Gambar halaman

any way compelled to the belief or exercise of any other religion against his or her consent."

Roger Williams, in 1636, established Rhode Island upon the doctrine of liberty of conscience and the personal rights of man. He had before this preached all over the settled portion of New England the inherent right of man to worship God in the manner he thought right and had proclaimed a purer and better government than had ever blessed humanity. In the preceding century, William Prince of Orange, Stadtholder of Holland, that immortal hero and patriot, had perplexed and astonished the kings of Europe by his doctrines of religious tolerance and of the equality of man, and had fallen a martyr in the sacred cause he so ennobled The world, then, was moving, a spirit of inquiry was abroad, men were emerging from the darkness of superstition, spurning the shackles of oppression and demanding the rights which had been denied to their ancestors—which their fathers had never known and had never appreciated.

The "grants and concessions" are important in both the civil and the judicial history of New Jersey; they enter largely as a factor in the forming and moulding of the politics of the State, and are intimately interwoven into its very life. They may be called the first constitution of the colony and in them are embodied the best principles of a popular government that have ever been formulated in any age or any country. They are, as they have been truthfully termed, the Magna Charta of New Jersey, were the basis and foundation of its early government and are embodied in it. The parts of this document deemed most important are as follows:

"THE CONCESSION and AGREEMENT of the Lords Proprietors of the Province of New-Cacsarea, or New Jersey, to and with all and every Adventurers and all such as shall Settle or Plant there."

"IMPRIMUS. We do consent and agree, that the Governor of the said Province hath Power, by the advice of his Council, to depute one in his place and Authority, in case of Death or Removal, to continue until our further order, unless we have commissionated one before."

•' Item. That he hath likewise Power to make choice of and to take to him six Councellors at least, or twelve at most, or any even Number between six and twelve, with whose Advice and Consent, or with at least three of the six, or four of a greater Number (all being summon'd) he is to govern according to the Limitations and Instructions following, during our Pleasure."

"Item. That all Persons that are or shall become Subjects of the King of England, and Swear, or Subscribe Allegiance to the King, and faithfullness to the Lords, shall be admitted to Plant and become Freemen of the said Province, and enjoy the Freedoms and Immunities hereafter express'd until some stop or contradiction be made by us the Lords, or else the Governor. Council and Assembly, which shall be in Force until the Lords see cause to the contrary: Provided that such stop shall not any ways prejudice the right or continuance of any Person that have been receiv'd before such stop or Orders come from the General Assembly.''

"item. That no person qualified as aforesaid within the said Province, at any Time shall be any ways molested, punished, disquieted or called in question for any Difference in opinion or Practice in matter of Religious Concernments, who do not actually disturb the civil Peace of the said Province; but that all and every such Person and Persons may from time to time, and at all Times, freely and fully have and enjoy his and their Judgments and Consciences in matters of Religion throughout the said Province, they behaving themselves peaceably and quietly, and not using this Liberty to Licentiousness, nor to the civil Injury or outward disturbance of others; any Law, Statute or Clause contained or to be contained, usage or custom of this Realm of England, to the contrary thereof in any wise notwithstanding."

"Item. That no pretence may be taken by our Heirs or Assigns for or by reason of our right of Patronage and Power of Advouson, granted by his Majesty's Letter's Patents, unto his Royal Highness James Duke of York, and by his said Royal Highness unto us, thereby to Infringe the general Clause of Liberty of Conscience, aforementioned: WE do hereby grant unto the General Assembly of the said Province, Power by Act to constitute and appoint such and so many Ministers or Preachers as they shall think fit, and to establish their Maintenance, giving liberty beside to any Person or Persons to keep and maintain what Preachers or Ministers they please."

"Item. That the Inhabitants being Freemen, or chief agents toothers of the Province aforesaid; do as soon as this our commission shall arrive, by virtue of a writ in our names by the Governor to be for the present (until our seal comes) sealed and signed, make choice of twelve deputies or representatives from amongst themselves; who being chosen are to join with the said Governor and council for the making of such laws, ordinances and constitution as shall be necessary for the present good and welfare of the said Province. But so soon as parishes, divisions, tribes and other distinctions are made, that then the inhabitants or freeholders of the several respective parishes, tribes, divisions and districtions aforesaid, do by our writts, under our seals, (which we ingage, shall be in due time issued) annually meet on the first day of January, and choose freeholders for each respective division, tribe or parish to be the deputies or representatives of the same: which body of representatives or the major part of them, shall, with the Governor and council aforesaid, be the General Assembly of the said Province, the Governor or his deputy being present, unless they shall willfully refuse, in which case they may appoint themselves a president, during the absence of the Governor or the deputy Governor.

"Which Assembly's are to have Power, First. To appoint their own time of meeting and to adjourn their sessions from time to time to such times and places as they shall think convenient; as also to ascertain the number of their quorum; provided that such numbers be not less than the third part of the whole, in whom (or more) shall be the full power of the General Assembly."

"II. To enact and make all such laws, acts and constitutions as shall be necessary for the well government of the said Province, and them to repeal: provided, that the same be consonant to reason, and as near as may be conveniently agreeable to the laws and customs of his Majesty's kingdom of England: provided also, that they be not against the interest of us the Lords Proprietors, our heirs or assigns, nor any of those our concessions, especially that they be not repugnant to the article for liberty of conscience above mentioned: which laws so made shall receive publication from the Governor and council (but as the laws of us and our General Assembly) and be in force for the space of one year and no more, unless contradicted by the Lords Proprietors, within which time they are to be presented to us, our heirs, &c. for our ratification; and being confirmed by us, they shall be in continual force till expired by their own limitation, or by act of repeal in like manner to be passed (as aforesaid) and confirmed."

"III. By act as aforesaid, to constitute all. courts, together with the limits, powers and jurisdictions of the same; as also the several offices and number of officers belonging to each court, with their respective salaries, fees and perquisites; their appelations and dignities, with the penalties that shall be due to them, for the breach of their several and respective duties and trusts."

[ocr errors]

"IV. By act as aforesaid, to lay equal taxes and assessments, equally to raise moneys or goods upon all lands (excepting the lands of us the Lords Proprietors before settling) or persons within the several precincts, hundreds, parishes, manors, or whatsoever other divisions shall hereafter be made and established in the said Province, as> oft as necessity shall require, and in such manner as to them shall seem most equal and easy for the said inhabitants; in order to the better supporting of the publick charge of the said Government, and for the mutual safety, defence and security of the said Province."

"V. By act as aforesaid, to erect within the said Province, such and so many manors, with their necessary courts, jurisdictions, freedoms and privileges, as to them shall seem meet and convenient: As also to divide the said Province into hundreds, parishes, tribes, or such other divisions and districtions, as they shall think fit; and the said divisions to distinguish by what names we shall order or direct; and in default thereof, by such names as they please: As also in the said Province to create and appoint such and so many ports, harbours, creeks, and other places for the convenient lading and unlading of goods and merchandizes, out of ships, boats and other vessels, as shall be expedient; with such jurisdictions, privileges and francheses to such ports, &c. belonging, as they shall judge most conducing to the general good of the said Plantation or Province."

"VIII. By act (as aforesaid) to give all strangers, as to them shall seem meet, a naturalization, and all such freedoms and privileges within the said Province as to his Majesty's subjects do of right belong, they swearing or subscribing as aforesaid; which said strangers, so naturalized and privileged shall be in all respects accounted in said province, as the King's natural subjects."

"IX. By act (as aforesaid) to prescribe the quantity of land which shall be from time to time, allotted to every head, free or servant, male or female, and to make and ordain rules for the casting of lots for land and the laying out of the same; PROVIDED, that they do not in their prescriptions exceed the several proportions which are hereby granted by us to all persons arriving in the said Province or adventuring thither."

"X. The General Assembly by act, as aforesaid, shall make provision for the maintenance and support of the Governor and for the defraying of all necessary charges for the government; as also that the constables of the said Province shall collect the Lords rent, and shall pay the same to the receiver that the Lords shall appoint to receive the same; unless the General Assembly shall prescribe .some other way whereby the Lords may have their rents duly collected, without charge or trouble to them."

"XI. Lastly to enact, constitute and ordain all such other laws, acts and constitutions as shall or may be necessary for the good prosperity and settlement of the said Province excepting what by these presents is excepted, and conforming to the limitations herein expressed."

"the Go\ernor Is With His Council Before Express'd. First. To see that all courts establish'd by the laws of the General Assembly, and all ministers and officers, civil and military, do and execute their several duties and offices respectively, according to the laws in force; and to punish them for swerving from the laws, or acting contrary to their trust, as the nature of their offences shall require."

"II. According to the constitution of the General Assembly, to nominate and commissionate, the several judges, members and officers of courts, whether magistratical or ministerial and all other civil officers, coroners, &c. and their commissions, powers and authority to revoke at pleasure: provided, that they appoint none but such as are freeholders in the Province aforesaid, unless the General Assembly consent."

•'III. According to the constitution of the General Assembly, to appoint courts and officers in cases criminal; and to impower them to inflict penalties upon offenders against any of the laws in force in the said Province, as the said laws shall ordain; whether by fine, imprisonment, banishment, corporal punishment, or to the taking away of member or life itself if there be cause for it."

"VIII. To act and do all other things that may conduce to the safety, peace and well-government of the said Province, as they shall see fit; so as they be not contrary to the Laws of said Province."

"for The Better Security Of The Propkrtiks Of All The InhabItants. First. They are not to impose or suffer to be imposed, any tax, custom, subsidy, tallage, assessment, or any other duty whatsoever upon any colour or pretence, upon the said Province and inhabitants thereof, other than what shall be imposed by the authority and consent of the General Assembly, and then only in manner as aforesaid."

"II. They are to take care that lands quietly held, planted and possessed seven years, after its being duly survey'd by the Surveyor

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »