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Τ Η Ε

CO N S T I TU TION

OF THE

STATE OF NEW-YORK.

IN CONVENTION OF THE REPRESENTATIVES

OF THE STATE OF NEW-YORK.

KINGSTON, zoth April, 1777.

Preamble.

Reasons of establish

vernment.

W.

HERE A S the many tyrannical and oppressive,

ufurpations of the king and parliament of Greatinz a ternporary go- Britain, on the rights and liberties of the people of the Ame

rican colonies, had reduced them to the necellity of introducing a government by congrefles and committees, as temporary expedients, and to exist no longer than the grievances of the people should remain williout redress.

AND WHEREAS the congress of the colony of New York, did, on the thirty-first day of May, now lait past, resolve as follows, viz.

"'WHEREAS the present government of this colony, by congress and committees, was inflituted while the former government under the crown of Great-Britain, existed in full force; and was eitablished for tlie fole purpole of opposing the usurpation of the British parliament, and was intended to expire on a reconciliation with Great-Britain, which it was then apprehended would foon take place, but is now considered as remote and uncertain. Inconveniences of it.

“ AND WHEREAS many and great inconveniences

attend the said mode of government by congress and comminees, as of necessity, in many instances, legislative, judicial and executive powers have been veíted therein, especially since the ditoluion of the former government, by the abdication of the late governor, and the exclusion of this colony from the protection of the king of Great-Britain.

" AND WHEREAS the continental congress did retolve as followeth,

to wit:

Rebolution of the

· WHEREAS his Britannic majesty, in conjunction with continental congress the lords and commons of Great-Britain, has, by a late • act of parliainent, excluded the inhabitants of the united colonies from tlie • protection of his crown.--And whereas no answers whatever, to the • humble perition of the colonies for redreis of grievances and reconciliation

with G Sat-Britain, has been, or is likely to be given, but the whole force • of the kingdom, aided by foreign mercenarics, is to be exerted for the de• ftrution of the good people of these colonies.-And whereas it appears ab

loittely irreconcilable to reason and good conscience, for the people of de e colonies, now to take the oaths and affirmations necetiary for the itpport of any government under the crown of Great-Britain ; and it is

neceflary that the exercise of every kind of authority under the faid crown, ... should be totally supprelied, and all the powers of government exerted under the authority of the people of the colonies, for the preservation of in

ternal peace, virtue and good order, as well as for the defence of our lives, liberties, and properties, againit the hostile invafions and cruel de predations of our enemies. Therefore,

• RESOLVED, That it be recommended to the respective affemblics and • conventions of the united colonies, where no government sufficient to the Recommending the exigences of their affairs has been hitherto established, to eft allieuvent of gco ' adopt such government as shall

, in the opinion of the re' presentatives of the people, beft conduce to the happiness • and fafety of their constituents in particular, and America in general.

“ AND WHEREAS doubts have arisen, whether this congreís are invefied with sufficient power and authority to deliberate and determine on so Provincial congress important a fubject as the necessity of erecting and consti

inverted intuitita tuting a new form of government and internal police, to new foran of governo the exclution of all foreign jurisdiction, dominion and con

troul whatever.--And whereas it appertains of right folely to the people of this colony to determine the faid doubts : Therefore,

“ RESOLVED, That it be recommended to the electors in the several counties in this colony, by election in the manner and form prescribed for the election of the present congress, either to authoriso in addition to the Recoinnenvation to powers veiled in this congress) their present deputies, or the doctors to authw others in the stead of their present de putics, or either of them, others to forin a new to take into consideration the necesiity and propriety of government.

inftituting fuch new government as in and by the laid relolution of the continental congress is described and recommended : And if the majority of the counties, by their deputies in provincial congress, fhall be of opinion that such new government ought to be instituted and established, then to institute and establish such a government as they shall deem ixli calculated to secure the rights, liberties, and happiness of the good people of this colony; and to continue in force until a future peace wih Great-Britain shall render the fame unneceffary. And,

“ RESOLVED, That the said elcctions in the several countics, ought to be had on fuch day, and at such place or places, as by the committee of each coumty respect vely fall be determined. And it is recommended to the faid committees, tó fix such early days for the said elections, as that all the Time and place for deputies to be elected have sufficient time to repair to the meeting of te depi• city of New York by the fecond Monday in July next ;

on which diy all the laid deputies ought punctuallyio give their attendance.

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AND WHEREAS the object of the aforegoing resolutions is of the Hooft importance to the good people of this colony;

* RESOLVED, That it be, and it is hereby eaineitly recommended to the committees, freeholders, and other electors in the different counties in this colony, diligently to carry the fame into execution.”

AND WHEREAS the good people of the faid colony, in pursuance of ste fid resolution, and reposing ipecial trust and confidence in the membe 13

The anvention of this convention, have appointed, authorised and emjowpred tu size ered them for the purposes, and in the manner, and with profos aforesaid.

the powers in and by the faid resolve specific d, declared and antoned.

AND WHEREAS the delegates to the united American ftates, in general congrefs convened, did on the fourth day of Juiy now laft paft, folemnly pablish and declare, in die words following, viz. Decoration of In “ WHEN in the course of human events, it becomes ne.

ceffary for one people to diffolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God intitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the cause, which impel them to the separation.

• We hold these truths to be felf-evident, that all men are Raksts for insti.

tag and aitering created equal; that they are endowed by their creator with Errertinent .

anain un alicnable rights; that among these are, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are infäcuted among men, deriving their juft powers from the consent of the governed ; that whenever any form of government becomes deftructive of thele ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to infitu:e new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their fafety and happiness. Prudence indeed will dictate, that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes, and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to fuffcr, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abulės and usurpations pursuing invariably the fame object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotiin, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future fecurity. Such has been the patient suferance of thee coionies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former fyfem of government. The history of the present king of Great-Bricain is a hitlory of rescated injuries and ufurpations, all having in direct object, the establicament of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be fubinitted to a candid world,

Tyranic proreed “ He has resued luis allent to laws, the most wholesome
izo! the hing of
Grea-Britain. and neceflary for the public good.

* He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and presling importance, unless fufpended in their operation till his affent fould be obtained; and when so lupended, lie has unterly neglected to attend to them.

" He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large dit:cts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of repreEntation in the legislature; a rigl: inestimable to them, and formidable to tyran's only.

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the civil power.

“ He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and di fant from the depolitory of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

“ He has diilolvea reprefcntative houses repeatedly, for oppofing with maniy firmness his invations on the rights of the people.

" He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legiilative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large, for their exercise; the fate remaining in the mean time expoled to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulions within.

“ He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.

“ He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his afsent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.

“ He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the annount and payment of their falaries.

“ He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

“ He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies, without the censent of our legislatures.

“ He has affected to render the military independent of, and superior to,

“ He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his attent to their acts of pretended legislation,

“ For quartcring large bodies of troops among us :

“ For protecting them, by a mock trial, from punishment for any murs ders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states :

“ For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:
“ For imposing taxes on us without our consent:
“ For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:
“ For transporting us beyond feas to be tried for pretended offences :

“ For abolishing the free fystein of English laws in a neighbouring pro-, vince, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries, so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the fame absolute rule into these colonies:

“ For taking away our charters, abolising our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments :

“ For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cales whatsoever.

“ He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection, and waging war against us.

“ He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and, destroyed the lives of our people.

“ He is, at this time, transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, defolation and tyranny, already begun with circumsances of cruelty and perfidy, scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.

“Te has conftrained our fellow citizens, taken captive on the high feas, to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of the r friends and bre hren, or to fall themelves by their hands.

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