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I. Slavery prohibited.- Art. I of the Declaration of Rights. II. Compensation secured for private property taken for public uses.Art. II of the Declaration of Rights.

III. Security of Protestants against civil disabilities on account of religion.-Articles III of the Declaration of Rights, and Section ix of the Plan or Frame of Government.

IV. The right to govern the internal police inherent in the people of the State solely.--Art. IV of the Declaration of Rights.

V. No writ against the person or property of a debtor to issue unless the creditor shall make oath that he is in danger of losing his debt. ---Art. XII of Declaration of Rights.

VI. No person to be transported for trial out of the State for an offense committed within it.--Art. XIX of Declaration of Rights.

VII. Form of Freeman's Oath. --Sec. vi of Plan or Frame of Government.

VIII. Provisions against the husty enactment of laws of a public nature, and restriction of powers of the Governor and Council.--Sec. XIV of the Plan or Frame of Government.

IX. General Assembly to regulate fishing, &c.-Sec. XXXIX of Plan or Frame of Government.

X. Vermont substituted for Pennsylvania wherever it occurs.


This Constitution was amended in several particulars by the Convention holden at Manchester in June, 1786, the most important being the following:

Additional Section.-The legislative, executive and judiciary departments shall be kept separate and distinct, so that neither exercise the powers properly belonging to the other.

Fourth Section of the Declaration of Rights. The words by their legal representatives” were added to the original section, so as to read as follows:

That the people, by their legal representatives, have the sole, exclusive, and inherent right of governing and regulating the internal police of the same.

Fourteenth Section of the Plan or Frame of Government..-A substitute was adopted [being Sec. 16 in the Constitution of 1793] in these words :

the committee to draft the Constitution. These were Jonas Fay, Thomas Chittenden, Heman Allen and Reuben Jones, all of whom, except Dr. Jones, were members of the Council of Safety, and would be likely to be present at the meeting in November when the Constitution was "compiled” according to Mr. Allen's account above.

To the end that laws, before they are enacted, may be more maturely considered, and the inconvenience of hasty determinations as much as possible prevented, all bills which originate in the Assembly shall be Taid before the Governor and Council, for their revision and concurrence or proposals of amendment ; who shall return the same to the Assembly with their proposals of amendment (if any) in writing ; and if the same are not agreed to by the Assembly, it shall be in the power of the Governor and Council to suspend the passage of such bills until the next session of the Legislature. Provided, that if the Governor and Council shall neglect or refuse to return any such bill to the Assembly, with written proposals of amendment, within five days, or before the rising of the Legislature, the same shall become a law.

AMENDMENTS, 1793 TO 1870.

The principal amendments in 1793 were four new sections, numbered 17, 18, 19, and 30, in the Constitution of 1793, severally providing that no money shall be drawn from the treasury unless first appropriated by act of legislature; that no person shall be eligible as representative until he has resided two years in the State, and one year in the town for which he is elected; that no member of the council or house of representatives shall, directly or indirectly, receive any fee or reward to bring forward or advocate any bill, &c., or advocate any cause as counsel in either house except when employed in behalf of the state; and no person shall be eligible as governor or lieutenant governor until he shall have resided in the state four years.

The text of the Constitution, as it was left by the amendments of 1793, has been preserved entire until this time, and unchanged except by such marks and references as have been required to indicate the effect of subsequent amendments, which have been appended to the Constitution of 1793, with necessary references. In order, therefore, to master in detail the various changes in the Constitution from the first, all that is necessary is a comparison of the original Constitution, in this volume following, with the existing Constitution and amendments above indicated, and those found in the General Statutes of Vermont, and in the Vt. Legislative Directory since 1870.


The preamble was drafted in November, 1777, by. IRA ALLEN, completed on consultation with the Council of Safety, and adopted by the Windsor Convention at its session in December, 1777. It first disappeared from the Vermont statute books in Haswell's compilation of 1791, and did not reappear until a very recent date in the Legislative Directory. The editor is of opinion that ii was omitted from the statute book in 1791 without legal authority: that is, that it had never been rescinded by any formal vote in Convention. That the Convention of 1786 did not rescind or annul the Preamble is evident first from a lack of any record of such an event, and second from the fact that the Preamble was published

with the Constitution in the Revised Statutes of the succeeding year, 1787. The next Convention was in 1793, and no record appears of any action on the Preamble by that Convention, or by the Council of Censors which called it to pass upon the amendments that were proposed. It is known, however, that the Convention of 1793 transcended the ordinance that called it, and in fact in a considerable degree revamped the Constitution, without restoring the Preamble which had been omitted in 1791. As in the year 1790 the controversy with New York had been amicably settled, a generous courtesy doubtless dictated the suppression of a state document so distasteful to a reconciled foe, but still it seems to the editor that fidelity to history demands that the Preamble shall be preserved, and the facts as to its courteous suppression for much more than half a century should be recorded.


As the Constitution of Vermont was almost a copy, verbatim et literatim, of the Pennsylvania Constitution of 1776, it will be at least a matter of interest to all, and perhaps of surprise to many, to know that the origin of the essential and marked features of the instrument lies nearly a century further back, in “ The Frame of the Government of the Province of Pennsylvania, in America,” granted by WilliAM PENN, with the authority of KING CHARLES THE SECOND, on the “five and twentieth day of the second month, vulgarly called April,' in the year

of our Lord one thousand six hundred and eighty-two." DANIEL CHIPMAN recognized this fact, and gave copious extracts from Penn's “ Frame." selection from some of these extracts, and an abstract of others, will serve to show the close relation which Penn's “Frame of Government” bears to the “Plan or Frame of Government” of Vermont.

Imprimis, That the government of this province shall, according to the powers of the patent, consist of the Governor and freemen of the said province in form of a provincial Council, and general assembly, [Vermont's Governor, Council, and General Assembly,] by whom all laws shall be made, officers chosen, and public affairs transacted, as is hereafter respectively declared, that is to say

II. That the freemen of the said province shall, on the twentieth day of the twelfth month which shall be in this present year, one thousand six hundred eighty and two, meet and assemble in some fit place, of which timely notice shall be beforehand given by the governor and his deputy ; and then and there shall choose out of themselves seventy-two persons of most note for their wisdom, virtue and ability, [the Vermont phrase for representative is, “ most noted for wisdom and virtue,"] who shall meet on the tenth day of the first month next ensuing, and always be called, and act as, the provincial council of the said province.

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March was the first month of the year among the Romans : and even in England, until 1752, the legal year began on the 26th of March.

* Memoir of Thomas Chittenden, Chapter III.

The Councillors were divided into three classes of twenty-four each, one class being elected each year. The seventy-two Councillors were divided into four committees of eighteen, of which each class of Councillors had three: to one committee being assigned plantations, cities, roads, posts and market-towns; to another, justice and safety; to another, trade and treasury; and to the fourth, manners, education and arts.

VI. That in this provincial Council, the governor or his deputy, shall or may always preside, and have a treble voice, and the said provincial Council shall always continue and sit upon its own adjournments and Committees.

In Vermont, the governor or lieutenant governor presided in the Council, and the Council sat upon its own adjournments, without regard to the General Assembly, and by its own committees, or jointly with the committees of the Assembly—most commonly the latter.

VII. That the governor and provincial council shall prepare and propose to the general assembly, hereafter mentioned, all bills, which they shall, at any time, think fit to be passed into laws, within the said province, which bills shall be published and affixed to the most noted places, in the inhabited parts thereof, thirty days before the meeting of the general assembly, in order to the passing them into laws, or rejecting of them as the general assembly shall seem meet.

This was the practice of the Vermont Council at the outset, and the preparation of bills formed a large part of its business. By section XIV of the Plan or Frame of Government, no public bill could be passed by the General Assembly until it had been printed for the consideration of the people and laid over until the next session of the General Assembly, which ordinarily would be after another election of representatives. Theoretically, therefore, no public bill could be passed until the people had first had an opportunity of examining it and instructing their representatives.

VIII. That the governor and provincial council shall take care that all laws, statutes and ordinances, which shall at any time be made within the said province, be duly and diligently executed.

In Vermont, the Governor and Council was “to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”—See Secs. III and XVIII of the Plan or Frame.

IX. That the governor and provincial council shall, at all times, have the care of the peace and safety of the province, and that nothing be by any person attempted to the subversion of this frame of government.

Here was the germ of the Vt. Council of Safety of 1777–8, and of the action of the Governor and Council, afterward, as a Council of Safety.

XII. That the governor and provincial council shall erect and order all public schools, and encourage and reward the authors of useful sciences and laudable inventions in the said province.

In Vermont the duty of providing schools was put upon the “legislature" instead of the governor and council alone, and the grades of schools

were specified, viz: common schools, grammar schools, and a university. -See Sec. XL of Plan or Frame.

XIV. And, to the end that all laws prepared by the governor and provincial council aforesaid, may yet have the more full concurrence of the freemen of the province, it is declared, granted and confirmed, that at the time and place or places for the choice of a provincial council, as aforesaid, the said freemen shall yearly choose menibers to serve in a general assembly, as their representatives, not exceeding iwo hundred persons, who shall yearly meet, &c., (with the governor and council.] and on the ninth day from their so meeting, the said general assembly, after reading over the proposed bills by the clerk of the couneil, and the occasions and motives for them being opened by the governor or his deputy, shall give their affirmative or negative, which to them seemeth best, in such manner as herein after is expressed. But not less than twothirds shall make a quorum in the passing of laws, and choice of such officers as are by them to be chosen.

Here is the germ of the annual election and session of the Vermont General Assembly. It is a fact that Penn's mode of procedure was frequently imitated in Vermont, the Governor and Council meeting and advising with the House or General Assembly on important occasions. In one instance, Gov. Chittenden himself introduced a bill to the House -a bill to establish Chittenden County.

XV. That the laws so prepared and proposed, as aforesaid, that are assented to by the general assembly, shall be enrolled as laws of the province, with this style : By the governor, with the assent and approbation of the freemen in provincial counce and general assembly.

In Vermont, “by the Representatives of the Freemen of the State of Vermont, in general assembly met, and by authority of the same." See Sec. XV of the Plan or Frame.

XIX. That the general assembly shall continue as long as may be useful to impeach criminals, fit to be there impeaehed, to pass bills into ·laws, and till such time as the governor and provincial council shall declare that they have nothing further to propose unto them, for their assent and approbation ; and that declaration shall be a dismiss to the general assembly for that time, which general assembly shall be, notwithstanding, capable of assembling together upon the summons of the provincial council, at any time during the year, if the said provincial Council shall see occasion for their so assembling.

In Vermont, the Council and Assembly adjourned without day by agreement ; but the custom was and is for each house to inquire whether the governor has any further business to communicate. Special sessions of the assembly were called by the Governor and Council under the first Constitution-and are by the governor now.-See Sec. XVIII of the Plan or Frame of the first Constitution ; but 8 of the amendments to the present Constitution, which covers Sec. 11 of the Constitution of 1793.

XX. That all the elections of members, or representatives of the people, to serve in provincial council and general assembly, and all questions to be determined by both, or either of them, that relate to passing of bills into laws, to the choice of officers, to impeachments by the provincial council, and to all the cases by them respectively judged of im

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