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PASSAGES FROM ALL THE STATE CONSTITUTIONS (OTHER
THAN THAT OF MASSACHUSETTS) PRECEDING THE FED-
CONSTITUTION OF NEW HAMPSHIRE. 1776.1
In Congress at Exeter, January 5, 1776. Voted, That this Congress take up Civil GOVERNMENT for this colony in manner and form following, viz.
We, the members of the Congress of New Hampshire, chosen and appointed by the free suffrages of the people of said colony, and authorized and empowered by them to meet together, and use such means and pursue such measures as we should judge best for the public good; and in particular to establish some form of government, provided that measure should be recommended by the Continental Congress : And a recommendation to that purpose having been transmitted to us from the said Congress : Have taken into our serious consideration the unhappy circumstances, into which this colony is involved by means of many grievous and oppressive acts of the British Parliament, depriving us of our natural and constitutional rights and privileges; to enforce obedience to which acts a powerful fleet and arnıy have been sent to this country by the ministry of Great Britain, who have exercised a wanton and cruel abuse of their power, in destroying the lives and properties of the colonists in many places with fire and sword, taking the ships and lading from many of the honest and industrious inhabitants of this colony employed in commerce, agreeable to the laws and customs a long time used here.
The sudden and abrupt departure of his Excellency John Wentworth, Esq., our late Governor, and several of the Council, leaving us destitute of legislation, and no executive courts being open to punish criminal offenders; whereby the lives and properties of the honest people of this colony are liable to the machinations and evil designs of wicked men, Therefore, for the preservation of peace and good order, and for the security of the lives and properties of the inhabitants of this colony, we conceive ourselves reduced to the necessity of establishing A Form of Government to continue during the present unhappy anil unnatural contest with Great Britain ; Protesting and DECLARING that we neaver sought to throw off our dependance upon Great Britain, but felt ourselves happy under ver protection, while we could enjoy our constitutional rights and privileges. And that we shall rejoice if such a reconciliation between us and our parent State can be effected as shall be approved by the CONTINENTAL CONGRESS, in whose prudence and wisdom we confide.
Accordingly pursuant to the trust reposed in us, We Do Resolve, that this Congress assume the name, power and authority of a house of Representatives or Assembly for the Colony of New-Hampshire. And that said House then proceed to choose twelve persons, being reputable freeholders and inhabitants within this colony, in the following manner, viz. five in the county of Rockingham, two in the county of Strafford, two in the county of Hillsborough, two in the county of Cheshire, and one in the county of Grafton, to be a distinct and separate branch of the Legislature, by the name of a Council for this colony, to continue as such until the third Wednesday December next; any seven of whom to be a quorum to do business. That such Council appoint their President, and in his absence that the senior counsellor preside; that a Secretary be appointed by both branches, who may be a counssellor, or otherwise, as they shall choose.
That no act or resolve shall be valid and put into execution unless agreed to, and passed by both branches of the legislature.
That all public officers for the said colony, and each county, for the current year, be
1 See ante, 214. This was the earliest of our constitutions. — ED.
appointed by the Council and Assembly, except the several clerks of the Executive Courts, who shall be appointed by the Justices of the respective Courts.
That all bills, resolves, or votes for raising, levying and collecting money originate in the house of Representatives.
That at any session of the Council and Assembly neither branch shall adjourn from any longer time than from Saturday till the next Monday without consent of the other.
And it is further resolved, That if the present unhappy dispute with Great Britain should continue longer than this present year, and the Continental Congress give no instruction or direction to the contrary, the Council be chosen by the people of each respective county in such manner as the Council and house of Representatives shall order.
That general and field officers of the militia, on any vacancy, be appointed by the two houses, and all inferior officers be chosen by the respective companies.
That all officers of the Army be appointed by the two houses, except they should direct otherwise in case of any emergency.
That all civil officers for the colony and for each county be appointed, and the time of their continuance in office be determined by the two houses, except clerks of Courts, and county treasurers, and recorders of deeds.
That a treasurer, and a recorder of deeds for each county be annually chosen by the people of each county respectively; the votes for such officers to be returned to the respective courts of General Sessions of the Peace in the county, there to be ascertained as the Council and Assembly shall hereafter direct.
That precepts in the name of the Council and Assembly, signed by the President of the Council, and Speaker of the house of Representatives, shall issue annually at or before the first day of November, for the choice of a Council and house of Representa. tives to be returned by the third Wednesday in December then next ensuing, in such manner as the Council and Assembly shall hereafter prescribe. 2 Poore's Constitutions, 1279.
CONSTITUTION OF NEW HAMPSHIRE. 1784.1
PART I. – THE Bill of Rights. ARTICLE I. All men are born equally free and independent; therefore, all government of right originates from the people, is founded in consent, and instituted for the general good.
VIII. All power residing originally in, and being derived from the people, all the magistrates and officers of government, are their substitutes and agents, and at all times accountable to them.
XXIX. The power of suspending the laws, or the execution of them, ought never to be exercised but by the legislature, or hy authority derived therefrom, to be exercised in such particular cases only as the legislature shall expressly provide for.
XXXV. It is essential to the preservation of the rights of every individual, his life, liberty. property and character, that there be an impartial interpretation of the laws, and administration of justice. It is the right of every citizen to be tried by judges as impartial as the lot of humanity will admit. It is therefore not only the best policy, but for the security of the rights of the people, that the judges of the supreme (or superior) judicial court should hold their offices so long as they behave well; and that they should have honorable salaries, ascertained and established by standing laws.
XXXVII. In the government of this state, the three essential powers thereof, to wit, the legislative, executive and judicial, ought to be kept as separate from and independent of each other, as the nature of a free government will admit, or as is consistent with that chain of connection that binds the whole fabric of the constitution in one indissoluble bond of union and amity.
I See ante, 214, 215. — Ed.
PART II. - THE FORM OF GOVERNMENT.
THE people inhabiting the territory formerly called the Province of New Hampshire, do hereby solemnly and mutually agree with each other, to form themselves into a free, sovereign, and independent Body-politic, or State, by the name of the STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE.
THE GENERAL COURT.
THE supreme legislative power within this State shall be vested in the senate and house of representatives, each of which shall have a negative on the other.
The senate and house shall assemble every year on the first Wednesday of June, and at such other times as they may judge necessary; and shall dissolve, and be dissolved, seven days next preceding the said first Wednesday of June; and shall be stiled THE GENERAL COURT OF NEW-HAMPSHIRE.
The general court shall forever have full power and authority to erect and constitute judicatories and courts of record, or other courts, to be holden in the name of the State, for the hearing, trying, and determining all manner of crimes, offences, pleas, processes, plaints, actions, causes, matters and things whatsoever, arising, or happening within this state, or between or concerning persons inhabiting or residing, or brought within the same, whether the same be criminal or civil, or whether the crimes be capital or not capital, and whether the said pleas be real, personal, or mixed ; and for the awarding and issuing execution thereon. To which courts and judicatories are hereby given and granted full power and authority, from time to time to administer oaths or affirmations, for the better discovery of truth in any matter in controversy, or depending before them.
And farther, full power and authority are hereby given and granted to the said general court, from time to time, to make, ordain and establish, all manner of wholesome and reasonable orders, laws, statutes, ordinances, directions and instructions, either with penalties or without; so as the same be not repugnant, or contrary to this constitution, as they may judge for the benefit and welfare of this state, and for the governing and ordering thereof, and of the subjects of the same, for the necessary support and defence of the government thereof.
SENATE. THERE shall be annually elected by the freeholders and other inhabitants of this state, qualified as in this constitution is provided, twelve persons to be senators for the year ensuing their election.
The senate shall be a court with full power and authority to hear and determine all impeachments made by the house of representatives, against any officer or officers of the state, for misconduct or mal-administration in their offices. But previous to the trial of any such impeachment, the members of the senate shall respectively be sworn, truly and impartially to try and determine the charge in question according to evidence. Their judgment, however, shall not extend farther than removal from office, disqualification to hold or enjoy any place of honor, trust or profit under this state; but the party so convicted, shall nevertheless be liable to indictment, trial, judgment, and punishment, according to laws of the land.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. THERE shall be in the legislature of this state a representation of the people annually elected and founded upon principles of equality.
EXECUTIVE POWER. — PRESIDENT.. THERE shall be a supreme executive magistrate, who shall be stiled, THE PRESIDENT OF THE STATE OF NEW-HAMPSHIRE; and whose title shall be HIS EXCELLENCY. ...
VOL. I. - 27
All judicial officers . . . shall be nominated and appointed by the president and council; and every such nomination shall be made at least seven days prior to such appointment, and no appointment shall take place, unless three of the council agree thereto.
Permanent and honorable salaries shall be established by law for the justices of the superior court.
THE tenure, that all commission officers shall have by law in their offices, shall be expressed in their respective commissions. All judicial officers, duly appointed, commissioned and sworu, shall hold their offices during good behaviour, excepting those concerning whom there is a different provision made in this constitution : Provided nevertheless, the president, with consent of council, may remove them upon the address cf both houses of the legislature.
Each branch of the legislature, as well as the president and council, shall have authority to require the opinions of the justices of the superior court upon important questions of law, and upon solemn occasions.
In order that the people may not suffer from the long continuance in place of any justice of the peace, who shall fail in discharging the important duties of his office with ability and fidelity, all commissions of justices of the peace shall become void, at the expiration of five years from their respective dates; and upon the expiration of any commission, the same may, if necessary, be renewed, or another person appointed, as shall most conduce to the well-being of the State.
To preserve an effectual adherence to the principles of the constitution, and to correct any violations thereof, as well as to make such alterations therein, as from experience may be found necessary, the general court shall at the expiration of seven years from the time this constitution shall take effect, issue precepts, or direct them to be issued from the secretary's office, to the several towns and incorporated places, to elect delegates to meet in convention for the purposes aforesaid : the said delegates to be chosen in the same manner, and proportioned as the representatives to the general assembly; provided that no alteration shall be made in this constitution before the same shall be laid before the towns and unincorporated places, and approved by two-thirds of the qualified voters present, and voting upon the question. — 2 Poore's Constitutions, 1280.
And whereas the judges of courts of law here have refused to exercise their respective functions, so that it is become indispensably necessary that during the present situation of American affairs, and until an accommodation of the unhappy differences between Great Britain and America can be obtained, (an event which, though traduced and treated as rebels, we still earnestly desire,) some mode should be established by common consent, and for the good of the people, the origin and end of all governments, for regulating the internal polity of this colony. The congress being vested with powers competent for the purpose, and having fully deliberated touching the premises, do therefore resolve:
I. That this congress being a full and free representation of the people of this colony, shall henceforth be deemed and called the general assembly of South Carolina, and as such shall continue until the twenty-first day of October next, and no longer.
II. That the general assembly shall, out of their own body, elect by ballot a legislative council, to consist of thirteen n bers, (seven of whom shall be a quorum,) and to continue for the same time as th ,-neral assembly.
III. That the general assembly and the said legislative council shall jointly choose
1 This constitution was framed by the “provincial congress” of South Carolina, and adopted March 26, 1776. It was not submitted to the people for ratification.
by ballot from among themselves, or from the people at large, a president and commander-in-chief and a vice-president of the colony.
VII. That the legislative authority be vested in the president and commander-inchief, the general assembly and legislative council. All money-bills for the support of governmeut shall originate in the general assembly, and shall not be altered or ameuded by the legislative council, but may be rejected by them. All other bills and ordinances may take rise in the general assembly or legislative council, and may be altered, amended, or rejected by either. Bills having passed the general assembly and legislative council may be assented to or rejected by the president and commanderin-chief. Having received his assent, they shall have all the force and validity of au act of general assembly of this colouy. And the geueral assembly and legislative council, respectively, shall enjoy all other privileges which have at any time been claimed or exercised by the commons house of assembly, but the legislative council shall have no power of expelling their own members.
XVI. That the vice-president of the colony and the privy council, or the vice-president and a majority of the privy council for the time being, shall exercise the powers of a court of chancery, and there shall be an ordinary who shall exercise the powers heretofore exercised by that officer in this colony.
XIX. That justices of the peace shall be nominated by the general assembly and commissioned by the president and commander-in-chief, during pleasure. They shall not be entitled to fees except on prosecutions for felony, and not acting in the magistracy, they shall not be entitled to the privileges allowed to them by law.
XX. That all other judicial officers shall be chosen by ballot, jointly by the general assembly and legislative council, and except the judges of the court of chancery, commissioned by the president and commander-in-chief, during good behavior, but shall be removed on address of the general assembly and legislative council.
XXIX. That the resolutions of this or any former congress of this colony, and all laws now of force here, (and not hereby altered,) shall so continue until altered or repealed by the legislature of this colony, unless where they are temporary, in which case they shall expire at the times respectively limited for their duration.
XXX. That the executive authority be vested in the president and commander-inchief, limited and restrained as aforesaid.
XXXIII. That all persons who shall be chosen and appointed to any office or to any place of trust, before entering upon the execution of office, shall take the following oath : “I, A. B., do swear that I will, to the utmost of my power, support, maintain, and defend the Constitution of South Carolina, as established by Congress on the twenty-sixth day of March, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-six, until an accommodation of the differences between Great Britain and America shall take place, or I shall be released from this oath by the legislative authority of the said colony: So help me God.” And all such persons shall also take an oath of office.
XXXIV. That the following yearly salaries be allowed to the public officers undermentioned : The president and commander-in-chief, nine thousand pounds; the chief justice and the assistant judges, the salaries, respectively, as by act of assembly established. ...- 2 Poore's Constitutions, 1615.
CONSTITUTION OF SOUTH CAROLINA. 1778.1
An act for establishing the constitution of the State of South Carolina. II. That the legislative authority be vested in a general assembly, to consist of two distinct bodies, a senate and house of representatives, but that the legislature of this
1 This constitution was framed by the general assembly of South Carolina, by which it was passed as an "act" March 19, 1973, although it did not go into effect until November, 1778. It was soon afterwards declared by the supreme court of South Carolina that both the constitution of 1776 and the constitution of 1778 were simply acts of the general assembly, which that body could repeal or amend at pleasure. [This constitution was in force till 1790 – ED.]