The constitution was adopted by the Texas convention on March 16th,
1836, but was not signed till the following day. It was thoroughly
republican. Its provisions were a combination of the principles in the
federal and state constitutions of the Union. It provided for a
president, vice-president, and a Congress of two houses ; and, for
immediate purposes, it established a government ad interim. This was the
more necessary, as the constitution was to be submitted to the popular
vote. The form of the temporary government was in accordance with the
constitution. This labor being concluded, the convention proceeded, on
the 16th of March, to elect the several officers provided for in the
temporary arrangement. David G. Burnet was chosen president, Lorenzo de
Zavala vice-president, Samuel P. Carson secretary of state, Bailey
Hardiman secretary of the treasury,
Rusk secretary of war, Robert Potter secretary of the navy, and
David Thomas attorney-general. The oath of office was immediately
administered to these persons, and they entered upon their several
duties. On the following day the convention adjourned.
Among the provisions of the constitution of the republic was one
introducing the common law as the rule of decision in criminal cases ;
and requiring its introduction, with modifications, in civil
proceedings. Another provision introduced the political division of the
state into convenient counties. These, with the establishment of
well-known common-law offices, removed almost every vestige of former
dynasties ; so that one afterward immigrating into Texas, with the
exception of occasional jarring from the limited partnership between
husband and wife, and forced heirship, would feel as free and familiar
with the institutions of his new home as he did in the state of his
origin, in the American Union.
Houston was present at the convention, having been returned as a
delegate from Refugio; and, deeming his authority in fact superseded by
the action of the council, he had ceased to act as commander-in-chief of
the army. The
Declaration of Independence required a new appointment, for his
former oath of office was under the constitution of 1824, and in
During the sitting of the convention, the country was greatly excited
and filled with gloomy apprehensions. Every effort was made to hasten
troops to the west, to relieve
Travis and Fannin from their supposed perilous position, but with
little avail. Some one or two hundred effective men hung about the hall
of the convention, and no inducement could start them toward the west
till the adjournment of that body. On the day before General Houston
received his final instructions, a member introduced a resolution
requesting that he would immediately set out for the army, or resign.
Houston, in reply, stated that if the gentleman would withdraw the
resolution, he would say that " he purposed to set out for the army on
the next morning, and would gladly have his company." The resolution was
withdrawn, but the mover did not go to the army. Accordingly, on the 6th
of March, the commander-in-chief, after placing Colonel Collingsworth in
command of the forces at Washington, set out for the west, accompanied
only by Colonel George W. Hockly, of his staff, and one or two others.
Text of the Constitution of the Republic of Texas:
We, the People of Texas, in order to form a Government, establish
justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence and
general welfare; and to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves,
and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution.
1. The powers of this Government shall be divided
into three departments, viz: Legislative, Executive and
Judicial, which shall remain forever separate and distinct.
The Legislative power shall be vested in a Senate and
House of Representatives, to be styled the Congress of the
Republic of Texas.
The members of the House of Representatives shall be chosen
annually, on the first Monday of September each year, until
Congress shall otherwise provide by law, and shall hold their
offices one year from the date of their election.
No person shall be eligible to a seat in the House of
Representatives until he shall have attained the age of
twenty-five years, shall be a citizen of the Republic, and shall
have resided in the county or district six months next preceding
The House of Representatives shall not consist of less than
twenty-four, nor more than forty members, until the population
shall amount to one hundred thousand souls, after which time the
whole number of Representatives shall not be less than forty,
nor more than one hundred: Provided, however, that each
county shall be entitled to at least one Representative.
6. The House of Representatives shall choose
their speaker and other officers, and shall have the sole
power of impeachment.
7. The Senators shall be chosen by districts, as
nearly equal in free population (free negroes and Indians
excepted,) as practicable; and the number of Senators shall
never be less than one third nor more than one half the
number of Representatives, and each district shall be
entitled to one member and no more.
8. The Senators shall be chosen for the term of
three years, on the first Monday in September; shall be
citizens of the Republic, reside in the district for which
they are respectively chosen at least one year before the
election; and shall have attained the age of thirty years.
9. At the first session of Congress after the
adoption of this Constitution, the Senators shall be divided
by lot into three classes, as nearly equal as practicable;
the seats of the Senators of the first class shall be
vacated at the end of the first year; of the second class,
at the end of the second year; the third class, at the end
of the third year, in such a manner that one third shall be
chosen each year thereafter.
10. The Vice President of the Republic shall be
President of the Senate, but shall not vote on any question,
unless the Senate be equally divided.
11. The Senate shall choose all other officers of
their body, and a President pro tempore, in the absence of
the Vice President, or whenever he shall exercise the office
of President; shall have the sole power to try impeachments,
and when sitting as a court of impeachment, shall be under
oath; but no conviction shall take place without the
concurrence of two thirds of all the members present.
12. Judgment in cases of impeachment shall only
extend to removal from office, and disqualification to hold
any office of honor, trust or profit under this Government;
but the party shall nevertheless be liable to indictment,
trial, judgment and punishment according to law.
13. Each House shall be the judge of the
elections, qualifications and returns of its own members.
Two thirds of each House shall constitute a quorum to do
business, but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day,
and may compel the attendance of absent members.
14. Each House may determine the rules of its own
proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, and
with the concurrence of two thirds, may expel a member, but
not a second time for the same offence.
15. Senators and Representatives shall receive a
compensation for their services, to be fixed by law, but no
increase of compensation, or diminution, shall take effect
during the session at which such increase or diminution
shall have been made. They shall, except in case of treason,
felony, or breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest
during the session of Congress, and in going to and
returning from same; and for any speech or debate in either
House they shall not be questioned in any other place.
16. Each House may punish, by imprisonment,
during the session, any person not a member, who shall be
guilty of any disrespect to the House, by any disorderly
conduct in their presence.
17. Each House shall keep a journal of its
proceedings, and publish the same, except such parts as in
its judgment require secrecy. When any three members shall
desire the yeas and nays on any question, they shall be
entered on the journals.
18. Neither House, without the consent of the
other, shall adjourn for more than three days, nor to any
other place than that in which the two Houses may be
19. When vacancies happen in either House, the
Executive shall issue writs of election to fill such
20. No bill shall become a law until it shall
have been read on three several days in each House, and
passed by the same, unless, in cases of emergency, two
thirds of the members of the House where the bill originated
shall deem it expedient to dispense with the rule.
21. After a bill shall have been rejected, no
bill containing the same substance shall be passed into a
law during the same session.
22. The style of the laws of the Republic shall
be, "Be it enacted by the Senate and House of
Representatives of the Republic of Texas, in Congress
23. No person holding an office of profit under
the Government shall be eligible to a seat in either House
of Congress, nor shall any member of either House be
eligible to any office which may be created, or the profits
of which shall be increased during his term of service.
24. No holder of public monies or collector
thereof, shall be eligible to a seat in either House of
Congress, until he shall have fully acquitted himself of all
responsibility, and shall produce the proper officerís
receipt thereof. Members of either House may protest against
any act or resolution, and may have such protest entered on
the journals of their respective Houses.
25. No money shall be drawn from the public
treasury but in strict accordance with appropriations made
by law; and no appropriations shall be made for private or
local purposes, unless two thirds of each House concur in
26. Every act of Congress shall be approved and
signed by the President before it becomes a law; but if the
President will not approve and sign such act, he shall
return it to the House in which it shall have originated,
with his reasons for not approving the same, which shall be
spread upon the journals of such House, and the bill shall
then be reconsidered, and shall not become a law unless it
shall then pass by a vote of two thirds of both Houses. If
any act shall be disapproved by the President, the vote on
the reconsideration shall be recorded by ayes and noes. If
the President shall fail to return a bill within five days
(Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented for
his approval and signature, the same shall become a law,
unless the Congress prevent its return within the time above
specified by adjournment.
27. All bills, acts, orders, or resolutions, to
which the concurrence of both Houses may be necessary,
(motions or resolutions for adjournment excepted,) shall be
approved and signed by the President, or being disapproved,
shall be passed by two thirds of both Houses, in manner and
form as specified in section twenty.
SEC. 1. Congress
shall have power to levy and collect taxes and
imposts, excise and tonage duties; to borrow money
on the faith, credit, and property of the
Government, to pay the debts and to provide for the
common defence and general welfare of the Republic.
SEC. 2. To regulate
commerce, to coin money, to regulate the value
thereof and of foreign coin, to fix the standard of
weights and measures, but nothing but gold and
silver shall be made a lawful tender.
SEC. 3. To
establish post offices and post roads, to grant
charters of incorporation, patents and copy rights,
and secure to the authors and inventors the
exclusive use thereof for a limited time.
SEC. 4. To declare
war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and to
SEC. 5. To provide
and maintain an army and navy, and to make all laws
and regulations necessary for their Government.
SEC. 6. To call out
the militia to execute the law, to suppress
insurrections, and repel invasion.
SEC. 7. To make all
laws which shall be deemed necessary and proper to
carry into effect the foregoing express grants of
power, and all other powers vested in the Government
of the Republic, or in any officer or department
SEC. 1. The
Executive authority of this Government shall be
vested in a chief magistrate, who shall be styled
The President of the Republic of Texas.
SEC. 2. The
first President elected by the People shall hold his
office for the term of two years, and shall be
ineligible during the next succeeding term; and all
subsequent Presidents shall be elected for three
years, and be alike ineligible; and in the event of
a tie, the House of Representatives shall determine
between the two highest candidates by viva voce
SEC. 3. The
returns of the elections for President and Vice
President shall be sealed up and transmitted to the
Speaker of the House of Representatives, by the
holders of elections of each county; and the Speaker
of the House of Representatives shall open and
publish the returns, in presence of a majority of
each House of Congress.
SEC. 1. The
Judicial powers of the Government shall be vested in
one Supreme Court, and such inferior courts as the
Congress may, from time to time, ordain and
establish. The judges of the supreme and inferior
courts shall hold their offices for four years, be
eligible to re-election, and shall, at stated
periods, receive for their services a compensation,
not to be increased or diminished during the period
for which they were elected.
SEC. 2. The
Republic of Texas shall be divided into convenient
judicial districts, not less than three, nor more
than eight. There shall be appointed for each
district, a judge, who shall reside in the same, and
hold the courts at such times and places as Congress
may by law direct.
SEC. 3. In all
admiralty and maritime cases, in all cases affecting
ambassadors, public ministers, or consuls, and in
all capital cases when the matter in controversy
amounts to one hundred dollars.
SEC. 4. The judges, by
virtue of their offices, shall be conservators of
the peace, throughout the Republic. The style of all
process shall be, "The Republic of Texas;" and all
prosecutions shall be carried on in the name and by
the authority of the same, and conclude, "Against
the peace and dignity of the Republic."
SEC. 5. There
shall be a district attorney appointed for each
district, whose duties, salaries, perquisites, and
terms of service shall be fixed by law.
SEC. 6. The
clerks of the district courts shall be elected by
the qualified voters for members of Congress in the
counties where the courts are established, and shall
hold their offices for four years, subject to
removal by presentment of a grand jury, and
convictions of a petit jury.
SEC. 7. The
Supreme Court shall consist of a chief justice and
associate judges; the district judges shall compose
the associate judges, a majority of whom, with the
chief justice, shall constitute a quorum.
SEC. 8. The
Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction
only, which shall be conclusive, within the limits
of the Republic; and shall hold it sessions annually
at such times and places as may be fixed by law;
provided that no judge shall sit in a case in the
Supreme Court tried by him in the court below.
SEC. 9. The judges
of the supreme and district courts shall be elected
by joint ballot of both Houses of Congress.
SEC. 10. There
shall be, in each county, a county court, and such
justicesí courts as the Congress may from time to
SEC. 11. The
Republic shall be divided into convenient counties,
but no new county shall be established, unless it be
done on the petition of one hundred free male
inhabitants of the territory sought to be laid off
and established, and unless the said territory shall
contain nine hundred square miles.
SEC. 12. There
shall be appointed, for each county, a convenient
number of justices of the peace, one sheriff, one
coroner, and a sufficient number of constables, who
shall hold their offices for two years, to be
elected by the qualified voters of the district or
county, as Congress may direct. Justices of the
peace and sheriffs shall be commissioned by the
SEC. 13. The
Congress shall, as early as practicable, introduce,
by statute, the common law of England, with such
modifications as our circumstances, in their
judgment, may require; and in all criminal cases the
common law shall be the rule of decision.
Ministers of the gospel being, by their profession,
dedicated to God and the care of souls, ought not to
be diverted from the great duties of their
functions, therefore, no minister of the gospel or
priest of any denomination whatever shall be
eligible to the office of the Executive of the
Republic, nor to a seat of either branch of the
Congress of the same.
SEC. 2. Each
member of the Senate and House of Representatives
shall, before they proceed to business, take an oath
to support the Constitution, as follows:
"I, A. B., do solemnly swear [or affirm, as the
case may be] that, as a member of this General
Congress, I will support the Constitution of the
Republic, and that I will not propose or assent to
any bill, vote, or resolution, which shall appear to
me injurious to the People."
SEC. 3. Every
person who shall be chosen or appointed to any
office of trust or profit shall, before entering on
the duties thereof, take an oath to support the
Constitution of the Republic, and also an oath of
SEC. 1. No
person shall be eligible to the office of President
who shall not have attained the age of thirty-five
years, shall be a citizen of the Republic at the
time of the adoption of this Constitution, or an
inhabitant of this Republic at least three years
immediately preceding his election.
SEC. 2. The
President shall enter on the duties of his office on
the second Monday in December next succeeding his
election, and shall remain in office until his
successor shall be duly qualified.
SEC. 3. The
President shall, at stated times, receive a
compensation for his services, which shall not be
increased or diminished during his continuance in
office; and before entering upon the duties of his
office, he shall take and subscribe the following
oath or affirmation: "I, A. B., President of the
Republic of Texas, do solemnly and sincerely swear
[or affirm, as the case may be] that I will
faithfully execute the duties of my office, and to
the best of my ability preserve, protect, and defend
the Constitution of the Republic.
SEC. 4. He shall be
commander-in-chief of the army and navy of the
republic, and militia thereof, but he shall not
command in person without the authority of a
resolution of congress. He shall have power to
remit fines and forfeitures, and to grant reprieves
and pardons, except in cases of impeachment
SEC. 5. He
shall, with the advice and consent of two-thirds of
the Senate, make treaties; and with the consent of
the Senate, appoint ministers and consuls, and all
officers whose offices are established by the
Constitution, not herein otherwise provided for.
SEC. 6. The
President shall have power to fill all vacancies
that may happen during the recess of the Senate; but
he shall report the same to the Senate within ten
days after the next Congress shall convene; and
should the Senate reject the same, the President
shall not re-nominate the same individual to the
SEC. 7. He shall
from time to time give Congress information of the
state of the Republic, and recommend for their
consideration such measures as he may deem
necessary. He may, upon extraordinary occasions,
convene both Houses, or either of them. In the event
of a disagreement as to the time of adjournment, he
may adjourn them to such time as he may think
proper. He shall receive all foreign ministers. He
shall see that the laws be faithfully executed, and
shall commission all the officers of the Republic.
SEC. 8. There shall
be a seal of the Republic, which shall be kept by
the President and used by him officially; it shall
be called the great seal of the Republic of Texas.
SEC. 9. All grants
and commissions shall be in the name and by the
authority of the Republic of Texas, shall be sealed
with the great seal, and signed by the President.
SEC. 10. The
President shall have power, by and with the advice
and consent of the Senate, to appoint a Secretary of
State and such other heads of Executive departments
as may be established by law, who shall remain in
office during the term of service of the President,
unless sooner removed by the President, with the
advice and consent of the Senate.
SEC. 11. Every
citizen of the Republic who has attained the age of
twenty-one years, and shall have resided six months
within the district or county where the election is
held, shall be entitled to vote for members of the
SEC. 12. All
elections shall be by ballot, unless Congress shall
SEC. 13. All
elections by joint vote of both Houses of Congress
shall be viva voce, shall be entered on the
journals, and a majority of all the votes shall be
necessary to a choice.
SEC. 14. A Vice
President shall be chosen at every election for
President, in the same manner, continue in office
for the same time, and shall possess the same
qualifications of the President. In voting for
President and Vice President, the electors shall
distinguish for whom they vote as President, and for
whom as Vice President.
SEC. 15. In cases
of impeachment, removal from office, death,
resignation, or absence of the President from the
Republic, the Vice President shall exercise the
powers and discharge the duties of the President
until a successor be duly qualified, or until the
President, who may be absent or impeached, shall
return or be acquitted.
SEC. 16. The
President, Vice President, and all civil officers of
the Republic, shall be removable from office by
impeachment for, and on conviction of, treason,
bribery, and other high crimes and misdemeanors.
SEC. 1. That no
inconvenience may arise from the adoption of this
Constitution, it is declared by this Convention that
all laws now in force in Texas, and not inconsistent
with this Constitution, shall remain in full force
until declared void, repealed, altered, or expire by
their own limitations.
SEC. 2. All
fines, penalties, and forfeitures, and escheats,
which have heretofore accrued to Coahuila and Texas,
or Texas, shall accrue to this Republic.
SEC. 3. Every
male citizen who is by this Constitution a citizen,
and shall be otherwise qualified shall be entitled
to hold any office of place of honor, trust, or
profit, under the Republic, any thing in this
Constitution to the contrary notwithstanding.
SEC. 4. The
first President and Vice President that shall be
appointed after the adoption of this Constitution,
shall be chosen by this Convention, and shall
immediately enter on the duties of their offices,
and shall hold said offices until their successors
be elected and qualified, as prescribed in this
Constitution, and shall have the same
qualifications, be invested with the same powers,
and perform the same duties which are required and
conferred on the Executive head of the Republic by
SEC. 5. The
President shall issue writs of election directed to
the officers authorized to hold elections of the
several counties, requiring them to cause an
election to be held for President, Vice President,
Representatives and Senators to Congress, at the
time and mode prescribed by this Constitution, which
election shall be conducted in the manner that
elections have been heretofore conducted. The
President, Vice President, and members of Congress,
when duly elected, shall continue to discharge the
duties of their respective offices for the time and
manner prescribed by this Constitution, until their
successors be duly qualified.
SEC. 6. Until
the first enumeration shall be made, as directed by
this Constitution, the precinct of Austin shall be
entitled to one representative; the precinct of
Brazoria two representatives; the precinct of Bexar
two representatives; the precinct of Colorado one
representative; Sabine one; Gonzales one; Goliad
one; Harrisburg one; Jasper one; Jefferson one;
Liberty one; Matagorda one; Mina two; Nacogdoches
two; Red River three; Victoria one; San Augustine
two; Shelby two; Refugio one; San Patricio one;
Washington two; Milam one; and Jackson one
SEC. 7. Until
the first enumeration shall be made, as described by
the Constitution, the Senatorial districts shall be
composed of the following precincts: Bexar shall be
entitled to one Senator; San Patricio, Refugio, and
Goliad, one; Brazoria one; Mina and Gonzales one;
Nacogdoches one; Red River one; Shelby and Sabine
one; Washington one; Matagorda, Jackson, and
Victoria, one; Austin and Colorado one; San
Augustine one; Milam one; Jasper and Jefferson one;
and Liberty and Harrisburg one Senator.
SEC. 8. All
judges, sheriffs, commissioners, and other civil
officers shall remain in office, and in the
discharge of the powers and duties of their
respective offices, until there shall be others
appointed or elected under the Constitution.
Laws shall be made to exclude from office, from the right of
suffrage, and from serving on juries, those who shall hereafter be
convicted of bribery, perjury, or other high crimes and
Returns of all elections for officers who are to be commissioned by
the President, shall be made to the Secretary of State of this
The President and heads of Departments shall keep their offices at
the seat of Government, unless removed by the permission of
Congress, or unless, in cases of emergency in time of war, the
public interest may require their removal.
The President shall make use of his private seal until a seal of the
Republic shall be provided.
It shall be the duty of Congress, as soon as circumstances will
permit, to provide, by law, a general system of education.
All free white persons who shall emigrate to this Republic, and who
shall, after a residence of six months, make oath before some
competent authority that he intends to reside permanently in the
same, and shall swear to support this Constitution, and that he will
bear true allegiance to the Republic of Texas, shall be entitled to
all the privileges of citizenship.
So soon as convenience will permit, there shall be a penal code
formed on principles of reformation, and not of vindictive justice;
and the civil and criminal laws shall be revised, digested, and
arranged under different heads; and all laws relating to land titles
shall be translated, revised, and promulgated.
All persons who shall leave the country for the purpose of evading a
participation in the present struggle, or shall refuse to
participate in it, or shall give aid or assistance to the present
enemy, shall forfeit all rights of citizenship and such lands as
they may hold in the Republic.
All persons of color who were slaves for life previous to their
emigration to Texas, and who are now held in bondage, shall remain
in the like state of servitude, provide the said slave shall be the
bona fide property of the person so holding said slave as aforesaid.
Congress shall pass no laws to prohibit emigrants from the United
States of America from bringing their slaves into the Republic with
them, and holding them by the same tenure by which such slaves were
held in the United States; nor shall Congress have power to
emancipate slaves; nor shall any slave-holder be allowed to
emancipate his or her slave or slaves, without the consent of
Congress, unless he or she shall send his or her slave or slaves
without the limits of the Republic. No free person of African
descent, either in whole or in part, shall be permitted to reside
permanently in the Republic, without the consent of Congress, and
the importation or admission of Africans or negroes into this
Republic, excepting from the United States of America, is forever
prohibited, and declared to be piracy.
All persons, (Africans, the descendants of Africans, and Indians
excepted,) who were residing in Texas on the day of the Declaration
of Independence, shall be considered citizens of the Republic, and
entitled to all the privileges of such. All citizens now living in
Texas, who have not received their portion of land, in like manner
as colonists, shall be entitled to their land in the following
proportion and manner: Every head of a family shall be entitled to
one league and labor of land, and every single man of the age of
seventeen and upwards, shall be entitled to the third part of one
league of land. All citizens who may have, previously to the
adoption of this Constitution, received their league of land as
heads of families, and their quarter of a league of land as single
persons, shall receive such additional quantity as will make the
quantity of land received by them equal to one league and "labor"
and one-third of a league, unless by bargain, sale, or exchange,
they have transferred, or may henceforth transfer their right to
said land, or a portion thereof, to some other citizen of the
Republic; and in such case the person to whom such right shall have
been transferred, shall be entitled to the same, as fully and amply
as the person making the transfer might or could have been. No alien
shall hold land in Texas, except by titles emanating directly from
the Government of this Republic. But if any citizen of this Republic
should die intestate or otherwise, his children or heirs shall
inherit his estate, and aliens shall have a reasonable time to take
possession of and dispose of the same, in a manner hereafter to be
pointed out by law. Orphan children, whose parents were entitled to
land under the colonization law of Mexico, and who now reside in the
Republic, shall be entitled to all the rights of which their parents
were possessed at the time of their death. The citizens of the
Republic shall not be compelled to reside on the land, but shall
have their lines plainly marked.
All orders of survey legally obtained
by any citizen of the Republic, from any legally authorized
commissioner, prior to the act of the late consultation closing the
land offices, shall be valid. In all cases the actual settler and
occupant of the soil shall be entitled, in locating his land, to
include his improvement, in preference to all other claims not
acquired previous to his settlement, according to the law of the
land and this Constitution: Provided, That nothing herein
contained shall prejudice the rights of any citizen from whom a
settler may hold land by rent or lease.
And whereas, the protection of the
public domain from unjust and fraudulent claims, and quieting the
People in the enjoyment of their lands, is one of the great duties
of this Convention; and whereas the Legislature of the State of
Coahuila and Texas having passed an act in the year eighteen hundred
and thirty-four, in behalf of General John T. Mason, of New York,
and another on the fourteenth day of March, eighteen hundred and
thirty-five, under which the enormous amount of eleven hundred
leagues of land has been claimed by sundry individuals, some of whom
reside in foreign countries, and are not citizens of the Republic,
which said acts are contrary to articles fourth, twelfth, and
fifteenth of the laws of eighteen hundred and twenty-four of the
General Congress of Mexico, and one of said acts, for that cause
has, by the said General Congress of Mexico, been declared null and
void: It is hereby declared that the said act of eighteen hundred
and thirty-four, in favor of John T. Mason, and of the fourteenth of
March, eighteen hundred and thirty-five, of the said Legislatue of
Coahuila and Texas, and each and every grant founded thereon, is,
and was from the beginning, null and void; and all surveys made
under pretence of authority derived from said acts are hereby
declared to be null and void; and all eleven-league claims, located
within twenty leagues of the boundary line between Texas and the
United States of America, which have been located contrary to the
laws of Mexico, are hereby declared to be null and void; and whereas
many surveys and titles to land have been made whilst most of the
People of Texas were absent from home, serving in the campaign
against Bexar, it is hereby declared that all the surveys and
locations of land made since the act of the late consultation
closing the land offices, and all titles to land made since that
time, are and shall be null and void.
And whereas the present unsettled
state of the country and the general welfare of the People demand
that the operations of the land offices and the whole land system
shall be suspended until persons serving in the army can have a fair
and equal chance with those remaining at home to select and locate
their lands, it is hereby declared that no survey or title which may
hereafter be made shall be valid, unless such survey or title shall
be authorized by this Convention or some future Congress of the
Republic. And with a view to the simplification of the land system,
and protection of the People and the Government from litigation and
fraud, a general land office shall be established, where all the
land titles of the Republic shall be registered, and the whole
territory of the Republic shall be sectionized, in a manner
hereafter to be prescribed by law, which shall enable the officers
of the Government or any citizen to ascertain with certainty the
lands that are vacant, and those lands which may be covered by valid
Any amendment or amendments to this Constitution, may be proposed in
the House of Representatives or Senate and if the same shall be
agreed to by a majority of the members elected to each of the two
Houses, such proposed amendment or amendments shall be entered on
the journals, with the yeas and nays thereon, and referred to the
Congress then next to be chosen, and shall be published for three
months previous to the election; and if the Congress next chosen as
aforesaid, shall pass said amendment or amendments by a vote of
two-thirds of all the members elected to each House, then it shall
be the duty of said Congress to submit such proposed amendment or
amendments to the People, in such manner and at such times as the
Congress shall prescribe; and if the People shall approve and ratify
such amendment or amendments by a majority of the electors qualified
to vote for members of Congress voting thereon, such amendment or
amendments shall become a part of this Constitution: Provided,
however, that no amendment or amendments be referred to the
People oftener than once in three years.
DECLARATION OF RIGHTS.
This Declaration of
Rights is declared to be a part of this Constitution,
and shall never be violated on any pretence whatever.
And in order to guard against the transgression of the
high powers which we have delegated, we declare that
every thing in this bill of rights contained, and every
other right not hereby delegated, is reserved to the
First. All men, when they form a social
compact, have equal rights, and no man or set of men are
entitled to exclusive public privileges or emoluments
from the community.
Second. All political power is inherent in
the People, and all free governments are founded on
their authority, and instituted for their benefit; and
they have at all times an inalienable right to alter
their government in such manner as they may think
Third. No preference shall be given by law to
any religious denomination or mode of worship over
another, but every person shall be permitted to worship
God according to the dictates of his own conscience.
Fourth. Every citizen shall be at liberty to
speak, write, or publish his opinions on any subject,
being responsible for the abuse of that privilege. No
law shall ever be passed to curtail the liberty of
speech or of the press; and in all prosecutions for
libels, the truth may be given in evidence, and the jury
shall have the right to determine the law and fact,
under the direction of the court.
Fifth. The People shall be secure in their
persons, houses, papers, and possessions, from all
unreasonable searches or seizures, and no warrant shall
issue to search any place or seize any person or thing,
without describing the place to be searched or the
person or thing to be seized, without probable cause,
supported by oath or affirmation.
Sixth. In all criminal prosecutions the
accused shall have the right of being heard, by himself,
or council, or both; he shall have the right to demand
the nature and cause of the accusation, shall be
confronted with the witnesses against him, and have
compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor.
And in all prosecutions by presentment or indictment, he
shall have the right to a speedy and public trial, by an
impartial jury; he shall not be compelled to give
evidence against himself, or be deprived of life,
liberty, property, but by due course of law. And no
freeman shall be holden to answer for any criminal
charge, but on presentment or indictment by a grand
jury, except in the land of naval forces, or in the
militia when in actual service in time of war or public
danger, or in cases of impeachment.
Seventh. No citizen shall be deprived of
privileges, outlawed, exiled, or in any manner
disfranchised, except by due course of the law of the
Eighth. No title of nobility, hereditary
privileges or honors, shall ever be granted or conferred
in this Republic. No person holding any office of profit
or trust shall, without the consent of Congress, receive
from any foreign state any present, office, or
emolument, of any kind.
Ninth. No person, for the same offence, shall
be twice put in jeopardy of life or limbs. And the right
of trial by jury shall remain inviolate.
Tenth. All persons shall be bailable by
sufficient security unless for capital crimes, when the
proof is evident or presumption strong; and the
privilege of the writ of "habeas corpus" shall not be
suspended, except in case of rebellion or invasion the
public safety may require it.
Eleventh. Excessive bail shall not be
required, nor excessive fines imposed, or cruel or
unusual punishments inflicted. All courts shall be open,
and every man for any injury done him in his lands,
goods, person, or reputation, shall have remedy by due
course of law.
Twelfth. No person shall be imprisoned for
debt in consequence of inability to pay.
Thirteenth. No personís particular services
shall be demanded, nor property taken or applied to
public use, unless by the consent of himself or his
representative, without just compensation being made
therefor according to law.
Fourteenth. Every citizen shall have the
right to bear arms in defence of himself and the
Republic. The military shall at all times and in all
cases be subordinate to the civil power.
Fifteenth. The sure and certain defence of a
free people is a well-regulated militia; and it shall be
the duty of the Legislature to enact such laws as may be
necessary to the organizing of the militia of this
Sixteenth. Treason against this Republic
shall consist only in levying war against it, or
adhering to its enemies, giving them aid and support. No
retrospective or ex post facto law, or laws impairing
the obligations of contracts shall be made.
Seventeenth. Perpetuities or monopolies are
contrary to the genius of a free government, and shall
not be allowed; nor shall the law of primogeniture or
entailments ever be in force in this Republic.
Constitution was unanimously adopted by the Delegates of
Texas, in Convention assembled, at the town of
Washington, on the seventeenth day of March, in the year
of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty-six,
and of the Independence of the Republic, the first year.
In witness whereof, we
have hereunto subscribed our names.
President and Delegate from Red River.
Albert H. S. Kimble,
C. B. Stewart
John S. D. Byrom
J. Antonio Navarro
William D. Lacy
Lorenzo de Zavala
George W. Smyth
Stephen H. Everett
William B. Scates
M. B. Menard
A. B. Hardin
John W. Bunton
Thomas J. Gazley
R. M. Coleman
Sterling C. Robertson
George C. Childress
Charles S. Taylor
John S. Roberts
A. H. Latimore
William Clark, jun.
Sydney O. Pennington
Samuel P. Carson
Thomas J. Rusk
William C. Crawford
Benjamin Briggs Goodrich
James G. Swisher
George W. Barnet
E. O. Legrand
S. Rhoads Fisher
John W. Bower
J. B. Woods
Jesse B. Badgett
Stephen W. Blount
I do hereby certify that I have carefully
compared the foregoing Constitution, and find it
to be a true copy from the original filed in the
archives of the Convention.
Given under my hand, this 17th day of March,
Attest: H. S. KIMBLE,
Secretary of the Convention.