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CONSTITUTION OF MISSISSIPPI.

ARTICLE 1. i

Declaration of Rights That the general, great and essential principles of liberty and free government may be recognised and established, we declare :

$ 1. That all freemen, when they form a social compact, are equal in rights; and that no man, or set of men, are entitled to exclusive, separate public emoluments or privileges from the community, but in consideration of public services.

2. That all political power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority and established for their benefit; and, therefore, they have at all times an unalienable and indefeasible right to alter or abolish their form of government, in such manner as they may think expedient.

3. The exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination, shall for ever be free to all persons in this state : Provided, that the right hereby declared and established shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness, or justify practices inconsistent with the peace and safety of the state.

4. No preference shall ever be given by law to any religious sect, or mode of worship.

5. That no person shall be molested for his opinions on any subject whatever, nor suffer any civil or political incapacity, or acquire any civil or political advantage, in consequence of such opinions, except in cases provided for in this constitution.

6. Every citizen may freely speak, write and publish his sentiments on all subjects; being responsible for the abuse of that liberty.

7. No law shall ever be passed to curtail or restrain the liberty of speech, or of the press.

8. In all prosecutions or indictments for libel, the truth may be given in evidence; and if it shall appear to the jury that the matter charged as libellous is true, and was published with good motives and for justifiable ends, the party shall be acquitted ; and the jury shall have the right to determine the law and the facts.

9. That the people shall be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and possessions from unreasonable seizures and searches; and that no warrant to search any place, or to seize any person or thing, shall issue without describing the place to be searched, and the person or thing to be seized, as nearly as may be, nor without probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation.

10. That in all criminal prosecutions the accused hath a right to be heard, by himself or counsel, or both; to demand the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted by the witnesses against him ; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favour; and in all prosecutions by indictment or information a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury of the county where the offence was committed •

that he cannot be compelled to give evidence against himself, nor can he be deprived of his life, liberty or property, but by due course of law.

11. No person shall be accused, arrested or detained, except in cases ascertained by law, and according to the form which the same has prescribed ; and no person shall be punished but in virtue of a law established and promulgated prior to the offence, and legally applied.

12. That no person shall, for any indictable offence, be proceeded against criminally by information : except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia when in actual service, or by leave of the court, for misdemeanor in office.

13. No person shall, for the same offence, be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall any person's property be taken or applied to public use without the consent of the legislature, and without just compensation being first made therefor.

14. That all courts shall be open, and every person for an injury done him in his lands, goods, person, or reputation, shall have remedy by due course of law, and right and justice administered without sale, denial or delay.

15.. That no power of suspending laws shall be exercised, except by the legislature, or its authority.

16. That excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel punishments inflicted.

17. That all prisoners shall before conviction be bailable by sufficient securities, except for capital offences, where the proof is evident, or the presumption great; and the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless, when in case of rebellion or invasion, the public safety may require it.

18. That the person of a debtor, when there is not strong presumption of fraud, shall not be detained in prison, after delivering up his estate for the benefit of his creditors, in such manner as shall be prescribed by law.

19. No conviction for any offence shall work corruption of blood or forfeiture of estate : The legislature shall pass no bill of attainder, ex post facto law, nor law impairing the obligation of contracts.

20. No property qualification for eligibility to office, or for the right of suffrage, shall ever be required by law in this state.

21. That the estates of suicides shall descend or vest as in cases of natural death: and if any person shall be killed by casuality, there shall be no forfeiture by reason thereof.

22. That the citizens have a right in a peaceable manner, to assemble together for their common good, and to apply to those vested with the powers of government for redress of grievances, or other proper purposes, by petition, address or remonstrance.

23. Every citizen has a right to bear arms in defence of himself and of the state.

24. No standing army shall be kept up without the consent of the legislature; and the military shall in all cases, and at all times, be in strict subordination to the civil power.

25. That no soldier shall, in time of peace, be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, or in time of war, but in manner to be prescribed by law.

26. That no hereditary emoluments, privileges or honours, shall ever be granted or conferred in this state.

27. Emigration from this state shall not be prohibited, nor shall any free white citizen of this state ever be exiled under any pretence what

ever.

28. The right of trial by jury shall remain inviolate.

29. No person shall be debarred from prosecuting or defending any civil cause for or against him or herself before any tribunal in this state, by him or herself, or counsel or both.

30. No person shall ever be appointed or elected to any office in this state for life or during good behaviour ; but the tenure of all offices shall be for some limited period of time, if the person appointed or elected thereto shall so long behave well.

CONCLUSION.

The guard against transgressions of the high powers herein delegated, we declare, that every thing in this article is excepted out of the general powers of government, and shall forever remain inviolate ; and that all laws contrary thereto, or to the following provisions, shall be void.

ARTICLE 2.

Distribution of Powers. 91. The powers of the government of the state of Mississippi, shall be divided into three distinct departments, and each of them confided to a separate body of magistracy ; to wit: those which are legislative to one, those which are judicial to another, and those which are executive to another.

2. No person, or collection of persons, being of one of these departments, shall exercise any power properly belonging to either of the others, except in the instances hereinafter expressly directed or per

mitted.

ARTICLE 3.

Legislative Department. § 1. Every free white male person of the age of twenty-one years or upwards, who shall be a citizen of the United States, and shall have resided in this state one year next preceding an election, and the last four months within the county, city or town in which he offers to vote, shall be deemed a qualified elector. And any such qualified elector who may happen to be in any county, city or town other than that of his residence at the time of an election, or who shall have removed to any county, city or town within four months preceding the election, from any county, city or town, in which he would have been a qualified elector had he not $0 removed, may vote for any state or district officer or member of con. gress, for whom he could have voted in the county of his residence, or the county, city or town, from which he may have so removed.

2. Electors shall, in all cases, except in those of treason, felony or breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest, during their attendance on elections, and going to and returning from the same.

3. The first election shall be by ballot, and all future elections, by the people, shall be regulated by law.

4. The legislative power of this state shall be vested in two distinct branches ; the one to be styled

“the senate," the other the house of representatives ;” and both together," the legislature of the state of Mis

sissippi.” And the style of their laws shall be, “ Be it enacted by the legislature of the state of Mississippi.

5. The members of the house of representatives shall be chosen by the qualified electors, and shall serve for the term of two years, from the day of the commencement of the general election, and no longer.

6. The representatives shall be chosen every two years, on the first Monday and day following in November.

7. No person shall be a representative unless he be a citizen of the United States, and shall have been an inhabitant of this state two years next preceding his election, and the last year thereof a resident of the county, city or town for which he shall be chosen ; and shall have attained the age of twenty-one years.

8. Elections for representatives for the several counties, shall be held at the places of holding their respective courts, or in the several election districts into which the county may be divided : Provided, That when it shall appear to the legislature that any city or town hath a number of free white inhabitants equal to the ratio then fixed, such city or town shall have a separate representation, according to the number of free white inhabitants therein, which shall be retained so long as such city or town shall contain a number of free white inhabitants equal to the existing ratio, and thereafter and during the existence of the right of separate representation in such city or town, elections for the county in which such city or town entitled to a separate representation is situated, shall not be held in such city or town. And provided, That if the residuum or fraction of any city or town entitled to separate representation shall, when added to the residuum in the county in which it may lie, be equal to the ratio fixed by law for one representative; then the aforesaid county, city or town, having the largest residuum, shall be entitled to such repre. sentation : And provided also, That when there are two or more counties adjoining, which have residuums over and above the ratio then fixed by law, if said residuums, when added together, will amount to such ratio, in that case one representative shall be added to that county having the largest residuum. - 9. The legislature shall at their first session, and at periods of not less than every four, nor more than every six years, until the year 1845, and thereafter at periods of not less than every four, nor more than every eight years, cause an enumeration to be made of all the free white inhabitants of this state, and the whole number of representatives shall, at the several periods of making such enumeration, be fixed by the legislature, and apportioned among the several counties, cities or towns entitled to separate representation, according to the number of free white inhabitants in each, and shall not be less than thirty-six nor more than one hundred: Provided, however, That each county shall always be entitled to at least one representative.

10. The whole number of senators shall, at the several periods of making the enumeration before mentioned, be fixed by the legislature, and apportioned among the several districts to be established by law, according to the number of free white inhabitants in each, and shall never be less than one-fourth, nor more than one-third of the whole number of representatives.

11. The senators shall be chosen by the qualified electors, for four years, and on their being convened in consequence of the first election,

they shall be divided by lot from their respective districts into two classes . as nearly equal as can be.--And the seats of the senators of the first class shall be vacated at the expiration of the second year.

il. Such mode of classifying new additional senators shall be observed as will as nearly as possible preserve an equality of numbers in each class.

13. When a senatorial district shall be composed of two or more counties, it shall not be entirely separated by any county belonging to another district; and no county shall be divided in forming a district. :

14. No person shall be a senator unless he be a citizen of the United States, and shall have been an inhabitant of this state four years next preceding his election, and the last year thereof a resident of the district for which he shall be chosen, and have attained the age of thirty years.

15. The house of representatives, when assembled, shall choose a speaker and its other officers, and the senate shall choose a president and its officers, and each house shall judge of the qualifications and elections of its own members; but a contested election shall be determined in such manner as shall be directed by law. A majority of each house shall constitute a quorum to do business, but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and may compel the attendance of absent members, in such manner and under such penalties as each house may provide.

16. Each house may determine the rules of its own proceedings, punish members for disorderly behaviour, and with the consent of twothirds, expel a member, but not a second time for the same cause; and shall have all other powers necessary for a branch of the legislature of a free and independent state.

17. Each house shall keep a journal of its proceedings, and publish the same; and the yeas and nays of the members of either house, on any question, shall at the desire of any three members present, be entered on

the journal.

18. When vacancies happen in either house, the governor, or the person exercising the powers of the governor, shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies.

19. Senators and representatives shall in all cases, except of treason, felony, or breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest during the session of the legislature, and in going to and returning from the same, allowing one day for every twenty miles such member may reside from the place at which the legislature is convened.

20. Each house may punish by imprisonment, during the session, any person, not a member, for disrespectful or disorderly behaviour in its presence, or for obstructing any of its proceedings: Provided, such imprisonment shall not, at any one time, exceed forty-eight hours.

21. The doors of each house shall be open, except on such occasions of great emergency, as, in the opinion of the house, may require secrecy.

22. Neither house shall, without the consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other place than that in which they may be sitting.

23. Bills may originate in either house, and be amended, altered or rejected by the other, but no bill shall have the force of a law, until on three several days, it be read in each house, and free discussion be allowed thereon, unless four-fifths of the house in which the bill shall be pending,

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