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CONSTITUTION OF TEXAS.
We, the people of the Republic of Texas, acknowledging, with grati. tude the grace and beneficence of God, in permitting us to make a choice of our form of government, do in accordance with the provisions of the Joint Resolution for annexing Texas to the United States, approved March 1st, one thousand eight hundred and forty-five, ordain and es. tablish this Constitution.
Bill of Rights.
That the general, great and essential principles of Liberty and Free Government may be recognized and established, we declare that
§ 1. All political power is inherent in the people, and all free govern. ments are founded on their authority, and instituted for their benefit; and they have, at all times, the unalienable right to alter, reform, or abolish their form of government, in such manner as they may think expedient.
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 ser. vices.
3. No religious test shall ever be required, as a qualification to any office or public trust in this State.
4. All men have a natural and indefeasible 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 main. tain 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.
5. Every citizen shall be at liberty to speak, write or publish his opinions on any subject, being responsible for the abuse of that privi.
.ege ; and no law shall ever be passed, curtailing the liberty of speech or of the press.
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 may be given in evidence ; and, in all indictments for libels, the jury shall have the right to determine the law and the facts, under the direction of the Couri, as in other cases.
7. The people shall be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and possessions, from unreasonable seizures or searches; and no warrant to scarch any place, or to seize any person or thing, shall issue, without describing them as near as may be; nor without probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation.
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 favour; and no person shall be holden to answer for any crim. inal charge, but on indictment or information, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or offences against the laws regulating the militia.
9. All prisoners shall be bailable by sufficient sureties, unless for capital offences, when the proof is evident, or the presumption great; but this provision shall not be so construed as to prohibit bail after in. dictment found, upon an examination of the evidence by a Judge of the Supreme or District Court, upon the return of a writ of habeas cor. pus, returnable in the county where the offence is committed.
10 The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspend. ed, except when, in case of rebellion or invasion, the public safety may require it.
il. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines im. posed, nor cruel and unusual punishment 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.
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,
13. Every citizen shall have the right to keep and bear arms in the lawful defence of himself or the State.
14. No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, retroactive law, or any faw impairing the obligation of contracts, shall be made, and no per. son's property shall be taken, or applied to public use, without adequate compensation being made, unless by the consent of such person.
15. No person shall ever be imprisoned for debt.
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.
17. The military shall, at all times, be subordinate to the civil authority.
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.
19. The citizens shall have the right, in a peaceable manner, to as. semble 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.
20. No power of suspending laws in this State shall be exercised, except by the Legislature or its authority.
21. To guard against transgressions of the high powers herein dele. gated, we declare that every thing in this “ Bill of Rights” is excepted out of the general powers of government, and shall forever remain in. violate ; and all laws contrary thereto, or to the following provisions, shall be void.
ARTICLE 2. Division of the Powers of Government. $1. The powers of the Government of the State of Texas, shall be divided into three distinct departments, and each of them to be confided to a separate body of magistracy, to wit:-those which are Legislative, to one ; those which are Executive, lo 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.
Legislative Department. § 1. Every free male person who shall have attained the age of twenty-one years, and who shall be a citizen of the United States, or who is at the time of the adoption of this Constitution by the Congress of the United States, a citizen of the Republic of Texas, and shall have resided in this State one year next preceding an election, and the last six onths within the district, county, city or town in which he offers to vote, (Indians not taxed, Africans and descendants of Africans ex. cepted,) shall be deemed a qualified elector; and should 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 ; provided, that the qualified electors shall be permitted to vote anywhere in the State for State officers; and provided, further, that no soldier, seaman or marine, in the army or navy of the United States, shall be entitled to vote at any election created by this Constitution,
2. All free male persons over the age of twenty-one years, (Indians not taxed, Africans and descendants of Africans excepted,) who shall have resided six months in Texas, immediately preceding the acceptance of this Constitution by the Congress of the United States, shall be deemed qualified electors.
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, telony, or breach of the peace. 4. The Legislative powers of this State shall be vested in two dis. tinct 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 Legisla. ture of the State of Texas."
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.
6. No person shall be a Representative unless he be a citizen of the United States, or at the time of the adoption of this Constitution a citizen of the Republic of Texas, and shall have been an inhabitant of this State two years next preceding his election, and the last year thereof a citizen of the county, city or town for which he shall be cho. sen, and shall have attained the age of twenty-one years, at the time of his election.
7. All the elections by the people shall be held at such time and places, in the several counties, cities or towns, as are now, or may hereaster be designated by law.
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 va. cated 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.
9. Such mode of classifying new additional Senators, shall be ob. served as will as nearly as possible preserve an equality of number in each class.
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.
11. No person shall be a Senator unless he be a citizen of the United States, or at the time of the acceptance of this Constitution by the Congress of the United States, a citizen of the Republic of Texas; and shall have been an inhabitant of this State three years next preceding 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.
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, fut 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 attend. ance of absent members, in such manner, and under such penalties as each House may provide.
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.
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 Honse on any question, shall, at the desire of any three members pres. ent, be entered on the Journals.
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.
16. Senators and Representatives shall in all cases, except in treason, felony, or breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest during the ses. sion 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.
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: provided, such imprisonment shall not at any one time exceed forty-eight hours.
18. The doors of each House shall be kept open.
19. Neither House shall, without the consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days; nor to any other place than that in which they may be sitting, without the concurrence of both Houses.
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.
21. All bills for raising revenue, shall originate in the House of Representatives, but the Senate may amend or reject them as other bills.
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.
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.
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 etigible 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 cases as are herein pro. vided. The President for the time being, of the Senate, and Speaker of the House of Representatives, shall be elected from their respective bodies.
25. No Judge of any court of law or equity, Secretary of State, At. torney General, Clerk of any court of record, Sheriff or Collector, or any person holding a lucrative office under the United States, or this State, or any foreign government, shall be eligible to the Legislature, nor shall at the same time hold or exercise any two offices, agencies, or appointments of trust or profit under this State : provided, that offices