith, to insure a lower rate of interest, and to protect
the present and future generations from burdens that should never be imposed
by such methods"
A few facts that will not be controverted may perhaps more clearly demonstrate
the necessity of action now to check the impulse of extravagance that
seems to move the people on this line. While legitimate public enterprise of
every character is commendable. extravagance at public expense is inexcusable.
That many of the counties are lavish in expenditures for the
construction of court houses and jails, and that many towns and so-called
cities go far beyond the necessities of the times for various purposes, incumbering
the public with interest-bearing bonds to an alarming extent, cannot
be gainsaid. Investigation will show that the bonded debt for court houses
alone in some of the populous counties amounts to thirty dollars per capita of
the voting population, while in others more sparsely settled it reaches as high
as $220 per capita of their adult males. Add to the court-house debt the
amount incurred for jails, bridges and public roads, and the per capita in
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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/m1/8/: accessed March 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .