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, 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 States 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 pretenses 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 slave-holding 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
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 refused 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 administration.
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 of the federal constitution, and laws passed in pursuance
thereof; thereby annulling a material provision of the compact, designed by its
framers to perpetuate 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 the
unnatural feeling of hostility to these Southern States and their beneficent and
patriarchal system of African slavery, proclaiming the debasing doctrine of the
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 the Divine Law. They demand the abolition of negro
slavery throughout the confederacy, the recognition of political equality
between the white and the 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 hare 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 offences, upon the legal
demands of the States aggrieved.
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
They have refused to vote appropriations for
protecting Texas against ruthless savages, for the sole reason that she is a
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
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; 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 freeman of Texas to ratify the same at the ballot box, on the
23rd day of the present month.
Adopted in Convention on the 2nd day of February, in
the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-one and of the
independence of Texas the twenty-fifth.