Message of Governor James S. Hogg to the twenty-fourth legislature of Texas Page: 43 of 48
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MESSAGE OF GOVERNOR HOGG.
When a man commits an offense, under the laws of this State, the Constitution
guarantees to him a fair, impartial public trial. There can be
no man in his cooler moments who would not revolt at the destruction of
these constitutional safeguards. There is little sentiment or excuse now
anywhere to support the spirit of mob violence. Those who contend for
it insist that a man should be executed for committing an assault to rape.
If the Legislature should deem it advisable to make this offense a capital
felony, to be punished by death or confinement in the penitentiary, within
the discretion of the jury, then the last excuse offered by any intelligent
man in the State for the encouragement of mob law will be removed.
That all men should be fairly tried for their crimes, and mob law be suppressed,
should not only be the solemn pledge but the unfailing guarantee
and action of the State. To securely guard the citizen against the
repetition of mob violence in the future, it is well now to adopt the
measures that I suggested at the last regular session, embodying the following
"i 1. That when any person, being a prisoner, or in a jail or other
place of confinement, or under arrest or in official custody or restraint,
or is held by or under the authority of any county, city or State officer,
or is restrained by virtue of any legal process, shall be taken from such
place or authority in violation of law and put to death, the county within
which such person was so held or confined, and from which he may have
been so taken, shall be liable to pay a specified large sum to the surviving
husband, wife, children or parents of said person who shall so suffer
"2. Make the county also liable for damages when any person not
being a prisoner or under legal duress, is mobbed by two or more persons,
and the said criminals are not within a specified time indicted an.d
prosecuted for their crime.
*3. Make such person or corporation also liable for damages, who
takes part in, or aids by acts, encourages by words or gestures, or who
keeps watch, or in any way abets in the mobbing of a person.
" 4. Give the surviving relatives an action in the district court of any
county where the murder was committed, or in any county where either
or all of.the plaintiffs may reside when the action is instituted.
" 5. Render the sheriff ineligible to hold his office, and provide for
his removal when a prisoner is taken from the jail, or from himself, or
from any officer or lawful authority in his presence, and is put to death
by a mob.
" 6. Provide for a change of venue, either before or after indictment,
in all cases of mob violence."
A law embracing the foregoing provisions will place great and effective
responsibility upon the local officers of the county, and in this way a
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Hogg, J.S. (James S.). Message of Governor James S. Hogg to the twenty-fourth legislature of Texas, book, 1895; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth5862/m1/43/: accessed May 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .