Visit The University of Texas homepage
Visit the Tarlton Law Library homepage

Constitution of the State of Texas (1861)

 Previous  Next

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."]