The Laws of Texas, 1822-1897 Volume 1 Page: 412
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Laws and Decrees of Coahuila and Texas.
which two copies, authenticated in the secretaries office, are accompanied
herewith, since it may have happened that the general congress was not
apprized of said decree during the discussion of that of the 25th of
Thus much in regard to the 1st clause of article 1st of the aforementioned
decree; so far as respects the second, this legislature is compelled
to say, that, by declaring null the transactions performed by virtue.
of the decree of the 14th of March, the public faith stands violated in
the contracts, since, resulting that in the first and 2nd articles thereof,.
it is not in opposition to the general law of the 18th of August, the contracts
ratified between the executive of the state, and the parties with
whom they have been concluded, must also be valid and perfect.
This legislature has read and deliberately weighed the literal text of
article 7th of the general law of the 25th of April last, and does not
find, either i nthe letter or the spirit of the former, the reasons of the latter
for prohibiting the border and literal states from alienating their vacant
lands for colonizing thereon, until the regulations to be observed idoing
it shall be established.
Article 4 is still more impracticable for our case,-for the plain reason
that the executive of the state has already ratified contracts with
private individuals for colonizing these four hundred sitios of land, and
received sums of money on account, which are applied to no other than
the most urgent expenses of the state; and now, to declare null contracts
made in good faith and on just ground, is to destroy the public faith,
not only of the state, but of the whole nation. It is furthermore an
ex post facto law, contrary to the constitutive act and federal constitu-tion.
Finally, who does not perceive in this document of the 14th March,
that its substance and object is no other than a financial measure, appertaining
exclusive to the congress of the state, and whose tenor, under
no aspect, is embraced in the prerogatives of the general congress as described
in article 50 of the federal constitution?
The present circumstances attending the prompt and exact fulfilment
of the decree of the general congress of the 25th of April, repealing that
of the 14th of March preceding, issued by this legislature, are of such
a nature, the public faith of the state is pledged in such a manner, thatit
is not possible to retract an action that is already performed, because
a right conceded to the general government to that extent, in a
contract already ratified, produces a retroactive effect, and this, as has
already been seen, cannot be done without attacking the federal constition,
which prohibits retroactive laws.
It is furthermore necessary to call the attention of your honorable
body to a point of view, the most important in the subject. On the first
of March last, when this legislature was installed, there was not even a
dollar in the coffers of the state to meet the principal and most indispensable
expenses, owing to the large disbursements, the past administration
had to make on account of the turbulent revolt produced by one town of
the state against its supreme authorities, and legislative and executive
acts during the preceding two years term-disbursements which it is
( 412 )
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Gammel, Hans Peter Mareus Neilsen. The Laws of Texas, 1822-1897 Volume 1, book, 1898; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth5872/m1/420/: accessed January 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .