Indian wars and pioneers of Texas / by John Henry Brown. Page: 867 of 894
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INDIAN WARS AND PIONEERS OF TEXAS.
ment, he compelled the removal of the headquarters,
general offices and shops of every railroad in this
State, which were located in foreign cities and
States, back upon the line of their respecitve roads.
The roads were compelled to bring them back to
San Antonio, to Houston, to Galveston, to Dallas,
to Fort Worth, to El Paso, to Denison, to Texarkana,
to Tyler, and to other places where they
belonged under the terms of the charters of the
The very section of the constitution which creates
the office of Attorney-General requires him to look
after private corporations: It says:
"He shall especially inquire into the charter
rights of all private corporations, and from time to
time, in the name of the State, take such action in
the courts as may be proper and necessary to prevent
any private corporation from exercising any
power * * * not authorized by law."
Within forty days after he qualified he took
action under this provision of the constitution, and
continued to operate under it actively and effectively.
His first work under it was against illegal
fire and life insurance companies, generally called
"wild-cat" concerns. Then there were about forty
of them operating in Texas in violation of law. By
the aid of an efficient and faithful commissioner of
insurance, through the courts, he effected the extermination
of every one of them within twelve
months. It is said many good men were innocently
in the service of those companies. Some of them
may yet regret the loss of lucrative positions by the
rigid enforcement of the law, but they all ought to
be, and doubtless are, patriotic enough to rejoice
at the general public good effected as the general
result. By this work the commissioner says the
people have been saved at least $250,000 per year.
.The railroad from Sabine Pass to Beaumont had
ceased to operate. For months no trains of any
character were run between the two points, a distance
of thirty miles. It was the only road
to the Pass and the company refused to
operate it down there. Complaint was made
to the Attorney-General and he brought action
against it and forced it to reconstruct, equip
and operate the road. Since that time it has been
doing its duty to the public without complaint.
Without entering into further details of the
services he performed as Attorney-General, it is
enough to state that by suits and official action duly
taken, he compelled most of the railroads in Texas,
so far as the law would warrant, to decently repair,
equip and operate their roads, to cease discrimination
in many instances between shippers, to construct
and keep in proper order suitable depot
buildings, and to otherwise perform their duties to
the public. In the same way he compelled the
dissolution of many unlawful combinations within
the State that had been for a long time operating
in defiance of law. Included within these were
the express association, insurance underwriters,
coffin combine, tobacco trust and others. He also
represented the State in numbers of cases in the
Supreme and District Courts against defaulting
sheriffs and tax-collectors, delinquent land lessees
and others, who were due the State or sought
to recover from it sums of money. He stirred up,
through the efficient district and county attorneys,
delinquent taxpayers and many others who refused
to perform their legal obligations to the government.
By proceedings in the nature of quo warranto
he procured a forfeiture of the charter of the
East Line and Red River Railway on account of
the failure of that corporation to comply with its
stipulations. He instituted actions to recover lands
illegally acquired by railroads and filed a large
number of other important suits.
In the Twenty-first Legislature a strong effort
was made to pass a bill providing for a commission
to regulate and control the rates of railway traffic
having its origin and destination within the State,
but it failed of passage, mainly because a large
number of members of that body considered such a
law in conflict with the constitution. As a compromise
and to determine the popular will, the
Twenty-first Legislature submitted, for adoption or
rejection by the people, a constitutional amendment
providing expressly for the creation of such a commission.
Other important amendments were submitted
at the same time, but the one relating to railways
overshadowed in prominence all others, and it
constituted the main issue of the gubernatorial
campaign. While the passage of a commission bill
through the Legislature had been attempted and its
provisions, constitutionality and expediency were
discussed in the debates attending the effort, yet a
great majority of the people had no clear conception
of -the fundamental principles involved, the
extent of the evils to be remedied and the rights
and powers of the State and roads in the premises,
until Governor Hogg's great opening speech was
delivered at Rusk. Before the campaign opened
the public mind was in a state well-nigh bordering
upon indifference. His speech at Rusk, April 19,
1890, however, was like the blast of a bugle in
some enchanted hall filled with sleeping men at
arms, who, at the martial sound, leap to their feet,
clash their weapons and sally out in full array of
battle, ready and eager for the fray. The
Galveston-Dallas News published the speech in full
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Brown, John Henry. Indian wars and pioneers of Texas / by John Henry Brown., book, 1880~; Austin, Tex.. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth6725/m1/867/: accessed November 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .