SONS OF DEWITT
© 1997-2000, Wallace L. McKeehan, All Rights Reserved
Independence Resolutions & Consultations-Index
Constitution for an independent State of Texas, Republic of Mexico
Drafted at the Consultations of 1832 and 1833, San Felipe
Committee: Sam Houston (Chairman), Nestor Clay, Oliver Jones, James Kerr, Luke Leassier, Henry Smith and R. A. Williamson.
In the name of God, Omnipotent Author and Supreme Legislator of the Universe---
We, the people of Texas, being capable of figuring as a state, in the manner contemplated in the second article of the decree of the general Congress of the nation, of the 7th of May, 1824, do ordain the following Constitution; and do mutually agree with each other, to form ourselves into a full and independent state of the Mexican Confederacy, by the name of the "STATE OF TEXAS."
Art. 1. All power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are formed upon their authority, and established for their peace, safety, and happiness. For the advancement of those ends, they have an inviolable right to alter, reform, and abolish the government in such a manner, as they may think proper.
Art. 2. Government being instituted, for the protection and common interest of all persons, the slavish doctrine of non-resistance against arrogant power and oppression, is discarded, as destructive to the happiness of mankind, and as insulting to the rights, and subversive to the wants of any people.
Art. 3. All elections shall be free and equal.
Art. 4. The right of trial by jury, and the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, shall be established by law, and shall remain inviolable.
Art. 5. The people shall be secure in their persons, houses, papers and possessions, from unreasonable searches and seizures: and general warrants, whereby an officer may be commanded to search suspected places, without evidence of the facts committed, or to seize any person or persons not named, whose offences are not particularly described and supported by evidence - are dangerous to liberty, and shall not be allowed.
Art. 6. No citizen shall be taken or imprisoned, or dispossessed of his freeholds, liberties, or privileges - or exiled, or in any manner distrained - or deprived of his life, liberties or property -but by the law of the land.
Art. 7. In all criminal prosecutions, the accused has a right to be heard by himself and counsel; to demand the nature and cause of the accusation against him, and to have a copy thereof. He shall be confronted by his accusers and the witnesses; he shall have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor; and in prosecutions by indictment or presentment, a speedy public trial by an impartial jury of the municipality or district, in which the crime shall have been committed; and shall not be compelled to give evidence against himself.
Art. 8. No person, for the same offence, shall be twice put in jeopardy of his life or limb.
Art. 9. No retrospective law or laws impairing the obligations of contract shall be made.
Art. 10. No conviction shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture of estate.
Art. 11. No person confined in jail shall be treated with unnecessary rigor.
Art. 12. No person shall be compelled to answer any criminal charge but by presentment, indictment or by a concurrent vote of both houses of the legislature, as provided by this constitution.
Art. 13. All persons shall be bailable by sufficient sureties, unless for capital crimes, without the proof is evident, or the presumption strong; and the privilege of the writ of habeas-corpus, shall not be suspended, except in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it.
Art. 14. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel or unusual punishments inflicted. All courts shall be open, and every man, for an injury done him in his land, goods, or reputation, shall have remedy by due course of law; and rights and justice administered, without sale, denial, or delay.
Art. 15. The person of a debtor, when there are not strong presumptions of fraud, shall not be continued in prison, after delivering up his estate to the benefit of his creditors; in such a manner as shall be prescribed by law.
Art. 16. The free communication of thoughts and opinions, is one of the inviolable rights of men; and every man may fully speak, write, print, and publish, on any subject; being responsible for the abuse of that liberty. But, in prosecutions for the publication of papers - in investigating the official accounts of men in public capacity, the truth thereof may be given in evidence - as well as in personal actions of slander; and in all indictments for libels, the jury shall have a right to determine the law and the facts, under the direction of the court, as in other cases.
Art. 17. No man's particular services shall be demanded, nor property taken and applied to public use, without the consent of himself or his representatives, or without just compensation being made therefor, according to law.
Art. 18. The people have a right to assemble in a public name, for the common good -to instruct their representatives, and to apply to, those invested with the power of government, for the redress of grievances, and for other purposes, by address or remonstrances.
Art. 19. Perpetuities and monopolies are contrary to the genius of a free government, and shall not be allowed.
Art. 20. The sure and certain defense 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 aggrandizement of the militia of this state.
Art. 21. No soldier shall in time of peace be quartered in the house or within the enclosure of any individual, without the consent of the owner; nor in time of war, but in manner prescribed by law.
Art. 22. All persons residing in Texas, at the center of this constitution --- except bond servants, and other persons not liable to taxation, by virtue of the laws enacted under this constitution, shall be recognized as
Citizens, and entitled to ail the benefits of persons who emigrated to this country under the colonization law of 1825 -and shall be acknowledged as entitled to all the rights and privileges of such emigrants.
Art. 23. No property qualifications shall be required, to entitle a citizen to vote or value any office in the gift of the people of this state.
Art. 24. All contracts or transfers of property, by will or otherwise, as well in relation to real, as personal estates, which have been made in Texas heretofore, or which hereafter may be made in good faith by the parties, shall not be void for any want of form, but shall be construed and confirmed according to the intentions of the parties.
Art. 25. All elections in this state shall be by ballot, and the manner thereof shall be prescribed by law.
Art. 26. Treason against the State, shall consist only in levying war against it, or adhering to its enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason, unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the overt act.
Art. 27. The benefit of education and of useful knowledge, generally diffused through a community, are essential to the preservation of a free government: the protection and advancement of these two, great objects are given in solemn charge to the Legislature. It shall be the particular duty of the government to patronise and cherish the interest of literature, of science and the arts; and as soon as practicable, to establish schools, where the poor shall be taught gratis.
Art. 1. The Legislative authority of this State shall be vested in a Legislature, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives, both dependent on the people.
Art. 2. The members of the Legislature shall be chosen by the qualified electors, and serve for the term of two years, from the day of commencement of the general election, and no longer.
Art. 3. The Senators and Representatives shall be chosen every two years; on the first Monday in August, and the day following.
Art. 4. Within three years from the meeting of the first Legislature, under this constitution, an enumeration of the population of this state, shall be made agreeable to the mode which shall be prescribed by the Legislature; and the appointment and representation shall be regulated by law.
Art. 5. The number of Senators shall, at the several periods of making the enumeration before mentioned, be fixed by the Legislature, and apportioned among the several precincts, formed as hereinafter directed, according to the number of taxable inhabitants in each; nor shall ever be less than one third, not more than one half of the whole number of Representatives.
Art. 6. Elections for Representatives for the several precincts entitled to representation, shall be held at the places of holding their respective courts, and at such other places as the Legislature may prescribe.
Art. 7. The Senators shall be chosen by districts, to be formed by the Legislature, according to the number of taxable inhabitants in each; provided no precinct shall be divided in forming a central district.
Art. 8. For the first three years after the adoption of this constitution, the Legislature shall meet annually, on the first Monday in November; and thereafter it shall meet biennially, on the same day -be held at the same place as the Legislature shall prescribe.
Art. 9. No person shall be eligible to a seat in the Senate, until he has arrived at the age of twenty-five years; nor in the House of Representatives, until he has arrived at the age of twenty-one years. He shall be a citizen of the state, and shall have resided in the same twelve months, and six months within the precinct, or district, for which he is elect, immediately preceding his election.
Art. 10. Every male inhabitant of the age of twenty-one years, who shall be a citizen of the state, and have resided for the last six months immediately preceding the day of the election within the precinct, or district, shall enjoy the right of an elector.
Art. 11. The Senate at its meeting shall elect a President, pro tem and the House of Representatives shall elect its Speaker. Each House shall elect its own officers-he judges of the qualifications of, and elections of its members.
Art. 12. Each House may determine the rules of its proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, and with the concurrence of two-thirds expel a member, but not a second time for the same offence; and shall have all other powers necessary for the Legislature of the state.
Art. 13. Senators and Representatives shall in all cases, except treason, felony, and breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest during the -session of the Legislature, and going to and returning from the same.
Art. 14. Each House may punish by imprisonment any person not a member, who shall be guilty of any disrespect to the House, by any disorderly or contentious behavior in their presence; provided that such imprisonment shall not be for a longer time than thirty days.
Art. 15. Bills may originate in either House, but may be altered, amended and rejected by the other.
Art. 16. Every Bill shall be read on three different days, and signed by the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives, before it becomes a law, except the public safety shall be in danger by delay.
Art. 17. After a Bill has been rejected, no bill containing the same substance, shall be passed into a law during that session.
Art. 18. The style of the laws of this state shall be- "Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Texas."
Art. 19. Each House shall keep a journal of its proceedings, and publish them, except such parts as the welfare of the state may require to be kept secret; and the yeas and nays of the members in any question, shall, at the request of one-fourth of the members present, be entered on the journal.
Art. 20. The Legislature shall have power to establish, from time to time, the salaries of all the officers of the state, and to regulate the compensation of its own members.
Art. 21. The doors of each House, and Committee of the Whole, shall be kept open, unless the business before them requires secrecy.
Art. 22. No money shall be drawn from the treasury, but in pursuance of appropriations made by law.
Art. 23. No person who has been, or hereafter may be, a collector or holder of public money, shall have a seat in either House of the Legislature of the State, until such person shall have accounted for, and paid into the treasury all sums for which he may be liable.
Art. 24. No Judge of any Court of Law or Equity, Secretary of State, Attorney General, Register Clerk of any Court of Record, or person holding any office under the authority of the Mexican United States, shall have a seat in the Legislature of this State-hold more than one lucrative office at one and the same time; provided that no appointment in the militia, or to the office of Justice of the peace so long as no salary is attached thereto, shall be considered as a lucrative office.
Art. 25. If any member of the legislature is appointed and elected to, and accept any other office than that of Justice of the Peace, Trustee of a literary society, or commission in the militia, such appointment and acceptance shall be a vacation of his seat in the Legislature: and no member thereof shall be eligible to hold any office created by the Legislature, during the term of his service as a member.
Art. 26. Any member of either house of the Legislature, shall have liberty to dissent from, and protest against any act or resolution, which he may think injurious to the public, or to any individual; and have the reasons of his dissent entered on the journal.
Art. 27. All lands in this state, liable to taxation, held by any grant, concession, colonization law, or settlement rights, shall be taxed according to their valuation.
Art. 28. The right of suffrage shall not be exercised, by any person of insane mind, or who shall be a pauper or supported by public charity; nor by any non-commissioned officer, soldier, seaman or marine, in the service of the United Mexican States; nor by any person convicted, of an infamous offence.
Art. 29. The Legislature shall have power, to establish such a system of internal improvements, as they may think proper.
Art. 30. No bank, nor banking institution, nor office of discount and deposit, nor any other moneyed corporation nor banking establishment, shall ever exist during the continuance of the present constitution.
Art. 31. All lands within the limits of Texas, at this date vacant, or riot held agreeable to law, or to be located under genuine and bona-fide grants, now issued and received by the grantee or grantees, or otherwise provided for by this Constitution, shall belong to and constitute a fund for the state, and be subject to the disposal of the Legislature; provided that nothing contained in this article, shall be so construed as to prejudice the rights of the citizens, colonists, or settlers, who hold, or are entitled to acquire under this constitution, lands by deed, grant, concession or settlement right.
Art. 32. The Legislature shall have power to enact laws, to impose taxes and collect moneys for the use of the state: but no currency shall ever be made lawful tender, except gold, silver, and copper coin.
Art. 1. The judicial power shall be vested in a Supreme and Superior Court.
Art. 2. The state of Texas shall be divided in three judicial districts, in each of which there shall be appointed a district Judge.
Art. 3. The said district Judges shall compose the Supreme Court a majority of whom shall form a quorum. The said Judges shall hold their Courts as district Judges - of the Supreme Court at the time and place prescribed by law.
Art. 4. The Legislature shall create and establish such Superior Courts, as may be convenient for the administration of justice.
Art. 5. The Judges of the Districts and Superior Courts, who shall be elected at the first session of the Legislature, shall hold their offices for the term of three years, eligible to reelection, and their successors in office, shall hold their office for the term of six years - eligible to reelection by the Legislature every six years.
Art. 6. The Judges, by virtue of their office, shall be conservators of the peace. Throughout the state of Texas, all prosecutions shall be carried on, in the name and by the authority of the state of Texas, and conclude against the peace and dignity of the state.
Art. 7. There shall be an Attorney General for the state; and as many prosecuting Attorneys as shall hereafter be found necessary. Their duties, salaries, perquisites and terms of service, shall be determined by law.
Art. 8. The Clerks of the District and Superior Courts shall be appointed by the Judge of the respective Courts.
Art. 9. The existing laws of the state of Coahuila and Texas, when this Constitution goes into effect, shall continue in force, until altered or abolished by the Legislature; provided, however, that the Legislature shall never adopt any system or code of laws, by general reference to said system or code -but in all cases shall specify the several provisions of the laws it may enact.
Art. 10. The Judges of the District and Superior Courts, shall receive fixed and adequate salaries, which shall be established by law.
Art. 11. The Judges maybe removed from office, by the concurrent vote of both Houses of the Legislature; but two-thirds of the members present must concur in such vote, and the causes of such removal. Whoever the Legislature may be about to prosecute, shall receive notice thereof, accompanied with a copy of the causes alleged for his removal, thirty days before the day on which either House of the Legislature shall sit therefor.
Art. 12. The Judges may also be removed by impeachment.
Art. 13. The power of impeachment shall be vested in the House of Representatives.
Art. 14. All impeachments shall be tried in the Senate, when sitting for that purpose. The members shall be upon oath; and no person shall be convicted, without two-thirds of the members present,
Art. 15. The Governor and all civil officers shall be liable to impeachment for all misdemeanors in office; but judgment in such cases shag not extend further than removal from office, and disqualification to hold any office of honor, trust or profit in this state. But the party, nevertheless, shall be liable and subject to indictment; trial, and punishment according to law.
Art. 16. The Judges of the District and Superior Courts, and the Attorney General, shall be at least seventy-five years of age, and shall be learned in the law.
Art. 17. The interpretation of this Constitution and the laws of this state, shall belong exclusively to the judiciary.
Art. 18. Alcaldes, Commissaries, and Syndicks, shall be elected by the people. Their duties, jurisdictions, and numbers, shall be determined by law.
Art. 19. The Legislature is authorized to increase the number of the judicial districts and district Judges, whenever the necessities of the country may require it.
Art. 1. The executive power shall be vested in a Chief Magistrate, who shall be styled "The Governor of Texas."
Art. 2. The Governor shall be elected by the qualified electors, at the time of choosing Representatives for the Legislature. He shall hold his office for the term of two years, from the time of his installation, and until a successor be duly appointed and qualified; but he shall not be eligible to office for more than four years, in any time of six years. He shall be a citizen of the United States of Mexico; shall be at least twenty-seven years of age; and shall have resided in Texas at least three years next preceding his election.
Art. 3. The returns of every election for Governor and Lieutenant Governor, shall be sealed and transmitted to the President of the Senate pro tem., who shall open and publish them in presence of both Houses of the Legislature. The person having the highest number of votes shall be Governor. Should two, or more, have been candidates for the office, and two or more persons be equal and highest in number one of those who are equal and highest, shall be chosen Governor, by joint ballot of both Houses; and in like manner shall the Lieutenant Governor be chosen.
Art. 4. The Governor shall at stated times receive for his services a compensation, which shall neither be increased nor reduced during the time for which he shall have been elected.
Art. 5. The Governor shall be Commander-in-Chief of the militia of this State except when they shall be called into the service of the Mexican United States; but he shall not command personally in the field, exempt he shall be advised so to do by a resolution of the Legislature: shall take care that the constitution of this state, the constitution sets, and the constitution of the Mexican United States, and laws are faithfully executed; shall have power to convene the Legislature every session, when in his opinion the interests of the State may require it; to granted reprieves and pardons, except in cases of impeachment; to conduct all correspondence with other states, and with the General Government and during the recess of the Legislature, to fill pro tempore until the end of the next succeeding session or of the Executive and Senate to fill permanently.
Art. 6. Every Bill which shall have passed both Houses of the Legislature, shall be presented to the Governor. If he approve, he shall sign it - but if not, he shall return it with his objections to the House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the objections at large upon the Journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If, after such reconsideration, a majority of the whole number , elected to that House shall agree to pass the bill, it shall with the objections be sent to the other House, by whom it shall likewise be reconsidered: if approved by a majority of the whole number elected to that House, it shall become a law: but in such cases the votes of both Houses shall be determined by yeas and noes, and the names of the members voting for or against the bill shall be entered upon the Journal of each House respectively. If a bill shall not be returned by the Governor within five days, Sundays excepted, after it shall have been presented to him, the same shall become a law, in like manner as if he had signed it; unless the Legislature by its adjournment, prevent it return, in which case it shall not become a law.
Art. 7. Every order, resolution or vote to which the concurrence of both Houses may be necessary, except on questions of adjournment, shall be presented to the Governor and before it shall take effect, be approved by him or being disapproved, shall be repassed by both Houses, according to the rules and limitations prescribed in case of a bill.
Art. 8. There shall be a Lieutenant Governor, who shall be elected at the same time, and shall possess the same qualifications as the Government. The electors shall designate for whom they vote as Governor, and for whom as Lieutenant Governor.
Art. 9. The Lieutenant Governor, shall Ex-Officio be President of the Senate, and when there is an equal division in the Senate, shall give the casting vote, and also in joint voting in both Houses.
Art. 10. When the office of Governor shall become vacant by death, resignation, absence from the state, removal from office, refusal to qualify, impeachment or otherwise, the Lieutenant Governor-or in case of like disability on his part - the President of the Senate, pro tem. - or if there be no President of the Senate pro tem- the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall possess all the powers, and discharge all the duties of Governor; and shall receive for his services the like compensation to the end of the term, or until the disability of the Governor he removed; provided, that should the office of Governor be vacant within ten months from the beginning of the term, the person exercising the powers of Governor for the time being, shall as soon as may be cause an election to be held, to fill such vacancy, giving three months notice thereof.
Art. 11. There shall be a Secretary of State appointed by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate. He shall hold his office three years, and shall keep a register of all official acts and proceedings of the Governor, and perform such duties as may be enjoined on him by law. He shall as soon as may be, procure and keep a seal of State, with such emblems and devices as shall be directed by law.
Art. 12. A State Treasurer shall be elected by joint vote of both Houses; who shall also discharge the duties of Auditors, until otherwise provided by law.
Art. 13. There shall be an Ayuntamiento in each municipality. The power and duties of the Ayuntamientos -the number of members who are to compose them -and the mode of their elections shall be prescribed by law.
Art. 14. All commissions shall be in the name of the State of Texas; be sealed with the State Seal, and signed by the Governor; and attested by the Secretary of State. Sheriffs and Coroners, shall be elected every two years by the qualified electors at the time and place of choosing Representatives. Their duties shall be regulated by law, and they shall hold their offices for two years, and until a successor be duly appointed and qualified, unless sooner removed for misconduct in office.
Art. 15. The Governor shall nominate and appoint, with the advice and consent of the Senate, all officers whose offices are established by this constitution, and whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for: provided, however, that the Legislature shall have a right to prescribe the mode of appointment of all officers to be established by law.
Art. 1. The State of Texas, shall include all the country formerly known as the Province of Texas.
Art. 2. That no inconvenience may arise in out separation from Coahuila, it is declared that all rights, actions, prosecutions and contracts, shall continue as if no change had taken place; except cases provided for in the body of this constitution.
Art. 3. All dues, fines, penalties, escheats and forfeitures accruing to the State of Coahuila and Texas, shall be collected in the name and for the use of the State of Texas. All bonds for the performance of duties, shall be passed over to the first Governor of the State of Texas, and his successor in office, for the use and benefit of the parties interested.
Art. 4. The authorities of the State of Coahuila and Texas, that fill their offices within the limits of Texas, shall continue in the execution of their respective duties, until superseded under this constitution.
Art. 5. The Governor shall make use of his private seal, until a Seal of State shall be provided.
Art. 6. Until the first enumeration as provided for by this constitution, the appointment of Representatives to the Legislature, shall be regulated by a resolution adopted by this Convention.
Art. 7. All officers, or persons elected or appointed to any office, or place of trust, profit, or honor in this State, before entering upon the duties of their office, or station, shall take the following oath: "I, A. B., do solemnly swear, that I will support the Constitution of the United Mexican States---the Constitution act, and the Constitution of this State; and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of----- according to the best of my abilities; so help me God."
Art. 8. The election of Senators and Representatives to the General Congress, shall take place agreeably to the provisions of the Federal Constitution of the United Mexican States; and laws to that effect shall he passed by the Legislature.
Art. 9. Whenever a majority of both Houses of the Legislature may deem it necessary to amend this constitution, they shall recommend to the electors, at the next election of members of the Legislature, to vote for, or against a convention: and if it shall appear that a majority of all the electors of the State, voting for the members of the Legislature, shall have voted for a Convention, the Legislature shall at the next session call a Convention, to consist of at least as many members as there may be in the Legislature, to be elected in the same place and in like manner as prescribed by law for the election of members of that body.
Art. 10. Until the first enumeration shall be made, as directed by this constitution, the Senatorial Districts shall be composed of the following precincts: Bexar, one Senator; San Patricia, Refugio, Galiod, and Victoria, one Senator; Gonzales, Bastrop, and Alfred, one Senator; Lovicia, Matagorda, and Santianna, one Senator ; Victoria, and Bolivar, one Senator; San Phillippe, one Senator; Magnolia, and San Jacinto, west side, and precincts of San Jacinto, east side, one Senator; Liberty, and Lea Bayou, one Senator; Ayish, and Snow, one Senator; Tinahaw, and Sabine, one Senator.
Art 11. The number of Representatives, that each of the precincts above enumerated shall have in the first Legislature, shall be determined by the votes given in at the first election; on the basis of one Representative for every hundred voters, wit' hout counting fractions under one hundred; provided, that each precinct shall have one Representative, whatever may be the number of its voters. After the votes are all taken, and the polls closed, the Judge of the election shall declare the person who has received the highest number of votes for Representative, to be duly elected, agreeably to the basis above mentioned; and shall issue certificates to such person accordingly. In case of a tie between two or more, it shall be decided by lot by the Judges.
Art. 12. All powers or grants of powers, rights, privileges and immunities, not expressly given or granted by this Constitution, are reserved to, and shall remain with the people of the State; and can only be dissolved or delegated, by amendment to this Constitution.
SONS OF DEWITT
© 1997-2000, Wallace L. McKeehan, All Rights Reserved
Independence Resolutions & Consultations-Index