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In COUNCIL OF CENsoRs, Nov. 30, 1792. To the Freemen of the State of Vermont :
We have now the honor to submit to your consideration such amendments in the Constitution of this State, as have appeared to us the most adviseable.
Sensible that experience alone can evince the utility of political institutions, we have directed our attention rather to remedy the few inconveniences which have been found in the present Constitution, than to introduce theoretical improvements, the issue of which might be doubtful, and perhaps might have a tendency, in the end, to mar that political happiness which we have already attained.
One inconvenience we conceive to be, the vesting of all legislative power in a single and numerous body. Their numbers, which are necessary, in order fully to comprehend all the national interests, passions, manners and sentiments to which laws ought to be adapted, tend to encumber discussion and subject such legislatures frequently, to hasty and crude determinations. This, we have apprehended, to be a principal reason, why so many amendments, explanations, and alterations, have been constantly found necessary, in our laws. To remedy these inconveniences, by introducing a more deliberate discussion, in the proceedings of the legislature, we have proposed the addition of a Senate, who shall have distinct power, and an equal voice, in all affairs of legislation. To facilitate their deliberations, they are to be less numerous than the House of Representatives : we have taken care, nevertheless, that the Senate shall be, in the fullest sense, representatives of the people, and amenable to them, for their conduct, as much as the members of the other branch; and have so provided for their election as to give a different combination, and a more collective view, of the interests which they represent:—this we conceive, will introduce more deliberation into the business of legislation, and give to each branch, an opportunity of correcting many errors, which may otherwise escape attention.
We have thought it inconsistent with the principles of a free government, that the executive should have a negative on the proceedings of the legislature; nevertheless, as the executive have an opportunity of observing all difficuties, which arise in the execution of laws, and are the centre of information, upon that subject, we judge it necessary, that the legislature should be availed of such information :-we therefore propose, that all acts, before they pass into laws, shall be laid before the executive for revision: they are, however, to make no leading propositions, but simply to state their objections, if any they find, with their reasons, in writing, to the legislature; who still are to have the sole power of passing laws.
The other amendments are such, as, we are induced to believe, will better explain the several articles, and prevent the passing ex post facto laws, and make the practice, in the different branches of goverement, more uniform.
In examining the proceedings of the legislative and executive departments of this government, during the last septenary, we are happy to
find no proceedings which we judge unconstitutional or deserving of censure.
The several taxes, in our opinion, have been justly laid ; except where the legislature have doomed, in a few instances, towns, more than the amount of their lists, as returned by their listers; which has thrown an unequal burthen on the collectors of those towns. The public monies, we find, have been expended with economy; and the several taxes, have been, generally collected.
On a retrospective view, it gives us pleasure to observe, the many valuable improvements which have been made in this government, since the first formation, and the mild and equal energy, which, by such improvements, has been added to the administration, and the increasing happiness of the citizens, in the security of their rights.
It has been our anxious endeavor, to add something to those improvements.Our arrangements, on this head, we now submit, to the consideration of an enlightened community; to judge of their tendency, whether they are calculated in whole, or in part, to add any thing, to the improvement of our present system, to give a further security to the rights, and an increase of happiness to the people. By order of Council,
SAMUEL KNIGHT, President. Attest, Ros. HOPKINS, Secretary.
Note.—The second Council of Censors consisted of the following members, viz :-DANIEL Buck, — BRIDGEMAN, BENJAMIN BURT, ELIJAH DEWEY, Jonas GALUSHA, ANTHONY HASWELL, Roswell HopKINS, SAMUEL KNIGHT, Beriah Loomis, SAMUEL MATTOCKS, ELIJAH PAINE, Isaac TICHENOR, JOHN WHITE.
RECORDS OF THE SUPREME COURT.*
STATE OF VERMONT--Bennington, 10th December, 1778. This day met the Supreme Court for said State, in the Council-chamber at Bennington half shire, in the house of Mr. Stephen Fay in said town, agreeable to an act of the General Assembly of said State, made and provided for that purpose. Present :-The Hon. Moses ROBINSON, Esq. Chief Judge.
John FASSETT, Jun. and
THOMAS CHANDLER, JUN. Esquires. Having, each of them, taken the necessary oaths of office, proceeded to the choice of a Clerk for said Court, agreeable to Constitution; at which time JOSEPH Fax, Esq. was appointed and sworn Clerk of said Court. The business of the day being referred, adjourned to 10 o'clock to-morrow.
December 11, 1778. Met according to adjournment. Having opened said Court by proclamation, in due form, proceeded to call for the several Justices of the Peace for the county of Bennington half shire, and other officers having any recognizances, to deliver them to the Court, that the persons bound over to said Court might come to trial; among which was found a complaint of William Griffin against Jacob Galusha, for fraudulently taking and detaining from him a certain white horse, being the property of the plaintiff.— William Griffin, plaintiff, and Jacob Galusha, defendant, being duly called, answered, and appeared in Court, and joined issue in the case depending. The defendant pleading for an adjournment of said case, for the want of material evidence, the same was granted, and accordingly adjourned the trial of said case to the third Thursday of February next, at 10 o'clock of said day; to which time this Court now is adjourned, then to be holden at this place. Attest,
JOSEPH FAY, Clerk.
STATE OF VERMONT-Bennington half shire County, Dec. 14, 1778. At a special Supreme Court, called on special occasion, for the trial of * The cases embraced in the records here given, have been selected from the earlic records of the Supreme Court.
-- who stands charged with enemical conduct against this and the United States of America, by going over and joining the enemies thereof;--the prisoner being called was accordingly arraigned at the bar, who plead guilty of the crime alledged against him, and prayed the mercy of the Court. The Hon. Moses ROBINSON, Esq. Chief Judge;
JOHN FASSETT, JUN.
JOHN THROOP, Esquires, being present, as also The Hon. Jonas Fay, Assistant. Having taken the case of the prisoner into consideration; having heard the plea of the prisoner, the evidences, and duly considered every attending circumstance relative thereto, do judge and order that the prisoner,
, be banished and transported within the enemies lines at Canada, and to depart this State, on or before the 10th day of February next; and to proceed within the enemies lines, without delay, never more to return within this, or the United States of America, on penalty of being, on conviction thereof, before any court or authority proper to try him, whipped on the naked back, thirty and nine lashes ; and the same number of lashes to be repeated once every week, during his stay: paying cost, and to be held a prisoner in the custody of John Benjamin, Esq, sheriff, in and for the county of Cumberland, who is hereby strictly commanded to see this sentence duly performed Attest,
JOSEPH FAY, Clerk. Having finished the necessary business to be done at this Court, ordered that the same be, and it is hereby dissolved. Per order,
JOSEPH FAY, Clerk.
STATE OF VERMONT-Bennington half shire, Feb. 18, 1779. This day the Superior Court for said State, met at this place, according to adjournment. Judges present :- The Hon. Moses ROBINSON, Esq. Chief Judge.
John FASSETT, Jun.
Thomas CHANDLER, Jun. Esquires. The Court being opened by proclamation, in due form, according to time and place, having resumed, each one, his seat, the several Justices of the Peace, and other officers for the county and half shire of Bennington, being requested to deliver to the Court any and all bonds of recognizance of any persons bound to said Court:
The case of William Griffin, plaintiff, and Jacob Galusha, defendant, which stood adjourned to this session, being called to trial; at which time, the defendant not appearing, neither in person, or by his attorney, was called off in default.
It is, therefore, the judgment of this Court, and they do hereby judge and order, that a certain white horse, now in the custody of the sheriff,
* lo copyiug these records, the names of several persons have been omitted, for the reasons mentioned in the note, page 355.
the property of William Griffin, be delivered up to the said Griffin, and that the defendant pay cost. Attest,
JOSEPH FAY, Clerk. Recording judgment, £ 0 6 0 Judgment on default
0 18 0 Sheriff and constable's fees, 1 2 0 Plaintiff's costs, as per bill, 10 6 0
£12 6 9—discharged by the defendant. Jacob Galusha, by his attorney, petitions this Court to grant a review of the case in which he was this day called out in default.
Adjourned to 9 o'clock, to-morrow morning.
Feb. 19, 1779. The petition of Jacob Galusha, praying a review of the case in which he was yesterday called out in default, on paying cost, being granted :William Griflin, who obtained judgment by default, being notitied by the sheriff, the parties personally appeared before this Court, and joined issue accordingly ; upon which the Court proceeded to trial.
Having taken the case now depending, relative to a certain horse, in dispute, as by complaint may appear on file, and having duly considered the silme, the evidences and every attending circumstance relative thereto, do judge the said horse to be the just property of the said Griffin, and order the said horse to be delivered by the sheriff, to the plaintiff, the defendant paying cost. Present :- The Hon. Moses ROBINSON, Esq. Chief Judge;
John FASSETT, JUN. Esg. and
JOSEPH FAY, Clerk.
£7 4 6-cost discharged. At an adjourned Superior Court, bolden at Westminster, in the county of Cumberland, on the 26th day of May, A. D. 1779:-Present :-Moses ROBINSON, Esg. Chief Judge..
Side Judges of the same.
John Throop, Esquires, ) STEPHEN R. BRADLEY, Esq. was appointed Clerk of said Court, and sworn to a faithful discharge of that office.
STEPHEN R. BRADLEY and Noah SMITH, Esquires, were appointed attornies at law, sworn and licenced to plead at the bar within this State.