4
TEXAS POLITICS IN 1871 AND 1872

THE TAXPAYERS' CONVENTION

DURING THE SUMMER OF 1871 a group of prominent Texas citizens, including E. M. Pease, Morgan C. Hamilton, George Hancock, M. H. Bowers, R. M. Lane, and others, called upon fellow Texans to hold meetings at the county level for the dual purpose of discussing heavy state taxation and of electing delegates to a state taxpayers' convention to be held at Austin in September.1

As a result, ninety-four counties sent delegates to the convention held on September 22, 23, and 25.2 The meeting represented a unified effort by Conservative Republicans and Democrats to undermine the Davis party, using as tools the heavy state expenditures, the high taxes, and the likelihood of continued extravagance by the Radical legislature.3

The temporary chairman of the convention was Major George B. Erath of McLennan County; E. M. Pease was given the permanent chairmanship.4 After taking his seat ex-Governor Pease addressed the convention, describing the critical financial condition of the state.

...Now, little more than a year and a half has elapsed since the present civil government was established in our State. The government commenced operations with a large balance in the Treasury, but by improvidence and extravagance we are now reduced to the humiliating position of seeing the

____________________
1
Deocratic Statesman, August 12, 1871, I, 8.
2
John Henry Brown, History of Texas from 1685 to 1892, II, 456.
3
Charles W. Ramsdell, Reconstruction in Texas, p. 308.
4
Frank Brown, "Annals of Travis County and the City of Austin," Ch. III, p. 51, MS.

-93-

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