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VI. Debts and Revenue of the Principal States of Europe and America.
Years of Revenue represented by
THE CONSTITUTIONS OF THE SEVERAL
In this chapter the constitutions of the several States are not given in full, but the method of election and the tenure of office of the executive, legislative, and judicial officers; their boundaries and area; with notices of any interesting peculiarities in the constitution. To this is added a brief account of the history and present condition of each State.
In this chapter the thirteen original States are arranged in geographical order. The other twenty-four States are arranged in the order in which they were admitted to the Union.
This State is bounded north by Canada East, east by Maine and the Atlantic, south by Massachusetts, and west by Vermont, from which it is separated by the Connecticut river. It contains 9,280 square miles, or 5,939,200 acres.
Originally it adopted its constitution in 1784, and this has been amended at different times. By it the government of the State is vested in a governor, a council of five members, and a senate of twelve members, and a house of representatives. Every town having one hundred and fifty ratable polls chooses one representative, and one additional representative for every additional three hundred polls. All of the State officers are elected annually. No person can hold the office of governor, senator, or representative, unless he conforms to some denomination of Protestantism. The judges are appointed by the governor, with the consent of the council, and hold office during good behavior.
This State has passed through many political fluctuations. It was first visited by Europeans in 1614, and a settlement was made near what is now Portsmouth. Nine years afterwards it was connected with Massachusetts as a district, and was in many points subject to the government of Massachusetts. In 1679 it was made a royal province In 1689 it was again joined to Massachusetts. Afterwards it was for a short time connected with the colony or province of New York. In 1741 it was made a separate province or colony, and so it remained until the Revolution.
The agriculture of New Hampshire is impeded by its climate; nor is its soil in general very fertile; but in many parts of the State there are excellent and productive farms. The water-powers of the State are numerous and important, and have been to a large extent utilized. There are many manufacturing towns, some of considerable magnitude. About 112,000 acres of the surface of this State are under water.
This State is bounded north by Vermont and New Hampshire, east by the Atlantic Ocean, south by the Atlantic, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, and west by New York. It contains 7,800 square miles, or 4,992,000 acres.
The constitution of the State was originally adopted in 1780, and it has since been repeatedly changed. The government consists of a governor, lieutenant-governor, secretary, treasurer, auditor, attorney-general; an executive council of eight members, over whom the lieutenant-governor presides, and who are elected annually; a senate of forty members, and a house of representatives of two hundred and forty. All of these officers are chosen by the people. The judges are all appointed by the governor, with the consent of the council, and hold their offices during good behavior. They may be removed by impeachment; and the governor, with the consent of the council, may remove them upon the address of both houses of the legislature. Each branch of the legislature, as well as the governor and council, have authority to require the opinions of the justices of the supreme judicial court upon important questions of law, and upon solemn occasions.
It is supposed that navigators from Iceland, in the year 1000, wintered at a place in the south-east part of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The Cabots, sailing under a patent granted by Henry VII., King of England, sailed along the eastern cost of America, and made several landings; and the English thereafter claimed the country, by the rights which accrued to them from the discoveries of the Cabots. There were many attempts at settlement along the New England coast; but we consider the first permanent settlement to have been that of colonists who arrived in the “Mayflower” on the 22d of December, 1620, at Plymouth. Most of them had already fled from persecution in England, to Holland, where they had sought religious liberty. They formed a community in Leyden, of which John Robinson was pastor, and William Brewster an elder. But their surroundings were utterly unsatisfactory; and they deter mined to encounter the dangers and st fferings of a long sea-voyage, which were then much greater than they would be now, and the perils of hostile savages, famine, and sickness, in a mere wilderness.
We have already stated that before landing they formed and subscribed a solemn compact, which may be considered, if not the foundation, at least the beginning, of our republican constitutions. The scarcity and bad quality of their food, and their exposure to the severity of weather which they were wholly unaccustomed to, killed half their number in little more than four months, and much enfeebled the survivors; but they persisted in their purpose. There is much reason to believe that a severe pestilence, the nature of which is not known, had at that time thinned the natives along the coast of New England, and in some places almost exterminated them. But for this the colony could have hardly held their own. They were often near famishing, until 1623, when for the first time they had a plentiful harvest. In 1628 an immigration from England reached Salem, under the command of John Endicot. Large reinforcements soon followed, and Boston and neighboring towns were settled. These colonists were all Puritans; and while they made the greatest sacri. fices and efforts to obtain religious freedom for themselves, there is no evidence that they acknowledged in any degree the duty of permitting religious freedom in those who differed from them.
As the colony of Massachusetts rapidly grew in numbers and prosperity, it attracted the attention of England, and there were attempts to annul the original charter, under which the colonists had emigrated. Many difficulties ensued, and in 1675 began the war with the Indians, called King Philip's war, which desolated a large part of the then settled country. Of a population of about 12,000, one man in twenty had died; and of the families, one in twenty were houseless. This war was conducted without assistance from England; but as soon as it ceased, pretensions were again asserted to a mastership over the colony. When, in 1689, reports were received of the English revolution of 1688, the men of Boston, with some from the neighboring towns, rose in arms and imprisoned the royal governor and other officers. In 1692 a new charter was given, by which Plymouth was united to Massachusetts, and the jurisdiction of that colony over Maine and other colonies acknowledged. In the same year the witchcraft delusion, which had raged in many European countries and was then active in some, began in Salem and its neighborhood, and nineteen persons were executed by hanging, and one was pressed to death.
The war of the Revolution began in Massachusetts, at Lexington and Concord; but from the very beginning the other colonies sympathized with and supported her, and as soon as possible all joined in efforts to achieve their independence.