Texas Secedes from Empire
[Copied by Justin Sanders from E.W. Winkler, ed., *Journal of the Secession
Convention of Texas*, pp. 61-66.]
A Declaration of the Causes which Impel the State of Texas to Secede from the
Federal Union.
The government of the United States, by certain joint resolutions, bearing date
the 1st day of March, in the year A.D. 1845, proposed to the Republic of
Texas, then *a free, sovereign and independent nation* [emphasis in the
original], the annexation of the latter to the former, as one of the co-equal
states thereof,
The people of Texas, by deputies in convention assembled, on the fourth day
of July of the same year, assented to and accepted said proposals and formed
a constitution for the proposed State, upon which on the 29th day of December
in the same year, said State was formally admitted into the Confederated Union.
Texas abandoned her separate national existence and consented to become
one of the Confederated Union to promote her welfare, insure domestic
tranquility and secure more substantially the blessings of peace and liberty to
her people. She was received into the confederacy with her own constitution,
under the guarantee of the federal constitution and the compact of annexation,
that she should enjoy these blessings. She was received as a commonwealth
holding, maintaining and protecting the institution known as negro slavery-- the
servitude of the African to the white race within her limits-- a relation that had
existed from the first settlement of her wilderness by the white race, and which
her people intended should exist in all future time. Her institutions and
geographical position established the strongest ties between her and other
slave-holding States of the confederacy. Those ties have been strengthened
by association. But what has been the course of the government of the United
States, and of the people and authorities of the non-slave-holding States, since
our connection with them?
The controlling majority of the Federal Government, under various pretences
and disguises, has so administered the same as to exclude the citizens of the
Southern States, unless under odious and unconstitutional restrictions, from all
the immense territory owned in common by all the States on the Pacific Ocean,
for the avowed purpose of acquiring sufficient power in the common
government to use it as a means of destroying the institutions of Texas and her
sister slaveholding States.
By the disloyalty of the Northern States and their citizens and the imbecility of
the Federal Government, infamous combinations of incendiaries and outlaws
have been permitted in those States and the common territory of Kansas to
trample upon the federal laws, to war upon the lives and property of Southern
citizens in that territory, and finally, by violence and mob law, to usurp the
possession of the same as exclusively the property of the Northern States.
The Federal Government, while but partially under the control of these our
unnatural and sectional enemies, has for years almost entirely failed to protect
the lives and property of the people of Texas against the Indian savages on
our border, and more recently against the murderous forays of banditti from
the neighboring territory of Mexico; and when our State government has
expended large amounts for such purpose, the Federal Government has
refuse reimbursement therefor, thus rendering our condition more insecure
and harassing than it was during the existence of the Republic of Texas.
These and other wrongs we have patiently borne in the vain hope that a
returning sense of justice and humanity would induce a different course of
When we advert to the course of individual non-slave-holding States, and that
a majority of their citizens, our grievances assume far greater magnitude.
The States of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island,
Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan and Iowa,
by solemn legislative enactments, have deliberately, directly or indirectly
violated the 3rd clause of the 2nd section of the 4th article [the fugitive slave
clause] of the federal constitution, and laws passed in pursuance thereof;
thereby annulling a material provision of the compact, designed by its framers
to perpetuate the amity between the members of the confederacy and to
secure the rights of the slave-holding States in their domestic institutions-- a
provision founded in justice and wisdom, and without the enforcement of which
the compact fails to accomplish the object of its creation. Some of those States
have imposed high fines and degrading penalties upon any of their citizens or
officers who may carry out in good faith that provision of the compact, or the
federal laws enacted in accordance therewith.
In all the non-slave-holding States, in violation of that good faith and comity
which should exist between entirely distinct nations, the people have formed
themselves into a great sectional party, now strong enough in numbers to
control the affairs of each of those States, based upon an unnatural feeling of
hostility to these Southern States and their beneficent and patriarchal system
of African slavery, proclaiming the debasing doctrine of equality of all men,
irrespective of race or color-- a doctrine at war with nature, in opposition to the
experience of mankind, and in violation of the plainest revelations of Divine
Law. They demand the abolition of negro slavery throughout the confederacy,
the recognition of political equality between the white and negro races, and
avow their determination to press on their crusade against us, so long as a
negro slave remains in these States.
For years past this abolition organization has been actively sowing the seeds of
discord through the Union, and has rendered the federal congress the arena
for spreading firebrands and hatred between the slave-holding and
non-slave-holding States.
By consolidating their strength, they have placed the slave-holding States in a
hopeless minority in the federal congress, and rendered representation of no
avail in protecting Southern rights against their exactions and encroachments.
They have proclaimed, and at the ballot box sustained, the revolutionary
doctrine that there is a 'higher law' than the constitution and laws of our
Federal Union, and virtually that they will disregard their oaths and trample
upon our rights.
They have for years past encouraged and sustained lawless organizations to
steal our slaves and prevent their recapture, and have repeatedly murdered
Southern citizens while lawfully seeking their rendition.
They have invaded Southern soil and murdered unoffending citizens, and
through the press their leading men and a fanatical pulpit have bestowed
praise upon the actors and assassins in these crimes, while the governors of
several of their States have refused to deliver parties implicated and indicted
for participation in such offenses, upon the legal demands of the States
They have, through the mails and hired emissaries, sent seditious pamphlets
and papers among us to stir up servile insurrection and bring blood and
carnage to our firesides.
They have sent hired emissaries among us to burn our towns and distribute
arms and poison to our slaves for the same purpose.
They have impoverished the slave-holding States by unequal and partial
legislation, thereby enriching themselves by draining our substance.
They have refused to vote appropriations for protecting Texas against ruthless
savages, for the sole reason that she is a slave-holding State.
And, finally, by the combined sectional vote of the seventeen non-slave-holding
States, they have elected as president and vice-president of the whole
confederacy two men whose chief claims to such high positions are their
approval of these long continued wrongs, and their pledges to continue them to
the final consummation of these schemes for the ruin of the slave-holding
In view of these and many other facts, it is meet that our own views should be
distinctly proclaimed.
We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various States, and
of the confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for
themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their
establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and
dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country
be rendered beneficial or tolerable.
That in this free government *all white men are and of right ought to be entitled
to equal civil and political rights* [emphasis in the original]; that the servitude of
the African race, as existing in these States, is mutually beneficial to both bond
and free, and is abundantly authorized and justified by the experience of
mankind, and the revealed will of the Almighty Creator, as recognized by all
Christian nations; while the destruction of the existing relations between the two
races, as advocated by our sectional enemies, would bring inevitable calamities
upon both and desolation upon the fifteen slave-holding states.
By the secession of six of the slave-holding States, and the certainty that
others will speedily do likewise, Texas has no alternative but to remain in an
isolated connection with the North, or unite her destinies with the South.
For these and other reasons, solemnly asserting that the federal constitution
has been violated and virtually abrogated by the several States named, seeing
that the federal government is now passing under the control of our enemies to
be diverted from the exalted objects of its creation to those of oppression and
wrong, and realizing that our own State can no longer look for protection, but to
God and her own sons-- We the delegates of the people of Texas, in
Convention assembled, have passed an ordinance dissolving all political
connection with the government of the United States of America and the people
thereof and confidently appeal to the intelligence and patriotism of the freemen
of Texas to ratify the same at the ballot box, on the 23rd day of the present
Adopted in Convention on the 2nd day of Feby, in the year of our Lord one
thousand eight hundred and sixty-one and of the independence of Texas the