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sion of William and Mary, the Proprietaryship, with all its emoluments for twenty-six years, was taken from them.
With the restoration of the fourth Lord Baltimore (1714) the Proprietary government continued down to the Revolution. As in Pennsylvania, the deputy of the Proprietor often governed the province, and the people complained of the absence of the ruler. Liberal, generous, able and competent, the Baltimores, advanced the interests of Maryland, as well as their own fortunes and renown.
The Carolinas were also for sixty-six years (1663– 1729) subject to Proprietary government. Named after Charles II., who deeded them to a number of eminent men, they proved to be of little profit to their Proprietors, either by way of rents or offices; and in hope that the turbulent subjects of the Lords Proprietors would yield a more submissive obedience to George First, the Lords, except Granville, sold their interests in those two colonies to the King. *
For twenty-four years (1669–1693) the Proprietors put in operation the “Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina,” drawn up by the philosopher, John Locke. Magnificent in design and labored in detail, it was one of those Eutopian schemes of government which seem wise in theory, but in practice fail to accomplish the good which is attained by adapting reforms as they are demanded by the growth of civilization and culture.
Upon the failure of Proprietary government in Carolina, the territory was divided into two States, * John H. Wheeler's History of North Carolina, p. 41.
the Santee river being the dividing line. The two colonies were then ruled by the Provincial form of government down to the time of the Revolution.
On May 15, 1776, the Continental Congress recommended to the 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 safety of their constituents in particular and America in general, recommending also the total suppression of all authority under the King of Great Britain. In two months, Pennsylvania had a convention elected to form a new constitution on the authority of the people only—a convention in which Franklin presided, and which, based upon revolutionary principles, took the government of the province into its own hands. It had been chosen by recommendation of a conference of deputies from various parts of the province, who met upon the request of friends of the Revolution. This self-constituted conference enlarged the number of electors and prescribed an oath of allegiance to the new government to be taken by all who were to be members of the new body politic, and thus in effect disfranchised the Quakers, who were averse to taking an oath.
On the 24th of June, 1776, this provincial convention or conference declared its willingness to concur in a vote of Congress declaring the United Colonies free and independent States. On the 28th of September following, the new Constitution went into operation.
The reaction against British rule drove the people to the opposite extreme in favor of popular government, and the supreme legislative power was vested in a single House of Representatives of the freemen of the State. Laws were to be enacted by the authority of the General Assembly alone. The executive power was vested in a President and Council, who appointed judges and executive officers and tried impeachments. Delegates to represent the State in Congress were elected by the General Assembly, and even the President and Vice President of the Commonwealth were to be elected out of the Council by a joint ballot of the twelve Councilmen and the General Assembly.
The Bill of Rights was made the first article of the Constitution, and consisted of sixteen sections, wherein are laid down the fundamental principles of popular government.
The last section of the Pennsylvania constitution of 1776 provided for the election every seven years of a Council of Censors "to inquire whether the Constitution has been preserved inviolate in every part and whether the legislative and executive branches of government have performed their duty, or assumed to themselves, or exercised other or greater powers than they are entitled to by the Constitution.” Two-thirds of the Censors concurring, they could call a convention to amend the Constitution.
Thus, the attempt to change the Constitution could be made only once in seven years, which was contrary to the prevailing spirit of the times and the progressive disposition of the American people. In all the constitutions of the States, the people strove to retain what they deemed of value in English law and policy, but ever left the way open for improvement. The people refused to sleep for seven years, and the provision for a Council of Censors was swept away. The Censors did meet in 1783 and 1784, but their proceedings were inharmonious and abortive, except that their debates exposed the illegal proceedings of the badly constituted government that preceded that of 1790.
When Pennsylvania came to form its second constitution, the Federal Constitution had been formed, the science of popular government had been more thoroughly explored. Franklin's favorite notion of a single legislative body had lost favor and the proper structure for our State governments had become better realized.
The custom, too, by which the State constitutions are properly formed, has now become almost a settled
The organized government provides by law for a vote of the people for or against a convention to form a new constitution. If the vote is in favor of a convention, then the people, by a law made for that purpose, vote for delegates to a convention to form a constitution. The constitution formed, is submitted to a popular vote, and if ratified by the people, becomes, on a fixed day, the new fundamental law of the State. In Pennsylvania, the method of adopting the constitution of 1790 was peculiar. The convention took upon itself to say how it should proceed. It “resolved, that in the opinion of this house, a con
* Jameson's Constitutional Convention,
vention being chosen and met, it would be expedient, just, and reasonable, that the convention should publish their ame nents and alterations for the consideration of the people, and adjourn at least four months previous to confirmation.” The convention made itself the people instead of following a law laid down by the government. The convention formed the Constitution and after an adjournment of a few months, assembled, and, amid the firing of guns and the ringing of bells, proclaimed the adoption of their Constitution. The people acquiesced, and thus made it law. Subsequent changes (1837 and 1873) have improved and adorned the structure, as time and statesmanship have indicated the need of reform.