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Theme > Grievances > Texas Declaration of Independence (manuscript copy)

Accession # SRMTXDeclaration

Texas Declaration of Independence (manuscript copy)

3-1836


This document was drafted and adopted at the Constitutional Convention held at Washington-on-the-Brazos in March of 1836. Similar to the U.S. Constitution, it describes the responsibilities of government, lists grievances of the people, and declares Texas an independent republic. View complete document


Courtesy of Texas State Library & Archives Commission, Austin.


Transcript:

The Unanimous
Declaration of Independence
made by the
Delegates of the People of Texas
in General Convention
at the Town of Washington
on the 2nd 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 advance-
ment of whose happiness it was inst-
ituted, and so far from being a guaran-
tee for the enjoyment of those inesti-
mable 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 substan-
tial existence, and the whole nature of
their government has been forcibly chan-
ged, 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 constitu-
tion has departed, moderation is
at length so far lost by those in pow-
er, that even the semblance of freedom
is removed, and the forms themselves
of the constitution discontinued, and
so far from their petitions and rem-
onstrances 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 malfea-
sance and abdication on the part
of the government, anarchy pre-
vails, 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 princi

ples, and take their political affairs into
their own hands in extreme cases, enjoins
it as a right towards themselves, and a sa-
cred obligation to their posterity, to abol-
ish 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 indivi-
duals, 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 in-
duced the Anglo-American population
of Texas to colonize its wilderness under
the pledged faith of a written constitu-
tion, that they should continue to enjoy
that constitutional liberty and repu-
blican 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 dis-
appointed, 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 alterna-
tive, either to abandon our homes, acqui-
red 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 continual-
ly 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 constitu-
tion, which was, without just cause, con-
temptuously rejected.

It incarcerated in a dun-
geon, 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 re-
fused 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 estab-
lish 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 en-
lightened, it is idle to expect the con-
tinuance of civil liberty, or the capa-
city 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 ci-
vil power.

It has dissolved, by force
of arms, the state Congress of Coahuila
and Texas, and obliged our representa-
tives to fly for their lives from the seat
of government, thus depriving us of the
fundamental political right of repre-
sentation.

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 autho-
rities, and in defiance of the laws and
the constitution.

It has made piratical
attacks upon our commerce, by com-
missioning foreign desperadoes, and
authorizing them to seize our vessels,
and convey the property of our citi-
zens to far distant ports for con-
fiscation.

It denies us the right
of worshipping the Almighty according
to the dictates of our own conscience,
by the support of a national religion, calcula-
ted 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 tyr-
annical 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 extermi-
nation.

It has, through its em-
issaries, 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 charac-
teristic of a weak, corrupt, and tyr-
ranical government.

These, and other griev-
ances, 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 consti-
tution. We appealed to our Mexi-
can 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 peo-
ple have acquiesced in the destruct-
ion of their liberty, and the substitu-
tion therfor of a military government;
that they are unfit to be free, and
incapable of self government.

The necessity of self-preserva-
tion, 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 here-
by resolve and declare, that our poli-
tical 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 proper-
ly 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.




Richard Ellis, President
of the Convention and Delegate
from Red River

James Collinsworth
Edwin Waller
Asa Brigham


John S. D. Byrom
Francis Ruis
J. Antonio Navarro
Jesse B. Badgett
Wm D. Lacy
William Menifee
Jn. Fisher
Matthew Caldwell
William Motley
Lorenzo de Zavala
Stephen H. Everett
George W. Smyth
Elijah Stapp
Claiborne West
Wm. B. Scates
M. B. Menard
A. B. Hardin
J. W. Burton
Thos. J. Gazley
R. M. Coleman
Sterling C. Robertson

Geo. C. Childress
Bailey Hardeman
Rob. Potter
Thomas Jefferson Rusk
Chas. S. Taylor
John S. Roberts
Robert Hamilton
Collin McKinney
Albert H. Latimer
James Power
Sam Houston
David Thomas
Edwd. Conrad
Martin Parmer
Edwin O. Legrand
Stephen W. Blount
Jms. Gaines
Wm. Clark, Jr.
Sydney O. Pennington
Wm. Carrol Crawford
Jno. Turner


Benj. Briggs Goodrich
G. W. Barnett
James G. Swisher
Jesse Grimes
S. Rhoads Fisher
John W. Moore
John W. Bower
Saml. A. Maverick (from Bejar)
Sam P. Carson
A. Briscoe
J. B. Woods
H. S. Kimble, Secretary

Left at the Department of State May 28, 1836, by Mr. Wharton.

The original.


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