SONS OF DEWITT COLONY TEXAS
1997-2012, Wallace L. McKeehan, All Rights Reserved
New Spain-Index
First Independent State-Republican Army of the North

 

CONSTITUTION

First Independent State of Texas
Part of the Mexican Republic

San Fernando, April 17, 1813

 

1. The province of Texas shall henceforth be known only as the State of Texas, forming part of the Mexican Republic, to which it remains inviolably joined.

2. Our Holy Religion will remain unchanged in the way it is now established, and the laws will be duly executed unless they are expressly and publicly revoked or altered in the manner herein prescribed.

3. Private property and possessions will be inviolable, and will never be taken for public use except in urgent cases of necessity, in which instances the proprietor will be duly compensed.

4. From today henceforward personal liberty will be held sacred. No man will be arrested for any crime without a formal accusation made in the proper form under oath being first presented. No man will be placed before the Tribunal without first having been examined by the witnesses. Neither will any man be deprived of life without having been heard completely [in court], an exception being made from this rule during the time of the present War in the case of criminals of the Republic, whose punishments will be decided by the junta in accord with the Governor in order to assure the firmness of an Establishment and to protect the people.

5. The Governor selected by the Junta will be Commander-in Chief of the military force, of the State, but he will undertake no campaign personally without having received the order of the Junta. In such a case, the Governor will provide the necessary means for maintaining the obligations of Government during his absence. Also under his charge will be the establishment of laws pertaining to the organization of the Army, the naming of military officials, and, the ratifying of the commissions and ranks of those already employed. He shall be entrusted with the defense of the Country, foreign relations, execution of the laws, and preservation of order. He will have a right to one secretary, two aides-de-camp, three clerks for the Spanish language, and one for English.

6. The salaries of the Governor and the other Civil and military officials will be fixed as promptly as possible and will be assured by law.

7. There shall be a Treasurer whose function shall be to receive and to preserve intact the Public Funds, keeping them at the disposal of the Government.

S. The City of San Fernando will be the seat of government and the residence of all public officials. It will be governed by two mayors (?) and four District Commissioners selected by the Junta.

9. The Cabildo will be entrusted with the policing of the interior of the city and will have all the authority necessary to fulfill its purpose. The mayors shall each have power to judge cases in their jurisdiction and shall appoint the necessary officials and indicate the days for the hearing. Their judgments shall be governed by the established law on the individual cases.

10. Each town in the State will be governed by a military officer named by the Governor, and this officer will be required to follow whatever rules are deemed necessary by the Junta.

11. It shall be the obligation of the Cabildo and the military commandants [of the towns] to present to the Governor an exact census of the population of their respective districts and to establish schools in each city or town.

12. The Junta shall have the power to dismiss any officials it has nominated should it deem such a procedure necessary.

13. There shall be a Superior Audiencia, which will be composed of a Judge well versed in law appointed by the Junta. He will have the functions of taking the necessary measures for maintaining peace and good order, of trying all criminal cases, of deciding cases in which the sentence or amount in controversy exceeds 1000 pesos. This tribunal will name its officials, fixing the time and place of its session, and its emoluments will be determined by laws set up for that purpose. It will be the duty of the tribunal in trying persons accused of murder to name five of the most discreet and intelligent citizens of the district who shall swear to perform their duty in justice both to the State and to the defendant, and to assist the Judge in reaching a fair verdict. It shall also be the duty of the tribunal to establish a code of criminal law and methods of procedure, so that all crimes might have their respective punishments and might be clearly and promptly defined. Once approved by the Junta, this will be the law of the Land and will be published for the benefit of the People. No one shall be punished for having committed any crime or offense which the law has not provided for.

14. Any change or alteration in the laws in force at present will be effected by the Junta and will be made known to the People.

15. The Junta will meet to hold its sessions in the capital one day each week, or oftener if some matter is urgent. It shall preserve all powers granted it by the people, and will have as its obligation to keep close watch and care diligently for the welfare of the State, to alter or amend these regulations that becomes necessary, to preside in matters dealing with war and the various branches of foreign relations, and finally, to do everything in its power for the benefit of the great cause of Mexican independence.

16. The Junta will take notice of any enemy property found within its jurisdiction and will resolve whatever it deems fitting with regard to it.

17. The Commander-in-Chief, Governor-elect of this State, will use every available means and will do everything in his power to facilitate the carrying out of all obligations contracted by him in the name of the Mexican Republic.

18. The Junta, with the Governor of the State, by common agreement will proceed to the election of the necessary number of delegates to the general Mexican congress and to foreign countries.

City of San Fernando, April 17, 1813.


The above is a translation from a manuscript copy from the original sent by Jose Bernardo Gutierrez to William Shaler, which he enclosed in his report of May 14, 1813, to Secretary of State, Monroe. The manuscript is in the archives of the State Department, Washington, D. C.


SONS OF DEWITT COLONY TEXAS
1997-2012, Wallace L. McKeehan, All Rights Reserved