Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

been procured in their order, in time for use, and to the Secretaries of State, in nearly every State of the Union, for the prompt and courteous manner in which they have responded to the application. It is with much satisfaction that the Commission is able to present the series, full, complete and in their proper alphabetical order, for the use of the members of the Convention, at the beginning of their session.

Previous to the revolution, the English Colonies were governed under charters derived from the crown, or from proprietors and companies who had received, with the titles of their domains, the most ample powers for governing them. Many of these charters contained rights and privileges even more liberal than those allowed the British subject at home, and among the earliest grievances of which these Colonies complained, were the attempts made by the crown to annul their charters, or to substitute in their places others less favorable to their liberties, and less congenial to their views of self-government. Indeed, so well adapted were they to the wants of a State government, that in Connecticut and Rhode Island, they were retained as their organic law, in the former more than forty, and in the latter nearly seventy years after these States had ceased to own allegiance to the British crown.

Many of the most valued provisions of our State Constitutions had their origin in these Colonial charters, and the principles which they embody, are interwoven throughout the fabric of our government. The limited time allowed in the preparation of this Manual, has precluded any attempt at a summary of their contents. The following list presents the more important of these fundumental laws of the Colonies :

Carolina :*_The first Charter granted by Charles II, to the Lords, proprietors of Carolina, March 20th, 1661, in the 15th year of his reign.

The second Charter granted by Charles II, to the Lords, proprietors of Carolina, June 30th, 1664, in the 17th year of his reign.

Connecticut :-Charter granted by Charles II, to the Colony of Connecticut, April 20th, 1662, in the 14th year of his reign. Retained until 1818.

* The fundamental Constitution of Carolina, prepared by John Locke, and under which attempts were made to establish a form of government, might be noticed in this connection, although not coming properly under the denomination of a Charter.

Georgia :-Charter granted by George II, to the Colony of Georgia, June 9th, 1732, in the 5th year of his reign.

Maryland :-Charter granted by Charles I, to Cæcilius, Lord Baron of Baltimore, for the Colony of Maryland, June 28, 1632, in the 17th year of his reign.

Massachusetts :—Charter of the Plymouth company, November 3, 1620, granted by James I, in the 18th year of his reign. [By this instrument forty noblemen, knights and gentlemen were incorporated, under the title of “The Council established at Plymouth, in the County of Devon, for the planting, ruling, ordering and governing of New England, in America.” It is the foundation of all the first grants of territory of New England.]

Charter granted by Charles I, to the Colony of Massachusetts Bay, March 19, 1644, in the 18th year of his reign.

Charter granted by William and Mary, to the inhabitants of the Province of the Massachusetts Bay in New England, October 7th, 1691, in the 3d year of their reign.

New Jersey :-Duke of York's release to John Lord Berkeley and Sir George Carteret, June 24, 1664.

Concession and agreement of the Lords, proprietors of the Province of Nova Cæsarea, or New Jersey, to and with all and every, the adventurers, and all such as shall settle or plant there, February 10, 1664.

New York :-Liberties or privileges granted by the Assembly of nineteen of the authorized West India company, to all such as shall or may settle or plant any colony in New Netherland, 1629.

Grant of New Netherland to the Duke of York, by Charles II, March 12th, 1664, in the 16th year of his reign.

Pennsylvania :-Charter granted by Charles II, to William Penn, for the Colony of Pennsylvania, February 28th, 1661, in the 14th year of his reign.

The charter of privileges granted by William Penn, Esq., to the inhabitants of Pennsylvania, and territories, October 28, 1701. · Rhode Island :- Charter granted by Charles II, to the colony of Rhode Island and Providence plantations, July 8th, 1663, in the 15th year of his reign. Retained until 1842.

Virginia :- Charter granted by James I, to Sir Thomas Gates, Sir George Somers and others, for the several colonies and planta

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

tions, to be made in Virginia, and other parts and territories in America, April 10, 1606, in the 4th year of his reign.

Charter granted by James I, to the treasurer and company for Virginia, erecting them into a corporation and body politic, and for the further enlargement and explanation of the privileges of the said company and first colony of Virginia, March 23, 1609, in the 7th year of his reign.

Charter granted by James I, to the treasurer and company of Virginia, March 12, 1617.

It is proper here to notice in this connection, that in many of the older towns upon Long Island, the rights and privileges conferred by the charters of colonial Governors, are still fully enjoyed by the inhabitants, the Constitution having expressly reserved these vested rights.

The “Articles of Confederation," between the plantations of Massachusetts, Plymouth, Connecticut and New Haven, in 1643, and the “Plan of Union,” agreed upon by a Convention at Albany, in 1754 (but not adopted), deserve notice in this connection, as among the earliest attempts to form articles of association for mutual protection and self-government analogous to the Constitutions of the present day.

In most of the States, the organic laws have been several times modified, and the provisions now embraced are considerably varied from those formerly in force. The Constitutions that have been superseded were adopted :—in Alabama, in 1819; in Arkansas, in 1836; in Delaware, in 1776 and 1792; in Florida, in 1839; in Georgia, in 1777, 1785 and 1798; in Illinois, in 1818; in Indiana, in 1816; in Iowa, in 1846; in Kentucky, in 1790 and 1799 ; in Louisiana, in 1812, 1845 and 1852; in Maryland, in 1776 and 1851; in Michigan, in 1835; in Mississippi, in 1817; in Missouri, in 1819 and 1846 ; in New Hampshire, in 1776 and 1789; in New Jersey, in 1776; in Ohio, in 1802; in Pennsylvania, in 1776 and 1790; in South Carolina, in 1776, 1790 and 1861; in Tennessee, * in 1796 and 1834; in Texas, in 1836, as an independent Republic, and in 1845, as a State; in Vermont, in 1777 and 1786; and in Virginia, in 1776, 1830 and 1851, with their several amendments. The rejected Constitutions of Colorado in 1865, of Nevada in 1864, of New Mexico in 1850, and of the States of Illinois in

U

* The Constitution of the proposed State of Frankland in 1785, might be noticed as a primitive attempt.

1862, of Massachusetts in 1853, and of Wisconsin in 1847, embrace provisions that might have been worthy of note, at least so far as regards their peculiarities, had opportunities allowed.

Upon printing the Constitutions of the States, it was found impracticable to include the statistical portion of the Manual in the same volume, without greatly increasing its size and somewhat delaying its completion. It was, therefore, decided to make two separate volumes, and to allow the printing of both to go on together, as rapidly as the mechanical difficulties attending the printing of statistical tables would permit. The second part is in press, and will be laid before the Convention at the earliest possible date.

« AnteriorContinuar »