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New York Notice


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union states assembly project final documents for NY

union states assembly project final documents for NY

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  • 1. seeds THE CONSTITUTION OF 1777 [EDITORS NOTE: This copy of the constitution of 1777 is taken from “1777, The Political Revolution and New York’s First Constitution” by Willam A. Polf, New York State Bicentennial Commission, Albany, 1977, which itself transcribed it from the first edition printed in Fishkill by Samuel Loudon shortly after adoption. The formatting and hyphenation are shown differently here RAF.] The CONSTITUTION, &c. WHEREAS the many tyrannical and oppressive usurpations of the King and Parliament of Great Britain, on the rights and liberties of the people of the American colonies, had reduced them to the necessity of introducing a government by Congresses and Committees, as temporary expedients, and to exist no longer than the grievances of the people should remain without redress. AND WHEREAS the Congress of the colony of New York, did on the thirty-first day of May now last past, resolve as follows, viz. WHEREAS the present government of this colony by Congress and Committees, was instituted while the former government under the crown of Great-Britain existed in full force; and was established for the sole purpose of opposing the usurpation of the British Parliament, and was intended to expire on a reconciliation with Great-Britain, which it was then apprehended would soon take place, but is now considered as remote and uncertain. AND WHEREAS many and great inconveniences attend the said mode of government by Congress and Committees, as of necessity, in many instances, legislative, judicial, and executive powers have been vested therein, especially since the dissolution of the former government by the abdication of the late Governor, and the exclusion of this colony from the protection of the King of Great-Britain. AND WHEREAS the Continental Congress did resolve as followeth, to wit, WHEREAS his Britannic Majesty, in conjuction [sic] with the Lords and Commons of Great- Britain, has, by a late act of Parliament, excluded the inhabitants of these United Colonies from the protection of his crown. And whereas no answers whatever, to the humble petition of the colonies for redress of grievances and reconciliation with Great-Britain, has been, or is likely to be given, but the whole force of that kingdom, aided by foreign mercenaries, is to be exerted for the destruction of the good people of these colonies.-And whereas it appears absolutely irreconcileable [sic] to reason and good conscience, for the people of these colonies, now to take the oaths and affirmations necessary for the support of any government under the crown of Great-Britain; and it is necessary that the exercise of every kind of authority under the said crown should be totally suppressed, and all the powers of government exerted under the authority of the people of the colonies, for the preservation of internal peace, virtue and good order, as well as for the defence of our lives, liberties, and properties, against the hostile invasions, and cruel depredations of our enemies.1 of 14 2/2/2013 4:00 AM
  • 2. seeds Therefore, RESOLVED, That it be recommended to the respective assemblies and conventions of the United Colonies, where no government sufficient to the exigencies of their affairs has been hitherto established, to adopt such government as shall, in the opinion of the representatives of the people, best conduce to the happiness and saifety of their constituents in particular, and America in general. AND WHEREAS doubts have arisen whether this Congress are invested with sufficient power and authority to deliberate and determine on so important a subject as the necessity of erecting and constituting a new form of government and internal police, to the exclusion of all foreign jurisdiction, dominion and controul [sic] whatever. And whereas it appertains of right solely to the people of this colony to determine the said doubts, Therefore RESOLVED, That it be recommended to the electors in the several counties in this colony, by election in the manner and form prescribed for the election of the present Congress, either to authorize (in addition to the powers vested in this Congress) their present deputies, or others in the stead of their present deputies, or either of them to take into consideration the necessity and propriety of instituting such new government as in and by the said resolution of the Continental Congress is described and recommended: And if the majority of the counties, by their deputies in Provincial Congress, shall be of opinion that such new government ought to be instituted and established; then to institute and establish such a government as they shall deem best calculated to secure the rights, liberties and happiness of the good people of this colony; and to continue in force until a future peace with Great- Britain shalJ render the same unnecessary. And RESOLVED, That the said elections in the several counties, ought to be had on such day and at such place or places, as by the Committee of each county respectively shall be determined.—-And it is recommended to the said Committees, to fix such early days for the said elections, as that all the deputies to be elected have sufficient time to repair to the city of New-York by the second Monday in July next; on which day all the said deputies ought punctually to give their attendance. AND WHEREAS the object of the aforegoing resolutions is of the utmost importance to the good people of this colony, RESOLVED, That it be, and it is hereby earnestly recommended to the Committees, freeholders, and other electors in the different cou n-ties in this colony, diligently to carry the same into execution." AND WHEREAS the good people of the said colony, in pursuance of the said resolution, and reposing special trust and confidence in the members of this Convention, have appointed, authorized and empowered them for the purposes, and in the manner, and with the powers in and by the said resolve specified, declared and mentioned. AND WHEREAS the delegates of the United American States, in general Congress convened,2 of 14 2/2/2013 4:00 AM
  • 3. seeds did on the fourth day of July now last past, solemnly publish and declare, in the words following, viz. [See Declaration of Independence] AND WHEREAS this Convention having taken this declaration into their most serious consideration, did on the ninth day of July last past, unanimously resolve, that the reasons assigned by the Continental Congress, for declaring the United Colonies, free and independent States, are cogent and conclusive: And that while we lament the cruel necessity which has rendered that measure unavoidable we approve the same, and will at the risque [sic] of our lives and fortunes join the other Colonies in supporting it. By virtue of which several acts, declarations and proceedings, mentioned and contained in the afore recited resolves or resolutions of the General Congress of the United American States, and of the Congresses or Conventions of this State, all power whatever therein hath reverted to the people thereof, and this Convention hath by their suffrages and free choice been appointed, and among other things authorized to institute and establish such a government, as they shall deem best calculated to secure the rights and liberties of the good people of this State, most conducive of the happiness and safety of their constituents in particular, and of America in general. [I. Authority] 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. Supreme legislative power in Assembly and Senate] 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 dispatch of business. [III. Council of Revision - Governor, Chancellor & Judges of the Supreme Court.] III. AND WHEREAS, Laws inconsistent with the spirit of this constitution, or with the public good, may be hastily and unadvisedly 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 to3 of 14 2/2/2013 4:00 AM
  • 4. seeds time, when the legislature shall be con vened; 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 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 tmpiration of the said ten days. [IV. Apportionment of representatives to Assembly.] IV. That the Assembly shall consist of at least seventy members, to be annually chosen in the several counties, in the proportions following, viz. For the city and county of New-York, nine; The city and county of Albany, ten; The county of Dutchess seven; The county of Westchester, six; The county of Ulster, six; The county of Suffolk, five; The county of Queens, four; The county of Orange, four; The county of Kings, two; The county of Richmond, two; The county of Tryon, six; The county of Charlotte, four;4 of 14 2/2/2013 4:00 AM
  • 5. seeds The county of Cumberland, three; The county of Gloucester, two [V. Provision for census] V. That as soon after the expiration of seven years, subsequent to the termination of the present war as may be, a Census of the electors and inhabitants in this State be taken, under the direction of the legislature. And if on such Census it shall appear, that the number of representatives in Assembly from the said counties, is not justly proportioned to the number of electors in the said counties respectively, that the legislature do adjust and apportion the same by that rule. And further, that once in every seven years, after the taking of the said first Census, a just account of the electors resident in each county shall be taken; and if it shall thereupon appear, that the number of electors in any county, shall have encreased or diminished one or more seventieth parts of the whole number of electors, which on the said first Census shall be found in this State, the number of representatives-for such county shall be increased or diminished accordingly, th-af is to say, one representative for every seventieth part as aforesaid. [VI. Elections to be had by ballot] VI. AND WHEREAS, an opinion hath long prevailed among divers of the good people of this State, that voting at elections by Ballot, would tend more to preserve the liberty and equal freedom of the people, than voting viva voce. To the end therefore that a fair experiment be made, which of those two methods of voting is to be preferred: BE IT ORDAINED, that as soon as may be, after the termination of the present war, between the United States of America and Great-Britain, an act, or acts be passed by the legislature of this State, for causing all elections thereafter to be held in this State for Senators and Representatives in assembly, to be by Ballot, and directing the manner in which the same shall be conducted. AND WHEREAS, it is possible, that after all the care of the legislature, in framing the said act or acts, certain inconveniencies and mischiefs, unforeseen at this day, may be found to attend the said mode of electing by Ballot: IT IS FURTHER ORDAINED, that if after a full and fair experiment shall be made of voting by Ballot aforesaid, the same shall be found less conducive to the safety or interest of the State, than the method of voting viva voce, it shall be lawful and constitutional for the legislature to abolish the same; provided two thirds of the members present in each House, respectively shall concur therein: And further, that during the continuance of the present war, and until the legislature of this State shall provide for the election of Senators and Representatives in assembly by Ballot, the saidelections shall be made viva voce. [VII. Eligibility to vote.] VII. That every male inhabitant of full age, who shall have personally resided within one of the counties of this State, for six months immediately preceding the day of election, shall at such election, be entitled to vote for representatives of the said county in assembly; if during the time5 of 14 2/2/2013 4:00 AM
  • 6. seeds aforesaid, he shall have been a Freeholder, possessing a Freehold of the value of twenty pounds, within the said county, or have rented a tenement therein of the yearly value of forty shillings, and been rated and actually paid taxes to this State: Provided always, that every person who now is a freeman of the city of Albany, or who was made a freeman of the city of New-York, on or before the fourteenth day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five, and shall be actually and usually resident in the said cities respectively, shall be entitled to vote for Representatives in assembly within his said place of residence. [VIII - Oath may be required to vote.] VIII. That every elector before he is admitted to vote, shall, if required by the returning officer or either of the inspectors, take an oath, or if of the people called Quakers, an affirmation, of allegiance to the State. [IX. Assembly to proceed in like manner as assembly of colony.] IX. That the assembly thus constituted, shall chuse [sic] their own Speaker, be judges of their own members, and enjoy the same privileges and proceed in doing business, in like manner as the assemblies of the colony of New York of right formerly did; and that a majority of the said members, shall, from time to time constitute a House to proceed upon business. [X. Constitution of, and eligibility requirements for, Senate] X. 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 Senate of the State of New-York, shall consist of twenty-four freeholders, to be chosen out of the body of the freeholders, and that they be chosen by the freeholders of this State, possessed of freeholds of the value of one hundred pounds, over and above all debts charged thereon. [XI. Term and rotation of Senate.] XI. That the members of the Senate be elected for four years, and immediately after the first election, they be divided by lot into four classes, six in each class, and numbered one, two, three and four; that the seats of the members of the first class shall be vacated at the expiration of the first year, the second class the second year, and so on continually, to the end that the fourth part of the Senate, as nearly as possible, may be annually chosen. [XII. Senatorial districts] XII. That the election of Senators shall be after this manner; that so much of this State as is now parcelled into counties, be divided into four great districts; the southern district to comprehend the city and county of New-York, Suffolk, Westchester, Kings, Queens and Richmond counties; the middle district to comprehend the counties of Dutchess, Ulster and Orange; the western district the city and county of Albany, and Tryon county; and the eastern district, the counties of Charlotte, Cumberland and Gloucester. That the Senators shall be elected by the6 of 14 2/2/2013 4:00 AM
  • 7. seeds freeholders of the said districts, qualified as aforesaid, in the proportions following, to wit, in the southern district nine, in the middle district six, in the western district six, and in the eastern district three. And BE IT ORDAINED, that a Census shall be taken as soon as may be, after the expiration of seven years from the termination of the present war, under the direction of the legislature: And if on such Census it shall appear, that the number of Senators is not justly proportioned to the several districts, that the legislature adjust the proportion as near as may be, to the number of freeholders qualified as aforesaid, in each district. That when the number of electors within any of the said districts, shall have increased one twenty-fourth part of the whole number of electors, which by the said Census, shall be found to be in this State, an additional Senator shall be chosen by the electors of such district. That a majority of the number of Senators to be chosen as aforesaid, shall be necessary to constitute a Senate, sufficient to proceed upon business, and that the Senate shall in like manner with the assembly, be the judges of its own members. And BE IT ORDAINED, that it shall be in the power of the future legislatures of this State for the convenience and advantage of the good people thereof, to divide the same into such further and other counties and districts, as shall to them appear necessary. [XIII. Protection from interference with rights and liberties.] XIII. And this Convention doth further, in the name and by the authority of the good people of this State, ORDAIN, DETERMINE and DECLARE, that no member of this State, shall be disfranchised, or deprived of any of the rights or privileges secured to the subjects of this State, by this constitution, unless by the law of the land, or the judgment of his peers. [XIV. Adjournment by assembly or senate limited.] XIV. That neither the assembly or the senate shall have power to adjourn themselves for any longer time than two days, without the mutual consent of both. [XV. Senate-Assembly conferences] XV. That whenever the Assembly and Senate disagree, a conference shall be held in the presence of both, and be managed by Committees to be by them respectively chosen by ballot. That the doors both of the Senate and Assembly shall at all times be kept open to all persons, except when the welfare of the State shall require their debates to be kept secret. And the Journals of all their proceedings shall be kept in the manner heretofore accustomed by the General Assembly of the colony of New-York, and except such parts as they shall as aforesaid, respectively determine not to make public, be from day to day (if the business of the legislature will permit) published. [XVI. Limitation of size of Senate and Assembly] XVI. It is nevertheless provided, that the number of Senators shall never exceed one hundred, nor the number of Assembly three hundred; but that whenever the number of Senators shall amount to one hundred, or of the Assembly to three hundred, then and in such case, the legislature shall from time to time thereafter, by laws for that purpose, apportion and distribute7 of 14 2/2/2013 4:00 AM
  • 8. seeds the said one hundred Senators and three hundred Representatives, among the great districts and counties of this State in proportion to the number of their respective electors; so that the representation of the good people of this State, both in the Senate and Assembly, shall for ever remain proportionate and adequate. [XVII. Power and election of Governor] 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; which elections shall be always held at the times and places of choosing representatives in assembly for each respective county; and that the person who hath the greatest number of votes within the said State, shall be Governor thereof. [XVIII. Governor is General and Commander in Chief of Militia and Admiral of Navy.] XVIII. That the Governor shall continue in office three years, and shall, by virtue of his office, be General and Commander in Chief of all the militia, and Admiral of the Navy of this State; that he shall have power to convene the Assembly and Senate on extraordinary occasions, to prorogue them from time to time, provided such prorogations shall not exceed sixty days in the space of any one year; and at his discretion to grant reprieves and pardons to persons convicted of crimes, other than treason or murder, in which he may suspend the execution of the sentence, until it shall be reported to the legislature at their subsequent meeting; and they shall either pardon or direct the execution of the criminal, or grant a further reprieve. [XIX - Responsibilities of Governor] XIX. That it shall be the duty of the Governor to inform the legislature, at every sessions, of the condition of the State, so far as may respect his department; to recommend such matters to their consideration as shall appear to him to concern its good government, welfare and prosperity; to correspond with the Continental Congress, and other States; to transact all necessary business with the officers of government, civil and military; to take care that the laws are faithfully executed to the best of his ability; and to expedite all such measures as may be resolved upon by the legislature. [XX. - Lieutenant-Governor] XX. That a Lieutenant-Governor shall, at every election of a Governor, and as often as the Lieutenant-Governor shall die, resign, or be removed from office, be elected in the same manner with the Governor, to continue in office, until the next election of a Governor; and such Lieutenant-Governor shall, by virtue of his office, be President of the Senate, and, upon an equal division, have a casting voice in their decisions, but not vote on any other occasion.8 of 14 2/2/2013 4:00 AM
  • 9. seeds And in case of the impeachment of the Governor, or his removal from office, death, resignation, or absence from the State, the Lieutenant-Governor shall exercise all the power and authority appertaining to the office of Governor, until another be chosen, or the Governor absent or impeached shall return, or be acquitted. Provided that where the Governor shall, with the consent of the legislature, be out of the State, in time of war, at the head of a military force thereof, he shall still continue in his command of all the military force of this State, both by sea and land. [XXI. Absence of Lieutenant-Governor] XXI. That whenever the Government shall be administered by the Lieutenant-Governor, or he shall be unable to attend as President of the Senate, the senators shall have power to elect one of their own members to the office of President of the Senate, which he shall exercise pro hac vice. And if, during such vacancy of the office of Governor, the Lieutenant-Governor shall be impeached, displaced, resign, die, or be absent from the State, the President of the Senate, shall in like manner as the Lieutenant-Governor administer the government, until others shall be elected by the suffrage of the people at the succeeding election. [XXII. Treasurer to be appointed by the Assembly.] XXII. 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 Treasurer of this State shall be appointed by act of the legislature, to originate with the assembly: Provided that he shall not be elected out of either branch of the legislature. [XXIII. - Appointment of Officers] 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 and 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 government, 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. Commissioning of Military Officers] XXIV. That all military officers be appointed during pleasure; that all commissioned officers civil and military, be commissioned by the Governor, and that the Chancellor, the Judges of the supreme court, and first Judge of the county court in every county, hold their offices during good behaviour, or until they shall have respectively attained the age of sixty years. [XXV. Chancellor and Judges to hold no other office.]9 of 14 2/2/2013 4:00 AM
  • 10. seeds XXV. That the Chancellor and Judges of the supreme court, shall not at the same time hold any other office, excepting that of Delegate to-the General Congress, upon special occasions; and that the first Judges of the county courts in the several counties, shall not at the same time hold any other office, excepting that of Senator, othe General Congress: But if the Chaucellor or either of the said Judges be elected or appointed to any other office, excepting as is before excepted, it shall be at his option in which to serve. [XXVI. Sheriffs & Coroners annually appointed.] XXVI. That Sheriffs and Coroners be annually appointed; and that no person shall be capable of holding either of the said offices more than four years successively, nor the Sheriff of holding any other office at the same time. [XXVII. Appointment of Clerks.} XXVII. AND BE IT FURTHER ORDAINED, that all registers and clerks in chancery be appointed by the Chancellor; the clerks of the supreme court by the Judges of the said court; the clerk of the court of probates, by the Judge of the said court; and the register and marshall of the court of admiralty, by the Judge of the admiralty.—-The said marshall, registers and clerks, to continue in office during the pleasure of those, by whom they are to be appointed, as aforesaid. And that all Attorneys, Solicitors and Coungellors at Law, hereafter to be appointed, be appointed by the court, and licensed by the first judge of the court in which they shall respectively plead or practice; and be regulated by the rules and orders of the said courts. {XXVIII. Duration of officers not ascertained.] XXVIII. AND BE IT FURTHER ORDAINED, that where by this Convention the duration of any office shall not be ascertained, such office shall be construed to be held during the pleasure of the Council of Appointment: Provided that new commissions shall be issued to judges of the county courts (other than to the first judge) and to justices of the peace, once at the least in every three years. [XXIX. Town & County officials to continue.] XXIX. That town clerks, supervisors, assessors, constables and collectors, and all other officers heretofore eligible by the people, shall always continue to be so eligible, in the manner directed by the present or future acts of legislature. That loan officers, county treasurers, and clerks of the supervisors, continue to be appointed in the manner directed by the present or future acts of the legislature. [XXX. Appointment of Delegates to the General Congress of the United States of America.]10 of 14 2/2/2013 4:00 AM
  • 11. seeds XXX. That Delegates to represent this State, in the General Congress of the United States of America, be annually appointed as follows, to wit, The Senate and Assembly shall each openly nominate as many persons as shall be equal to the whole number of Delegates to be appointed; after which nomination, they shall meet together, and those persons named in both lists shall be Delegates; and out of those persons whose names are not in both lists, one half shall be chosen by the joint ballot of the Senators and Members of Assembly, so met together as aforesaid. [XXXI. Preamble of all laws to be “by the people of the State of New York.” XXXI. That the stile [sic] of all laws shall be as follows, to wit, BE IT ENACTED by the people of the State of New-York, represented in Senate and Assembly. And that all writs and other proceedings shall run in the name of the people of the State of New- York, and be tested in the name of the Chancellor or Chief Judge of the court from whence they shall issue. [XXXII. Court for Impeachments and Corrections of Errors.] XXXIL 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 regulations 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. [XXXIII. Power of impeachment vested in Assembly.] XXXIII. That the power of impeaching all officers of the State, formal and corrupt conduct in their respective offices, be vested in the representatives of the people in assembly; but that it shall always be necessary that two third parts of the members present shall consent to and agree in such impeachment. That previous to the trial of every impeachment, the members of the said court shall respectively be sworn, truly and impartially to try and determine the charge in question, according to evidence; and that no judgement of the said court shall be valid, unless it shall be assented to by two third parts of the members then present; nor shall it extend farther than to removal from office, and disqualification to hold or enjoy any place of honour, trust or profit, under this State. But the party so convicted, shall be, nevertheless, liable and subject to indictment, trial, judgment and punishment, according to the laws of the land.11 of 14 2/2/2013 4:00 AM
  • 12. seeds [XXXIV. Party to be impeached has right to counsel.] XXXIV. AND IT IS FURTHER ORDAINED, that in every trial on impeachment or indictment for crimes or misdemeanors, the party impeached or indicted, shall be allowed counsel, as in civil actions. [XXXV. Laws of England and colonial assembly continued.] XXXV. And this Convention doth further, in the name and by the authority of the good people of this State, ORDAIN, DETERMINE and DECLARE, that such parts of the common law of England, and of the statute law of England and Great-Britain, and of the acts of the legislature of the colony of New-York, as together did form the law of the said colony on the nineteenth day of April, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five, shall be and continue the law of this State; subject to such alterations and provisions, as the legislature of this State shall, from time to time, make concerning the same. That such of the said acts as are temporary, shall expire at the times limited for their duration respectively. That all such parts of the said common law, and all such of the said statutes, and acts aforesaid, or parts thereof, as may be construed to establish or maintain any particular denomination of Christians, or their Ministers, or concern the allegiance heretofore yielded to, and the supremacy sovereignty, government or prerogatives, claimed or exercised by the King of Great-Britain and his predecessors, over the colony of New-York and its inhabitants, or are repugnant to this constitution, be, and they hereby are, abrogated and rejected. And this Convention doth farther 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, asot repugnant to the government estab lished by 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. [XXXVI. Grants and Charters to bodies politic continued.] XXXVI. AND BE IT FURTHER ORDAINED, that all grants of land within this State, made by the King of Great-Britain, or persons acting under his authority, after the fourteenth day of October, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five, shall be null and void: But that nothing in this constitution contained, shall be construed to affect any grants of land, within this State, made by the authority of the said King or his predecessors, or to annul any charters to bodies politic, by him or them or any of them, made prior to that day. And that none of the said charters, shall be adjudged to be void by reason of any non-user or mis-user of any of their respective rights or privileges, between the nineteeeth [sic] day of April, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five, and the publication of this constitution. And further, that all such of the officers described in the said charters respectively, as by the terms of the said charters, were to be appointed by the Governor of the colony of New-York, with or without the advice and consent of the Council of the said King, in the said colony, shall henceforth be appointed by the Council established by this constitution, for the appointment of officers in this State, until otherwise directed by the legislature. [Emph. Added - RAF]12 of 14 2/2/2013 4:00 AM
  • 13. seeds [XXXVII. Puchases or contracts of sale with Indians prohibited.] XXXVIL AND WHEREAS it is of great importance to the safety of this State, that peace and amity with the Indians within the same, be at all times supported and maintained. AND WHEREAS, the frauds too often practised towards the said Indians, in contracts made for their lands, have in divers instances been productive of dangerous discontents and animosities; BE IT ORDAINED, that no purchases or contracts for the sale of lands made since the fourteenth day of October, in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five, or which may hereafter be made with or of the said Indians, within the limits of this State, shall be binding on the said Indians, or deemed valid, unless made under the authority, and with the consent of the legislature of this State. [XXXVIII. Freedom of religion and worship protected.] XXXVIII. AND WHEREAS we are required by the benevolent principles of rational liberty, not only to expel civil tyranny, but also to guard against that spiritual oppression and intolerance, wherewith the bigotry and ambition of weak and wicked priests and princes, have scourged mankind: This Convention doth further, in the name and by the authority of the good people of this State, ORDAIN, DETERMINE and DECLARE, that the free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall for ever hereafter be allowed within this State to all mankind. Provided that the liberty of conscience hereby granted, shall not be so construed, as to excuse acts of licentiousness, or justify practices inconsistent with the peace or safety of this State. [XXXIX. Ministers and priests barred from public office.] XXXIX. AND WHEREAS the ministers of the gospel, are by their profession dedicated to the service of God and the cure of souls, and ought not to be diverted from the great duties of their function; therefore no minister of the gospel, or priest of any denomination whatsoever, shall at any time hereafter, under any pretence or description whatever, be eligible to, or capable of holding any civil or military office or place, within this State. [XL. Militia to maintain readiness.] XL. AND WHEREAS it is of the utmost importance to the safety of every State, that it should always be in a condition of defence; and it is the duty of every man, who enjoys the protection of society, to be prepared and willing to defend it; this Convention therefore, in the name and by the authority of the good people of this State, doth ORDAIN, DETERMINE and DECLARE, that the militia of this State, at all times hereafter, as well in peace as in war, shall be armed and disciplined, and in readiness for service. That all such of the inhabitants of this State, being of the people called Quakers, as from scruples of conscience, may be averse to the bearing of arms, be therefrom excused by the legislature; and do pay to the State such sums of money in lieu of their personal service, as the same may, in the judgment of the legislature, be worth: And that a proper magazine of warlike stores, proportionate to the number of inhabitants, be, for ever hereafter, at the expence [sic] of this State, and by acts of the legislature, established,13 of 14 2/2/2013 4:00 AM
  • 14. seeds maintained, and continued in every county in this State. [XLI. Right to trial by jury.] XLI. And this Convention doth further ORDAIN, DETERMINE and DECLARE, in the name and by the authority of the good people of this State, that trial by jury, in all cases in which it hath heretofore been used in the colony of New-York, shall be established, and remain inviolate forever. And that no acts of attainder shall be passed by the legislature of this State for crimes, other than those committed before the termination of the present war; and that such acts shall not work a corruption of blood. And further, that the legislature of this State shall, at no time hereafter, institute any new court or courts, but such as shall proceed according to the course of the common law. [XLII. Naturalization] XLlI. And this Convention doth further, in the name and by the authority of the good people of this State, ORDAIN, DETERMINE and DECLARE, that it shall be in the discretion of the legislature to naturalize all such persons, and in such manner as they shall think proper; provided all such of the persons, so to be by them naturalized, as being born in parts beyond sea, and out of the United States of America, shall come to settle in, and become subjects of this State, shall take an oath of allegiance to this State, and abjure and renounce all allegiance and subjectionto all and every foreign King, Prince, Potentate and State, in all matters ecclesiastical as well as civil. By order. LEONARD GANSEVOORT, Pres. pro tem.14 of 14 2/2/2013 4:00 AM
  • 15. ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION—1777 1 To all to whom these Presents shall come, we the ARTICLE I. The stile of this confederacy shall undersigned Delegates of the States affixed to our be ‘‘The United States of America.’’ Names send greeting ARTICLE II. Each State retains its sovereignty, freedom and independence, and every power, ju- Whereas the Delegates of the United States of risdiction and right, which is not by this confed- America in Congress assembled did on the eration expressly delegated to the United fifteenth day of November in the Year of our States, in Congress assembled. Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and ARTICLE III. The said States hereby severally Seventyseven, and in the Second Year of the enter into a firm league of friendship with each Independence of America agree to certain arti- other, for their common defence, the security of cles of Confederation and perpetual Union their liberties, and their mutual and general between the States of Newhampshire, Massachu- welfare, binding themselves to assist each other, setts-bay, Rhodeisland and Providence Planta- against all force offered to, or attacks made tions, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, upon them, or any of them, on account of reli- Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, gion, sovereignty, trade, or any other pretence North-Carolina, South-Carolina and Georgia in whatever. the Words following, viz. ARTICLE IV. The better to secure and perpet- uate mutual friendship and intercourse among ‘‘Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union the people of the different States in this Union, between the States of Newhampshire, the free inhabitants of each of these States, pau- Massachusettsbay, Rhodeisland and Providence pers, vagabonds and fugitives from justice ex- Plantations, Connecticut, New-York, New-Jersey, cepted, shall be entitled to all privileges and im- Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, munities of free citizens in the several States; North-Carolina, South-Carolina and Georgia. and the people of each State shall have free in- gress and regress to and from any other State, 1 Congress Resolved, on the 11th of June, 1776, that a committee and shall enjoy therein all the privileges of should be appointed to prepare and digest the form of a confed- trade and commerce, subject to the same duties, eration to be entered into between the Colonies; and on the day impositions and restrictions as the inhabitants following, after it had been determined that the committee should consist of a member from each Colony, the following per- thereof respectively, provided that such restric- sons were appointed to perform that duty, to wit: Mr. Bartlett, tions shall not extend so far as to prevent the Mr. S. Adams, Mr. Hopkins, Mr. Sherman, Mr. R. R. Livingston, removal of property imported into any State, to Mr. Dickinson, Mr. M’Kean, Mr. Stone, Mr. Nelson, Mr. Hewes, any other State of which the owner is an inhab- Mr. E. Rutledge, and Mr. Gwinnett. Upon the report of this com- mittee, the subject was, from time to time, debated, until the itant; provided also that no imposition, duties 15th of November, 1777, when a copy of the confederation being or restriction shall be laid by any State, on the made out, and sundry amendments made in the diction, without property of the United States, or either of them. altering the sense, the same was finally agreed to. Congress, at If any person guilty of, or charged with trea- the same time, directed that the articles should be proposed to the legislatures of all the United States, to be considered, and if son, felony, or other high misdemeanor in any approved of by them, they were advised to authorize their dele- State, shall flee from justice, and be found in gates to ratify the same in the Congress of the United States; any of the United States, he shall upon demand which being done, the same should become conclusive. Three of the Governor or Executive power, of the State hundred copies of the Articles of Confederation were ordered to be printed for the use of Congress; and on the 17th of November, from which he fled, be delivered up and removed the form of a circular letter to accompany them was brought in to the State having jurisdiction of his offence. by a committee appointed to prepare it, and being agreed to, Full faith and credit shall be given in each of thirteen copies of it were ordered to be made out, to be signed these States to the records, acts and judicial by the president and forwarded to the several States, with copies of the confederation. On the 29th of November ensuing, a com- proceedings of the courts and magistrates of mittee of three was appointed, to procure a translation of the ar- every other State. ticles to be made into the French language, and to report an ad- ARTICLE V. For the more convenient manage- dress to the inhabitants of Canada, &c. On the 26th of June, 1778, ment of the general interests of the United the form of a ratification of the Articles of Confederation was adopted, and, it having been engrossed on parchment, it was signed on the 9th of July on the part and in behalf of their re- legislature of the State passed an act to empower their delegates spective States, by the delegates of New Hampshire, Massachu- to subscribe and ratify the articles, which was accordingly done setts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecti- by Mr. Hanson and Mr. Carroll, on the 1st of March of that year, cut, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and South Carolina, which completed the ratifications of the act; and Congress as- agreeably to the powers vested in them. The delegates of North sembled on the 2d of March under the new powers. Carolina signed on the 21st of July, those of Georgia on the 24th NOTE.—The proof of this document, as published above, was of July, and those of New Jersey on the 26th of November follow- read by Mr. Ferdinand Jefferson, the Keeper of the Rolls of the ing. On the 5th of May, 1779, Mr. Dickinson and Mr. Van Dyke Department of State, at Washington, who compared it with the signed in behalf of the State of Delaware, Mr. M’Kean having original in his custody. He says: ‘‘The initial letters of many of previously signed in February, at which time he produced a the words in the original of this instrument are capitals, but as power to that effect. Maryland did not ratify until the year 1781. no system appears to have been observed, the same words some- She had instructed her delegates, on the 15th of December, 1778, times beginning with a capital and sometimes with a small let- not to agree to the confederation until matters respecting the ter, I have thought it best not to undertake to follow the origi- western lands should be settled on principles of equity and sound nal in this particular. Moreover, there are three forms of the let- policy; but, on the 30th of January, 1781, finding that the en- ter s: the capital S, the small s and the long s, the last being emies of the country took advantage of the circumstance to dis- used indiscriminately to words that should begin with a capital seminate opinions of an ultimate dissolution of the Union, the and those that should begin with a small s.’’ Page XLIXVerDate Aug 31 2005 08:35 Feb 15, 2008 Jkt 040101 PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 5820 Sfmt 5820 Y:TS2006MAIN2006V1.MNV1PRE5.MN BOB
  • 16. ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION—1777 Page L States, delegates shall be annually appointed in No State shall engage in any war without the such manner as the legislature of each State consent of the United States in Congress assem- shall direct, to meet in Congress on the first bled, unless such State be actually invaded by Monday in November, in every year, with a enemies, or shall have received certain advice of power reserved to each State, to recall its dele- a resolution being formed by some nation of In- gates, or any of them, at any time within the dians to invade such State, and the danger is so year, and to send others in their stead, for the imminent as not to admit of a delay, till the remainder of the year. United States in Congress assembled can be con- No State shall be represented in Congress by sulted: nor shall any State grant commissions to less than two, nor by more than seven members; any ships or vessels of war, nor letters of and no person shall be capable of being a dele- marque or reprisal, except it be after a declara- gate for more than three years in any term of tion of war by the United States in Congress as- six years; nor shall any person, being a delegate, sembled, and then only against the kingdom or be capable of holding any office under the state and the subjects thereof, against which United States, for which he, or another for his war has been so declared, and under such regula- benefit receives any salary, fees or emolument tions as shall be established by the United of any kind. States in Congress assembled, unless such State Each State shall maintain its own delegates in be infested by pirates, in which case vessels of a meeting of the States, and while they act as war may be fitted out for that occasion, and members of the committee of the States. kept so long as the danger shall continue or In determining questions in the United States, until the United States in Congress assembled in Congress assembled, each State shall have shall determine otherwise. one vote. ARTICLE VII. When land-forces are raised by Freedom of speech and debate in Congress any State for the common defence, all officers of shall not be impeached or questioned in any or under the rank of colonel, shall be appointed court, or place out of Congress, and the mem- by the Legislature of each State respectively by bers of Congress shall be protected in their per- whom such forces shall be raised, or in such sons from arrests and imprisonments, during the manner as such State shall direct, and all va- time of their going to and from, and attendance cancies shall be filled up by the State which on Congress, except for treason, felony, or first made the appointment. breach of the peace. ARTICLE VIII. All charges of war, and all other ARTICLE VI. No State without the consent of expenses that shall be incurred for the common the United States in Congress assembled, shall defence or general welfare, and allowed by the send any embassy to, or receive any embassy United States in Congress assembled, shall be from, or enter into any conference, agreement, defrayed out of a common treasury, which shall alliance or treaty with any king, prince or state; be supplied by the several States, in proportion nor shall any person holding any office of profit to the value of all land within each State, grant- or trust under the United States, or any of ed to or surveyed for any person, as such land them, accept of any present, emolument, office and the buildings and improvements thereon or title of any kind whatever from any king, shall be estimated according to such mode as prince or foreign state; nor shall the United the United States in Congress assembled, shall States in Congress assembled, or any of them, from time to time direct and appoint. grant any title of nobility. The taxes for paying that proportion shall be No two or more States shall enter into any laid and levied by the authority and direction of treaty, confederation or alliance whatever be- the Legislatures of the several States within the tween them, without the consent of the United time agreed upon by the United States in Con- States in Congress assembled, specifying accu- gress assembled. rately the purposes for which the same is to be ARTICLE IX. The United States in Congress as- entered into, and how long it shall continue. sembled, shall have the sole and exclusive right No State shall lay any imposts or duties, and power of determining on peace and war, ex- which may interfere with any stipulations in cept in the cases mentioned in the sixth arti- treaties, entered into by the United States in cle—of sending and receiving ambassadors—en- Congress assembled, with any king, prince or tering into treaties and alliances, provided that state, in pursuance of any treaties already pro- no treaty of commerce shall be made whereby posed by Congress, to the courts of France and the legislative power of the respective States Spain. shall be restrained from imposing such imposts No vessels of war shall be kept up in time of and duties on foreigners, as their own people are peace by any State, except such number only, as subjected to, or from prohibiting the expor- shall be deemed necessary by the United States tation or importation of any species of goods or in Congress assembled, for the defence of such commodities whatsoever—of establishing rules State, or its trade; nor shall any body of forces for deciding in all cases, what captures on land be kept up by any State, in time of peace, except or water shall be legal, and in what manner such number only, as in the judgment of the prizes taken by land or naval forces in the serv- United States, in Congress assembled, shall be ice of the United States shall be divided or ap- deemed requisite to garrison the forts necessary propriated—of granting letters of marque and for the defence of such State; but every State reprisal in times of peace—appointing courts for shall always keep up a well regulated and dis- the trial of piracies and felonies committed on ciplined militia, sufficiently armed and accou- the high seas and establishing courts for receiv- tered, and shall provide and constantly have ing and determining finally appeals in all cases ready for use, in public stores, a due number of of captures, provided that no member of Con- field pieces and tents, and a proper quantity of gress shall be appointed a judge of any of the arms, ammunition and camp equipage. said courts.VerDate Aug 31 2005 08:35 Feb 15, 2008 Jkt 040101 PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 5820 Sfmt 5820 Y:TS2006MAIN2006V1.MNV1PRE5.MN BOB
  • 17. Page LI ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION—1777 The United States in Congress assembled shall manner as is before prescribed for deciding dis- also be the last resort on appeal in all disputes putes respecting territorial jurisdiction between and differences now subsisting or that hereafter different States. may arise between two or more States concern- The United States in Congress assembled shall ing boundary, jurisdiction or any other cause also have the sole and exclusive right and power whatever; which authority shall always be exer- of regulating the alloy and value of coin struck cised in the manner following. Whenever the leg- by their own authority, or by that of the respec- islative or executive authority or lawful agent tive States.—fixing the standard of weights and of any State in controversy with another shall measures throughout the United States.—regu- present a petition to Congress, stating the mat- lating the trade and managing all affairs with ter in question and praying for a hearing, notice the Indians, not members of any of the States, thereof shall be given by order of Congress to provided that the legislative right of any State the legislative or executive authority of the within its own limits be not infringed or vio- other State in controversy, and a day assigned lated—establishing and regulating post-offices for the appearance of the parties by their lawful from one State to another, throughout all the agents, who shall then be directed to appoint by United States, and exacting such postage on the joint consent, commissioners or judges to con- papers passing thro’ the same as may be req- stitute a court for hearing and determining the uisite to defray the expenses of the said office— matter in question: but if they cannot agree, appointing all officers of the land forces, in the Congress shall name three persons out of each of service of the United States, excepting regimen- the United States, and from the list of such per- tal officers—appointing all the officers of the sons each party shall alternately strike out one, naval forces, and commissioning all officers the petitioners beginning, until the number whatever in the service of the United States— shall be reduced to thirteen; and from that num- making rules for the government and regulation ber not less than seven, nor more than nine of the said land and naval forces, and directing names as Congress shall direct, shall in the pres- their operations. ence of Congress be drawn out by lot, and the The United States in Congress assembled shall persons whose names shall be so drawn or any have authority to appoint a committee, to sit in five of them, shall be commissioners or judges, the recess of Congress, to be denominated ‘‘a to hear and finally determine the controversy, Committee of the States’’, and to consist of one so always as a major part of the judges who delegate from each State; and to appoint such shall hear the cause shall agree in the deter- other committees and civil officers as may be mination: and if either party shall neglect to at- necessary for managing the general affairs of tend at the day appointed, without showing rea- the United States under their direction—to ap- sons, which Congress shall judge sufficient, or point one of their number to preside, provided being present shall refuse to strike, the Con- that no person be allowed to serve in the office gress shall proceed to nominate three persons of president more than one year in any term of out of each State, and the Secretary of Congress three years; to ascertain the necessary sums of shall strike in behalf of such party absent or re- money to be raised for the service of the United fusing; and the judgment and sentence of the States, and to appropriate and apply the same court to be appointed, in the manner before pre- for defraying the public expenses—to borrow scribed, shall be final and conclusive; and if any money, or emit bills on the credit of the United of the parties shall refuse to submit to the au- States, transmitting every half year to the re- thority of such court, or to appear or defend spective States an account of the sums of money their claim or cause, the court shall neverthe- so borrowed or emitted,—to build and equip a less proceed to pronounce sentence, or judg- navy—to agree upon the number of land forces, ment, which shall in like manner be final and and to make requisitions from each State for its decisive, the judgment or sentence and other quota, in proportion to the number of white in- proceedings being in either case transmitted to habitants in such State; which requisition shall Congress, and lodged among the acts of Congress be binding, and thereupon the Legislature of for the security of the parties concerned: pro- each State shall appoint the regimental officers, vided that every commissioner, before he sits in raise the men and cloath, arm and equip them in judgment, shall take an oath to be administered a soldier like manner, at the expense of the by one of the judges of the supreme or superior United States; and the officers and men so court of the State where the cause shall be cloathed, armed and equipped shall march to the tried, ‘‘well and truly to hear and determine the place appointed, and within the time agreed on matter in question, according to the best of his by the United States in Congress assembled: but judgment, without favour, affection or hope of if the United States in Congress assembled shall, reward:’’ provided also that no State shall be de- on consideration of circumstances judge proper prived of territory for the benefit of the United that any State should not raise men, or should States. raise a smaller number than its quota, and that All controversies concerning the private right any other State should raise a greater number of of soil claimed under different grants of two or men than the quota thereof, such extra number more States, whose jurisdiction as they may re- shall be raised, officered, cloathed, armed and spect such lands, and the States which passed equipped in the same manner as the quota of such grants are adjusted, the said grants or ei- such State, unless the legislature of such State ther of them being at the same time claimed to shall judge that such extra number cannot be have originated antecedent to such settlement safely spared out of the same, in which case they of jurisdiction, shall on the petition of either shall raise, officer, cloath, arm and equip as party to the Congress of the United States, be fi- many of such extra number as they judge can be nally determined as near as may be in the same safely spared. 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  • 18. ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION—1777 Page LII cloathed, armed and equipped, shall march to perpetual; nor shall any alteration at any time the place appointed, and within the time agreed hereafter be made in any of them; unless such on by the United States in Congress assembled. alteration be agreed to in a Congress of the The United States in Congress assembled shall United States, and be afterwards confirmed by never engage in a war, nor grant letters of the Legislatures of every State. marque and reprisal in time of peace, nor enter And whereas it has pleased the Great Governor into any treaties or alliances, nor coin money, of the world to incline the hearts of the Legisla- nor regulate the value thereof, nor ascertain the tures we respectively represent in Congress, to sums and expenses necessary for the defence and approve of, and to authorize us to ratify the said welfare of the United States, or any of them, nor articles of confederation and perpetual union. emit bills, nor borrow money on the credit of Know ye that we the undersigned delegates, by the United States, nor appropriate money, nor virtue of the power and authority to us given for agree upon the number of vessels of war, to be that purpose, do by these presents, in the name built or purchased, or the number of land or sea and in behalf of our respective constituents, forces to be raised, nor appoint a commander in fully and entirely ratify and confirm each and chief of the army or navy, unless nine States as- every of the said articles of confederation and sent to the same; nor shall a question on any perpetual union, and all and singular the mat- other point, except for adjourning from day to ters and things therein contained: and we do fur- day be determined, unless by the votes of a ma- ther solemnly plight and engage the faith of our jority of the United States in Congress assem- respective constituents, that they shall abide by bled. the determinations of the United States in Con- The Congress of the United States shall have gress assembled, on all questions, which by the power to adjourn to any time within the year, said confederation are submitted to them. And and to any place within the United States, so that the articles thereof shall be inviolably ob- that no period of adjournment be for a longer served by the States we re[s]pectively represent, duration than the space of six months, and shall and that the Union shall be perpetual. publish the journal of their proceedings month- ly, except such parts thereof relating to trea- In witness whereof we have hereunto set our ties, alliances or military operations, as in their hands in Congress. Done at Philadelphia in the judgment require secresy; and the yeas and nays State of Pennsylvania the ninth day of July in of the delegates of each State on any question the year of our Lord one thousand seven hun- shall be entered on the journal, when it is de- dred and seventy-eight, and in the third year sired by any delegate; and the delegates of a of the independence of America.2 State, or any of them, at his or their request On the part & behalf of the State of New Hampshire shall be furnished with a transcript of the said journal, except such parts as are above excepted, JOSIAH BARTLETT, JOHN WENTWORTH, to lay before the Legislatures of the several Junr., States. August 8th, 1778. ARTICLE X. The committee of the States, or On the part and behalf of the State of any nine of them, shall be authorized to execute, Massachusetts Bay in the recess of Congress, such of the powers of Congress as the United States in Congress as- JOHN HANCOCK, FRANCIS DANA, sembled, by the consent of nine States, shall SAMUEL ADAMS, JAMES LOVELL, from time to time think expedient to vest them ELBRIDGE GERRY, SAMUEL HOLTEN. with; provided that no power be delegated to the said committee, for the exercise of which, by the On the part and behalf of the State of Rhode Island articles of confederation, the voice of nine and Providence Plantations States in the Congress of the United States as- WILLIAM ELLERY, JOHN COLLINS. sembled is requisite. HENRY MARCHANT, ARTICLE XI. Canada acceding to this confed- eration, and joining in the measures of the On the part and behalf of the State of Connecticut United States, shall be admitted into, and enti- ROGER SHERMAN, TITUS HOSMER, tled to all the advantages of this Union: but no SAMUEL ANDREW ADAMS. other colony shall be admitted into the same, HUNTINGTON, unless such admission be agreed to by nine OLIVER WOLCOTT, States. ARTICLE XII. All bills of credit emitted, mon- On the part and behalf of the State of New York ies borrowed and debts contracted by, or under the authority of Congress, before the assembling JAS. DUANE, WM. DUER, of the United States, in pursuance of the present FRA. LEWIS, GOUV. MORRIS. confederation, shall be deemed and considered as On the part and in behalf of the State of New a charge against the United States, for payment Jersey, Novr. 26, 1778 and satisfaction whereof the said United States, and the public faith are hereby solemnly JNO. WITHERSPOON. NATHL. SCUDDER. pledged. ARTICLE XIII. Every State shall abide by the On the part and behalf of the State of Pennsylvania determinations of the United States in Congress assembled, on all questions which by this con- 2 From the circumstances of delegates from the same State having signed the Articles of Confederation at different times, as federation are submitted to them. And the arti- appears by the dates, it is probable they affixed their names as cles of this confederation shall be inviolably ob- they happened to be present in Congress, after they had been au- served by every State, and the Union shall be thorized by their constituents.VerDate Aug 31 2005 08:35 Feb 15, 2008 Jkt 040101 PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 5820 Sfmt 5807 Y:TS2006MAIN2006V1.MNV1PRE5.MN BOB
  • 19. Page LIII ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION—1777 ROBT. MORRIS, WILLIAM CLINGAN, JOHN BANISTER, FRANCIS LIGHTFOOT DANIEL ROBERDEAU, JOSEPH REED, 22d THOMAS ADAMS, LEE. JONA. BAYARD July, 1778. SMITH, On the part and behalf of the State of No. Carolina On the part & behalf of the State of Delaware JOHN PENN, CORNS. HARNETT, July 21st, 1778. JNO. WILLIAMS. THO. M’KEAN, Feby. NICHOLAS VAN DYKE. 12, 1779. On the part & behalf of the State of South Carolina JOHN DICKINSON, May 5th, 1779. HENRY LAURENS, RICHD. HUTSON, WILLIAM HENRY THOS. HEYWARD, Junr. On the part and behalf of the State of Maryland DRAYTON, JOHN HANSON, DANIEL CARROLL, JNO. MATHEWS, March 1, 1781. Mar. 1, 1781. On the part & behalf of the State of Georgia On the part and behalf of the State of Virginia JNO. WALTON, 24th EDWD. TELFAIR, RICHARD HENRY LEE, JNO. HARVIE, July, 1778. EDWD. LANGWORTHY.VerDate Aug 31 2005 08:35 Feb 15, 2008 Jkt 040101 PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 5820 Sfmt 5807 Y:TS2006MAIN2006V1.MNV1PRE5.MN BOB
  • 20. seeds Declaration of Independence Ju1y 4, 1776 [Preamble] When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume, among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; thatwhenever anv form Of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laving its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety anahappiness. Piudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and according all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer while evils are sufferable, than toright themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present king of Great Britain is a history of repeated in’tiries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To this, let facts be submitted to a candid world. [Grievances] He has refused his assent to laws the most wholesome and necessary for the public good. He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, be has utterly neglected to attend to them.1 of 4 2/2/2013 4:01 AM
  • 21. seeds He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them, and formidable to tyrants only. He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures. He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing, with manly firmness, his invasions on the rights of the people. He has refused, for a long time after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected. whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining, in the meantime, exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without and convulsions within. He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws of naturalization of foreigners, refusing to pass others to encourage their migration bither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands. He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers, He has made judges dependent on his will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries. He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people and cat out their substance. He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies, without the consent of our legislature. He has affected to render the military independent of, and superior to, the civil power. He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution and unacknowledged by our laws, giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation: For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us; For protecting them, by a mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states; For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world; For imposing taxes on us without our consent; For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury; For transporting us beyond seas, to be tried for pretended offenses;2 of 4 2/2/2013 4:01 AM
  • 22. seeds For abolishing the free system. of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries, so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these colonies; For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering, fundamentally, the forms of our governments; For suspending our own legislature, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever. He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging War against us. He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people. He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation, and tvrannv already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy, scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the bead of a civilized nation. He has constrained our fellow-citizens, taken captive on the high seas, to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their bands. He has excited domestic insurrections among us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes, and conditions. [Pleading] In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms; our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant is unfit to be the ruler of a free people. Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them, from time to time, of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native Justice and magnanimity; and we have conjured them, by the ties of our common kindred, to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitable interrupt our connections and correspondence. They, too, have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace, friends. [Declaration] We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress assembled, appealing to the Supreme judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do,3 of 4 2/2/2013 4:01 AM
  • 23. seeds in the name and by authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states; that they arc absolved from all allegiance the British crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved; and that, as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce. and to do all other acts and things which independent states may, of right do. And, for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor. John Hancock (MASSACHUSETTS) [Signed by representatives of the thirteen colonies]4 of 4 2/2/2013 4:01 AM