The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 2, July 1898 - April, 1899 Page: 34
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34 Texas Historical Association Quarterly.
articles.8 The system of courts contemplated by it was composed
of the inferior tribunals theretofore existing and a Supreme Court
to sit at the capital having jurisdiction of appeals from the more
important inferior courts throughout the State. In this system of
courts was vested all the judicial power. No special tribunals were
to be created, and no retroactive laws were to be passed, but all pro-
ceedings were to be uniform, according to pre-established rules and
to the written constitution. The military was subordinated to the
Civil authorities. The courts were forbidden to construe or pass
on the validity of any constitutional provision or statute, the de-
termination of all such matter being vested exclusively in Congress.
Attempt to arbitrate was made a condition precedent to the right
to litigate, except in special cases. No indictments were required
in criminal prosecutions. Petty offences were dealt with summa-
rily without formal trial or right of appeal. In more serious vio-
lations of the law, the accused might be arrested and 'detained for
forty-eight hours without formal charges, but if no such charges
were made within that time, he was required to be released. Pros-
ecutions and trials were to be public. Confiscation, torture, and
compulsion were forbidden; seizures and searches were declared un-
lawful, except in 'specified cases, and must then be made in con-
formity to law.
Article 192 is worthy of reproduction; because it is the first men-
tion of a jury in any law ever in force throughout Texas territory;
and also because it indicates the attitude of Congress and the peo-
ple in reference to this institution. It is ,as follows: "One of the
main objects of attention of Congress shall be to .establish the trial
by jury in criminal cases, to extend the same gradually, 'and even
to adopt it in -Civil cases in proportion as the advantages of this
valuable institution become practically known."
The contrast between its doubtful land experimental tone and
the vigorous -and imperative language 'of the Anglo-American 'con-
stitutions 'on this subject is 'sharp land clear. 'The spirit of doubt and
indecision expressed in the article dominated those charged with
its enforcement, and it was not until April 13, 1834, seven years
thereafter, that any active steps were taken by Congress to estab-
lish trial by jury. It is true that on page 60 of the Laws and Decrees
8 Laws and Decrees of Coahuila and Texas, p. 337.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 2, July 1898 - April, 1899, periodical, 1898/1899; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101011/m1/38/: accessed October 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.