Haitian Senate's Address to the People of February 6, 1816

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Address of the Senate to the People concerning the revision of the constitution  (1816) 
by Casimir Panayoty, translated by John Spear
Address of the Senate to the People concerning the revision
of the constitution.

Port-au-Prince, 6 February 1816.

CITIZENS,
AFTER having regained your rights, and declared to the Universe that you wished to live "free, independent, and governed by your own Laws," still did you have to combat tyranny which was raised within your own breast. The genius of freedom has triumphed, and you have given yourself a Constitution, where the rights of the People are stipulated, its guarantee fixed, the social order established; you should give thanks to Providence, to your courage, and to the devotion of the Chiefs who have led you. You have thought, with reason, that a constitution created in the tumult of arms, on the bloody debris of despotism, in the midst of extinguished evil passions, would provide perhaps for experience to correct some abuses; you have reserved yourselves the right of revision within a space of 9 years; the proposition has been accorded to the Senate who represents you.

Citizens, that time has arrived; the Republic has surmounted all the obstacles and all the barriers which might have been able to oppose her firm and assured march; she has raised her head majestically above all the storms that are formed against her; nothing has resisted the accomplishment of her high destinies.

This period of our political existence has occurred under the exercise of the Senate, whom we replace by your choice, and by the expression of the Law, under the presidency of that rare and virtuous man, whose skilled hands, whose right and generous heart, have, in concert with your Legislators, preserved the integrity of the Republic, the precious trust of our Laws, and the national honor. With these examples so striking and with pure intentions, we esteem ourselves lucky to be able to imitate them, and march in the career which they have so nobly traced for us.

Citizens, our duty, the happiness of the People, their rights, their liberty, their independence, will always be our first thought; we will not deviate from this obligation, and the love of the Fatherland will be the Palladium of your Representatives.

The first act of our authority shall be a blessing on our Republic, an appeal to the People in order to consecrate forever their state in society and its privileges; in order to cover it with the sacred Aegis of a definitive Constitution, so that it can enjoy for ever the advantages which it provides, and teach the Nations that the Republic of Haiti is a just Government, based on wise and positive Laws, where each can exercise the rights which are accorded him, and find security and protection.

In consequence, the Senate, after having maturely examined title XII of the Constitution, proposes to the people, in conformity with articles 183, 184, 185 and 186 of the same title, that the articles of the following titles be revised:

TITLE I. — General dispositions.
TITLE II. — Of territory.
TITLE III. — Political status of citizens.
TITLE IV. — Of religion and of mores.
TITLE V. — Legislative power.
TITLE VI. — Promulgation of laws.
TITLE VII. — Of executive power.
TITLE VIII. — Of judiciary power.

and TITLES X and XI of culture and of commerce as well as of the secretary of State.

The different articles of all the titles above requiring a change, they are designated to you in order to make the adjustment. The place destined for the holding of sessions of the Assembly of revision is fixed at Grand-Goave, for the 1st of the month of March following. The present address will be read, published and addressed through a Message to the President of Haïti in order to have its execution.
At the Capitol (Maison nationale) in Port-au-Prince, 6 February 1816, year XIII.

Signed: Panayoty, President; Hilaire, Secretary.

Pétion has charged Sabourin, Inginac, Daumee, Pierre André, Toumé, Dugué, Raphaël and Linard to submit to him a preparatory work on the constitutional revision. The Assembly of revision, composed of thirteen members, including seven for the department of the West, six for the department of the South, will pass three months at Grand-Goave to discuss the project submitted to them. 2 June, it will finish its work.

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Original:
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