Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

of the tenth command, covet those very lands; and by a false representation made to the court of Great Britain in the year 1764, that for the convenience of trade and administration of justice, the inhabitants were desirous of being annexed to that government) obtained jurisdiction of those very identical lands, ex parte, which ever was and is disagreeable to the inhabitants. And whereas the legislature of New York ever have, and still continue to disown the good people of this state, in their landed property, which will appear in the complaints hereafter inserted, and in the 36th section of their present constitution, in which is established the grants of land made by that government.

They have refused to make re-grants of our lands to the original proprietors and occupants, unless at the exorbitant rate of 2,300 dollars fees for each township; and did enhance the quitrent three-fold, and demanded an immediate delivery of the title derived from New Hampshire.

“ The judges of their supreme court have made a solemn declaration, that the charters, conveyances, &c. of the lands included in the before-described premises were utterly null and void, on which said title was founded.' In consequence of which declaration, writs of possession have been by them issued, and the sheriff of the county of Albany sent, at the head of six or seven hundred men, to enforce the execution thereof.

“ They have passed an act, annexing a penalty thereto of thirty pounds fine and six months imprisonment, on any person who should refuse assisting the sheriff, after being requested, for the purpose of executing writs of possession.

“ The governors Dunmore, Tryon, and Colden have made re-grants of several tracts of land included in the premises, to certain favourite land-jobbers in the government of New York, in direct violation of his Britannic majesty's express prohibition, in the year 1767.

“ They have issued proclamations, wherein they have offered large sums of money for the purpose of apprehending those very persons, who have dared boldly and publicly to appear in defence of their just rights.

“ They did pass twelve acts of outlawry on the ninth day of March, A. D. 1774, empowering the respective judges of their supreme court to award execution of death against those inhabitants in the said district, that they should judge to be offenders, without trial.

“ They have and still continue an unjust claim to those lands, which greatly retards emigration into any settlement of this state.

“ They have hired foreign troops, emigrants from Scotland, at two different times, and armed them to drive us out of possession.

“ They have sent the savages on our frontiers to distress us.

“ They have proceeded to erect the counties of Cumberland and Gloucester, and establish courts of justice there, after they were discountenanced by the authority of Great Britain.

“The free convention of the state of New York, at Haerlem, in the year 1776, unanimously voted, “That all quit-rents, formerly due to the king of Great Britain, are now due and owing to this convention, or such future government as shall be hereafter established in this state.'

“ In the several stages of the aforesaid oppressions, we have petitioned his Britannic majesty in the most humble manner for redress, and have, at very great expense, received several reports in our favour; and in other instances, wherein we have petitioned the late legislative authority of New York, those petitions have been treated with neglect. And whereas, the local situation of this state from New York, which, at the extreme part, is upwards of four hundred and fifty miles from the seat of that government, renders it extreme difficult to continue under the jurisdiction of said state:

“ Therefore it is absolutely necessary for the welfare and safety of the inhabitants of this state, that it should be henceforth a free and independent state, and that a just, permanent, and proper form of government should exist in it, derived from and founded on the authority of the people only, agreeable to the direction of the honourable American congress.

“We, the representatives of the freemen of Vermont, in general convention met, for the express purpose of forming such a government-confessing the goodness of the great Governor of the universe (who alone knows to what degree of earthly happiness mankind may attain by perfecting the arts of government) in permitting the people of this state, by common consent, and without violence, deliberately to form for themselves such rules as they shall think best for governing their future society; and being fully convinced, that it is our indispensible duty to establish such original principles of government as will best promote the general happiness of the people of this state and their posterity, and provide for future improvements, without partiality for, or prejudice against, any particular class, sect, or denomination of men whatever, do, by virtue of authority vested in us by our constituents, ordain, declare, and establish the following declaration of rights and frame of government, to be the constitution of this commonwealth, and to remain in force therein

for ever unaltered, except in such articles as shall hereafter on experience be found to require improvement, and which shall, by the same authority of the people, fairly delegated, as this frame of government directs, be amended or improved, for the more effectual obtaining and securing the great end and design of all government, herein before mentioncd.”

It was not, however, until the 4th of March, 1791, that Vermont was admitted into the union, by an act passed on February 18th preceding, New York having the year previous withdrawn its claims.

Kentucky, at the time of the declaration of independence, was comprehended in the province of Virginia, and continued to form a part of that state until 1789, when the legislature, yielch ing to the wishes of its inhabitants, consented, by an act passed on the 18th of December, to its erection into an independent state. It was admitted into the union on the 1st of June, 1792, by an act of congress passed on the 4th of February, 1791.

The states of Tennessee and Ohio have been formed out of territories at different times vested by deeds of cession in the United States. By the vague, indefinite, and contradictory clauses of the charters under which the different colonies were settled, many were the conflicting claims to the vacant western territory. During the old confederation, congress repeatedly and earnestly recommended to the different states claiming or owning such territory to make cessions of it to the general government, as a further means, as well of hastening the extinguishment of the debts, as of establishing the harmony of the United States. In pursuance of these recommendations, all the claims of the different states to the territory north and west of the river Ohio, were relinquished in favour of the United States, a certain reservation of the right of soil in behalf of Connecticut, and a certain portion of lands for the satisfying of Virginia military grants, excepted. On the 20th of October, 1787, congress passed a resolution, that it should be represented to North Carolina and Georgia, that the lands ceded by other states, in compliance with the recommendations of this body, are now selling in large quantities for public securities; that the deeds of cession of other states have been made without annexing an express condition that they should not operate until the other states under like circumstances make similar cessions; and that congress have such faith in the justice and magnanimity of the states of North Carolina and Georgia, that they only think it necessary to call their attention to these circumstances, not doubting but upon consideration of the subject they will feel those obligations which will induce similar cessions, and

justify that confidence which has been placed in them.” These representations appear to have produced the effect intended; for North Carolina, in December, 1789, ceded the territory now forming the state of Tennessee; and Georgia, in April, 1802, ceded the Mississippi territory to the United States. These cessions were made

upon

condition that the territories so ceded should at some future time be admitted into the union on an equal footing with the original states. Tennessee was admitted by an act passed June 1, 1796, to take effect on the day of its date ; Ohio, by an act passed February 19, 1803.

By the treaty between the United States and France of the 30th April, 1803, the province of Louisiana was ceded by the latter to America. By the act of congress of March 26, 1804, that portion of Louisiana which lies south of the Mississippi territory, and of the 33d degree of north latitude, was constituted a territory under the name of the territory of Orleans. The remainder of Louisiana is now called the Missouri territory. On the 30th of April, 1812, the territory of Orleans was admitted into the union, under the name of the state of Louisiana, by an act of congress of the 8th of the same month.

96. The whole of these eighteen states, with the exception of Rhode Island and Connecticut, possess written constitutions, adopted by conventions elected by the people for the express purpose. Though these constitutions all agree in the

great principles of freedom and representation, considerable varieties exist in the forms of government.

07. The governor is chosen by the legislature, in New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, the two Carolinas, and Georgia. In Louisiana, the legislature appoint one of the two having the highest number of votes. In the other states the governor is chosen by the people. There is an executive council for the advice and assistance of the governor in all of the states except New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, South Carolina, Georgia, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Louisiana. In the New England and several other states, there are lieutenant or deputy-go

In Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, the two Carolinas, Tennessee, and Ohio, the governor possesses no legislative power whatever. In Rhode Island he has a single voice in the upper house, in New Jersey he has a casting voice in the legislative council. In all the other states he possesses a qualified negative on all bills passed by the legislature. The governor is elected for four years in Kentucky and Louisiana, in the other states from one to three years. In some states he is, and in others he is not re-eligible for a certain term.

vernors.

The governor

of Louisiana must visit the different counties. at least once in two years, to inform himself of the state of the militia, and the general condition of the country.

Q 8. In all the states the legislative body consists of two branches, except in Vermont, where there is only one house; the governor and council however can propose ainendments to the laws in that state, and if these are not agreed to by the legislature, can suspend their passage till next session; and as both the legislature and governor are elected for only one year, the people are enabled to decide between them. The larger body of the legislature is elected for two years in South Carolina and Louisiana; in the other states they are chosen annually, excepting in Connecticut, where they are chosen every six months, The period for which the smaller body is chosen is from one to five years; when chosen for more than one year, a portion of the body is generally annually elected, their terms expiring by rotation.

9. In Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Vermont, the judiciary are appointed for one year; in New Jersey and Ohio for seven. In the other states they hold their offices during good behaviour. The justices of the peace likewise generally hold their offices during good behaviour. Ohio forms a singular exception : there they are elected by the people for three years.

9 10. The qualifications of electors are generally : being a citizen of the United States, one or two years residence in the state, and the

payment
of taxes.

In a few of the states, voters are required to be freeholders ; but the value of the freehold is generally small, and such as is possessed by most of the inhabitants, The governor, legislature, &c. in most of the states are required to be freeholders.

9 11. The governors of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maryland, Virginia, and Vermont, by advice and consent of council, and the governor of Louisiana, by advice and consent of senate, appoint to most of the state offices. In Pennsylvania and Delaware the governors possess a very extensive, uncontrouled patronage. In Tennessee and Kentucky, the county courts appoint to the inferior offices in the counties; the other offices are filled, in the former state by the legislature, in the latter by the governor.

In New York there is a council of appointment, consisting of the governor and four senators chosen by the assembly; the governor, however, has only a casting voice in their appointments. In New Jersey, the two Carolinas, and Georgia, the legislature make the principal appoint

ments.

VOL. I. PART I.

B

« AnteriorContinuar »