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CONSTITUTION OF NEW-JERSEY. V 7HEREAS all the constitutional authority, ever
VV possessed by the Kings of Great Britain, over these colonies, or their other dominions, was, by compact, derived from the People, and held of them, for the common interest of the whole society. Allegiance and protection are, in the nature of things, reciprocal ties, each equally depending upon the other, and liable to be dissolved by the other's being refused or withdrawn :--And whereas George the Third, King of Great-Britain, has refused protection to the good people of these colonies; and, by assenting to sundry acts of the British parliament, attempted to subject them to the absolute dominion of that body; and has also made war upon them, in the most cruel and unnatural manner, for no other cause, than asserting their just rights-all civil authority under him is necessarily at an end, and a dissolution of government in each colony has consequently taken place. · And whereas, in the present deplorable situation of these Colonies, exposed to the fury of a cruel and relentless enemy, some form of government is absolutely necessary, not only for the preservation of good order, but also the more effectually to unite the people, and enable them to exert their whole force in their own necessary defence ; and as the honourable the Continental Congress, the Supreme Council of the American colonies, has advised such of the colonies, as have not yet gone into the measure, to adopt for themselves respectively, such government as shall best conduce to their own happiness and safety, and the well-being of America in general :We, the Representatives of the Colony of New-Jersey, having besn elected by all the counties in the freest manner, and in Congress assembled, have, alter mature deliberation, agreed upon a set of Charter-rights and the form of a Contsitution, in manner following, viz.
1. That the Government of this province shall be vested in a Governor, Legislative Council, and General Assembly. ." .-11. That the Legislative Council, and General Assembly, shall be chosen, for the first time, on the second Tuesday in August next; the members whereof shall be the same in number and qualifications, as are herein mentioned ; and shall be and remain vested with with all the powers and authority to be held by any future Legislative Council and Assembly of this colony until the second Tuesday in October, which shall be in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy-seven.
III. That on the second Tuesday in October yearly, and every year forever (with the privilege of adjourning from day to day, as occasion may require the counties shall severally choose one person, to be a member of the Legislative Council of this colony, who shall be, and have been, for one whole year next before the election, an inhabitant and freeholder in the county in whichi he is chosen, and worth at least one thousand pounds, proclamation money, of real and personal estate, with in the same county ; that, at the same time, each county shall also choose three members of Assembly ; provided that no person shall be entitled to a seat in the said Assembly, unless he be, and have been, for one whole year next before the election, an inhabitant of the county he is to represent, and worth five hundred pounds proclamation money, in real and personal estate, in the same county ; that on the second Tuesday next after the day of election, the Council and Assembly shall separately meet, and that the consent of both Houses shall be necessary to every law; provided that seven shall be a quorum of the Council for doing business, and that no law shall pass, unless there be a majority of all the Representatives of each body personally present, and agreeing thereto. Provided always, that if a majority of the Representatives of this pro. vince, in Council and General Assembly convened, shall at any time or times hereafter, judge it equitable and proper, to add to or diminish the number or proportion
of the members of Assembly for any county or counties in this colony, then, and in such case, the same may, on the principles of more equal representation, be lawfully done, any thing in this charter to the contrary notwithstanding ; so that the whole number of Representatives in Assembly, shall noi, at any timebe less than thirty-nine.
IV. That all inhabitants of this colony, of full age, who are worth fifty pounds, proclamation money, clear estate in the same, and have resided within the county, in which they claim a vote, for twelve months immediately preceding the election, shall be entitled to vote for Representatives in Council and Assembly ; and also for all other public officers, that shall be elected by the people of the county at large.
V. That the Assembly, when met, shall have power to choose a Speaker, and other their officers ; to be judges of their qualifications and clections of their own members ; sit upon their own adjournments ; prepare bills to be passed into laws, and to empower their Speaker to convene them whenever any extraordinary occurrence shall render it necessary.
VI. That the Council shall have power to prepare bills to pass into laws, and have other like powers as the Assembly, and in all respects be a free and independent branch of the Legislature of this colony ; save only that they shall not prepare or alter any money bill mawhich shall be the privilege of the Assembly; that the Council shall, from time to time, be eonvened by the Governor or Vice-President, but must be convened at all times, when the Assembly sits ; for which purpose, the Speaker of the House of Assembly shall always, immediately after an adjournment, give notice to the Governor, or Vice-President, of the time and place to which the House is adjourned.
VII. That the Council and Assembly jointly, at their first meeting after each annual election, shall, by a ma. jority of votes, elect some fit person within the colony, to be Governor for one year, who shall be constant President of the Council, and have a casting vote in their proceedings ; and that the Council themselves
shall choose a Vice President, who shall act as such in the absence of the Governor.
. VIII. That the Governor, or, in his absence, the Vice-President of the Council, shall have the Supreme Executive Power, be Chancellor of the colony, and act as Captain-general and Commander in Chief of all the militia, and other military force in thi colony ; and that any three or more of the Council shall, at all times be a Privy-Council to consult them; and that the Governor be ordinary or surrogate-general.
IX. That the Governor and Council, (seven whereof shall be a quorum) be the Court of Appeals, in the last resort, in all cases of law, as heretofore ; and that they possess the power of granting pardons to criminals, after condemnation, in all cases of treason, felony, or other offences.
-X. That Captains, and all other inferior Officers of the militia, shall be chosen by the companies in tie respective counties ; but field and general officers, by the Council and Assembly.
XI. That the Council and Assembly shall have power to make the great seal of this colony, which shall · be kept by the Governor, or, in his absence, by the
Vice-President of the Council, to be used by them, as occasion may require ; and it shall be called The Great Seal of the Colony of New-Jersey.
XII. That the Judges of the Supreme Court shall continue in office for seven years ; the Judges of the Inferior Court of Common Pleas in the several counties, Justices of the Peace, Clerks of the Supreme Court, Clerks of the Inferior Court of Common Pleas and Quarter Sessions, the Attorney General, and Provinci. al Secretary, shall continue in office for five years; and the Provincial Treasurer shall continue in office for one year; and that they shall be severally appointed by the Council and Assembly, in manner aforesaid, and commissioned by the Governor, or, in his absence, the Vice-President of the Council. Provided always, that the said officers, severally, shall be capable of being re-appointed, at the end of the terms severally before limited; and that any of the said officers shall be lia
ble to be dismissed, when ad judged guilty of misbehaviour by the Council, on an impeachment of the As-, sembly.
XIII. That the inhabitants of each county, qualified to vote as aforesaid, shall, at the time and place of electing their Repre.entatives, annually elect one Sheriff, and one or more Coroners ; and that they may reelect the same person to such offices, until he shall have served three years, but no longer ; after which, three years must elapse, before the same person is capable of being elected again. When the election is certified to the Governor, or Vice-President, under the hands of six freeholders of the county, for which they were elected, they shall be immediately commissioned to serve in their respective offices.
XIV. That the townships, at their annual town meetings for electing other officers, shall choose Constables for the districts respectively; and also three or more judicious freeholders of good character, to hear and finally determine all appeals, relative to unjust assessments, in cases of public taxation ; which Commissioners of Appeal shall, for that purpose, sit at some suitable time or times, to be by them appointed, and made known to the people by advertisements.
XV. That the laws of the Colony shall begin in the following style, viz. — “Be it enacted by the Council and General Assembly of this Colony, and it is hereby enacted by authority of the same:" that all commissions granted by the Governor or Vice-Preesident, shall run thus- The Colony of New Jersey to A. B. &c. greeting :" and that all writs shall likewise run in the name of the Colony; and that all indictments shall conclude in the following manner, viz. “ Against the peace of this Colony, the government and dignity of the same.”
XVI. That all criminals shall be admitted to the same privileges of witnesses and counsel, as their prosecutors are or shall be entitled to.
XVII. That the estates of such persons, as shall destroy their own lives, shall not, for that ofence, be forfeited ; but shall descend in the same manner as they