ORGANIC LAW OF TEXAS
Our Texas Declaration of Independence is the Organic Law for our Land of Texas. Questions of interpretation, or what I refer to call qustions regarding an understanding of the spirit and intent of our Texas Constitution of today can and should be answered by looking to the Organic Law under which a blood sacrifice of our Fathers was made to secure our Independence. An independence our Organic Law clearly shows was deemed necessary to restore the Rule of Law, or what is also known as Liberty, to the people of Texas and to us, their posterity.
Included herein is the Texas Bill of Rights which stands as well as Organic Law. It's history is very different from the Bill of Rights added as an amendment to the Constitution of the united States many years after the American Declaration of Independence. Our Texas Bill of Rights became Law on March 17, just two weeks after the Declaration of Independence. As as with our Texas Declaration it is the Law under which a blood sacrifice of our Fathers was made so that these Rights might be established as Law that shall never be violated on any pretence whatever and excepted from the powers of government.
This excerpt from the Texas Declaration of Independence stands as proof the the common law on the Land of Texas is opposed to the assertion made by various persons in positions of public trust in our Judiciary, Executive, and Legislative Divisions that the State of Texas is, or that the sovereign people it represents are, immune from suit or liability for it's unlawful acts committed by and through those who have been entrusted to act in it's name. Sovereign Immunity is a myth held by the ignorant and incompetent, or is a lie spread by the dishonorable.
"Nations, as well as individuals, are amenable for their acts"
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 those inestimable and inalienable rights, becomes an instrument in the hands of evil rulers 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 everready minions of power, and the usual instruments of 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 rights 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 connection 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 Anna, 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 has 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 tyrrany, thus trampling upon the most sacred rights of the citizens, 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 the dictates of our own conscience, by the support of a national religion, calculated to promote the temporal interest 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 to 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, to massacre the inhabitants of our defenseless frontiers.
It hath been, during the whole time of our connection with it, the contemptible sport and victim of successive military revolutions, and hath continually exhibited every characteristic of a weak, corrupt, and tyrranical government.
These, and other grievances, were patiently borne by the people of Texas, untill they reached that point at which forbearance ceases to be a virtue. We then took up arms in defence of the national constitution. We appealed to our Mexican brethren for assistance. Our appeal has been made in vain. Though months have elapsed, no sympathetic response has yet been heard from the Interior. We are, therefore, forced to the melancholy conclusion, that the Mexican people have acquiesced in the destruction of their liberty, and the substitution therfor of a military government; 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 connection 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 nations; 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.
The Texas Declaration of Independence
(March 2, 1836)
The Texas Declaration of Independence was produced, literally, overnight. Its urgency was paramount, because while it was being prepared, the Alamo in San Antonio was under seige by Santa Anna's army of Mexico.
Immediately upon the assemblage of the Convention of 1836 on March 1, a committee of five of its delegates were appointed to draft the document. The committee, consisting of George C. Childress, Edward Conrad, James Gaines, Bailey Hardeman, and Collin McKinney, prepared the declaration in record time. It was briefly reviewed, then adopted by the delegates of the convention the following day.
As seen from the transcription below, the document parallels somewhat that of the United States, signed almost sixty years earlier. It contains statements on the function and responsibility of government, followed by a list of grievances. Finally, it concludes by declaring Texas a free and independent republic.
The First Constitution of the Independent Republic of Texas
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 People.
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 proper.
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 land.
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 person’s 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 Republic.
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.
The foregoing 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, Secretary
C. B. Stewart
John S. Roberts
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, 1836.
Attest: H. S.
Secretary of the Convention.