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Sec. 15. The judges of the court of common pleas, or any two of them, shall compose the orphans' court of each county, and may exercise the equity jurisdiction heretofore exercised by the orphans' courts, except as to the adjusting and settling executors, administrators, and guardians' accounts; in which cases they shall have an appellate jurisdiction from the sentence or decree of the register. This court may issue process throughout the State to compel the attendance of witnesses. Appeals may be made from the orphans' court, in cases where that court has original jurisdiction, to the supreme court, whose decision shall be final.
Sec. 16. An executor, administrator, or guardian shall file every account with the register for the county, who shall, as soon as conveniently may be carefully examine the particulars, with the proofs thereof, in the presence of such executor, administrator, or guardian, and shall adjust and settle the same, according to the very right of the matter, and the law of the land; which account, so settled, shall remain in his office for inspection; and the executor, administrator, or guardian shall, within three months after such settlement, give due notice, in writing, to all persons entitled to shares of the estate, or to their guardians respectively if residing within the State, that the account is lodged in the said office for inspection, and the judges of the orphans' court shall hear the exceptions of any persons concerned, if any be made, and thereupon allow no demand whatever against the estate of the deceased, unless, upon consideration of all circumstances, they shall be fully convinced that the same is therewith justly chargeable.
SEC. 17. The registers of the several counties shall respectively hold the register's court in each county. Upon the litigation of a cause, the depositions of the witnesses examined shall be taken at large in writing, and make part of the proceedings in the cause. This court may issue process throughout the State to compel the attendance of witnesses. Appeals may be made from a register's court to the supreme court, whose decision shall be final. In cases where a register is interested in questions concerning the probate of wills, the granting letters of administration, or executors, administrators, or guardians' accounts, the cognizance thereof shall belong to the orphans' court, with an appeal to the supreme court, whose decision shall be final.
Sec. 18. The prothonotaries of the court of common pleas may issue process as heretofore, take recognizances of bail, and sign confessions of judgment; and the clerks of the supreme court shall have the like powers. No judgment in the supreme court or court of common pleas held for one county shall bind lands or tenements in another, until a testatum fieri facias, being issued, shall be entered of record in the office of the prothonotary of the county wherein the lands or tenements are situated.
Sec. 19. The judges of the court of common pleas shall, by virtue of their offices, compose the courts of general quarter-sessions of the peace and jail-delivery within the several counties. Any two of the said judges shall be a quorum.
SEC. 20. The governor shall appoint a competent number of persons to the office of justice of the peace, not exceeding twelve in each county, until two-thirds of both houses of the legislature shall by law direct an addition to the number, who shall be commissioned for seven years, if so long they shall behave themselves well; but may be removed by the governor within that time on conviction of misbehavior in office, or on the address of both houses of the legislature.
SEC. 21. The style in all process and public acts shall be, “ The State of Delaware." Prosecutions shall be carried on in the name of the State, and shall conclude, “ against the peace and dignity of the State."
SECTION 1. There shall be a court styled “ The high court of errors and appeals," which shall consist of the chancellor and of the judges of the supreme court and court of common pleas. Any four of the judges of this court may proceed on business, but any smaller number may open and adjourn the court. If any of them has rendered judgment or passed a decree in any cause before removal, he shall not sit judicially upon the hearing of the same in this court, but may assign the reasons upon which
such judgment was rendered, or such decree passed. The chancellor shall preside, except when he cannot sit judicially; and in such cases, or in his absence, the chiefjustice of the supreme court; but if he is so disqualified or absent, then the chief-justice of the court of common pleas shall preside; and if he is so disqualified or absent, then the next eldest judge, according to priority in date of commissions, if present, and not disqualified as aforesaid, shall preside. This court shall have power to issue writs of error to the supreme court, and to the court of common pleas, and to receive and determine appeals from interlocutory or final orders or decrees of the chancellor. Errors shall be assigned and causes of appeal exhibited in writing speedily, and citations duly served on adverse parties.
SEC. 2. Upon the reversal of a judgment of the supreme court or of the court of common pleas,, or a decree of the chancellor, this court shall respectively render such judgment or pass such decree as the supreme court, or the court of common pleas, or the chancellor ought to have rendered or passed, except where the reversal is in favor of the plaintiff or petitioner in the original suit, and the damages to be assessed, or the matters to be decreed, are uncertain ; in any of which cases the cause shall be remanded, in order to a final decision.
SEC. 3. The judges of this court may issue all process proper for bringing records fully before them, and for carrying their determinations into execution.
SECTION 1. The members of the senate and house of representatives, the chancellor, the judges of the supreme court and the court of common pleas, and the attorneygeneral, shall, by virtue of their offices, be conservators of the peace throughout the State ; and the treasurer, secretary, clerks of the supreme court, prothonotaries, registers, recorders, sheriffs, and coroners shall, by virtue of their offices, be conservators thereof within the counties respectively in which they reside.
SEC. 2. The representative, and when there shall be more than one the representatives, of the people of this State in Congress, shall be voted for at the same places where representatives in the State legislature are voted for, and in the same manner.
SEC. 3. The State treasurer shall be appointed annually by the house of representatives, with the concurrence of the sepate. No person who hath served in the office of State treasurer shall be eligible to a seat in either house of the legislature until he shall have made a final settlement of his accounts as treasurer, and discharged the balance, if any, thereon due.
SEC. 4. Two persons for the office of sheriff, and two for the office of coroner, shall be chosen by the citizens residing in each county, and having right to vote for representatives, at the time and places of election of representatives, one of whom for each office respectively shall be appointed by the governor. They shall hold their offices for three years, if so long they shall behave themselves well, and until successors be duly qualified; but no person shall be twice appointed sheriff, upon election by the citizens, in any term of six years. The governor shall fill vacancies in these offices by new appointments, to continue unto the next general election, and until successors shall be chosen and duly qualified. The legislature, two-thirds of each branch concurring, may, when it shall be judged expedient, vest the appointment of sheriffs and coroners in the governor; but no person shall be twice appointed sheriff in any term
Sec. 5. The attorney-general, clerks of the supreme court, prothonotaries, registers, clerks of the orphans' courts and of the peace, shall respectively be commissioned for five years, if so long they shall behave themselves well; but may be removed by the governor within that time, on conviction of misbehavior in office, or on the address of both houses of the legislature. Prothonotaries, clerks of the supreme court, of the orphans' courts, registers, recorders, and sheriffs, shall keep their offices in the town or place in each county in which the supreme court and the court of common pleas are usually held.
Sec. 6. Attorneys at law, all inferior officers in the treasury department, election officers, officers relating to taxes, to the poor, and to highways, constables and hundred officers, shall be appointed in such manner as is or may be directed by law.
of six years.
SEC. 7. All salaries and fees annexed to offices shall be moderate; and no officer shall receive any fees whatever, without giving to the person who pays a receipt for them, if required, therein specifying every particular, and the charge for it.
Sec. 8. No costs shall be paid by a person accused, on a bill being returned ignoramus; nor on acquittal by a jury, unless a majority of the judges present at the trial certify that there was probable cause for the prosecution.
Sec. 9. The rights, privileges, immunities, and estates of religious societies and corporate bodies shall remain as if the constitution of this state had not been altered. No clergy man or preacher of the gospel, of any denomination, shall be capable of holding any civil office in this State, or of being a member of either branch of the legislature, while he continues in the exercise of the pastoral or clerical functions.
Sec. 10. All the laws of this State, existing at the time of making this constitution, and not inconsistent with it, shall remain in force, unless they shall be altered by future laws; and all actions and prosecutions now pending shall proceed as if this constitution had not been made.
Sec. 11. This constitution shall be prefixed to every edition of the laws made by direction of the legislature.
Sec. 12. The legislature shall, as soon as conveniently may be, provide by law for ascertaining what statutes and parts of statutes shall continue to be in force within this State; for reducing them, and all acts of the general assembly, into such order, and publishing them in such manner, that thereby the knowledge of them may be generally diffused; for choosing inspectors and judges of elections, and regulating the same, in such manner as shall most effectually guard the rights of the citizens entitled to vote; for better securing personal liberty, and easily and speedily redressing all wrongful restraints thereof; for more certainly obtaining returns of impartial juries; for dividing lands and tenements in sales by sheriffs, where they will bear a division, into as many parcels as may be, without spoiling the whole, and for advertising and making the sales, in such manner and at such times and places as may render them most beneficial to all persons concerned; and for establishing schools, and promoting arts and sciences.
Members of the general assembly, and all officers, executive and judicial, shall be bound, by oath or affirmation, to support the constitution of this State, and to perform the duties of their respective offices with fidelity.
The general assembly, whenever two-thirds of each house shall deem it necessary, may, with the approbation of the governor, propose amendments to this constitution, and at least three, and not more than six months, before the next general election of representatives, duly publish them in print, for the consideration of the people; and, if three-fourths of each branch of the legislature shall, after such an election, and before another, ratify the said amendments, they shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as parts of this constitution. No convention shall be called but by the authority of the people; and an unexceptionable mode of making their sense known, will be for them, at a general election of representatives, to vote also, by ballot, for or against a convention, as they shall severally choose to do; and if
, thereupon, it shall appear that a majority of all the citizens in the State, having right to vote for representatives, have voted for a convention, the general assembly shall, accordingly, at their next sessions, call a convention, to consist of at least as many members as there are in both houses of the legislature, to be chosen in the same manner, at the same places; and at the same time that representatives are by the citizens entitled to vote for representatives, on due notice given for one month, and to meet within three months after they shall be elected.
That no inconveniences may arise from the alterations of the constitution of this State, and
in order to carry the same into complete operation, it is hereby declared and ordained
I. That the president, or, in case of his death, inability, or absence from the State, the speaker of the legislative council, at that time, and in case of his death, inability, or absence from the State, the speaker of the house of assembly, at that time, shall respectively, with the privy council, exercise the executive authority of this State, until the third Tuesday in January next. If the death, inability, or absence of the president shall happen after the first Tuesday of next October, and before the first Tuesday in next January, then the executive authority shall devolve upon the person who was speaker of the council at the next preceding session of the general assembly; and in case of his death, inability, or absence, upon the person who was speaker of the house of assembly at the said next preceding session.
II. That all persons holding offices to which, under this constitution, appointments are to be made by the governor, shall continue in the exercise of the duties of their respective offices, until the first Tuesday of October, 1793, unless their commissions shall sooner expire by their own limitations, or the said offices shall become vacant by death or resignation, and no longer, unless reappointed and commissioned by the governor.
III. That justice shall be administered in the several counties of this State, until the period last mentioned, by the same justices, in the same courts, and in the same manner as heretofore.
IV. That the sheriffs elected at October next shall hold their respective commissions two years, and no longer, from that time, or until new sheriffs are elected and appointed; and such persons shall not be again eligible until the expiration of three years after their commissions cease.
V. That the elections of governor, senators, and representatives shall be conducted by the same persons and in the same inanner as is prescribed by the election laws of this State concerning the election of members of the council and of the house of assembly; and the returns thereof shall be made respectively to the person exercising the executive authority, to the senate, and to the house of representatives.
VI. The first meeting of the legislature under this constitution shall be at the town of Dover.
Done in convention the twelfth day of June, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety-two, and of the Independence of the United States of America the sixteenth. In testimony whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names.
THOMAS MONTGOMERY, President, • Attest: James Booth, Secretary.
AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION OF 1792.
The chancellor shall compose the orphans' court of each county, and exercise the equity jurisdiction heretofore exercised by the orphans' court, except as to the adjusting and settling executors, administrators, and guardians' accounts, in which case he shall have an appellate jurisdiction from the sentence and decree of the register. This court may issue process throughout the State to compel the attendance of witnesses. Appeals may be made from the orphans' court, in cases where that court has original jurisdiction, to the supreme court, whose decision shall be final.
CONSTITUTION OF DELAWARE-1831.*
We, the people, hereby ordain and establish this constitution of government for the State
of Delaware. Through divine goodness all men have, by nature, the rights of worshipping and serving their Creator according to the dictates of their consciences; of enjoying and defending life and liberty, of acquiring and protecting reputation and property, and, in general, of attaining objects suitable to their condition, without injury by one to another; and as these rights are essential to their welfare, for the due exercise thereof, power is inherent in them; and therefore all just authority in the institutions of political society is derived from the people, and established with their consent, to advance their happiness. And they may for this end, as circumstances require, from time to time, alter their constitution of government.
ARTICLE I. SECTION 1. Although it is the duty of all men frequently to assemble together for the public worship of the Author of the universe, and piety and morality, on which the prosperity of communities depends, are thereby promoted, yet no man shall, or ought to be compelled to attend any religious worship, to contribute to the erection or support of any place of worship, or to the maintenance of any ministry, against his own free will and consent; and no power shall or ought to be vested in or assumed by any magistrate that shall, in any case, interfere with, or in any manner control, the rights of conscience in the free exercise of religious worship; nor shall a preference be given by law to any religious societies, denomination, or modes of worship.
Sec. 2. No religious test shall be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under this State.
Sec. 3. All elections shall be free and equal.
Sec. 5. The press shall be free to every citizen who undertakes to examine the official conduct of men acting in a public capacity, and any citizen may print on any such subject, being responsible for the abuse of that liberty. In prosecutions for publications investing the proceedings of officers, or where the matter published is proper for public information, the truth ihereof may be given in evidence; and in all indictments for libels the jury may determine the facts and the law as in other cases.
Sec. 6. The people shall be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and possessions from unreasonable searches and seizures, and no warrant to search any place, or to seize any person or things, shall issue without describing them as particularly as may be, nor then, unless there be probable cause supported by oath or affirmation.
Sec. 7. In all criminal prosecution the accused hath a right to be heard by himself and his counsel; to be plainly and fully informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him; to meet the witnesses in their examination face to face; to have compulsory process in due time, on application by himself, his friends, or counsel, for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury. He shall not be compelled to give evidence against himself; nor shall he be deprived of life, liberty, or property, unless by the judgment of his peers or the law of the land.
Sec. 8. No person shall for any indictable offence be proceeded against criminally by information, except in cases arising in the land and naval forces, or in the militia when in actual service in time of war or public danger, and no person shall be for the same offence twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall any man's property be taken or applied to public use without the consent of his representatives, and without compensation being made. Sec.
9. All courts shall be open; and every man for an injury done him in his reputation, person, movable or immovable possessions, shall have remedy by the due
This constitution, which is that originally adopted in 1792, with important amendments, was framed by a convention which met November 8, 1831.