Imágenes de páginas

and fixedness of the senatorial body, Virginia, like New York and Delaware, gave it permanence by renewing, the first two, one-fourth, Delaware, one-third of its members annually. Thus the senators held office for four years.

* The provincial convention, elected in April, 1776, to continue in office one year, met at the capitol, Williamsburg, on May 6th. On the 29th of June it set in operation the new constitution without any further consultation of the people. Thus did this revolutionary assembly carry on the work of governing the people in the place of the old government. It also enacted legislative reforms of vital importance. In 1705, Virginia passed laws to strengthen the aristocratic system of entails, and in 1727 slaves were permitted to be attached to the soil and entailed with it. On the 12th of October, 1776, Jefferson obtained leave of this legislative convention to bring in a bill for the abolition of entails. By this bill, all donees in tail were vested with the absolute dominion of the property entailed. This step toward a more free distribution of property was followed by making the lands of an intestate divisible by law equally among his representatives, which also was the work of Jefferson.

Great names in the history of Virginia, not only adorned that State and gave her good government, but also shed lustre national jurisprudence. Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Marshall-names that will grow brighter while men continue to adore the justice, stability and perpetuity of our government, state and national.


* Jameson's Convention, 2138.





The constitutional history of Pennsylvania down to the year 1790, when its fundamental law assumed its present character, is interesting and instructive. Next in importance after the charter governments of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut, comes the Proprietary governments of Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware. In the former, the people looked for liberty as guaranteed in their charters; in the latter, the people depended upon the liberality and generosity of the Penns and the Baltimores for political and religious freedom, and it proved to be a dependence not in vain, but so amply repaid that posterity is proud of those eminent proprietors.

In 1682, William Penn landed in Chester, and secured, for the government of his province, the adoption of the constitution which he and Algernon Sydney, and other friends of Penn, had drawn up in England. William Penn was a man of strong sentiments and fixed opinions. He had suffered imprisonment and persecution for his religious belief, and in America he determined to found a State where persecution for opinion's sake should be unknown.

« AnteriorContinuar »