Saturday, June 14, 2008

This Week in Texas Methodist History June 15

Governor Ferguson Replies to Panhandle Methodist Women June, 1925

A previous post (archived at November 2007, see side bar) told the story of “Ma” Ferguson and her generous pardon policy which Methodists condemned because it put convicted bootleggers back on the street. Readers would be interested in hearing Ma’s side of the story.

The following is part of the text of a reply she made to “Methodist Women of the Panhandle” in June, 1925.

Again the record will show that of these 353 proclamations, 70 were furloughs. Let me show to these people, who think I am heartless, just how the furlough works: A gray-haired mother, perhaps 70 years old, is suddenly stricken in some distant county of the state; the doctors say it is only a question of a few days when she must pass to the great beyond. She has a wayward son in the penitentiary. Perhaps it is her first born and again it may be her baby; and in the delirium of her dying moments, the impulse of a loving mother goes out to her wayward son and she wants to see him before death shall take her hence.

The son in the penitentiary is informed his mother is dying and he, perhaps with a good record and perhaps serving a sentence for his first offense, wants again to look upon his mother’s face for the last time and receive from her lips the last admonition to be a good boy and try to live right. Oh, you critics, no one but the Governor can relieve this situation, and you may rave and howl to your heart’s content and you may criticise me and you may abuse me, but so long as I am Governor I serve notice on you now and forever, that no dying mother shall ever plead in vain for a chance to again see the wayward unfortunate son before death shall claim her into eternity.


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