Texas Declaration of Independence

 

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Texas Declaration of IndependenceIt is proper that we should witness the birth of the new republic; for, up to the 2nd day of March, 1836, every Texas officer was bound by his oath, and both officers and citizens by allegiance, to the Mexican federal constitution of 1824.

The Texan convention met on Tuesday, the 1st day of March, at Washington, on the Brazos, and organized by electing Richard Ellis president, and H. S. Kimball secretary. On the following day, March 2, 1836, the delegates solemnly declared the political connection of Texas with Mexico for ever at an end, and, as the representatives of the people of Texas, constituted her a free, sovereign, and INDEPENDENT REPUBLIC, fully invested with all the rights and attributes which properly belong to independent nations. The causes set forth in that document, as producing the separation, were truthful enough, and such as would justify any nation, under like circumstances, in taking a similar step. The convention wisely took no time to look into the merits of the controversy between Governor Smith and his council, but passed it by, and proceeded to divide out the work of framing a constitution for the new republic. Other matters, however, claimed immediate attention. The threatening attitude of Santa Anna required that Texas should not only have an army to oppose him, but that such army should have a commander-in-chief. Accordingly, on the 4th of March, on motion of James Collingsworth, Sam Houston was unanimously chosen to that responsible office, his authority extending over the regulars, volunteers, and militia, in the field. On the 6th, he received his instructions, submitting the point of his headquarters to his own judgment. The more energetic organization of the militia also required attention. The convention made all able-bodied males, between seventeen and fifty years of age, subject to military duty. One individual was appointed for each municipality, to form a list of all such within his boundary. The names were to be drawn until the number, at any time called for, was obtained ; and those so drawn were bound to serve, under the severest penalties—for a term, however, not exceeding six months. To increase the number of volunteers, and encourage those already in the service, lands were promised. To all such then in the service, and who should so continue during the war, were granted twelve hundred and eighty acres ; for six months' service, six hundred and forty acres ; for three months' service, three hundred and twenty acres ; and for all who should thereafter enter the service, and continue in it six months, and during the war, nine hundred and sixty acres. Such were the inducements offered.

The convention, through its president, sent forth to the people of the United States a stirring address, appealing for sympathy and aid.

Below, we document the brave men who signed the Texas Declaration of Independence:

 

 

NAMES, AGE, PLACE OF BIRTH, AND FORMER RESIDENCE,

OF THE SIGNERS OF THE

TEXAN DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE.

MARCH 2, 1836.

NAMES.

AGE.

PLACE OF BIRTH.

FORMER RESIDENCE

Richard Ellis    

54

Virginia    

Alabama.

C. B. Stewart    

30

South Carolina   

Louisiana.

James Collingsworth   

30

Tennessee   

Tennessee.

Edwin Waller   

35

Virginia    

Missouri.

Asa Brigham    

46

Massachusetts   

Louisiana.

J. S. D. Byrom    

38

Georgia    

Florida.

Fras. Ruis    

54

Bexar, Texas   

 

J. Ant°. Navarro   

41

Bexar, Texas   

 

J. B. Badgett   

29

North Carolina   

Arkansas Territory.

W. D. Lacy   

28

Kentucky   

Tennessee.

William Menifee   

40

Tennessee   

Alabama.

John Fisher   

36

Virginia    

Virginia.

M. Coldwell   

38

Kentucky   

Missouri.

W. Motley   

24

Virginia    

Kentucky.

L. D. Zavala    

47

Yucatan    

Mexico.

George W. Smyth   

33

North Carolina   

Alabama.

S. H. Everitt   

29

New York   

New York.

E. Stapp   

53

Virginia    

Missouri.

Clae. West   

36

Tennessee    

Louisiana.

W. B. Scates   

30

Virginia    

Kentucky.

M. B. Menard   

31

Canada    

Illinois.

A. B, Hardin    

38

Georgia    

Tennessee.

J. W. Bunton    

28

Tennessee    

Tennessee.

Thomas G. Gazeley    

35

New York   

Louisiana.

R. M. Coleman    

37

Kentucky    

Kentucky.

S. C. Robertson*    

50

North Carolina   

Tennessee.

George C. Childress*   

32

Tennessee    

Tennessee.

B. Hardiman    

41

Tennessee    

Tennessee.

R. Potter    

36

North Carolina   

North Carolina.

Thomas J. Rusk   

29

South Carolina   

Georgia.

Charles S. Taylor   

28

England   

New York.

John S. Roberts    

40

Virginia    

Louisiana.

R. Hamilton    

53

Scotland    

North Carolina.

C. McKinney   

70

New Jersey   

Kentucky.

A. H. Lattimer   

27

Tennessee    

Tennessee.

James Power    

48

Ireland    

Louisiana.

Sam Houston    

43

Virginia    

Tennessee.

David Thomas    

35

Tennessee    

Tennessee.

E. Conrad    

26

Pennsylvania    

Pennsylvania.

Martin Parer   

58

Virginia    

Missouri.

E. O. Legend   

33

North Carolina   

Alabama.

S. W. Blount   

28

Georgia    

Georgia.

James Gaines    

60

Virginia    

Louisiana.

W. Clark, jr.   

37

North Carolina   

Georgia.

S. O. Pennington    

27

Kentucky    

Arkansas Territory.

W. C. Crawford    

31

North Carolina   

Alabama.

John Turner    

34

North Carolina   

Tennessee.

B. B. Goodrich   

37

Virginia    

Alabama.

G. W. Barnett   

43

South Carolina   

Mississippi.

J. G. Swisher   

41

Tennessee    

Tennessee.

Jesse Grimes   

48

North Carolina   

Alabama.

S. Rhoads Fisher*    

41

Pennsylvania    

Pennsylvania.

Samuel A. Maverick*    

29

South Carolina   

South Carolina.

John White Bower*    

27

Georgia    

Arkansas Territory.

James B. Woods    

34

Kentucky    

Kentucky.

Andrew Briscoe*   

 

 

John W. Moore*   

 

 

Thomas Barnett   

 

 

* Not present at the signing.

The above is from a statement furnished in the convention, to Dr. B. B. Goodrich, by the members themselves.

Text of the 1836 Republic of Texas Declaration of Independence:

UNANIMOUS DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE,
BY THE

DELEGATES OF THE PEOPLE OF TEXAS.

In General Convention, at the town of Washington, on the 2d day of March, 1836.

When a Government has ceased to protect the lives, liberty, and property of the People from whom its legitimate powers are derived, and for the advancement of whose happiness it was instituted, and so far from being a guarantee for the enjoyment of their inestimable and inalienable rights, becomes an instrument in the hands of evil rules for their oppression: when the Federal Republican Constitution of their country, which they have sworn to support, no longer has a substantial existence, and the whole nature of their Government has been forcibly changed, without their consent, from a restricted Federative Republic, composed of sovereign States, to a consolidated central military despotism, in which every interest is disregarded but that of the army and the priesthood, both the eternal enemies of civil liberty, the ever-ready minions of power, and the usual instruments tyrants: when, long after the spirit of the constitution has departed, moderation is at length so far lost by those in power, that even the semblance of freedom is removed, and the forms themselves of the Constitution discontinued; and so far from their petitions and remonstrances being regarded, the agents who bear them are thrown into dungeons and mercenary armies sent forth to force a new Government upon them at the point of the bayonet: when, in consequence of such acts of malfeasance and abdication on the part of the Government, anarchy prevails, and civil society is dissolved into its original elements: in such a crisis, the first law of nature, the right of self-preservation, the inherent and inalienable right of the People to appeal to first principles, and take their political affairs into their own hands in extreme cases enjoins it as a right towards themselves, and a sacred obligation to their posterity, to abolish such Government, and create another in its stead, calculated to rescue them from impending dangers, and to secure their future welfare and happiness.

Nations, as well as individuals, are amenable for their acts to the public opinion of mankind. A statement of a part of our grievances is therefore submitted to an impartial world, in justification of the hazardous but unavoidable step now taken, of severing our political connexion with the Mexican People, and assuming an independent attitude among the nations of the earth.

The Mexican Government, by its colonization laws, invited and induced the Anglo-American population of Texas to colonize its wilderness, under the pledged faith of a written constitution, that they should continue to enjoy that constitutional liberty and republican Government to which they had been habituated in the land of their birth, the United States of America. In this expectation they have been cruelly disappointed, inasmuch as the Mexican nation has acquiesced in the late changes made in the Government by General Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana, who, having overturned the Constitution of his country, now offers us the cruel alternative, either to abandon our homes, acquired by so many privations, or submit to the most intolerable of all tyranny, the combined despotism of the sword and the priesthood.

It hath sacrificed our welfare to the State of Coahuila, by which our interests have been continually depressed, through a jealous and partial course of legislation, carried on at a far-distant seat of Government, by a hostile majority, in an unknown tongue; and this too notwithstanding we have petitioned in the humblest terms for the establishment of a separate State Government, and have, in accordance with the provisions of the National Constitution, presented to the General Congress a Republican Constitution, which was, without just cause, contemptuously rejected.

It incarcerated in a dungeon, for a long time, one of our citizens, for no other cause but a zealous endeavor to procure the acceptance of our Constitution and the establishment of a State Government.

It has failed and refused to secure, on a firm basis, the right of trial by jury, that palladium of civil liberty and only safe guarantee for the life, liberty, and property of the citizen.

It has failed to establish any public system of education, although possessed of almost boundless resources, (the public domain,) and although it is an axiom in political science that, unless a People are educated and enlightened, it is idle to expect the continuance of civil liberty, or the capacity for self-government.

It has suffered the military commandants stationed among us to exercise arbitrary acts of oppression and tyranny, thus trampling upon the most sacred rights of the citizen, and rendering the military superior to the civil power.

It has dissolved by force of arms the State Congress of Coahuila and Texas, and obliged our Representatives to fly for their lives from the seat of Government, thus depriving us of the fundamental political right of representation.

It has demanded the surrender of a number of our citizens, and ordered military detachments to seize and carry them into the interior for trial; in contempt of the civil authorities, and in defiance of the laws and the Constitution

It has made piratical attacks upon our commerce by commissioning foreign desperadoes, and authorizing them to seize our vessels and convey the property of our citizens to far-distant ports for confiscation.

It denies us the right of worshipping the Almighty according to dictates of our own conscience, by the support of a national religion calculated to promote the temporal interests of its human functionaries rather than the glory of the true and living God.

It has demanded us to deliver up our arms, which are essential for our defence, the rightful property of freemen, and formidable only to tyrannical Governments.

It has invaded our country, both by sea and by land, with intent to lay waste our territory, and drive us from our homes; and has now a large mercenary army advancing, to carry on against us a war of extermination.

It has, through its emissaries, incited the merciless savage, with the tomahawk and scalping-knife, the massacre the inhabitants of our defenceless frontiers.

It has been, during the whole time of our connexion with it, the contemptible sport and victim of successive military revolutions, and hath continually exhibited every characteristic of a weak, corrupt, and tyrannical government.

These and other grievances were patiently borne by the People of Texas, until they reached that point at which forbearance ceases to be a virtue. They then took up arms in defence of the National Constitution. They appealed to their Mexican brethren for assistance. Their appeal has been made in vain: though months have elapsed, no sympathetic response has yet been heard from the interior. They are, therefore, forced to the melancholy conclusion that the Mexican People have acquiesced in the destruction of their liberty, and the substitution therefor of a military despotism; that they are unfit to be free, and incapable of self-government.

The necessity of self-preservation, therefore, now decrees our eternal political separation.

We, therefore, the Delegates, with plenary powers, of the People of Texas, in solemn Convention assembled, appealing to a candid world for the necessities of our condition, do hereby resolve and DECLARE that our political connexion with the Mexican nation has forever ended, and that the People of Texas do now constitute a FREE, SOVEREIGN, AND INDEPENDENT REPUBLIC, and are fully invested with all the rights and attributes which properly belong to independent States; and, conscious of the rectitude of our intentions, we fearlessly and confidently commit the issue to the decision of the Supreme Arbiter of the destinies of nations.

RICHARD ELLIS, President.

C. B. Stewart,
Thomas Barnett, of Austin,
James Collinsworth,
Edwin Waller,
Asa Brigham
J. S. D. Byrom, of Brazoria,
Francisco Ruis,
Antonio Navaro,
Jesse B. Badgett, of Bexar,
Wm. D. Lacy,
Wm. Menifee, of Colorado,
James Gains,
M. B. Menard,
A. B. Hardin, of Liberty,
Baily Hardiman, of Matagorda,
J. W. Bunton,
Thos. J. Gazeley,
R. M. Coleman, of Mina,
Robert Potter,
Thos. J. Rusk,
Charles S. Taylor,
Jno. S. Roberts, of Nacogdoches
Robert Hamilton,
Collin McKinnee,
Alb. H. Lattimer, of Red River,
Martin Palmer,
W. Clark, jr., of Sabine,
John Fisher,
Matt. Caldwell, of Gonzales,
Wm. Motley, of Goliad,
L. de Zavala, of Harrisburg,
S. C. Robertson,
Geo. C. Childress, of Milam,
Steph. H. Everett,
Geo. W. Smith, of Jasper,
Elijah Stapp, of Jackson,
Claiborne West,
Wm. B. Scates, of Jefferson,
E. O. Legrand,
S. W. Blount, of San Augustine,
Syd. O. Bennington,
W. C. Crawford, of Shelby,
J. Power,
Sam. Houston,
David Thomas,
Edward Conrad, of Refugio,
John Turner, of San Patricio,
B. Briggs Goodrich,
G. W. Barnett,
James G. Swisher,
Jesse Grimes, of Washington.
 

 

 

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