The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 2, July 1898 - April, 1899 Page: 43
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Development of the Texas Judicial System. 43
"The judicial department of the government is in a very imper-
fect state. By the constitution, the old system is abolished, and
an entirely new judiciary is created; but it 'was not considered ad-
visable by the executive government to make 'any further innova-
tions upon .the established course than necessity imperatively de-
manded. The courts were closed to civil business, and they were
thought to be adequate to the conservation ,of the public peace
of the country; but I am apprehensive that that opinion is illu-
sory, )and that a more energetic administration of criminal law is
indispensable. The increase is an invariable concomitant on in-
crease of population.
"Under the existing system, there was no tribunal in the.country
vested with 'maritime jurisdiction, and consequently none compe-
tent to adjudicate questions arising from captures on sea. Some
prizes had already been taken, and it was due the character -of our
navy and the country that a regular and lawful disposition should
be made of them. The government, therefore, 'concluded to ap-
point a district judge for the district of Brazos, within which it
was probable all prizes then taken would be brought, or to which
they could easily be transported. I 'accordingly appointed Benja-
min C. Franklin, Esquire, to that office. It remains to the wisdom
of Congress to determine how soon the new organization shall be
The exact date of this appointment is not given. This ac
tion in effect 'anticipated the adoption of the constitution of the
Republic, and gave Judge Franklin the powers and jurisdiction of
a district judge under that instrument. His appointment, and -he
value of his services, were recognized by Congress, which 'made an
appropriation for the payment of his salary.1
On July 23, 1836, the Government ad interim ordered an elec-
tion to be held on the first Monday in September for the adoption
or rejection of the constitution of the Republic, and the election
of officers thereunder. The constitution -was adopted.
At the date at which the subject was introduced, the whole juris-
prudence of the country, substantive and adjective, was the Span-
ish Civil law. Up to the time now reached Common 'law ideas had
8 Acts of First Congress, p. 276.
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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/m1/47/: accessed July 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.