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33. Magna Charta, 16th Article.
34. The right to local self-government not lost because not expressly reserved

in the written constitution.
All power is not in the government unless expressly reserved to the people.
But all power is in the people unless expressly granted to the government.
State v. Denny, 188 Ind. 449.
A written constitution is a limitation of powers of government in the hands

of agents.
Cooley, Const. Lims. 47.
In Rhode Island the four original towns were separate colonies.

They made the colony by their union.
35. How these original towns were constituted, and their powers.
36. None of their powers were derived from crown or parliament.
37. Instances of exercise of self-instituted judicial powers.
38. Judicial system established before charter.

In 1640 the colonies of Portsmouth and New port united.
They formed a union for their common objects, leaving to each its own

local affairs.
This is the leading characteristic of American union everywhere.

Details of legislation of this first union of Rhode Island colonies. 39. Each town reserved transaction of its own affairs.

Such has ever been the Rhode Island custom, although not stated in the

written constitution. In view of the encroachments of the general assembly upon these rights, it

should be explicitly stated in the constitution.
In 1641, this government was declared to be a democracy, or government by

the majority.
With protection to liberty of conscience.
A seal was provided for the State.

Its use one of the insignia of sovereignty. 1 Arnold Hist. R. I. 149. 40. The significance of this union not adequately recognized.

The two original towns conferred powers upon the union they instituted.
The name of the island “ Aquidneck” changed to "Rhode Island” under

this union.
When union came with Providence, the present name adopted.

The colony was the offspring of the four united towns.
41. Channing's view dissented from. Channing, U. S. of Am. 37.

The original towns of this State and the first union bave enjoyed a period

of sovereignty, although the colony and the State never have. 1 Arnold Hist. R. I. 487. Foster, Town Govt. in R. I. 117, 39. The Nation,

117. Milton, 2 Prose Works, 299.

Milton and Williams, and their intercourse. 42. Bryce, 1 Am. Commw. 18. Bancroft, 1 Hist. U. S. 380.

Part of the unwritten constitution of this state is the right of the towns to

manage their own local affairs. This continues to be the law here now. Claim that this sets up a new sovereignty.

42. But there is no State sovereignty.

The people of the United States are the only sovereign.

Jameson, Const. Convs. 51 and 65. 43. Madison in Fed. Conv. 1787, quoted. Penhallow v. Doane, Adrs. 3 Dall. 54.

Jay, C. J. in Chisholm Excr. v. State of Ga., 2 Dall. 419, at 470-471.
No State is or ever was independent.

The people of the United States won a joint independence only. 44. We speak of State sovereignty only in a conventional manner.

As meaning the exercise of the highest powers allowed by the constitution

and laws of the United States.
Therefore, within certain limits, the towns of Rhode Island are sovereign.
No such affirmation made of towns of other States.
Mushroom growths, some States undoubtedly have complete power over

their towns that never existed until they created them.
The decisions of cases in the courts of such States cannot be applied as de-

termining the power of towns in such States as Rhode Island. Doctrine of States rights incompatible with our town system. Art. IX. Const. R. I., sets the State above the United States and is wrong.

Roger Williams sent to England, in 1643, to procure the charter. 45. He returned in 1644, with the charter.

Union under this charter not brought about until 1647.
The records of this union, 1 R. I. Col. Recs. 147 to 207, important, and should

be studied.
These records examined, and results stated.

Claim of authority by Massachusetts over Warwick. 46. Extract from 1 MSS. John Carter Brown, No. 63.

Warwick admitted to union under the charter, in 1647.
All towns afterwards admitted were placed on the footing of original towns.
Charter of Providence.
Remarks thereon by Staples.
Similar charters granted to Warwick and presumably to Portsmouth and

Act of 1813. Its title shows that general assembly only enlarged and ex-

plained powers already possessed by the town.
Charter granted in 1832, to Providence, converting it into a city.
It continued it a body politic and corporate under another name, at request

of its inhabitants and representatives. 47. Controversy between Massachusetts and Rhode Island over admission of


Statement as to settlement of this town. 48. Asserted right of jurisdiction of Massachusetts denied. 1 Arnold Hist. R.

I. 276, 282, 316.

Westerly admitted in 1669. 2 R. I. Col. Recs. 250-251. 49. Settlement of Block Island. Its history..

Admitted as New Shoreham in 1672. 2 R. I. Col. Recs. 55, 466, 470.
Peculiarities of its local government still preserved. Art. XIV, Sec. 4, con-

stitution of Rhode Island.

50. 1 Arnold Hist. R. I. 304 ; Gen. Laws R. I. cap. 191, sec. 8.

This town was not the creature of the State, but came into it with powers

of its own that it still continues to enjoy. Settlement and history of King's Towne, afterwards Kingston. 2 R. I.

Col. Recs. 525.

Admitted in 1674. 3 R. I. Col. Recs. 55. 51. Settlement and history of East Greenwich.

Arnold, 1 Hist. R. I. 428; 2 R. I. Col. Recs. 586-588.
Admitted in 1677.
Settlement and history of Jamestown. Admitted in 1678.
Peculiarities of its local self-government, Gen. Laws R. I., cap. 228, sec. 24.
In 1730 Providence divided into three towns, of Smithfield, Scituate, and

Glocester, 4R. I. Col. Recs. 442.
To enjoy same privileges with other towns.
Contention sustained that original towns and all after admitted have same

right to local self-government, etc. 52. Letter of Jobn Howland from Stone's Life and Recs. of John Howland, 256.

He voiced, from life-long experience, the common understanding.
Analogy between system of towns and the State in Rhode Island and the

system of States forming the United States.
53. 1 Arnold Hist. R. I. 211 note; Foster Town Govt, in R. I. 35.

More ideas that since bave become national emanated from Rhode Island

than from any other colony. Stated by Bancroft, in address in 1866. The power of the towns of Rhode Island to local self-government cannot PAGE. 56. Philadelphia v. Fox, 64 Penn. St. 169, examined. Such a decision impossible

be taken away. 54. Reasons contributing to ignorance of existence of town powers of thirteen

original States.
The success of the revolution exalted the power of the States.
The absence of printed records of doings of founders of towns and colonies.
These doings known only to a few antiquaries.
Consequently there has not been an educated public opinion to keep alive

knowledge of these rights and to prevent encroachment on them.
Step by step these rights curtailed by legislatures and courts.

Decision in Commonwealth o. Plaisted, 148 Mass. 375, deplored. 55. The lawyers of the present day know more about the development of the

constitutional law of the State than their predecessors did when the

records were not in print. They should help to form a better enlightened public opinion on the sub

ject of these powers.
This is the object of this pamphlet.
The general assembly has power to pass general laws and to mould and

direct, upon request, the exercise of powers by towns.
In Rhode Island towns are the recognized units of its political system.
Cities are but over-populated towns that have asked for city government.
In Rhode Island changes from town to city government, of boundary lines

or divisions of towns, have been made by the general assembly only upon
request of parties affected and subject to their consent.

in Rhode Island. The consequence of such decisions is loss of civic pride, all self-control being

taken away, and power passing into hands of professional politicians.
A like fate awaits us here if we tamely submit.
It is urged such a course is necessary to retain control of democratic cities

by republican legislatures.
This does not appeal to honest believers in our form of government.
Local self-government practised in England of old.
State v. Denny, 118 Ind. 458 ; Green, Town Life in Fifteenth Cent. 2.
But there, also, there was no printed record, no trained body of lawyers

versed in knowledge of constitutional law of town rights.
Knowledge thereof therefore, was utterly blotted out. Green, Town Life

in Fifteenth Cent. 5. 57. Supremacy of the town in Rhode Island evidenced by insignificant role of


First division into counties was in 1703. 3 R. I. Col. Recs. 477–478. 58. They were not incorporated, but were merely geographical divisions of the

Washington county created in 1729. 4 R. I. Col. Recs. 427.
Bristol county created in 1747. 5 R. I. Col. Recs. 208.
Kent county created in 1750. 5 R. I. Col. Recs. 302.
In Rhode Island everything is done by the towns and nothing by the State.
No commissioners, records, taxes, roads, nor probate courts of counties.
A county cannot sue nor be sued in Rhode Island, and is not a corporation.
Examination of the powers of towns over their own probate matters.
Statute of 1647 conferred probate jurisdiction on head officer of the town.

1 R. I. Col. Recs. 188.
In 1675 the former custom was restored and has continued ever since, where-

under each town council is the probate court for the town. 2 R. I. Col.

Recs. 525.
When increased population renders it necessary, the general assembly pro-

vides a special probate court.
59. The life of the towns has been continuous and uninterrupted.

The life of the colony and State has not.
Coddington's charter explained.
It put an end to the united colony for the time being.
A return to a reunion under the charter was sought. 1 Arnold Hist. R. I.

Clarke and Williams sent to England to effect this.
They succeeded in their mission in 1652.
Vain attempts at reunion. 1R. I. Col. Recs. 239.
Two conflicting general assemblies in session in 1653.

Letter from Sir Henry Vane urging reconciliation. 60. Reunion effected in 1654.

Usurpation of Andros, December, 1686, to April, 1689, suspended all charter

governments of New England.

60. i Arnold, Hist. R. I. 487; 3 R. I. Col. Recs. 191.

The towns by their continuous existence kept alive the vital flame after

three years of suspension of colonial corporate existence.

The referendum and initiative in Rhode Island. 61. Introduced in 1647 upon acceptance of charter. 62. Explanation and citation of acts. 1R. I. Col. Recs. 147–148.

The freemen met, in person or by proxy, in Newport, until 1760, to elect

members of the general assembly. 6 R. I. Col. Recs. 256. 63. 1 Arnold, Hist. R. I. 203; 1 R. I. Col. Recs. 228, 1650.

1 R I. Col. Recs. 401, 1658. 64. 1 R. I. Col. Recs. 429, 16602 ; do. 27. 65. The remark by Gov. Hopkins (7 R. I. Hist. Colls. 45) shows that even then

the people had forgotten what the powers of the towns were. The towns of Rhode Island possessed independent governmental powers

before there was any colony ; they formed the united colony, surrender ing some powers to it; new towns were admitted upon the footing of old towns ; the powers of the colony and State increased, those of the towns diminished ; this was done with their consent ; the towns still have the right to exist and to manage their own local affairs, wbile the State

has the right to pass general laws. 66. Particular acts of the general assembly cited that infringe this principle. 67. The requisites of a new constitution.

It should contain statement of all the fundamentals of government.
This includes introduction, declaration of rights, scheme of public manage-

ment and administration, articles relating to the electorate, corporations,
and such new matter as experience has shown cannot be carried into

effect through ordinary legislation.
Mere legislation should be avided, so far as possible, in a constitution.
There should be distinct recognition of the right of towns and cities to self-

As in the constitutions of Missouri, California, and Washington.
The general assembly should have power to pass general laws.
But not laws interfering with the rights and powers of towns and cities.

The experience of the three States named shows this works well. 68. Examination of the law and the cases in Missouri, California, and Washing

ton. 69. The citizens of Providence should pass upon charter lately submitted for

that city. A constitutional inhibition should protect it from change by the general

assembly after its adoption by the electors of Providence . The right to privacy should be guaranteed. Necessity for such a guaranty. 4 Harv. L. R. 193. This can only be done by putting it in the bill of rigbts. Laws against unjust imprisonment not enough until habeas corpus act passed. Necessity for restricting power of general assembly. Inhibition against ex post facto legislation should extend to civil as well as

to criminal legislation,

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