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CONSTITUTION OF GEORGIA. 1777.1
We, therefore, the representatives of the people, from whom all power originates, and for whose benefit all government is intended, by virtue of the power delegated to us, do ordain and declare, and it is hereby ordained and declared, that the following rules and regulations be adopted for the future government of this State:
ARTICLE I. The legislative, executive, and judiciary departments shall be separate and distinct, so that veither exercise the powers properly belonging to the other.
Art. II. The legislature of this State shall be composed of the representatives of the people, as is hereinafter pointed out; and the representatives shall be elected yearly, and every year, on the first Tuesday in December; and the representatives so elected shall meet the first Tuesday in January following, at Savannah, or any other place or places where the house of assembly for the time being shall direct.
On the first day of the meeting of the representatives so chosen, they shall proceed to the choice of a governor, who shall be styled “honorable ; ” and of an executive council, by ballot out of their own body, viz. : two from each county, except those counties which are not yet entitled to send ten members. One of each county shall always attend, where the governor resides, by monthly rotation, unless the members of each county agree for a longer or shorter period. This is not intended to exclude either member attending. The remaining number of representatives shall be called the house of assembly; and the majority of the members of the said house shall have power to proceed on business.
Art. VII. The house of assembly shall have power to make such laws and regulations as may be conducive to the good order and well-being of the State; provided such laws and regulations be not repugnant to the true intent and meaning of any rule or regulation contained in this constitution.
The house of assembly shall also have power to repeal all laws and ordinances they find injurious to the people; and the house shall choose its own speaker, appoint its own officers, settle its own rules of proceeding, and direct writs of election for supplying intermediate vacancies, and shall have power of adjournment to any time or times within the year.
Art. VIII. All laws and ordinances shall be three times read, and each reading shall be on different and separate days, except in cases of great necessity and danger; and all laws and ordinances shall be sent to the executive council after the second reading, for their perusal and advice.
Art. XIX. The governor shall, with the advice of the executive council, exercise the executive powers of government, according to the laws of this State and the constitution thereof, save only in the case of pardons and remission of fines, which he shall in no instance grant; but he may reprieve a criminal, or suspend a fine, until the meeting of the assembly, who may determine therein as they shall judge fit.
Art. XXXVI. There shall be established in each county a court, to be called a superior court, to be held twice in each year. . .
Art. XL. All causes, of what nature soever, shall be tried in the supreme court, except as hereafter mentioned ; which court shall consist of the chief-justice, and three or more of the justices residing in the county. In case of the absence of the chief-justice, the senior justice on the bench shall act as chief-justice, with the clerk of the county, attorney for the State. sheriff, coroner, constable, and the jurors; and in case of the absence of any of the aforementioned officers, the justices to appoint others in their room pro tempore. And if any plaintiff or defendant in civil causes shall be dissatisfied with the determination of the jury, then, and in that case, they shall be at
1 This constitution was framed by a convention which assembled at Savannah October 1, 1776, in accordance with the recommendation of the Continental Congress that the people of the Colonies should form independent State governments. It was unanimously agreed to February 5, 1777. [This constitution, with amendments, continued till 1789. — Ev.]
liberty, within three days, to enter an appeal from that verdict, and demand a new trial by a special jury, to be nominated as follows, viz.: each party, plaintiff and defendant, shall choose six, six more names shall be taken indifferently out of a box provided for that purpose, the whole eighteen to be summoned, and their names to be put together into the box, and the first twelve that are drawn out, being present, shall be the special jury to try the cause, and from which there shall be no appeal.
Art. XLI. The jury shall be judges of law, as well as of fact, and shall not be allowed to bring in a special verdict; but if all or any of the jury have any doubts concerning points of law, they shall apply to the bench, who shall each of them in rotation give their opinion.
Art. XLII. The jury shall be sworn to bring in a verdict according to law, and the opinion they entertain of the evidence; provided it be not repugnant to the rules and regulations contained in this constitution.
Art. XLIII. The special jury shall be sworn to bring in a verdict according to law, and the opinion they entertain of the evidence; provided it be not repugnant to justice, equity, and conscience, and the rules and regulations contained in this constitution, of which they shall judge.
Art. XLIX. Every officer of the State shall be liable to be called to account by the house of assembly.
Art. LX. The principles of the habeas-corpus act shall be a part of this constitution.
Art. LXIII. No alteration shall be made in this constitution without petitions from a majority of the counties, and the petitions from each county to be signed by a majority of voters in each county within this State ; at which time the assembly shall order a convention to be called for that purpose, specifying the alterations to be made, according to the petitions preferred to the assembly by the majority of the counties as aforesaid. — 1 Poore's Constitutions, 377.
CONSTITUTION OF NEW YORK. 1777.1
I. This convention, therefore, in the name and by the authority of the good people of this State, doth ordain, determine, and declare that no authority shall, on any pretence whatever, be exercised over the people or members of this State but such as shall be derived from and granted by them.
II. This convention doth further, in the name and by the authority of the good people of this State, ordain, determine, and declare that the supreme legislative power within this State shall be vested in two separate and distinct bodies of men; the one to be called the assembly of the State of New York, the other to be called the senate of the State of New York; who together shall form the legislature, and meet once at least in every year for the despatch of business.
III. And whereas laws inconsistent with the spirit of this constitution, or with the public good, may be hastily and unadviseilly passed : Be it ordained, that the governor for the time being, the chancellor, and the judges of the supreme court, or any two of them, together with the governor, shall be, and hereby are, constituted a council to revise all bills about to be passed into laws by the legislature; and for that purpose shall assemble themselves from time to time, when the legislature shall be convened ; for which, nevertheless, they shall not receive any salary or consideration, under any pretence whatever. And that all bills which have passed the senate and assembly shall, before they become laws, be presented to the said council for their revisal and consideration ; and if, upon such revision and consideration, it should appear improper
1 This constitution was framed by a convention which assembled at White Plains, July 10, 1776, and, after repeated adjournments and changes of location, terminated its labors at Kingston, Sunday evening, April 20, 1777, when the constitution was adopted, with but one dissenting vote. It was not submitted to the people for ratification. (This constitution, with amendments, continued till 1821. - Ed.]
to the said council, or a majority of them, that the said bill should become a law of this State, that they return the same, together with their objections thereto in writing, to the senate or house of assembly (in whichsoever the same shall have originated) who shall enter the objections sent down by the council at large in their minutes, and proceed to reconsider the said bill. But if, after such reconsideration, two-thirds of the said senate or house of assembly shall, notwithstanding the said objections, agree to pass the same, it shall, together with the objections, be sent to the other branch of the legislature, where it shall also be reconsidered, and, if approved by two-thirds of the members present, shall be a law.
And in order to prevent any unnecessary delays, be it further ordained, that if any bill shall not be returned by the council within ten days after it shall have been presented, the same shall be a law, unless the legislature shall, by their adjournment, render a return of the said bill within ten days impracticable ; in which case the bill shall be returned on the first day of the meeting of the legislature after the expiration of the said ten days."
XVII. And this convention doth further, in the name and by the authority of the good people of this State, ordain, determine, and declare that the supreme executive power and authority of this State shall be vested in a governor; and that statedly, once in every three years, and as often as the seat of government shall become vacant, a wise and discreet freeholder of this State shall be, by ballot, elected governor, by the freeholders of this State, qualified, as before described, to elect senators.
XXIII. That all officers, other than those who, by this constitution, are directed to be otherwise appointed, shall be appointed in the manner following, to wit: The assembly shall, once in every year, openly nominate aud appoint one of the senators from each great district, which senators shall form a council for the appointment of the said officers, of which the governor for the time being, or the lieutenant governor, or the president of the senate, when they shall respectively administer the goverument, shall be president and have a casting voice, but no other vote; and with the advice and consent of the said council, shall appoint all the said officers; and that a majority of the said council be a quorum. And further, the said senators shall not be eligible to the said council for two years successively.
XXIV. ... That the chancellor, the judges of the supreme court, and first judge of the county court in every county, hold their offices during good behavior or until they shall have respectively attained the age of sixty years.
XXXII. And this convention doth further, in the name and by the authority of the good people of this State, ordain, determine, and declare, that a court shall be instituted for the trial of impeachments, and the correction of errors, under the regu. lations which shall be established by the legislature; and to consist of the president of the senate, for the time being, and the senators, chancellor, and judges of the supreme court, or the major part of them; except that when an impeachment shall be prosecuted against the chancellor, or either of the judges of the supreme court, the person so impeached shall be suspended from exercising his office until his acquittal; and, in like manner, when an appeal from a decree in equity shall be heard, the chancellor shall inform the court of the reasons of his decree, but shall not have a voice in the final sentence. And if the cause to be determined shall be brought up by writ of error, on a question of law, on a judgment in the supreme court, the judges of that court shall assign the reasons of such their judgment, but shall not have a voice for its affirmance or reversal,
XXXV. ... And this convention doth further ordain, that the resolves or resolutions of the congresses of the colony of New York, and of the convention of the State of New York, now in force, and not repugnant to the government established by
1 The whole number of bills passed by the legislature under this constitution was six thousand five hundred and ninety. The council of revision objected to one hundred and twenty-eight, of which seventeen were passed notwithstanding these objections. — Hough. (See Debates N. Y. Const. Conv. of 1821 for very interesting discussions as to the Council of Revision. — ED.)
this constitution, shall be considered as making part of the laws of this State; subject, nevertheless, to such alterations and provisions as the legislature of this State may, from time to time, make concerning the same. - 2 Poure's Constitutions, 1328.
CONSTITUTION OF CONNECTICUT. 1776.1
An Act containing an Abstract and Declaration of the Rights and Privileges of the
People of this State, and securing the same.
The People of this State, being by the Providence of God, free and independent, have the sole and erclusive Right of governing themselves as a free, sovereign, and independent State ; and having from their Ancestors derived a free and excellent Constitution of Gore ernment whereby the Legislature depends on the free and annual Election of the People, they have the best Security for the Preservation of their civil and religious Rights and Liberties. And forasmuch as the free Fruition of such rties and Privileges as Humanity, Civility and Christianity call for, as is due to every Man in his Place and Proportion, without Impeachment and Infringement, hath ever been, and will be the Tranquility and Stability of Churches and Commonwealths; and the Deniul thereof, the Disturbance, if not the Ruin of both.
PARAGRAPH 1. Be it enacted and declared by the Governor, and Council, and House of Representatives, in General Court assembled, That the ancient Form of Civil Gors ernment, contained in the Charter from Charles the Second, King of Englund, and adopted by the People of this State, shall be and remain the Civil Constitution of this State, under the sole authority of the People thereof, independent of any King or Prince whatever. And that this Republic is, and shall forever be and remain, a free, sovereign and independent State, by the Name of the STATE OF CONNECTICUT
2. And be it further enacted and declared, That no Man's Life shall be taken away: No Man's Honor or good Name shall be stained : No Man's Person shall be arrested, restrained, banished, dismembered, nor any Ways punished : No Man shall be deprived of his Wife or Children : No Man's Goods or Estate shall be taken away from him, nor any Ways indamaged under the Colour of Law, or Countenance of Authority ; unless clearly warranted by the Laws of this State.
3. That all the free Inhabitants of this or any other of the United States of America, and Foreigners in Amity with this State, shall enjoy the same justice and Law within this State, which is general for the State, in all Cases proper for the Cognizance of the Civil Authority and Court of Judicature within the same, and that without Partiality or Delay.
4. And that no Man's Person shall be restrained, or imprisoned, by any authority whatsoever, before the Law hath sentenced him thereunto, if he can and will give sufficient Security, Bail, or Mainprize for his Appearance and good Behaviour in the mean Time, unless it be for Capital Crimes, Contempt in open Court, or in such Cases wherein some express Law doth allow of, or order the same.2 — 1 Poore's Constitutions, 257.
1 This continued the charter of 1662 in force as the organic law of the State.
? The charter of Charles II. (1 Poore’s Const. 252) made certain persons and "all such others as now are or hereafter shall be aılmitted and made free of the company and society of our Colony of Connecticut . . . a body corporate and politic, ... to the end the affairs and business ... concerning the same (colony) may be duly ordered and managed.”
The company was to be directed by a Governor, Deputy-Governor, and twelve assistants, chosen out of the freemen of the company, “which said officers shall apply themselves to take care for the best disposing and ordering of the general business and affairs of and concerning the land and hereditaments hereinafter mentioned to be
VOL. 1. - 28
This State lived under the charter of Charles II. of 1663, until the year 1842, when a constitution was adopted of its own making. Several unsuccessful efforts to this end had previously been made. The charter was substantially like that of Connecticut.
PASSAGES FROM THE CONSTITUTION OF COLORADO. 1876.1
We, the people of Colorado, with profound reverence for the Supreme Ruler of the Uni
verse, in order to form a more independent and perfect government, establish justice, insure tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution for the State of Colorado.
ARTICLE I. BOUNDARIES. The boundaries of the State of Colorado shall be as follows : Commencing on the thirty-seventh parallel of north latitude, where the twenty-fifth meridian of longitude west from Washington crosses the same; thence north on said meridian to the fortyfrst parallel of north latitude ; thence along said parallel west to the thirty-second meridian of longitude west from Washington; then south on said meridian to the thirty-seventh parallel of north latitude; thence along said thirty-seventh parallel of north latitude to the place of beginning.
granted, and the plantation thereof, and the government of the people thereof." The Governor might call the company together at any time “to consult and advise of the business and affairs of the company.” Twice a year, at least, there must be such
general meeting,” “ assembly," or ” of the freemen, or such as those of “the respective towns, cities, and places” should depute to act for them. These General Courts might admit other freemen or elect the Governor, Deputy-Governor, and assistants.
It was provided “ that all, and every the subjects of us, our heirs, or successors, which shall go to inhabit within the said colony, and every of their children, which shall happen to be born there, or on the seas in going thither, or returning from thence, shall have and enjoy all liberties and immunities of free and natural subjects within any the dominions of us, our heirs, or successors, to all intents, constructions, and purposes whatsoever, as if they and every of them were born within the realm of England.”
Power was given to the Governor, Deputy Governor, and assistants “to erect and make such judicatories, for the hearing, and determining of all actions, causes, matters, and things happening within the said colony, or plantation, and which shall be in dispute, and depending there, as they shall think fit, and convenient, and also from time to time to make, ordiain, and establish all manner of wholesome, and reasonable laws, statutes, ordinances, directions, and instructions, not contrary to the laws of this realm of England, . . . ordaining and appointing, that all such laws, statutes and ordinances, instructions, impositions and directions as shall be so made by the Governor, Deputy-Governor, and assistants as aforesaid, and published in writing under their common seal, shall carefully and duly be observed, kept, performed, and put in execution, according to the true intent and meaning of the same, and these our letters patents, or the duplicate, or exemplification thereof, shall be to all and every such officers, superiors and inferiors from time to time, for the putting of the same orders, laws, statutes, ordinances, instructions, and directions in due execution, against us, our heirs and successors, a sufficient warrant and discharge."
Under this charter, adopted and supplemented in the brief enactment of 1776, the State of Connecticut lived until the year 1818. – ED.
i See ante, 54. – ED.