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THE LAWS OF GENERAL OPERATION IN FORCE IN THIS STATE ARE
One. As the supreme law, the Constitution of the United States, the laws of the United States in pursuance thereof, and all treaties made under the authority of the United States.
Two. As next in authority thereto, this constitution.
Three. In subordination to the foregoing, all acts passed by any legislative body, sitting in this State as such, since the 19th day of January, 1861, including that body of laws known as the code of Georgia, and the acts amendatory thereof, or passed since that time, which said code and acts are embodied in the printed book known as “Irwin's Code;" and also so much of the common and statute laws of England, and of the statute laws of Georgia, as were in force in this State on the 19th day of December, 1860, as are not superseded by said code, though not embodied therein, except so much of the said several statutes, code, and laws as may be inconsistent with the supreme law herein recognized, or may have been passed in aid of the late rebellion against the United States, or may be obsolete, or may refer to persons held in slavery, which excepted laws are inoperative and void; and any future general assembly shall be competent to alter or repeal (if not herein prohibited) any portion of the laws declared to be of force in this third specification of this clause of this article; and if in any of said laws herein declared of force the word “Confederate" occurs before the word “States," such law is hereby amended by substituting the word “United” for the word “Confederate."
Four. Local and private acts passed for the benefit of counties, cities, towns, corporations, and private persons, not inconsistent with the supreme law, nor with this constitution, and which have not expired or been repealed, shall have the force of statute law, subject to judicial decision as to their validity when passed, and to any limitations imposed by their own terms.
Five. All rights, privileges, and immunities which may have vested in, or accrued to, any person or persons, or corporation, in his, her, or their own right, or in any fiduciary capacity, under any act of any legislative body sitting in this state as such, or of any decree, judgment, or order of any court, sitting in this State, under the laws then of force and operation therein, and recognized by the people as a court of competent jurisdiction, since the 19th day of January, 1861, shall be held inviolate by all the courts of this State, unless attacked for fraud, or unless otherwise declared invalid by, or according to, this constitution.
Six. The records, dockets, books, papers, and proceedings of any court or office existing in this State by the laws thereof on the 19th of January, 1861, or purporting to exist by said laws, and recognized and generally obeyed by the people, as such, since the said time, and before the several courts and officers provided for by this constitution shall have gone into actual operation, shall be transferred to the several courts and offices of the same name or functions by this constitution provided for, and shall have force and be executed, perfected, and performed therein, and thereby, as follows, and not otherwise, to wit:
Final judgments, decrees, proceedings, and acts fully executed and performed, or not requiring performance or execution, shall have full force and effect as though no interruption had taken place in the legal succession of said courts and offices, except as herein otherwise provided. Proceedings not final, and judgments and decrees not fully executed or performed, shall proceed and be performed in such cases, and such cases only, as this constitution, or the laws made in pursuance thereof, confer jurisdiction and authority over the causes of actions on which said cases, judgments, decrees, or proceedings, civil or criminal, are founded: Provided, That all said judgments, decrees, and proceedings shall be subject to be set aside, or reversed, or vacated, by proceedings in the several courts having custody of the records, as though they were the judgments of said courts, and shall be subject always to be explained as to the meaning of the word dollar or dollars, as used in the same, and no motion for a new trial, bill of review, or other proceeding, to vacate any judgment, order, or decree,
made since the 19th of January, 1861, by any of said courts, for fraud, illegality, or error of law, shall be denied, by reason of the same not having been moved in time; provided said motion or application is made in twelve months from the adoption of this constitution.
Seven. The books, papers, and proceedings of the inferior courts shall be transferred to, and remain in, the control of the ordinaries, who shall perform the duties of said courts until otherwise provided by law. The books, papers, and proceedings of the county courts, and the unfinished business thereof, shall be transferred to the superior courts, and the same shall be finished and performed by the said superior courts and the officers thereof, in such cases, and in such cases only, as the said courts are, by this constitution or the laws made in pursuance thereof, granted jurisdiction over the subject-matter or debts on which said cases and judgments, civil or criminal, are founded.
Eight. The cases pending and the judgments had and made in the city courts of Savannah and Augusta, and in the various justices' courts in this State, shall be finished and the judgments performed by the city courts, and officers and justices provided by this constitution in such cases, and such only, as by this constitution jurisdiction is given to said courts and officers over the causes of action on which they are founded.
Nine. The judgments and proceedings of courts, and acts of officers within their jurisdiction, as provided by law, shall be valid notwithstanding the judges of said courts or the said officers were appointed by the military authorities of the United States, and any of said judgments, or acts, or proceedings made or done under or by virtue of, or in accordance with, the orders of said military authorities, duly made, are as valid as if done under a law of this State.
Ten. These several acts of confirmation shall not be construed to divest any vested right, nor to make any act criminal otherwise not criminal, but they shall be construed as acts of peace and to prevent injustice: Provided, That nothing in this constitution shall be so construed as to make valid any acts done by, or before any such de facto officer, which would, by legalizing such acts, render that criminal which was not criminal when done, or cause any act not legally criminal when done to become criminal by giving validity to such act after it was done; but all such acts shall be held by the courts to be null and void.
Eleven. Should this constitution be ratified by the people, and Congress accept the same with any qualifications or conditions, the government herein provided for, and the officers elected shall nevertheless exist and continue in the exercise of their seyeral functions, as the government of this state, so far as the same may be consistent with the action of the United States in the premises.
Twelve. The ordinances of this convention on the subject of the first election, and the first general assembly, shall have the force of laws, until they expire by their own limitation, and all other ordinances of a mere legislative character shall have the force of laws, until otherwise provided by the general assembly.
AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION.
One. This constitution may be amended by a two-thirds vote of two successive legislatures, and by a submission of the amendment to the qualified voters for final ratification. But the general assembly shall not call a convention of the people in the election of delegates to which any person qualified to vote by this constitution shall be disqualified. And the representation in said convention shall be based on population. Nor shall the right of suffrage ever be taken from any person qualified by this constitution to vote.
JOSIAH R. PARROTT, President, P. M. SHEIBLEY, Secretary.
VIRGINIA ACT OF CESSION-1783.*
SECTION 1. Whereas the Congress of the United States did, by their act of the 6th day of September, in the year 1780, recommend to the several States in the Union, having claims to waste and unappropriated lands in the western country, a liberal cession to the United States of a portion of their respective claims for the common benefit of the Union:
Sec. 2. And whereas this commonwealth did, on the 2d day of January, in the year 1781, yield to the Congress of the United States, for the benefit of the said States, all right, title, and claim which the said commonwealth had to the territory northwest of the river Ohio, subject to the conditions annexed to the said act of cession:
Sec. 3. And whereas the United States in Congress assembled have, by their act of the 13th of September last, stipulated the terms on which they agree to accept the cession of this State, should the legislature approve thereof, which terms, although they do not come fully up to the propositions of this commonwealth, are conceived, on the whole, to approach so nearly to them as to induce this State to accept thereof, in full confidence that Congress will, in justice to this State for the liberal cession she hath made, earnestly press upon the other States claiming large tracts of waste and uncultivated territory the propriety of making cessions equally liberal for the common benefit and support of the Union:
Be it enacted by the general assembly, That it shall and may be lawful for the delegates of this State to the Congress of the United States, or such of them as shall be assembled in Congress, and the said delegates, or such of them so assembled, are hereby fully authorized and empowered, for and on behalf of this State, by proper deeds or instrument in writing, under their hands and seals, to convey, transfer, assign, and make over unto the United States, in Congress assembled, for the benefit of the said States, all right, title, and claim, as well of soil as jurisdiction, which this commonwealth hath to the territory or tract of country within the limits of the Virginia charter, situate, lying, and being to the northwest of the river Ohio, subject to the terms and conditions contained in the before-recited act of Congress of the 13th day of September last, that is to say: Upon condition that the territory so ceded shall be laid out and formed into States, containing a suitable extent of territory, not less than one hundred nor niore than one hundred and fifty miles square, or as near thereto as circumstances will admit; and that the States so formed shall be distinct republican States, and admitted members of the Federal Union, having the same rights of sovereignty, freedom, and independence as the other States; that the necessary and reasonable expenses incurred by this State in subduing any British posts, or in maintaining forts or garrisons within and for the defence, or in acquiring any part of the territory so ceded or relinquished, shall be fully reimbursed by the United States; and that one commissioner shall be appointed by Congress, one by this commonwealth, and another by those two commissioners, who, or a majority of them, shall be authorized and empowered to adjust and liquidate the account of the necessary and reasonable expenses incurred by this State, which they shall judge to be comprised within the intent and meaning of the act of Congress of the 10th of October, 1780, respecting such expenses. That the French and Canadian inhabitants, and other settlers of the Kaskaskies, Saint Vincents, and the neighboring villages, who have professed them
This act was passed on December 20, 1783, hy the legislature of Virginia, to authorize the delegates of that State in Congress to convey to the United States all the rights of that commonwealth to the territory northwest of the river Ohio.
selves citizens of Virginia, shall have their possessions and titles confirmed to them, and be protected in the enjoyment of their rights and liberties. That a quantity, not exceeding one hundred and fifty thousand acres, of land, promised by this State, shall be allowed and granted to the then Colonel, now General, George Rogers Clarke, and to the officers and soldiers of his regiment who marched with him when the posts of Kaskaskies and Saint Vincents were reduced, and to the officers and soldiers that have been since incorporated into the said regiment, to be laid off in one tract, the length of which not to exceed double the breadth, in such place on the northwest side of the Ohio as a majority of the officers shall choose, and to be afterwards divided among the said officers and soldiers in due proportion according to the laws of Virginia. That in case the quantity of good lands on the southeast side of the Ohio, upon the waters of Cumberļand River, and between the Green River and Tennessee River, which have been reserved by law for the Virginia troops upon continental establishment, should, from the North Carolina line bearing in further upon the Cumberland lands than was expected, prove insufficient for their legal bounties, the deficiency should be made up to the said troops in good lands, to be laid off between the rivers Scioto and Little Miami, on the northwest side of the river Ohio, in such proportions as have been engaged to them by the laws of Virginia. That all the lands within the territory so ceded to the United States, and not reserved for or appropriated to any of the before-mentioned purposes, or disposed of in bounties to the officers and soldiers of the American Army, shall be considered as a common fund for the use and benefit of such of the United States as have become, or shall become members of the confederation or federal alliance of the said States, Virginia inclusive, according to their usual respective proportions in the general charge and expenditure, and shall be faithfully and bona fide disposed of for that purpose, and for no other use or purpose whatsoever: Provided, That the trust hereby reposed in the delegates of this State shall not be executed unless three of them, at least, are present in Congress.
DEED OF CESSION FROM VIRGINIA-1784.
To all who shall see these presents, we, Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Hardy, Arthur Lee, and James Monroe, the underwritten delegates for the commonwealth of Virginia in the Congress of the United States of America, send greeting:
Whereas the general assembly of the commonwealth of Virginia, at their sessions begun on the 20th day of October, 1783, passed an act, entitled "An act to authorize the delegates of this State in Congress to convey to the United States in Congress assembled all the right of this commonwealth to the territory northwestward of the river Ohio, in these words following, to wit,” [here follows the act of cession :)
And whereas the said general assembly, by their resolution of June 6, 1783, had constituted and appointed us, the said Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Hardy, Arthur Lee, and James Monroe, delegates to represent the said commonwealth in Congress, for one year from the first Monday in November then next following, which resolution remains in full force: Now, therefore, know ye, that we, the said Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Hardy, Arthur Lee, and James Monroe, by virtue of the power and authority committed to us by the act of the said general assembly of Virginia before recited, and in the name, and for and on behalf of the said commonwealth, do, by these presents, convey, transfer, assign, and make over unto the United States in Congress assembled, for the benefit of the said States, Virginia inclusive, all right, title, and claim, as well of soil as of jurisdiction, which the said commonwealth hath to the territory or tract of country within the limits of the Virginia charter, situate, lying, and being to the northwest of the river Ohio, to and for the uses and purposes and on the conditions of the said recited act. In testimony whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names and affixed our seals, in Congress, the ist day of March, in the year of our Lord 1784, and of the Independence of the United States the eighth.
THE NORTHWEST TERRITORIAL GOVERNMENT-1787.
[THE CONFEDERATE CONGRESS, JULY 13, 1787.] An Ordinance for the government of the territory of the United States northwest of the
river Ohio. Section 1. Be it ordained by the United States in Congress assembled, That the said territory, for the purpose of temporary government, be one district, subject, however, to be divided into two districts, as future circumstances may, in the opinion of Congress, make it expedient.
SEC. 2. Be it ordained by the authority aforesaid, That the estates both of resident and non-resident proprietors in the said territory, dying intestate, shall descend to, and be distributed among, their children and the descendants of a deceased child in equal parts, the descendants of a deceased child or grandchild to take the share of their deceased parent in equal parts among them; and where there shall be no children or descendants, then in equal parts to the next of kin, in equal degree; and among collaterals, the children of a deceased brother or sister of the intestate shall have, in equal parts among them, their deceased parent's share; and there shall, in no case, be a distinction between kindred of the whole and half blood; saving in all cases to the widow of the intestate, her third part of the real estate for life, and one-third part of the personal estate; and this law relative to descents and dower, shall remain in full force until altered by the legislature of the district. And until the governor and judges shall adopt laws as hereinafter mentioned, estates in the said territory may be devised or bequeathed by wills in writing, signed and sealed by him or her in whom the estate may be, (being of full age,) and attested by three witnesses; and real estates may be conveyed by lease and release, or bargain and sale, signed, sealed, and delivered by the person, being of full age, in whom the estate may be, and attested by two witnesses, provided such wills be duly proved, and such conveyances be acknowledged, or the execution thereof duly proved, and be recorded within one year after proper magistrates, courts, and registers, shall be appointed for that purpose; and personal property may be transferred by delivery, saving, however, to the French and Canadian inhabitants, and other settlers of the Kaskaskies, Saint Vincents, and the neighboring villages, who have heretofore professed themselves citizens of Virginia, their laws and customs now in force among them, relative to the descent and conveyance of property.
Sec. 3. Be it ordained by the authority aforesaid, That there shall be appointed, from time to time, by Congress, a governor, whose commission shall continue in force for the term of three years, unless sooner revoked by Congress; he shall reside in the district, and have a freehold estate therein, in one thousand acres of land, while in the exercise of his office.
SEC. 4. There shall be appointed from time to time, by Congress, a secretary, whose commission shall continue in force for four years, unless sooner revoked; he shall reside in the district, and have a freehold estate therein, in five hundred acres of land, while in the exercise of his office. It shall be his duty to keep and preserve the acts and laws passed by the legislature, and the public records of the district, and the proceedings of the governor in his executive department, and transmit authentic copies of such acts and proceedings every six months to the Secretary of Congress. There shall also be appointed a court, to consist of three judges, any two of whom to form a court, who shall have a common-law jurisdiction, and reside in the district, and have each therein a freehold estate, in five hundred acres of land, while in the exercise of their offices; and their commissions shall continue in force during good behavior.
Sec. 5. The governor and judges, or a majority of them, shall adopt and publish in the district such laws of the original States, criminal and civil, as may be necessary, and best suited to the circumstances of the district, and report them to Congress from time to time, which laws shall be in force in the district until the organization of the