absence, or the very feeble and mutile dispensation of those restrice
tive influences, which it is the appropriate design of the social
compact to exercise upon the people, and which are necessary to
fulfil the ends of civil society. We complain more of the want of
all the important attributes of government, than of the abuses of
But, independent of these general truths, there are some impressive
reasons why the peace and happiness of Texas demand a local
Government. Constituting a remote frontier of the Republic, and
bordering on a powerful nation, a portion of whose population, in
juxta-position to hers, is notoriously profligate and lawless, she requires,
in a peculiar and emphatic sense, the vigorous application
of such laws as are necessary, not only to the preservation of good
order, the protection of property, and the redress of personal wrongs,
but such, also, as are essential to the prevention of illicit commerce,
to the security of the public revenues, and to the avoidance of seri
ous collision with the authorities of the neighboring Republic.
That such a judicial administration is impracticable under the present
arrangement, is too forcibly illustrated by the past, to admit
of any rational hope for the future.
It is an acknowledged principle in the science of jurisprudence,
that the prompt and certain infliction of mild and humane punishments
is more efficacious for the prevention of crime, than a tardy
and precarious administration of the most sanguinary penal code.
Texas is virtually denied the benefit of this benevolent rule, by the
locality and the character of her present Government. Crimes of
the greatest atrocity may go unpunished, and hardened criminals
triumph in their iniquity, because of the difficulties and delays
which encumber her judicial system, and necessarily intervene a
trial and a conviction, and the sentence and the execution of the
law. Our " Supreme Tribunal of Justice" holds its sessions up.
wards of seven hundred miles distant from our central population;
and that distance is greatly enlarged, and sometimes made impassa.
ble, by the casualties incident to a mail conducted by a single
horseman through a wilderness, often infested by vagrant and murderous
Indians. Before sentence can be pronounced by the local
courts on persons charged with the most atrocious crimes, the copy
of the process must be transmitted to an asesor, resident at Leona
Vicario, who is too far removed from the scene of guilt to appreciate
the importance of a speedy decision, and is too much es.
tranged from our civil and domestic concerns, to feel the miseries
that result from a total want of legal protection in person and pro.
perty. But our difficulties do not terminate here: After the asesor
shall have found leisure to render his opinion, and final judgment
is pronounced, it again becomes necessary to resort to the Capital,
to submit the tardy sentence to the Supreme Tribunal, for " appro.
bation, revocation, or modification," before the judgment of the
law can be executed. Here we have again to encounter the vexa.
Newell, Chester. History of the revolution in Texas, particularly of the war of 1835 & '36; together with the latest geographical, topographical, and statistical accounts of the country, from the most authentic sources. Also, an appendix. By the Rev. C. Newell.. New York. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth6109/. Accessed May 22, 2015.