Abbildungen der Seite

any office in the gift of Congress, shall, during the time of his holding such office, be elected to represent this State in Congress. [10]


Trials of issues proper for the cognizance of a jury, in the supreme and county courts, shall be by jury, except where parties otherwise agree; and great care ought to be taken to prevent corruption or partiality in the choice and return, or appointment of juries. [22]


All prosecutions shall commence-by the authority of the State of Vermont; all indictments shall conclude with these words-against the peace and dignity of the State.[24] And all fines shall be proportionate to the offences. [26.]


The person of a debtor, where there is not strong presumption of fraud, shall not be continued in prison after delivering up and and assigning over, bona fide, all his estate, real and personal, in possession, reversion or remainder, for the use of his creditors, in such manner as shall be hercafter regulated by law. And all prisoners, unless in execution, or committed for capital offences, when the proof is evident or presumption great, shall be bailable by sufficient sureties: [25] nor shall excessive bail be exacted for bailable offences. [26]


All elections, whether by the people, or in General Assembly, shall be by ballot, free and voluntary: and any elector who shall receive any gift or reward for his vote, in meat, drink, monies or otherwise, shall forfeit his right to elect at that time, and suffer such other penalty as the laws shall direct. And any person who shall, directly or indirectly, give, promise or bestow any such rewards to be elected, shall thereby be rendered incapable to serve for the ensuing year, and be subject so such further punishment as a future Legislature shall direct. [29]


All deeds and conveyances of land shall be recorded in the town clerk's office in their respective towns, and, for want thereof, in the county clerk's office of the same county. [31]


The Legislature shall regulate entails in such manner as to prevent · perpetuities. [34]


To deter more effectually from the commission of crimes, by continued visible punishment of long duration, and to make sanguinary punishment less necessary, means ought to be provided for punishing by hard labor, those who shall be convicted of crimes not capital; whereby the criminal shall be employed for the benefit of the public, or for reparation of injuries done to private persons: and all persons, at proper times, ought to be permitted to see them at their labor. [35]


The estates of such persons as may destroy their own lives shall not, for that offence, be forfeited, but descend or ascend in the same manner as if such persons had died in a natural way. Nor shall any article which shall accidentally occasion the death of any person, be henceforth deemed a deodand, or in any wise forfeited, on account of such misfor



Every person, of good character, who comes to settle in this State, having first taken an oath or affirmation of allegiance to the same, may purchase, or by other just means acquire, hold and transfer land, or other real estate; and after one year's residence, shall be deemed a free denizen thereof, and entitled to all the rights of a natural born subject of this State; except that he shall not be capable of being elected Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, Treasurer, Councillor, or Representative in Assembly, until after two years residence. [38]


The inhabitants of this State shall have liberty, in seasonable times, to hunt and fowl on the lands they hold, and on other lands not inclosed; and in like manner to fish in all boatable and other waters, not private property, under proper regulations, to be hereafter made and provided by the General Assembly. [39]


Laws for the encouragement of virtue, and prevention of vice and immorality, ought to be constantly kept in force, and duly executed : [41] and a competent number of schools ought to be maintained in each town, for the convenient instruction of youth; and one or more grammar schools be incorporated, and properly supported in each county in this State. [40]


All private property, within this State, shall be rated according to the true value thereof, in all taxes to be hereafter levied; except such personal property as may, from time to time, be exempted by the Legisla

ture, for the encouragement of agriculture, arts, sciences and manufactures, or for relieving the poor and necessitous.


To prevent this commonwealth being perpetually drained of circulating specie, by uses not beneficial to the same, the Legislature ought to prevent corporations and societies in remote parts, (or any other person or persons in trust for them, or for their use) taking or holding any lands lying within this State, and to appropriate grants which have heretofore been made to such societies or corporations, to the use of literature within this community.[41] Provided, on account of the contiguity and usefulness of the corporation of Dartmouth College to this State, this section shall not be understood to affect the said corporation, while the College is maintained in the town where it now stands.


The declaration of the political rights and privileges of the inhabitants of this State, is hereby declared to be a part of the constitution of this commonwealth; and ought not to be violated, on any pretence whatsoever. [43]


That the freedom of this commonwealth may be preserved inviolate for ever, there shall be chosen, by ballot, by the freemen of this State, on the last Wednesday in March, in the year one thousand seven hundred and ninety-two, and in every seven years thereafter, in such modes as the Legislature shall by a future act particularly direct, thirteen persons, to be called the Council of Censors; who shall be elected from the number of those freemen who are not then members of either the Council or General Assembly, and meet together on the first Wednesday of June next ensuing their election; (a majority of whom shall be a quorum in every case, except as to calling a convention, in which two thirds of the whole number elected shall agree)-whose duty it shall be to inquire, whether the constitution has been preserved inviolate in every part during the last septenary; (including the year of their service)-and whether the legislative and executive branches of government have performed their duty, as guardians of the people, or assumed to themselves, or exercised, other or greater powers than they are entitled to by the constitution. They are also to inquire whether the public taxes have been justly laid and collected in all parts of this commonwealth :-in what manner the public monies have been disposed of, and whether the laws have been duly executed. For these purposes they shall have power to send for persons, papers and records; (and if any person shall neglect or refuse to attend them, and give any information required by the said Council (if able,) or to deliver to them any papers or records in his or her custody, which shall be wanted by them in the course of their inquiry; upon the complaint of said Council to any justice of the peace, he or she shall (unless sufficient cause be shown to the contrary) be committed, by such

justice, to the common goal, there to remain until he or she shall deliver up such papers or records, or (if able) give such information as is requir ed, and pay costs of prosecution.)*-They also shall have authority to pass public censures,—to order impeachments, and to recommend to the Legislature the repealing such laws, as appear to them to have been enacted contrary to the principles of the constitution. These powers they shall continue to have, for and during the space of one year from the day of their election, and no longer.-The said Council of Censors shall also have power to call a convention, to meet within two years after their sitting, if there appears to them an absolute necessity of amending any article of this constitution which may be defective,-explaining such as may be thought not clearly expressed, and of adding such as are necessary for the preservation of the rights and happiness of the people: but the articles to be amended, and the amendments proposed, and such articles as are proposed to be added or abolished, shall be promulgated at least three months before the day appointed for the election of such convention, for the previous consideration of the people, that they may have an opportunity of instructing their delegates on the subject. [44]


The next election of Councillors and Representatives shall be in those of the modes mentioned in the preceding Frame of Government, which shall be thought most eligible by the convention, appointed to determine upon the alterations recommended by this Council of Censors, to be made in this constitution: and the persons chosen shall convene, on the second Thursday in October next, at such place as the present Assembly shall appoint. And the said convention is invested with pow-er (for the next election only) to divide the State into districts, or apportion the number of Representatives to the several counties, as the said convention shall think just. And it is hereby recommended to the said convention to ascertain a mode of election, and publish it for the information of the freemen, as seasonably as may be.

[Note. For the word offices, which, in a few copies, will be found at the close of the 29th section of the foregoing Constitution, read offences.]

In Council of Censors, October 20, 1785. Whereas, there appears to this Council, for the preservation of the rights and happiness of the people an absolute necessity of amending

The addition bere proposed, to the 44th section of the original Constitution, it is presumed, was suggested by the refusal of Col. Matthew Lyon, to deliver the records of the court of confiscation to the Council of Censors; as appears by the following resolution of the 15th of October, 1785, found in their journal, viz ;

Resolved, that Col Matthew Lyon be impeached before the Governor and Council of this State, for refusing to deliver to the order of this board, the records of the court of confiscation; and that the President be directed to acquaint the House of Assembly therewith, and request them to appoint council to prosecute the same to effect, during the present session of the Legislature."

and explaining several articles of the constitution of this State, and of making some additions thereto.

Therefore, by virtue of the power and authority vested in this Council by the 44th section of the Frame of Government, it is unanimously

Resolved, that the first constable of each town in this State be, and is hereby directed, at least six, and not more than twelve days, previous to the second Tuesday of June next, to warn a meeting of the inhabitants of their respective towns, to be held at the usual place of holding freemen's meetings within the same, at two o'clock in the afternoon of the said second Tuesday of June, (by giving personal notice thereof) then and there (if they shall see proper) to elect one member of a convention, to be held for the purposes abovementioned, in the same manner as Representatives in Assembly are legally to be chosen: and that the said constable, or in case of his absence the town clerk, certify the due election of the person chosen.

And that it be, and is hereby recommended to the said members of convention, to convene on the last Thursday of said June, at the meetinghouse in Manchester, to carry into execution the important purposes of their appointment.

And in order to have the persons authorised to determine upon the propriety of the several alterations proposed in the constitution, unbiassed by interest,

Resolved, that in the opinion of this Council, the Governor, Lieuten-ant-Governor, Treasurer of the State, members of the Council of the State, Council of Censors, or General Assembly, officers who hold their commissions during good behaviour, and other officers who may be interested by the alterations proposed to be made in the constitution, ought not to be elected members of such convention.

Extract from the minutes,




To the Freemen of the State of Vermont :

YOUR Council of Censors, elected agreeably to the XLIVth section of the Constitution, after having maturely considered the Frame of Government which has been the rule of political conduct for the inhabitants of this State, the last septenary; highly approving the principal part of it; with the greatest diffidence of their own judgment, and respect for the patriotism and abilities possessed by the formers of the present Constitution, have proposed certain alterations, heretofore offered to your

« ZurückWeiter »