3. TEXAS' FIRST DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE
that of Magee-Gutiérrez and the Army of the North issued from San Antonio de Béxar, April 6, 1813.
We, the people of the province of Texas, calling on the Supreme Judge of the Universe to witness the rectitude of our intentions, declare, that the ties which held us under the domination of Spain and Europe, are forever dissolved; that we possess the right to establish a government for ourselves; that in the future all legitimate authority shall emanate from the people to whom alone it rightfully belongs, and that henceforth all allegiance or subjection to any foreign power whatsoever, is entirely renounced.
A relation of the causes which have conduced to render this step necessary, is due to our dignity, and to the opinion of the world. A long series of occurrences, originating in the weakness and corruption of the Spanish rulers, has converted that monarchy into the theater of a sanguinary war, between two contending powers, itself destined the prize of the victor; a king in the power and subject to the authority of one of them, the miserable wreck of its government in the possession of the other, it appears to have lost the substance of any form of sovereignty.--Unable to defend itself on the Peninsula, much less to protect its distant colonies; those colonies are abandoned to the caprice of wicked men, whilst there exists no power to which they may be made responsible for the abuse of their authority, or for the consequence of their rapacity.
Self Preservation, the highest law of nature, if no other motive, would have justified this step. But independent of this necessity, a candid world will acknowledge that we have had cause amply sufficient, in the sufferings and oppression which we have so long endured.
Governments are established for the good of communities of men, and not for the benefit and aggrandizement of individuals. When these ends are perverted to a system of oppression, the people have a right to change them for a better, and for such as may be best adapted to their situation. Man is formed in the image of his Creator: he sins who submits to slavery. Who will say that our sufferings are not such as to have driven us to the farthest bounds of patience, and to justify us in establishing a new government, and in choosing new rulers to whom we may intrust our happiness?
We were governed by insolent strangers, who regarded their authority only as a means of enriching themselves by the plunder of those whom they were sent to govern, while we had no participation either in national or municipal affairs.
We feel with indignation, the unheard of tyranny of being excluded from all communication with other nations, which might tend to improve our situation, physical and moral. We were prohibited the use of books, of speech, and even of thought-our country was our prison.
In a province which nature has favored with uncommon prodigality, we were poor. We were prohibited from cultivating those articles which are suitable to our soil and climate, and of pressing necessity. The commerce of our country was sold to the favorites of the court; and merchandise were supplied under the enormous exactions of the monopolists. A barbarous and shameful inhospitality was manifested to strangers, even to our nearest neighbors.
The product of out soil and of our country were alike denied exportation. Our trade consisted in a trifling system of smuggling.
Every path which led to fame or honor was closed upon us. We were denied participation in public employments; we had no rank in the army maintained in the bosom of our country. We expected no promotion in a church to which we have ever been faithful and obedient sons.
We saw the mighty monarchy of Spain threatened with destruction, and our oppressions were forgotten; we flew to her assistance like faithful and submissive vassals. As a reward for our faithful services, a sanguinary vagrant, distinguished in his own country by no honorable action, is sent amongst us, and his government exhibited only acts of cruelty, insatiable avarice and augmented oppression. Nothing but the specious promise that a general assembly of the Cortes would be convened, could have restrained us. Experience has shown this hope to be illusory. Some miserable wretches, styling themselves as the rulers of Spain, have sold us out to a foreign power, for a term of years, in order to procure the means of consigning us forever to the most ignominious servitude.
The Spanish colonies of South America, have long since declared and maintained their independence; the United States proves to us, by an experience of thirty years, that such a separation may be attended with national and individual prosperity.
We conceive it a duty we owe as well as to ourselves as to our posterity, to seize the moment which now offers itself, of shaking off the yoke of European domination, and of laboring in the cause of the independence of Mexico; taking the authority into our own hands, forming laws, and of placing the government of our country upon a sure and firm basis, and by these means assure a rank among the nations of the world.
The above is from The Weekly Register, IV (July 17, 1813)
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