Texas

Texas State Constitution, 1861

[Note – Texas has a unique constitutional history starting with their first constitution in 1827 when they were part of Mexico. The next constitution was enacted in 1836 for the independent Republic of Texas. Texas became the 28th state in December 1845. Their first state constitution was enacted in 1845. Since that time, they have had four newer state constitutions, 1861, 1866, 1869 and 1876. Their current constitution is based upon the 1876 constitution and had been amended 483 times since then.]

PREAMBLE

We, the people of the State of Texas, acknowledging, with gratitude, the grace of God, in permitting us to make choice of our form of government, do ordain and establish this Constitution:

ARTICLE I.

BILL OF RIGHTS.

That the general, great and essential principles of Liberty and Free Government may be recognised and established, we declare, that–

[“SECTION 1. 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 the inalienable right to alter, reform or abolish their form of government, in such manner as they may think expedient; and, therefore, no government or authority can exist or exercise power within the State of Texas, without the consent of the people thereof previously given; nor after that consent be withdrawn.”]

NOTE.–The Convention having ordered the address of the committee, (Messrs. Lea, Brown and Stell,) together with the Constitution of the Confederate States of America, to be printed under the supervision of the undersigned, after the adjournment of that body, the State Senate subsequently directed that the Ordinances of the Convention and the State Constitution, as amended, should be printed therewith, under the like supervision. I have, therefore, inserted in brackets, [” “] all the amendments at their appropriate places, and omitted, as obsolete, those sections incidental merely to the transition of government in 1815-6.
JOHN HENRY BROWN,
Chairman Committee.
Austin, April 1st, 1861.

SEC. 2. All freemen, when they form a social compact, have equal rights; and no man, or set of men, is entitled to exclusive separate public emoluments or privileges, but in consideration of public services.

SEC. 3. No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust in this State.

SEC. 4. All men have a natural and indefensible right to worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences; no man shall be compelled to attend, erect, or support any place of worship, or to maintain any ministry against his consent; no human authority ought, in any case whatever, to control or interfere with the rights of conscience in matters of religion; and no preference shall ever be given by law to any religious societies or mode of worship. But it shall be the duty of the Legislature to pass such laws as may be necessary to protect every religious denomination in the peaceable enjoyment of their own mode of public worship.

SEC. 5. Every citizen shall be at liberty to speak, write or publish his opinions on any subject, being responsible for the abuse of that privilege; and no law shall ever be passed curtailing the liberty of speech or of the press.

SEC. 6. In prosecutions for the publication of papers investigating the official conduct of officers, or men in a public capacity, or when the matter published is proper for public information, the truth thereof my be given in evidence. And in all indictments for libel, the jury shall have the right to determine the law and the facts, under the direction of the court, as in other cases.

SEC. 7. The people shall be secure in their persons, houses, papers and possessions, from unreasonable seizures or searches; and no warrant to search any place, or to seize any person or thing, shall issue, without describing them as near as may be, nor without probably cause supported by oath or affirmation.

SEC. 8. In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall have a speedy public trial, by an impartial jury; he shall not be compelled to give evidence against himself; he shall have the right of being heard by himself or counsel, or both; shall be confronted with the witnesses against him, and shall have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor; and no person shall be holden to answer for any criminal charge, but on indictment or information, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or offences against the laws regulating the militia.

SEC. 9. All prisoners shall be bailable by sufficient sureties, unless for capital offences, when the proof is evident or the presumption is great; but this provision shall not be so construed as to prohibit bail after indictment found, upon examination of the evidence by a Judge of the Supreme or District Court, upon the return of a writ of habeas corpus, returnable in the county where the offence is committed.

SEC. 10. The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, except when in case of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it.

SEC. 11. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel or unusual punishments inflicted. All courts shall be open, and every person, for an injury done him in his lands, goods, person, or reputation, shall have remedy by due course of law.

SEC. 12. No person, for the same offence, shall be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall a person be again put upon trial for the same offence after a verdict of not guilty; and the right of trial by jury shall remain inviolate.

SEC. 13. Every citizen shall have the right to keep and bear arms, in the lawful defence of himself or the State.

SEC. 14. No bill of attainder, ex post facto law retroactive law, or any law impairing the obligation of contracts shall be made, and no person’s property shall be taken or applied to public use, without adequate compensation being made, unless by the consent of such person.

SEC. 15. No person shall every be imprisoned for debt.

SEC. 16. No citizen of this State shall be deprived of life, liberty, property, or privileges, outlawed, exiled, or in any manner disfranchised, except by due course of the law of the land.

SEC. 17. The military shall at all times be subordinate to the civil authority.

SEC. 18. Perpetuities and monopolies are contrary to the genius of a free government, and shall never be allowed; nor shall the law of primogeniture or entailments ever be in force in this State.

SEC. 19. The citizens shall have the right, in a peaceable manner, to assemble together for their common good, and to apply to those invested with the powers of government, for redress of grievances, or other purposes, by petition, address, or remonstrance.

SEC. 20. No power of suspending laws in this State shall be exercised, except by the Legislature, or its authority.

SEC. 21. To guard against transgressions of the high powers herein delegated, we declare that everything in this “Bill of Rights” is excepted out of the general powers of the government, and shall for ever remain inviolate, and all laws contrary thereto, or to the following provisions, shall be void.

ARTICLE II.

DIVISION OF THE POWERS OF GOVERNMENT.

SECTION 1. The powers of the government of the State of Texas, shall be divided into three distinct departments, and each of them be confided to a separate body of magistracy–to wit: those which are Legislative to one, those which are Executive to another, and those which are Judicial to another; and no person, or collection of persons, being of one of those departments, shall exercise any power, properly attached to either of the others, except in the instances herein expressly permitted.

ARTICLE III.

LEGISLATIVE DEPARTMENT.

SECTION 1. That all persons who were citizens of the State of Texas on the second day of March, eighteen hundred and sixty-one; all persons born after that time, of parents, citizens of this State; all persons born in this State of parents residing in and entitled to acquire the rights of citizenship; all citizens of either of the Confederate States of America, or of any State which may hereafter be admitted into union with the Confederate States of America, on terms of equality with them, immigrating to and permanently residing in this State; all persons naturalized by the Constitution and laws of the Confederate States of America and of this State, and permanently residing therein, (Indians not taxed, negroes and their descendants excepted,) shall be citizens of the State of Texas.

SEC. 2. All free male citizens of this State, as defined in the preceding section, over the age of twenty-one years, who shall have resided in this State one year next preceding an election, and the last six months in the district, county, city or town in which they offer to vote, shall be deemed qualified electors; and should any such qualified elector happen to be in any other county, situated in the district in which he resides at the time of an election, he shall be permitted to vote for any district officer; and qualified electors shall be permitted to vote anywhere in the State for State officers; provided, that no soldier, seaman or marine in the regular army or navy of the Confederate States of America, shall be entitled to vote at any election created by this Constitution.

SEC. 3. Electors in all cases shall be privileged from arrest during their attendance at elections, and in going to and returning from the same, except in cases of treason, felony, or breach of the peace.

SEC. 4. The Legislative powers of this State shall be vested in two distinct branches; the one to be styled the Senate, and the other the House of Representatives, and both together, the “Legislature of the State of Texas.” The style of all laws shall be, “Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Texas.”

SEC. 5. The members of the House of Representatives shall be chosen by the qualified electors, and their term of office shall be two years from the day of the general election; and the sessions of the Legislature shall be biennial, at such times as shall be prescribed by law.

SEC. 6. No person shall be a Representative unless he be a citizen of this State, and shall have been an inhabitant of this State two years next preceeding his election, and the last year thereof a resident of the district, county, city or town for which he shall be chosen, and shall have attained the age of 21 years at the time of his election.

SEC. 7. All elections by the people shall be held at such time and places in the several counties, cities or towns, as are now, or may hereafter be designated by law.

SEC. 8. The Senators shall be chosen by the qualified electors for the term of four years; and shall be divided by lot into two classes as nearly equal as can be. The seats of Senators of the first class shall be vacated at the expiration of the first two years; and of the second class at the expiration of four years; so that one-half thereof shall be chosen biennially thereafter.

SEC. 9. Such mode of classifying new additional Senators shall be observed, as will as nearly as possible preserve an equality of number in each class.

SEC. 10. When a Senatorial district shall be composed of two or more counties, it shall not be separated by any county belonging to another district.

SEC. 11. No person shall be a Senator unless he be a citizen of this State, and shall have been an inhabitant of this State three years next preceeding the election, and the last year thereof a resident of the district for which he shall be chosen, and have attained the age of thirty years.

SEC. 12. The House of Representatives, when assembled, shall elect a Speaker and its other officers, and the Senate shall choose a President for the time being, and its other officers. Each House shall judge of the qualifications and elections of its own members, but contested elections shall be determined in such manner as shall be directed by law: two-thirds of each House shall constitute a quorum to do business, but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day and compel the attendance of absent members, in such manner, and under such penalties as each House may provide.

SEC. 13. Each House may determine the rules of its own proceedings, punish members for disorderly conduct, and, with the consent of two-thirds, expel a member, but not a second time for the same offence.

SEC. 14. Each House shall keep a journal of its own proceedings, and publish the same; and the yeas and nays of the members of either House, on any question, shall, at the desire of any three members present, be entered on the journals.

SEC. 15. When vacancies happen in either House, the Governor, or the person exercising the power of the Governor, shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies.

SEC. 16. Senators and Representatives shall, in all cases, except in treason, felony, or breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest during the session of the Legislature, and in going to and returning from the same, allowing one day for every twenty miles, such member may reside from the place at which the Legislature is convened.

SEC. 17. Each House, may punish by imprisonment during the session, any person not a member, for disrespectful or disorderly conduct, in its presence, or for obstructing any of its proceedings; providing, such imprisonment shall not at any one time exceed forty-eight hours.

SEC. 18. The doors of each House shall be kept open.

SEC. 19. Neither House shall, without the consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days; nor to any other place that in which they may be sitting without the concurrence than of both Houses.

SEC. 20. Bills may originate in either house, and be amended, altered, or rejected by the other; but no bill shall have the force of a law until, on three several days it be read in each House, and free discussion be allowed thereon, unless in case of great emergency, four-fifths of the House in which the bill shall be pending, may deem it expedient to dispense with this rule; and every bill having passed both Houses, shall be signed by the Speaker and President of their respective Houses.

SEC. 21. All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives, but the Senate may amend or reject them as other bills.

SEC. 22. After a bill or resolution has been rejected by either branch of the Legislature, no bill or resolution containing the same substance shall be passed into a law during the same session.

SEC. 23. Each member of the Legislature shall receive from the public Treasury a compensation for his services, which may be increased or diminished by law; but no increase of compensation shall take effect during the session at which such increase shall be made.

SEC. 24. No Senator or Representative shall, during the term for which he may be elected, be eligible to any civil office of profit under this State, which shall have been created, or the emoluments of which may have been increased during such term; and no member of either House of the Legislature shall, during the term for which he is elected, be eligible to any office or place, the appointment to which may be made in whole or in part, by either branch of the Legislature; nor shall the members thereof be capable of voting for a member of their own body, for any office whatever, except it be in such chases as are herein provided. The President for the time being of the Senate, and speaker of the House of Representatives, shall be elected from their respective bodies.

SEC. 25. No Judge of any court of law or equity, Secretary of State, Attorney General, Clerk of any court of record, Sheriff or Collector, or any person holding lucrative office under the Confederate States of America, or this State, or any foreign government, shall be eligible to the Legislature; nor shall any person, at the same time, hold or exercise any two offices, agencies or appointments of trust or profit under this State; provided that offices of the militia, to which there is attached no annual salary, and the office of Justice of the Peace shall not be deemed lucrative.

SEC. 26. No person who at any time may have been a collector of taxes, or who may have been otherwise entrusted with public money, shall be eligible to the Legislature, or to any office of profit or trust under the State government, until he shall have obtained a discharge for the amount of such collections, and for all public moneys with which he may have been entrusted.

SEC. 27. Ministers of the Gospel, being by their profession dedicated to God and the care of souls, ought not to be diverted from the great duties of their functions; therefore, no Minister of the Gospel, or priest of any denomination whatever, shall be eligible to the Legislature.

SEC. 28. Elections for Senators and Representatives shall be general throughout the State, and shall be regulated by law.

SEC. 29. The Legislature shall, at their first meeting, and in the year one thousand eight hundred and forty-eight and fifty, and every eight years thereafter, cause an enumeration to be made of all the free inhabitants (Indians not taxed, Africans and descendants of Africans excepted) of the State, designating particularly the number of qualified electors; and the whole number of representatives shall, at the several periods of making such enumeration, be fixed by the Legislature, and apportioned among the several counties, cities or towns, according to the number of free population in each; and shall not be less than forty-five, nor more than ninety.

“[Sections 30 and 32, being obsolete, are omitted.]”

SEC. 31. The whole number of Senators shall, at the next session after the several periods of making the enumeration, be fixed by the Legislature, and apportioned among the several districts to be established by law, according to the number of qualified electors, and shall never be less than nineteen, nor more than thirty-three.

SEC. 33. The first session of the Legislature, after the adoption of this Constitution of the Congress of the United Sates, shall be held at the city of Austin, the present seat of government, and thereafter, until the year one thousand eight hundred and fifty; after which period the seat of government shall be permanently located by the people.

[This Constitution was never “adopted” by the United States Congress; but Congress passed an act admitting Texas into the Union, on the 29th December, 1845.]

SEC. 34. The members of the Legislature shall, at their first session, receive from the Treasury of the State, as their compensation, three dollars for each day they shall be in attendance on, and three dollars for every twenty-five miles traveling to and from the place of convening the Legislature.

SEC. 35. In order to settle permanently the seat of government, an election shall be holden throughout the State, at the usual places of holding elections, on the first Monday in March, one thousand eight hundred and fifty, which shall be conducted according to law, at which time the people shall vote for such place as they may see proper for the seat of government. The returns of said election to be transmitted to the Governor by the first Monday in June; if either place voted for shall have a majority of the whole number of votes cast, then the same shall be the permanent seat of government until the year one thousand eight hundred and seventy, unless the State shall sooner be divided. But in case neither place voted for shall have the majority of the whole number of votes given in, then the Governor shall issue his proclamation for an election to be holden in the same manner, on the first Monday in October, one thousand eight hundred and fifty, between the two places having the highest number of votes at the first election. The election shall be conducted in the same manner as the first, and the returns made to the Governor, and the place having the highest number of votes shall be the seat of Government for the time herein before provided.

ARTICLE IV.

JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT.

SECTION 1. The Judicial power of this State shall be vested in one Supreme Court, in District Courts, and in such inferior courts as the Legislature may from time to time ordain and establish; and such jurisdiction may be vested in corporation courts as may be deemed necessary, and be directed by law.

SEC. 2. The Supreme Court shall consist of a Chief Justice and two Associates, any two of whom shall form a quorum.

SEC. 3. The Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction only, which shall be co-extensive with the limits of the State; but in criminal cases, and in appeals from interlocutory judgments, with such exceptions and under such regulations as the Legislature shall make. And the Supreme Court and Judges thereof shall have power to issue the writ of habeas corpus, and under such regulations as may be prescribed by law, may issue writs of mandamus, and such other writs as shall be necessary to enforce its own jurisdiction, and also compel a Judge of the District Court to proceed to trial and judgment in a cause. And the Supreme Court shall hold its sessions once every year, between the months of October and June inclusive, at not more than three places in the State.

SEC. 4. The Supreme Court shall appoint its own clerks, who shall hold their offices for four years, and be subject to removal by the said court for neglect of duty, misdemeanor in office, and such other causes as may be prescribed by law.

SEC. 5. The Governor shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of two-thirds of the Senate, shall appoint the Judges of the Supreme and District Courts, and they shall hold their offices for six years.

[The two following amendments were made to the Constitution on the 16th January, 1850:

SEC. 1. The Judges of the Supreme Court, Judges of the District Courts, Attorney General, District Attorneys, Comptroller of Public Accounts, Treasurer of the State, and the Commissioner of the General Land Office, shall, at the expiration of their respective terms of office, or in case a vacancy may occur in either of them, by death, resignation, or otherwise, after this amendment takes effect, and thereafter, he elected by the qualified electors of the State, in the manner prescribed by law.

SEC. 2. That the election for District Judges and District Attorneys shall be confined to their respective districts.]

SEC. 6. The state shall be divided into convenient judicial districts. For each district, there shall be elected a Judge who shall reside in the same, and hold the courts at one place in each county, and at least twice in each year, in such manner as may be prescribed by law.

SEC. 7. The Judges of the Supreme Court shall receive a salary not less than two thousand dollars annually, and the Judges of the District Court a salary not less than seventeen hundred and fifty dollars annually; and the salaries of the Judges shall not be increased or diminished during their continuance in office.

[By a law of 1856, the Supreme Judges receive $3,000, and the District Judges $2,250 annually.”]

SEC. 8. The Judges of the Supreme and District Courts, shall be removed by the Governor, on the address of two-thirds of each House of the Legislature, for wilful neglect of duty or other reasonable cause which shall not be sufficient ground for impeachment; provided however, that the cause or causes for which such removal shall be required, shall be stated at length in such address, and entered on the journals of each House; and provided further, that the cause or causes, shall be notified to the Judge so intended to be removed; and he shall be admitted to a hearing in his own defence before any vote for such address shall pass: And in all such cases, the vote shall be taken by yeas and nays and entered on the journals of each House respectively.

SEC. 9. All Judges of the Supreme and District Courts, shall by virtue of their offices be conservators of the peace throughout the State. The style of all writs and process schall be “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.”

SEC. 10. The District Court shall have original jurisdiction of all criminal cases; of all suits in behalf of the State to recover penalties, forfeitures, and escheats, and of all cases of divorce; and of all suits, complaints, and pleas whatever, without regard to any distinction between law and equity, when the matter in controversy shall be valued at, or amount to one hundred dollars, exclusive of interest; and the said courts, or the Judges thereof, shall have power to issue all writs, necessary to enforce their own jurisdiction and to give them a general superintendence and control over inferior jurisdictions. And in the trial of all criminal cases, the jury trying the same shall find and assess the amount of punishment to be inflicted, or fine imposed; except in capital cases, and where the punishment or fine imposed, shall be specifically imposed by law.

SEC. 11. There shall be a Clerk of the District Court for each county, who shall be elected by the qualified voters for members of the Legislature, and who shall hold his office for four years, subject to removal by information, or by presentment of a grand jury and conviction by a petit jury. In case of vacancy, the Judge of the district shall have the power to appoint a Clerk, until a regular election can be held.

SEC. 12. The Governor shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of two-thirds of the Senate, appoint an Attorney-General, who shall hold his office for two years, and there shall be elected by joint vote of both Houses of the Legislature a District Attorney for each district, who shall hold his office for two years; and the duties, salaries and perquisites of the Attorney General and District Attorneys shall be prescribed by law.

[“By the amendment made to the Constitution in 1850, the Attorney General and District Attorneys are elected by the people.”]

SEC. 13. There shall be appointed for each county a convenient number of Justices of the Peace, one Sheriff, one Coroner, and a sufficient number of Constables, who shall hold their offices for two years, to be elected by the qualified voters of the district or county, as the Legislature may direct. Justices of the Peace, Sheriffs and Coroners, shall be commissioned by the Governor. The Sheriff shall not be eligible more than four years in every six.

SEC. 14. No Judge shall sit in any case wherein he may be interested, or where either of the parties may be connected with him by affinity or consanguinity, within such degrees as may be prescribed by law, or where he shall have been of counsel in the cause. When the Supreme Court or any two of its members shall be thus disqualified to hear and determine any cause or causes in said court, or when no judgment can be rendered in any case or cases in said court, by reason of the equal division of opinion of said Judges, the same shall be certified to the Governor of the State, who shall immediately commission the requisite number of persons learned in the law for the trial and determination of said case or cases. When the Judges of the District Court are thus disqualified, the parties may, by consent, appoint a proper person to try the said case; and the Judges of the said courts may exchange districts, or hold courts for each other, when they may deem it expedient, and shall do so when directed by law. The disqualification of Judges of inferior tribunals, shall be remedied as may hereafter be by law prescribed.

SEC. 15. Inferior tribunals shall be established in each county for appointing guardians, granting letters testamentary and of administration; for settling the accounts of executors, administraitors, and guardians, and for the transaction of business appertaining to estates; and the District Courts shall have original and appellate jurisdiction, and general control over the said inferior tribunals, and original jurisdiction and control over executors, administrators, guardians, and minors, under such regulations as may be prescribed by law.

SEC. 16. In the trial of all causes in equity in the District Court, the plaintiff or defendant, shall, upon application made in open court, have the right of trial by jury, to be governed by the rules and regulations prescribed in trials at law.

SEC. 17. Justices of the Peace shall have such civil and criminal jurisdiction as shall be provided by law.

SEC. 18. In all causes arising out of a contract, before any inferior judicial tribunal, when the amount in controversy shall exceed ten dollars, the plaintiff or defendant shall, upon application to the presiding officer, have the right of trial by jury.

SEC. 19. In all cases where Justices of the Peace, or other judicial officers of inferior tribunals, shall have jurisdiction in the trial of causes, where the penalty for the violation of a law is fine or imprisonment (except in cases of contempt) the accused shall have the right of trial by jury.

ARTICLE V.

EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT.

SECTION 1. The supreme executive power of this State shall be vested in the Chief Magistrate, who shall be styled the Governor of the State of Texas.

SEC. 2. The Governor shall be elected by the qualified electors of the State, at the time and places of elections for members of the Legislature.

SEC. 3. The returns of every election for Governor, until otherwise provided by law, shall be made out, sealed up, and transmitted to the Seat of Government, and directed to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, who shall, during the first week of the session of the Legislature thereafter, open and publish them in the presence of both Houses of the Legislature; the person having the highest number of votes, and being constitutionally eligible, shall be declared by the Speaker, under the direction of the Legislature, to be Governor; but if two ore more persons shall have the highest and an equal number of votes, one of them shall be immediately chosen Governor by joint vote of both Houses of the Legislature. Contested elections for Governor shall be determined by both Houses of the Legislature.

[“SEC. 4. The Governor shall hold his office for the term of two years from the regular time of installation, and until his successor shall be duly qualified; by shall not be eligible for more than four years in any term of six years; he shall be at least thirty years of age, shall be a citizen of the State of Texas, and shall have resided n the same three years immediately preceding his election.”]

SEC. 5. He shall, at stated times, receive a compensation for his services, which shall not be increased or diminished, during the term for which he shall have been elected. The first Governor shall receive an annual salary of two thousand dollars and no more.

[By a law of 1855, the salary of the Governor is fixed at $3,000 per annum.]

[“SEC. 6. The Governor shall be Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy of this State, and of the Militia, except when they shall be called into the service of the Confederate States of America.”]

SEC. 7. He may require information in writing from the officers of the Executive Department, on any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices.

SEC. 8. He may by proclamation on extraordinary occasions convene the Legislature at the Seat of Government, or at a different place, if that should be in the actual possession of a public enemy. In case of disagreement between the two Houses, with respect to adjournment, he may adjourn them to such time as he shall think proper, not beyond the day of the next regular meeting of the Legislature.

SEC. 9. He shall from time to time give to the Legislature information, in writing, of the state of the Government, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he may deem expedient.

SEC. 10. He shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.

SEC. 11. In all criminal cases, except in those of treason and impeachment, he shall have power, after conviction, to grant reprieves and pardons; and, under such rules as the Legislature may prescribe, he shall have power to remit fines and forfeitures. In cases of treason, he shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to grant reprieves and pardons, and he may, in the recess of the Senate, respite the sentence, until the end of the next session of the Legislature.

[“SEC. 12. There shall also be a Lieutenant-Governor, who shall be chosen at every election for Governor, by the same persons and in the same manner, and who shall continue in office for the same time, and possess the same qualifications. In voting for Governor and Lieutenant-Governor, the electors shall distinguish for whom they vote as Governor, and for whom as Lieutenant-Governor. The Lieutenant-Governor shall, by virtue of his office, be President of the Senate, and have, when in committee of the whole, a right to debate and vote on all questions, and when the Senate is equally divided, to give the casting vote. In case of the death, resignation, removal from office, inability or refusal of the Governor to serve, or of his impeachment or absence from the State, the Lieutenant-Governor shall exercise the powers and authority appertaining to the office of Governor, and shall be styled Governor of the State of Texas, until another be chosen at the periodical election, and be duly qualified; or until the Governor impeached, absent or disabled, shall be acquitted, return, or his disability be removed. The Governor and Lieutenant-Governor shall hereafter be installed into office on the first Thursday after the first Monday of November, A. D. 1861, and on the same day every two years thereafter.”]

SEC. 13. Whenever the government shall be administered by the Lieutenant-Governor, or he shall be unable to attend as President of the Senate, the Senate shall elect one of their own members as President for the time being. And if, during the vacancy of the office of the Governor, the Lieutenant-Governor shall die, resign, refuse to serve, or be removed from office, or be unable to serve, or if he shall be impeached, or absent from the State, the President of the Senate for the time being, shall in like manner administer the government until he shall be superceded by a Governor or Lieutenant-Governor. The Lieutenant-Governor shall, whilst he acts as President of the Senate, receive for his services the same compensation which shall be allowed to the Speaker of the House of Representatives; and no more, and during the time he administers the government as Governor, shall receive the same compensation which the Governor would have received had he been employed in the duties of his office, and no more. The President for the time being of the Senate shall, during the time he administers the government, receive in like manner the same compensation which the Governor would have received, had he been employed in the duties of his office. If the Lieutenant-Governor shall be required to administer the government, and shall, whilst in such administration die, resign, or be absent from the State, during the recess of the Legislature, it shall be the duty of the Secretary of State, to convene the Senate for the purpose of choosing a President for the time being.

SEC. 14. There shall be a seal of the State, which shall be kept by the Governor and used by him officially. The said seal shall be a star of five points, encircled by an olive and live oak branches, and the words “The State of Texas.”

SEC. 15. All commissions shall be in the name and by the authority of the State of Texas, be sealed with the State Seal, signed by the Governor and attested by the Secretary of State.

SEC. 16. There shall be a Secretary of State, who shall be appointed by the Governor, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, and shall continue in office during the term of service of the Governor elect. He shall keep a fair register of all official acts and proceedings of the Governor, and shall, when required, lay the same and all papers, minutes and vouchers, relative thereto, before the Legislature, or either House thereof, and shall perform such other duties as may be required of him by law.

SEC. 17. 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 journals and proceed to reconsider it; if, after such reconsideration, two-thirds of the members present, of that House, it shall become a law; but in such cases the votes of both Houses shall be determined by yeas and nays, and the names of members voting for or against the bill, shall be entered on the journals of each House respectively. If any bill shall not be returned by the Governor within five days, Sundays excepted, after it shall have been presented to him, the same shall be a law in like manner, as if he had signed it. Every bill presented to the Governor one day previous to the adjournment of the Legislature, and not returned to the House in which it originated before its adjournment, shall become a law, and have the same force and effect as if signed by the Governor.

SEC. 18. Every order, resolution or vote, to which the concurrence of both Houses of Legislature 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 re-passed by both Houses, according to the rules and limitations prescribed in the case of a bill.

SEC. 19. The Governor, by and with the advice and consent of two-thirds of the Senate, shall appoint a convenient number of Notaries Public, not exceeding six for each county, who in addition to such duties as are prescribed by law, shall discharge such other duties as the Legislature may from time to time prescribe.

SEC. 20. Nominations to fill vacancies that may have occurred during the recess, shall be made to the Senate during the first ten days of its session. And should any nomination so made be rejected, the same individual shall not again be nominated during session to fill the same office. And should the Governor fail to make nominations to fill any vacancy during the session of the Senate, such vacancy shall not be filled by the Governor until the next meeting of the Senate.

SEC. 21. The Governor shall reside during the session of the Legislature, at the place where the sessions may be held, and at all other times whenever, in their opinion, the public good may require.

SEC. 22. No person holding the office of Governor, shall hold any other office or commission, civil or military.

SEC. 23. A State Treasurer and Comptroller of public accounts shall be biennially elected, by the joint ballot of both Houses of the Legislature, and in case of vacancy in either of said offices, during the recess of the Legislature, such vacancy shall be filled by the Governor, which appointment shall continue until the close of the next session of the Legislature thereafter.

[By the amendment made to the Constitution in 1850, the State Treasurer and Comptroller are elected by the people.]

ARTICLE VI.

MILITIA.

SEC. 1. The Legislature shall provide by law for organizing and disciplining the Militia of this State, in such manner as they shall deem expedient, not incompatible with the Constitution and laws of the “Confederate States of America,” in relation thereto.”]

SEC. 2. Any person who conscientiously scruples to bear arms shall not be compelled to do so, but shall pay an equivalent for personal service.

SEC. 3. No licensed Minister of the Gospel shall be required to perform military duty, work on roads, or serve on juries in this State.

SEC. 4. The Governor shall have power to call forth the Militia to execute the laws of the State, to suppress insurrections and to repel invations.

ARTCILE VII.

GENERAL PROVISIONS.

[“SECTION 1. Members of the Legislature, and all officers of the State of Texas, before they enter upon the duties of their offices, shall take the following oath or affirmation:

I, (A. B) do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent on me as ——–, according to the best of my skill and ability, agreeably to the Constitution and laws of the State of Texas, and also to the Constitution and laws of the Confederate States of America, so long as the State of Texas shall remain a member of that Confederacy. And I do further solemnly swear (or affirm) that since the second day of March, A. D., 1861, I, being a citizen of this State, have not fought a duel with deadly weapons, within this State nor out of it; nor have I sent or accepted a challenge to fight a duel with deadly weapons; nor have I acted as second in carrying a challenge; or aided, advised or assisted any person thus offending–so help me God.”]

SEC. 2. Treason against this State shall consist only in levying war against it, or in adhering to its enemies–giving them aid and comfort; and no person shall be convicted of treason, unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or his own confession in open court.

SEC. 3. Every person shall be disqualified from holding any office of trust or profit in this State, who shall have been convicted of having given or offered a bribe to procure his election or appointment.

SEC. 4. Laws shall be made to exclude from office, serving on juries, and from the right of suffrage, those who shall hereafter be convicted of bribery, perjury, forgery, or other high crimes. The privilege of free suffrage shall be supported by laws regulating elections, and prohibiting, under adequate penalties, all undue influence thereon from power, bribery, tumult, or other improper practice.

[“SEC. 5. Any citizen of this State, who shall, after the 2d day of March. A. D. 1861, fight a duel with deadly weapons, either within the State or out of it; or who shall act as second or knowing aid and assist, in any manner, those thus offending, shall be deprived of holding any office of trust or profit under this State.”]

SEC. 6. In all elections by the people, the vote shall be by ballot until the Legislature shall otherwise direct; and in all elections by the Senate and House of Representatives, jointly or separately, the vote shall be given viva voce, except in the election of their officers.

SEC. 7. The Legislature shall provide by law for the compensation of all officers, servants, agents and public contractors, not provided for by this Constitution, and shall not grant extra compensation to any officer, agent, servant, or public contractor, after such public service shall have been performed, or contract entered into for the performance of the same; nor grant, by appropriation of otherwise, any amount of money out of the Treasury of the State, to any individual on a claim, real or pretended, where the same shall not have been provided for by preexisting law: Provided, that nothing in this section shall be so construed as to affect the claims of persons against the Republic of Texas, heretofore existing.

SEC. 8. No money shall be drawn from the Treasury but in pursuance of specific appropriations made by law; nor shall any appropriation of money be made for a longer term than two years, except for purposes of education; and no appropriation for private or individual purposes, or for purposes of internal improvement, shall be made, without the concurrence of two-thirds of both House of the Legislature. A regular statement and account of the receipts and expenditures of all public money shall be published annually in such manner as shall be prescribed by law. And in no case shall the Legislature have the power to issue “Treasury Warrants,” “Treasury Notes,” or paper of any description intended to circulate as money.

SEC. 9. All civil officers shall reside within the State; and all district or county officers, within their districts or counties; and shall keep their offices at such places therein, as may be required by law.

SEC. 10. The duration of all offices not fixed by this Constitution, shall never exceed four years.

[“SEC. 11. Absence on the business of this State, or the “Confederate States of America,” shall not forfeit a residence once obtained, so as to deprive any one of the right of suffrage, or of being elected or appointed to any office, under the exceptions contained in this Constitution.”]

SEC. 12. The Legislature shall have power to provide for deductions from the salaries of public officers, who may neglect the performance of any duty that may be assigned them by law.

[“SEC. 13. No member of Congress, or person holding or exercising any office of profit or trust under the “Confederate States of America,” or either of them, or under any foreign power, shall be eligible as a member of the Legislature, or hold or exercise any office of profit or trust under this State.”]

SEC. 14. The Legislature shall provide for a change of venue in civil and criminal cases; and for the erection of a Penitentiary at as early a day as practicable.

SEC. 15. It shall be the duty of the Legislature to pass such laws as may be necessary and proper, to decide differences by arbitration, when the parties shall elect that method of trial.

[“SEC. 16. Within three years after the 2d day of March, A. D., 1861, the laws, civil and criminal, shall be revised, digested, arranged and published, in such manner as the Legislature shall direct; and a like revision, digest and publication shall be made every ten years thereafter.”]

SEC. 17. No lottery shall be authorized by this State; and the buying or selling of lottery tickets within this State is prohibited.

SEC. 18. No divorce shall be granted by the Legislature.

SEC. 19. All property, both real and personal, of the wife, owned or claimed by her before marriage, and that acquired afterwards by gift, devise, or descent, shall be her separate property; and laws shall be passed more clearly defining the rights of the wife, in relation as well to her separate property, as that held in common with her husband. Laws shall also be passed providing for the registration of the wife, separate property.

SEC. 20. The rights of property and of action which have been acquired under the Constitution and laws of the Republic of Texas shall not be divested; nor shall any rights or actions, which have been divested, barred, or declared null and void, by the Constitution and laws of the Republic of Texas, be re-invested, revived or reinstated by this Constitution; but the same shall remain precisely in the situation which they were before the adoption of this Constitution.

SEC. 21. All claims, locations, surveys, grants and titles to land, which are declared null and void by the Constitution of the Republic of Texas, are, and the same shall remain, forever null and void.

SEC. 22. The Legislature shall have power to protect by law from forced sale a certain portion of the property of all heads of families. The homestead of a family, not to exceed two hundred acres of land, (not included in a town or city;) or any town or city lot or lots, in value not to exceed two thousand dollars, shall not be subject to forced sale, for any debts hereafter constructed; nor shall the owner, if a married man, be at liberty to alienate the same, unless by the consent of the wife, in such manner as the Legislature may hereafter point out.

SEC. 23. The Legislature shall provide in what cases officers shall continue to perform the duties of their offices, until their successors shall be duly qualified.

SEC. 24. Every law enacted by the Legislature shall embrace but one object, and that shall be expressed in the title.

SEC. 25. No law shall be revised or amended by reference to its title; but in such case the act revised, or section amended, shall be re-enacted and published at length.

SEC. 26. No person shall hold or exercise, at the same time, more than one civil office of emolument, except that of Justice of the Peace.

SEC. 27. Taxation shall be equal and uniform throughout the State. All property in this State shall be taxed in proportion to its value, to be ascertained as directed by law, except each property as two-thirds of both Houses of the Legislature may think proper to exempt from taxation. The Legislature shall have power to lay an income tax, and to tax all persons pursuing any occupation, trade or profession: Provided, that the term occupation, shall not be construed to apply to pursuits either agricultural or mechanical.

SEC. 28. The Legislature shall have power to provide by law for exempting from taxation two hundred and fifty dollars’ worth of the household furniture, or other property, belonging to each family in this State.

SEC. 29. The Assessor and Collector of taxes, shall be appointed in such manner, and under such regulations, as the Legislature may direct.

SEC. 30. No corporate body shall hereafter be created, renewed or extended, with banking or discounting privileges.

SEC. 31. No private corporation shall be created, unless the bill creating it shall be passed by two-thirds of both Houses of the Legislature; and two-thirds of the Legislature shall have power to revoke and repeal all private corporations, by making compensation for the franchise. And the State shall not be part owner of the stock, or property, belonging to any corporation.

SEC. 32. The Legislature shall prohibit by law individuals from issuing bills, checks, promissory notes, or other paper, to circulate as money.

SEC. 33. The aggregate amount of debts hereafter contracted by the Legislature shall not exceed the sum of five hundred thousand dollars, ($500,000) (except in case of war, to repel invasion or suppress insurrection,) unless under the following restrictions: that whenever a debt shall be contracted exceeding that amount, the law authorizing the same shall impose and provide for the collection of a direct annual tax, sufficient to pay the interest on such debt, as it falls due, and also to pay and discharge the principal of such debt within eighteen years from the time of the contracting thereof. On the final passage of such law, in either House of the Legislature, the question shall be taken by yeas and nays, and be duly entered on the journals thereof. If no debt shall have been contracted in pursuance of such law, the Legislature may repeal the same; or if a portion of the debt authorized shall have been contracted, the Legislature may, at any time, by law, forbid the contracting of any further debt or liability under such law; but the tax imposed by such an act, in proportion to the debt and liability which may have been contracted in pursuance of such law, shall remain in force and be irrepealable, and be annually collected until the proceeds thereof shall have made full provision to pay and discharge the interest and principal of such debt and liability. The money arising from any loan or stock creating such debt or liability, shall be applied to the object or objects specified in the act authorizing such debt or liability, or to the re-payment of the same, and for no other purpose whatever. No part of the specific tax authorized by this section shall be appropriated or act apart for any other purpose whatever, but exclusively to the payment of the interest and principal of such debt.

SEC. 34. The Legislature shall, at the first session thereof, and may, at any subsequent session, establish new counties for the convenience of the inhabitants of such new county or counties. Provided, that no new county shall be established, which shall reduce the county or counties, or either of them, from which it shall be taken, to a less area than nine hundred square miles, (except the county of Bowie,) unless by consent of two-thirds of the Legislature, nor shall any county be laid off of less contents. Every new county, as to the right of suffrage and representation, shall be considered as part of the county or counties from which it was taken, until entitled by numbers to the right of separate representation.

SEC. 35. 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 a manner prescribed by law.

SEC. 36. The salaries of the Governor, and Judges of the Supreme and District Courts, are hereby fixed at the minimum established in the Constitution, and shall not be increased for ten years.

[“SEC. 37. The Legislature, by a vote of two-thirds of all the members of each House, shall have the power to call a Convention of the people for the purpose of altering, reforming, or amending the Constitution. The Legislature, at any regular biennial session, by a vote of two-thirds of each House, may propose amendments to the Constitution, which proposed amendments shall be duly published in the public prints of the State, at least three months before the next general election thereafter for Representatives to the Legislature, for the consideration of the people, and it shall be the duty of the several returning officers at said general election, to open a poll for, and make a return to the Secretary of State of, the number of votes cast at said election, for and against said amendment; and if more than one be proposed, then the number of votes cast for and against each of them, and if it shall appear from said return that a majority of the votes cast upon said proposed amendment or amendments have been cast in favor of the same, and two-thirds of each branch of the Legislature, at the next regular session thereafter, shall ratify said proposed amendment or amendments, so voted upon by the people, the same shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as parts of the Constitution of the State of Texas; provided, that the said proposed amendments shall, at each of said sessions, have been read on three several days in each House of the Legislature, and the vote thereon shall have been taken by yeas and nays. And provided, further, that the rule in the above proviso shall never be suspended by either of said Houses.”]

ARTICLE VIII.

SLAVES.

SEC. 1. The Legislature shall have no power to pass laws for the emancipation of slaves.

SEC. 2. No citizen, or other person residing in this State, shall have power by deed, or will, to take effect in this State, or out of it, in any manner whatsoever, directly or indirectly, to emancipate his slave or slaves.

SEC. 3. The Legislature shall have no power to pass any law to prevent immigrants to this State, from bringing with them such persons of the negro race as are deemed slaves by the laws of any of the Confederate States of America; provided, that slaves who have committed any felony may be excluded from this State.

SEC. 4. In the prosecution of slaves for crimes of a higher grade than petit larceny, the Legislature shall have no power to deprive them of a trial by jury, except in cases arising under the laws concerning insurrection of slaves.

SEC. 5. Any person who shall maliciously dismember, or deprive a slave of life, shall suffer such punishment as would be inflicted in case the like offence had been committed upon a free white person, and on the like proof; except when such slave has committed, or attempted to commit, a rape on a white female, or in case of insurrection of such slave.

SEC. 6. The Legislature shall have power to pass laws which will oblige the owners of slaves to treat them with humanity.

ARTICLE IX.

IMPEACHMENT.

SECTION 1. The power of impeachment shall be vested in the House of Representatives.

SEC. 2. Impeachment of the Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, Attorney-General, Secretary of State, Treasurer, Comptroller, and of the Judges of District Courts, shall be tried by the Senate.

SEC. 3. Impeachments of Judges of the Supreme Court shall be tried by the Senate. When sitting as a court of impeachment, the Senators shall be upon oath or affirmation, and no person shall be convicted without the concurrence of two-thirds of the Senators present.

SEC. 4. Judgment, in cases of impeachment, shall extend only to removal from office, and disqualification from holding any office of honor, trust, or profit, under this State; but the parties convicted shall, nevertheless, be subject to indictment, trial and punishment, according to law.

SEC. 5. All officers against whom articles of impeachment may be preferred, shall be suspended from the exercise of the duties of their office, during the pendency of such impeachment. The appointing power may make a provisional appointment to fill the vacancy occasioned by the suspension of an officer, until the decision on the impeachment.

SEC. 6. The Legislature shall provide for the trial, punishment, and removal from office, all other officers of the State, by indictment or otherwise.

ARTICLE X.

EDUCATION.

SECTION 1. A general diffusion of knowledge being essential to the preservation of the rights and liberties of the people, it shall be the duty of the Legislature of this State to make suitable provisions for the support and maintenance of public schools.

SEC. 2. The Legislature shall, as early as practicable, establish free schools throughout the State, and shall furnish means for their support, by taxation on property: And it shall be the duty of the Legislature to set apart not less than one-tenth of the annual revenue of the State derivable from taxation, as a perpetual fund, which fund shall be appropriated to the support of free public schools, and no law shall ever be made diverting said fund to any other use; and until such time as the Legislature shall provide for the establishment of such schools in the several Districts of the State, the fund thus created shall remain as a charge against the State, passed to the credit of the free common school fund.

SEC. 3. All public lands which have been heretofore, or which may hereafter be granted for public schools, to the various counties, or other political divisions in this State, shall not be alienated in fee, nor disposed of otherwise than by lease for a term not exceeding twenty years, in such manner as the Legislature may direct.

SEC. 4. The several counties in this State which have not received their quantum of lands for the purposes of education, shall be entitled to the same quantity heretofore appropriated by the Congress of the Republic of Texas to other counties.

ARTICLE XI.

SECTION 1. All certificates for head-right claims to land, issued to fictitious persons, or which were forged, and all locations and surveys thereon, are, and the same were, null and void from the beginning.

SEC. 2. The District Courts shall be opened until the first day of July, one thousand eight hundred and forty-seven, for the establishment of certificates of head-rights, not recommended by the Commissioners appointed under the act to detect fraudulent land certificates, and to provide for issuing patents to legal claimants; and the parties suing shall produce the like proof, and be subjected to the requisitions which were necessary, and were prescribed by law to sustain the original application for the said certificates, and all certificates above referred to, not established or sued upon before the period limited, shall be barred, and the said certificates; and all locations and surveys thereon, shall be forever null and void; and all re-locations made on such surveys shall not be disturbed until the certificates are established as above directed.

ARTICLE XII.

LAND OFFICE.

SECTION 1. There shall be one general Land-Office in the State, which shall be at the seat of government, where all titles which have heretofore emanated, or may hereafter emanate from Government, shall be registered; and the Legislature may establish, from time to time, such subordinate offices as they may deem requisite.

ARTICLE XIII.

SCHEDULE.

SECTION. 1. That no inconvenience may arise from a change of separate national Government to a State Government, it is declared, that all process which shall be issued in the name of the Republic of Texas, prior to the organization of the State Government under this Constitution, shall be as valid as if issued in the name of the State of Texas.

SEC. 2. The validity of all bonds and recognizances, executed in conformity with the Constitution and laws of the Republic of Texas, shall not be impaired by the change of government, but may be sued for and recovered, in the name of the Governor of the State of Texas; and all criminal prosecutions, or penal actions, which shall have arisen, prior to the organization of the State government under this Constitution, in any of the Courts of the Republic of Texas, shall be prosecuted in judgment and execution in the name of said State. All suits at law and equity which may be depending in any of the Courts of the Republic of Texas, prior to the organization of the State government under this Constitution, shall be transferred to the proper court of the State, which shall have jurisdiction of the subject-matter thereof.

[SEC. 3. All laws and parts of laws now in force in the State of Texas, which are not repugnant to the Constitution of the Confederate States of America, or the Constitution of this State, shall continue and remain in force as the laws of this State, until they expire by their own limitation, or shall be altered or repealed by the Legislature.]

SEC. 4. All fines, penalties, forfeitures and escheats, which have accrued to the Republic of Texas under the Constitution and laws, shall accrue to the State of Texas; and the Legislature shall, by law, provide a method for determining what lands may have been forfeited or escheated.

[Sections 5, 6, 7, 8 and 11, relate entirely to the change from the “Republic” to the “State” of Texas, in 1845-6, and being now obsolete, are omitted.]

SEC. 9. It shall be the duty of the President of Texas, immediately after the inauguration of the Governor, to deliver to him all records, public money, documents, archives and public property, of every description whatsoever, under the control of the executive branch of the government; and the Governor shall dispose of the same in such manner as the Legislature may direct.

SEC. 10. That no inconvenience may result from the change of government, it is declared that the laws of this Republic relative to the duties of officers, both civil and military, of the same, shall remain in full force, and the duties of their several offices shall be performed in conformity with the existing laws, until the organization of the government of the State, under this Constitution, or until the first day of the meeting of the Legislature: That then the offices of President, Vice-President, of the President’s Cabinet, Foreign Ministers, Charges and agents and others, repugnant to this Constitution, shall be superseded by the same; and that all others shall be holden and exorcised until they expire by their own limitation, or he superseded by the authority of this Constitution, or laws made in pursuance thereof.

SEC. 12. The first general election for Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, and members of the Legislature, after the organization of the government, shall take place on the first Monday in November, one thousand eight hundred and forty-seven, and shall be held biennially thereafter, on the first Monday in November, until otherwise provided by the Legislature. And the Governor and Lieutenant-Governor, elected in December next, shall hold their offices until the installation in office of the Governor and Lieutenant-Governor to be elected in the year one thousand eight hundred and forty-seven.

[Section 13 is repealed by the secession of Texas.]

Done in Convention, by the Deputies of the people of Texas, at the City of Austin, this twenty-seventh day of August, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty-five.

In testimony whereof, we have hereunto subscribed our names.

THO. J. RUSK, President.

JAMES H. RAYMOND, Secretary.

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Dave Jolly

R.L. David Jolly holds a B.S. in Wildlife Biology and an M.S. in Biology – Population Genetics. He has worked in a number of fields, giving him a broad perspective on life, business, economics and politics. He is a very conservative Christian, husband, father and grandfather who cares deeply for his Savior, family and the future of our troubled nation.

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