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October 16th

 

Day Two of the Convention of 1836

185 years ago today, the convention delegates reconvened to make one of the most significant declarations in world history, and THE most important in Texas history.
This was the day that Texas declared her Independence. A new nation was formed on this day and the effects of this event would be felt for generations to come and still affect us today. Colonel Gray made the following observation:
“Mr. Childers [sp], from the committee, reported a Declaration of Independence, which he read in his place. It was received by the house, committed to a committee of the whole, reported without amendment, and unanimously adopted, in less than one hour from its first and only reading. It underwent no discussion, and no attempt was made to amend it. The only speech made upon it was a somewhat declamatory address in committee of the whole by General Houston.
Assistant clerks were appointed, and, there being no printing press at Washington, various copies of the Declaration were ordered to be made and sent by express to various points and to the United States (…)
A copy of the Declaration having been made in a fair hand, an attempt was made to read it, preparatory to signing, but it was found so full of errors that it was recommitted to the committee that reported it for correction and engrossment.” -William Fairfax Gray, March 2, 1836.
George Childress (Milam) was a Tennessee native who had only resided in Texas for four months prior to the Convention. It is thought that the rapid writing of the Declaration of Independence is because the document was largely pre-written with Childress being credited as its primary author. As Colonel Gray mentions, the Declaration would be voted upon and adopted this day, but due to the need for redrafting, it would not be officially signed until the following day after it had been re-written and engrossed.
In other business, Thomas J. Gazley (Mina) delivered a rules committee report laying out the rules by which the Convention would be governed. Several delegates arrived at the Convention, provided their credentials, and were seated. Collinsworth (Brazoria) called for a committee of the whole to deliberate on the reported Declaration of Independence and it was during this session that Sam Houston (Refugio) gave his impassioned speech mentioned by Col. Gray. The caption “The unanimous Declaration of Independence made by the Delegates of the People of Texas, in General Convention at the town of Washington, on the 2nd day of March, 1836” was affixed to the Declaration to be added as a prefix to the final, engrossed legal document.
Pictured here is “The Reading of the Texas Declaration of Independence” (1936) by Charles and Fanny Normann.