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any of our dominions, to all intents and purposes, as if abiding and born within this our kingdom of Great-Britain, or any other dominion.—And for the greater ease and encouragement of our loving subjects and such others as shall come to inhabit in our said colony, we do by these presents, for us, our heirs and successors, grant, establish and ordain, that forever hereafter, there shall be a liberty of conscience allowed in the worship of God, to all persons inhabiting, or which shall inhabit or be resident within our said province, and that all such persons, except papists, shall have a free exercise of religion, so they be contented with the quiet and peaceable enjoyment of the same, not giving offence or scandal to the government. And our further will and pleasure is, and we do hereby for us, our heirs and successors, declare and grant, that it shall and may be lawful for the said common council, or the major part of them assembled for that purpose, in the name of the corporation, and under the common seal, to distribute, convey, assign and set over such particular portions of lands, tenements and hereditaments by these presents granted to the said corporation, unto such our loving subjects, natural born, denizens or others that shall be willing to become our subjects, and live under our allegiance in the said colony, upon such terms, and for such estates, and upon such rents, reservations and conditions as the same may be lawfully granted, and as to the said common council, or the major part of them so present, shall seem fit and proper. Provided always that no grants shall be made of any part of the said lands unto any person, being a member of the said corporation, or to any other person in trust, for the benefit of any member of the said corporation; and that no person having any estate or interest, in law or equity, in any part of the said lands, shall be capable of being a member of the said corporation, during the continuance of such estate or interest. Provided also, that no greater quantity of lands be granted, either entirely or in parcels, to or for the use, or in trust for any son, than five hundred acres; and that all grants made contrary to the true intent and meaning hereof, shall be absolutely null and void. And we do hereby grant and ordain, that such person or persons, for the time being as shall be thereunto appointed by the said corporation, shall and may at all times, and from time to time hereafter, have full power and authority to administer and give the oaths, appointed by an act of parliament, made in the first year of the reign of our late royal father, to be taken instead of the oaths of allegiance and supremacy; and also the oath of abjuration, to all and every person and persons which shall at any time be inhabiting or residing within our said colony; and in like cases to administer the solemn affirmation to any of the persons commonly called quakers, in such manner as by the laws of our realm of GreatBritain, the same may be administered. And we do, of our further grace, certain knowledge and mere motion, grant, establish and ordain, for us, our heirs and successors, that the said corporation and their successors, shall have full power and authority, for and during the term of twenty-one years, to commence from the date of these our letters patent, to erect and constitute judicatories and courts of record, or other courts, to be held in the name of us, our heirs and successors for the hearing and determining of all manner of crimes, offences, pleas, processes, plaints, actions, matters, causes and things whatsoever, arising or happening, within the said province of Georgia, or between persons of Georgia; whether the same be criminal or civil, and whether the said crimes be capital or not capital, and whether the said pleas be real, personal or mixed : and for awarding and making out executions thereupon; to which courts and judicatories, we do hereby, for us, our heirs and successors, give and grant full
power and authority, from time to time, to administer oaths for the discovery of truth in any matter in controversy, or depending before them, or the solemn affirmation, to any of the persons commonly called quakers, in such manner, as by the laws of our realm of Great-Britain, the same may be administered. And our further will and pleasure is, that the said corporation and their successors, do from time to time, and at all times hereafter, register or cause to be registered, all such leases, grants, plantings, conveyances, settlements, and improvements whatsoever, as shall at any time hereafter be made by, or in the name of the said corporation, of any lands, tenements or hereditaments within the said province; and shall yearly send and transmit, or cause to bo sent or transmitted, authentic accounts of such leases, grants, conveyances, settlements and improvements respectively, unto the auditor of the plantations for the time being,
or his deputy, and also to our surveyor for the time being of our said province of South Carolina; to whom we do hereby grant full power and authority from time to time, as often as need shall require, to inspect and survey, such of the said lands and premises, as shall be demised, granted and settled as aforesaid: which said survey and inspection, we do hereby declare, to be intended to ascertain the quitrents which shall from time to time become due to us, our heirs and successors, according to the reservation herein before mentioned, and for no other purposes whatsoever; hereby for us, our heirs and successors, strictly enjoining and commanding, that neither our or their surveyor, or any person whatsoever, under the pretext and colour of making the said survey or inspection, shall take, demand or receive, any gratuity, fee or reward, of or from, any person or persons, inhabiting in the said colony, or from the said corporation or common council of the same, on the pain of forfeiture of the said office or offices, and incurring our highest displeasure. Provided always, and our further will and pleasure is, that all leases, grants and conveyances to be made by or in the name of the said corporation, of any lands within the said province, or a memorial containing the substance and effect thereof, shall be registered with the auditor of the said plantations, of us, our heirs and successors, within the space of one year, to be computed from the date thereof, otherwise the same shall be void. And our further will and pleasure is, that the rents, issues and all other profits, which shall at any time hereafter come to the said corporation, or the major part of them which shall be present at any meeting for that purpose assembled, shall think will most improve and enlarge the said colony, and best answer the good purposes herein before mentioned, and for defraying all other charges about the same. And our will and pleasure is, that the said corporation and their successors, shall from time to time give in to one of the principal secretaries of state, and to the commissioners of trade and plantations, accounts of the progresses of the said colony. And | our will and pleasure is that no act done at any meeting of the said common council 1 of the said corporation, shall be effectual and valid, unless eight members at least of | the said common council, including the member who shall serve as chairman at the
said meeting, be present, and the major part of them consenting thereunto. And our will and pleasure is, that the common council of the said corporation for the time being, or the major part of them who shall be present, being assembled for that purpose, shall from time to time, for, and during, and unto the full end and expiration of twenty-one years, to commence from the date of these our letters patent, have full power and authority to nominate, make, constitute and commission, ordain and appoint, by such name or names, style or styles, as to them shall seem meet and fitting, all and singular such governors, judges, magistrates, ministers and officers, civil and military, both by sea and land, within the said districts, as shall by them be thought fit and needful to be made or used for the said government of the said colony; save always, and except such offices only as shall by us, our heirs and successors, be from time to time constituted and appointed, for the managing collecting and receiving such revenues, as shall from time to time arise within the said province of Georgia, and become due to us, our heirs and successors. Provided always, and it is our will and pleasure, that every governor of the said province of Georgia, to be appointed by the common council of the said corporation, before he shall enter upon or execute the said office of governor, shall be approved by us, our heirs or successors, and shall take such oaths, and shall qualify himself in such manner, in all respects, as any governor or commander in chief of any of our colonies or plantations in America, are by law required to do; and shall give good and sufficient security for observing the several acts of parliament relating to trade and navigation, and to observe and obey all instructions that shall be sent to him by us, our heirs and successors, or any acting under our or their authority, pursuant to the said acts, or any of them. And we do by these presents for us, our heirs and successors, will, grant and ordain, that the said corporation and their successors, shall have full power for and during and until the full end and term of twenty-one years, to commence from the date of these our letters patent, by any commander or other officer or officers, by them for that purpose from time to time appointed, to train and instruct, exercise and govern a militia, for the special defence and safety of our said colony, to assemble in martial array, the inhabitants of the said colony, and to lead and conduct them, and with them to encounter, expulse,
repel, resist and pursue, by force of arms, as well by sea as by land, within or without the limits of our said colony; and also to kill, slay and destroy, and conquer by all fitting ways, enterprizes and means whatsoever, all and every such person or persons as shall at any time hereafter, in any hostile manner, attempt or enterprize the destruction, invasion, detriment or annoyance of our said colony; and to use and exercise the martial law in time of actual war and invasion or rebellion, in such cases, where by law the same may be used or exercised; and also from time to time to erect forts, and fortify any place or places within our said colony, and the same to furnish with all necessary ammunition, provisions and stores of war, for offence and defence, and to commit from time to time the custody or government of the same, to such person or persons as to them shall seem meet: ind the said forts and fortifications to demolish at their pleasure; and to take and surprize, by all ways and means, all and every such person or persons, with their ships, arms, ammunition and other goods, as shall in an hostile manner, invade or attempt the invading, conquering or annoying of our said colony. And our will and pleasure is, and we do hereby, for us, our heirs and successors, declare and grant, that the governor and commander in chief of the province of South-Carolina, of us, our heirs and successors, for the time being, shall at all times hereafter have the chief command of the militia of our said province, hereby erected and established; and that such militia shall observe and obey all orders and directions, that shall from time to time be given or sent to them by the said governor or commander in chief; any thing in these presents before contained to the contrary hereof, in any wise notwithstanding. And, of our more special grace, certain knowledge and mere motion, we have given and granted, and by these presents, for us, our heirs and successors, do give and grant, unto the said corporation and their successors, full power and authority to import and export their goods, at and from any port or ports that shall be appointed by us, our heirs and successors, within the said province of Georgia, for that purpose, without being obliged to touch at any other port in SouthCarolina. And we do, by these presents, for us, our heirs and successors, will and declare, that from and after the termination of the said term or twenty-one years, such form of government and method of making laws, statutes and ordinances, for the better governing and ordering the said province of Georgia, and the inhabitants thereof, shall be established and observed within the same, as we, our heirs and successors, shall hereafter ordain and appoint, and shall be agreeably to law; and that from and after the determination of the said term of twenty-one years, the governor of our said province of Georgia, and all officers civil and military, within the same, shall from time to time be nominated and constituted, and appointed by us, our heirs and successors. And lastly, we do hereby, for us, our beirs and successors, grant unto the said corporation and their successors, that these our letters patent, or the enrolments or exemplification thereof, shall be in and by all things good, firm, valid, sufficient and effectual in the law, according to the true intent and meaning thereof, and shall be taken, construed and adjudged, in all courts and elsewhere in the most favorable and beneficial sense, and for the best advantage of the said corporation and their successors any omission, imperfection, defect, matter or cause, or thing whatsoever to the contrary, in any wise notwithstanding. In witness, we have caused these our letters to be made patent: witness ourself at Westminster, the ninth day of June, in the fifth year of our reign. By writ of privy-seal.
CONSTITUTION OF GEORGIA-1777.*
Whereas the conduct of the legislature of Great Britain for many years past has been so oppressive on the people of America that of late years they have plainly declared and asserted a right to raise taxes upon the people of America, and to make
* This constitution was framed by a convention which assembled at Savannah October 1, 1776, in accordance with the recommendation of the Continental Congress that the people of the Colonies should form independent State governments. It was unanimously agreed to February 5, 1777.
laws to bind them in all cases whatsoever, without their consent; which conduct, being repugnant to the common rights of mankind, hath obliged the Americans, as freemen, to oppose such oppressive measures, and to assert the rights and privileges they are entitled to by the laws of nature and reason; and accordingly it hath been done by the general consent of all the people of the States of New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, the counties of New Castle, Kent, and Sussex on Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, given by their representatives met together in general Congress, in the city of Philadelphia;
And whereas it hath been recommended by the said Congress, on the fifteenth of May last, to the respective assemblies and conventions of the United States, where no government, sufficient to the exigencies of their affairs, hath been hitherto established, to adopt such government as may, in the opinion of the representatives of the people, best conduce to the happiness and safety of their constituents in particular and America in general;
And whereas the independence of the United States of America has been also declared, on the fourth day of July, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-six, by the said honorable Congress, and all political connection between them and the Crown of Great Britain is in consequence thereof dissolved:
We, therefore, the representatives of the people, from whom all power originates, and for whose benefit all government is intended, by virtue of the power delegated to us, do ordain and declare, and it is hereby ordained and declared, that the following rules and regulations be adopted for the future government of this State:
ARTICLE I. The legislative, executive, and judiciary departments shall be separate and distinct, so that neither exercise the powers properly belonging to the other.
ART. II. The legislature of this State shall be composed of the representatives of the people, as is hereinafter pointed out; and the representatives shall be elected yearly, and every year, on the first Tuesday in December; and the representatives so elected shall meet the first Tuesday in January following, at Savannah, or any other place or places where the house of assembly for the time being shall direct.
On the first day of the meeting of the representatives so chosen, they shall proceed to the choice of a governor, who shall be styled “honorable ;” and of an executive council, by ballot out of their own body, viz: two from each county, except those counties which are not yet entitled to send ten members. One of each county shall always attend, where the governor resides, by monthly rotation, unless the members of each county agree for a longer or shorter period. This is not intended to exclude either member attending. The remaining number of representatives shall be called the house of assembly; and the majority of the members of the said house shall have power to proceed on business.
ART. III. It shall be an unalterable rule that the house of assembly shall expire and be at an end, yearly and every year, on the day preceding the day of election mentioned in the foregoing rule.
Art. IV. The representation shall be divided in the following manner: ten members from each county, as is hereinafter directed, except the county of Liberty, which contains three parishes, and that shall be allowed fourteen.
The ceded lands north of Ogechee shall be one county, and known by the name of Wilkes.
The parish of Saint Paul shall be another county, and known by the name of Richmond.
The parish of Saint George shall be another county, and known by the name of Burke.
The parish of Saint Matthew, and the upper part of Saint Philip, above Canouchee, shall be another county, and known by the name of Effingham.
The parish of Christ Church, and the lower part of Saint Philip, below Canouchee, shall be another county, and known by the name of Chatham.
The parishes of Saint John, Saint Andrew, and Saint James shall be another county, and known by the name of Liberty.
The parishes of Saint David and Saint Patrick shall be another county, and known by the name of Glynn.
The parishes of Saint Thomas and Saint Mary shall be another county, and known by the name of Camden.
The port and town of Savannah shall be allowed four members to represent their trade.
The port and town of Sunbury shall be allowed two members to represent their trade.
Art. V. The two counties of Glynn and Camden shall have one representative each, and also they, and all other counties that may hereafter be laid out by the house of assembly, shall be under the following regulations, viz: at their first institution each county shall have one member, provided the inhabitants of the said coupty shall have ten electors; and if thirty, they shall have two; if forty, three; if fifty, four; if eighty, six; if a hundred and upward, ten; at which time two executive councillors shall be chosen from them, as is directed for the other counties.
ART. VI. The representatives shall be chosen out of the residents in each county, who shall have resided at least twelve months in this State, and three months in the county where they shall be elected; except the freeholders of the counties of Glynn and Camden, who are in a state of alarm, and who shall have the liberty of choosing one member each, as specified in the articles of this constitution, in any other county, until they have residents sufficient to qualify them for more; and they shall be of the Protestant religion, and of the age of twenty-one years, and shall be possessed in their own right of two hundred and fifty acres of land, or some property to the amount of two hundred and fifty pounds.
ART. VII. The house of assembly shall have power to make such laws and regulations as may be conducive to the good order and well-being of the State; provided such laws and regulations be not repugnant to the true intent and meaning of any rule or regulation contained in this constitution.
The house of assembly shall also have power to repeal all laws and ordinances they find injurious to the people; and the house shall choose its own speaker, appoint its own officers, settle its own rules of proceeding, and direct writs of election for supplying intermediate vacancies, and shall have power of adjournment to any time or times within the year.
ART. VIII. All laws and ordinances shall be three times read, and each reading shall be on different and separate days, except in cases of great necessity and danger; and all laws and ordinances shall be sent to the executive council after the second reading, for their perusal and advice.
ART. IX. All male white inhabitants, of the age of twenty-one years, and possessed in his own right of ten pounds value, and liable to pay tax in this State, or being of any mechanic trade, and shall have been resident six nionths in this state, shall have a right to vote at all elections for representatives, or any other officers, herein agreed to be chosen by the people at large; and every person having a right to vote at any election shall vote by ballot personally.
Art. X. No officer whatever shall serve any process, or give any other hinderance to any person entitled to vote, either in going to the place of election, or during the time of the said election, or on their returning home from such election; nor shall any military officer, or soldier, appear at any election in a military character, to the intent that all elections may be free and open.
Art. XI. No person shall be entitled to more than one vote, which shall be given in the county where such person resides, except as before excepted; nor shall any person who holds any title of nobility be entitled to a vote, or be capable of serving as a representative, or hold any post of honor, profit, or trust in this State, whilst such person claims his title of nobility; but if the person shall give up such distinction, in the manner as may be directed by any future legislation, then, and in such case, he shall be entitled to a vote, and represent, as before directed, and enjoy all the other benefits of a free citizen.
ART. XII. Every person absenting himself from an election, and shall neglect to give in his or their ballot at such election, shall be subject to a penalty not exceeding five pounds; the mode of recovery, and also the appropriation thereof, to be pointed out and directed by act of the legislature: Provided, nevertheless, That a reasonable excuse shall be admitted.