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Declaration of

its boundaries, so as to render it at once an example and fit instru. ment for introducing the same absolute rule into these colonies:

"For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments: "For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power, to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever. "He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection, and waging war against us.

"He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

"He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries, to complete the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun, with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy, scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.

"He has constrained our fellow citizens, taken captive on the high seas, to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.

"He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavonred to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes, and conditions.

"In every stage of these oppressions, we have petitioned for redress, in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince whose character is thus marked, by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

"Nor have we been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time, of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magna. nimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred, to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connexion, and correspondence. They, too, have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them as we hold the rest of mankind-enemies in war; in peace, friends.

"We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of AmeIndependence. rica, in general congress assembled, appealing to the supreme judge of the world, for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly pub. lish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES; that they are ab. solved from all allegiance to the British crown, and that all political connexion between them and the state of Great Britain, is, and ought to be, totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honour."

Approved.

Powers of the convention,

AND WHEREAS this convention, having taken this declaration into their most serious consideration, did, on the ninth day of July last past, unanimously resolve that the reasons assigned by the conti. nental congress, for declaring the united colonies free and independent states, are cogent, and conclusive; and that, while we lament the cruel necessity which has rendered that measure unavoidable, we approve the same, and will, at the risk of our lives and fortunes, join with the other colonies in supporting it.

By virtue of which several acts, declarations, and proceedings, mentioned and contained in the afore-recited resolves or resolutions of

the general congress of the United American States, and of the conss or conventions of this state, all power whatever therein hath reverted to the people thereof, and this convention hath, by their suffrages and free choice, been appointed, and among other things, authorized to institute and establish such a government as they shall deem bestcalculated to secure the rights and liberties of the good people of this state, most conducive of the happiness and safety of their constituents in particular, and of America in general.

derived from

I This convention, therefore, in the name and by the authority All authority of the good people of this state, DOTH ORDAIN, DETERMINE the people. AND DECLARE, That no authority shall, on any pretence whatever, be exercised over the people or members of this state, but such as shall be derived from and granted by them.

II. This convention doth further, in the name and by the authori- Legislative ty of the good people of this state, ONDAIN, DETERMINE AND DE- power. CLARE, That the supreme legislative power within this state, shall be vested in two separate and distinct bodies of men; the one to be called the Assembly of the state of New-York; the other to be called the Senate of the state of New-York; who, together, shall form the Legislature, and meet once at least in every year for the despatch of business.

vision.

III. AND WHEREAS laws inconsistent with the spirit of this consti- Council of Retution, or with the public good, may be hastily and unadvisedly passed: BE IT ORDAINED, That the governor, for the time being, the chancellor and the judges of the supreme court, or any two of thein, together with the governor, shall be, and hereby are, constituted a council to revise ali bills about to be passed into laws by the legis lature. And for that purpose shall assemble themselves, from time to time, when the legislature shall be convened; for which, nevertheless, they shall not receive any salary or consideration under any pretence whatever. And that all bills which have passed the Senate and Assembly, shall, before they become laws, be presented to the said council for their revisal and consideration; and if upon such revision and consideration, it should appear improper to the said council, or a majority of them, that the said bill should become a law of this state, that they return the same, together with their objections thereto in writing, to the senate or house of assembly, in whichsoever the same shall have originated, who shall enter the objections sent down by the council, at large, in their minutes, and proceed to re-consider the said bill. But if after such re-consideration, two thirds of the said senate or house of assembly, shall, notwithstanding the said objections, agree to pass the same, it shall, together with the objections, be sent to the other branch of the legislature, where it shall also be re-considered, and if approved by two thirds of the members present, shall be a law.

And in order to prevent any unnecessary delays,

Bills to become

Be it further ordained, That if any bill shall not be returned by the council, within ten days after it shall have been presented, the laws if not res same shall be a law, unless the legislature shall, by their adjourn- turned in ten ment, render a return of the said bill within ten days impracticable; days. in which case, the bill shall be returned on the first day of the meeting of the legislature, after the expiration of the said ten days. IV. That the assembly shall consist of at least seventy members, The Assembly. to be annually chosen in the several counties, in the proportion fol.

lowing, viz:

For the City and County of New-York,

The City and County of Albany,

The County of Dutchess,

The County of Westchester,

The County of Uister,

The County of Suffolk,

The County of Queens,

The County of Orange,

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Census, when and how to be taken.

Ballot, opinion of voting by.

After the war experiment to be made :

The County of Cumberland, + The County of Gloucester,

Two.

V. That as soon after the expiration of seven years, subsequent to the termination of the present war, as may be, a census of the electors and inhabitants in this state be taken, under the direction of the legislature. And if on such census it shall appear, that the num ber of representatives in assembly from the said counties is not justly proportioned to the number of electors in the said counties respectively,that the legislature do adjust and apportion the same by that rule. And further, that once in every seven years, after the taking of the said first census, a just account of the electors resident in each county shail be taken; and if it shall thereupon appear that the number of electors in any county, shall have increased or diminished one or more seventieth parts of the whole number of electors, which on the said first census shall be found in this state, the number of representatives for such county shall be increased or diminished accordingly, that is to say, one representative for every seventieth part, as aforesaid.

VI. And whereas an opinion hath long prevailed among divers of the good people of this state, that voting at elections by ballot, would tend more to preserve the liberty and equal freedom of the people, than voting viva voce: To the end, therefore, that a fair experiment be made, which of those two methods of voting is to be preferred:

Be it ordained, That as soon as may be, after the termination of the present war, between the United States of America and GreatBritain, an act or acts be passed by the legislature of this state, for causing all elections thereafter to be held in this state for senators and representatives in assembly, to be by ballot, and directing the manner in which the same shall be conducted. And whereas it is possible, that after all the care of the legislature, in framing the said act or acts, certain inconveniences and mischiefs, unforeseen at this day, may be found to attend the said mode of electing by ballot: It is further ordained, That if after a full and fait experiment shall if found incon- be made of voting by ballot aforesaid, the same shall be found less conducive to the safety or interest of the state, than the method of voting viva voce, it shall be lawful and constitutional for the legislature to abolish the same: Provided two thirds of the members present in each house respectively shall concur therein. And further, that during the continuance of the present war, and until the legis lature of this state shall provide for the election of senators, and representatives in assembly, by ballot, the said elections shall be made viva voce.

To be abolished

venient.

of electors.

VII. That every male inhabitant of full age, who shall have perQualifications sonally resided within one of the counties of this state, for six months immediately preceding the day of election, shail at such election, be entitled to vote for representatives of the said county in assembly; if during the time aforesaid, be shall have been a freeholder, possessing a freehold of the value of twenty pounds, within the said county, or have rented a tenement therein of the yearly value of forty shillings, and been rated and actually paid taxes to this state: Provided always, That every person who now is a freeman of the city of Albany, or who was made a freeman of the city of New-York, on or before the fourteenth day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five, and shall be actually and usually resident in the said cities respectively, shall be entitled to vote for representatives in assembly within his said place of resi dence.

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ance.

VIII. That every elector, before he is admitted to vote, shall, if Oath of allegi required by the returning officer or either of the inspectors, take an oath, or if of the people called quakers, an affirmation, of allegiance to the state.

IX. That the assembly thus constituted, shall chuse their own Privileges of speaker, be judges of their own members, and enjoy the same privi. members of Assembly. leges, and proceed in doing business, in like manner as the assemblies of the colony of New-York of right formerly did; and that a majority of the said members shall, from time to time, constitute a A quorum. house to proceed upon business.

Senators, and by whom chosen.

Vide amend

X. And this convention doth further, in the name, and by the au- Number of thority of the good people of this state, ORDAIN, DETERMINE, AND DE CLARE, that the senate of the state of New-York shall consist of twenty-four freeholders, to be chosen out of the body of the free holders, and that they be chosen by the freeholders of this state, pos- stitution. sessed of freeholds of the value of one hundred pounds, over and above all debts charged thereon.

ments to con

rotation in

XI. That the members of the senate be elected for four years, and, Their term of immediately after the first election, they be divided by lot into four election, and classes, six in each class, and numbered one, two, three, and four; and office. that the seats of the members of the first class shall be vacated at the expiration of the first year; the second class the second year, and so on continually, to the end, that the fourth part of the senate, as nearly as possible, may be annually chosen.

Manner of

XII. That the election of senators shall be after this manner: that so much of this state as is now parcelled into counties, be divided into choosing. four great districts: the southern district to comprehend the city and county of New-York, Suffolk, West-Chester, Kings, Queens, and Richmond counties; the middle district to comprehend the counties of Dutchess, Ulster, and Orange; the western district, the city and county of Albany, and Tryon county; and the eastern district, the counties of Charlotte, Cumberland and Gloucester. That the senators shall be elected by the freeholders of the said districts, qualified as aforesaid, in the proportions following, viz: in the southern district, nine; in the middle district, six; in the western district, six; and in the eastern district, three. And be it ordained, that a Census, and apcensus shall be taken as soon as may be, after the expiration of seven potionment of years from the termination of the present war, under the direction of the Senators. the legislature; and if, on such census, it shall appear that the num ber of senators is not justly proportioned to the several districts, that the legislature adjust the proportion, as near as may be, to the number of freeholders, qualified as aforesaid, in each district. That when the number of electors within any of the said districts shall have increased one twenty-fourth part of the whole number of electors, which by the said census shall be found to be in this state, an additional senator shall be chosen by the electors of such district. That a A quorum. majority of the number of senators, to be chosen as aforesaid, shall be necessary to constitute a senate sufficient to proceed upon busi. To be judges of ness; and that the senate shall, in like manner with the assembly, their own mem be the judges of its own members. And be it ordained, that it shall Other counties be in the power of the future legislatures of this sta e, for the con- and districts venience and advantage of the good people thereof, to divide the may be erected. same into such further and other counties and districts, as to them shall appear necessary.

XIII. And this convention doth further, in the name and by the authority of the good people of this state, ORDAIN, DETERMINE, AND DECLARE, that no member of this state shall be disfranchised, or deprived of any of the rights or privileges secured to the subjects of this state by this constitution, unless by the law of the land, or the judgment of his peers.

bers.

No person to

disfranchised but by law.

XIV. That neither the assembly or the senate shall have power No adjournment to adjourn themselves for any longer time than two days, without of either house the mutual consent of both.

for more than two days but by mutual consent.

Conference between them.

Doors to be open, and

XV. That, whenever the assembly and senate disagree, a conference shall be held in the presence of both, and be managed by committees, to be by them respectively chosen by ballo. That the doors, both of the senate and assembly, shall at all times e kept open to all persons, except when the welfare of the state shail require their debates to be kept secret. And the journals of all their proceedkept and pub. ings shall be kept in the manner heretofore accustomed by the general assembly of the colony of New-York; and, except such parts as they shall, as aforesaid, respectively determine not to make public, be, from day to day, if the business of the legislature will permit, published.

Journals how

lished.

XVI. It is, nevertheless, provided, that the number of senators Number of the shail never exceed one hundred, nor the number of the assembly three Senate and As hundred; but that, whenever the number of senators shall amount sembly limited. to one hundred, or of the assembly to three hundred, then, and in such case, the legislature shall, from time to time hereafter, by laws for that purpose, apportion and distribu e the said one hundred senators and three hundred representatives among the great districts, and counties of this state, in proportion to the number of their respective electors, so that the representation of the good people of this state, both in the senate and assembly, shall for ever remain proportionate and adequate.

See Amendments to Constitution.

governor.

XVII. And this convention doth further, in the name and by the Executive powauthority of the good people of this state, ORDAIN, DETERMINE, AND er vested in a DECLARE, that the supreme executive power and authority of this state shall be vested in a governor; and that, statedly, once in every three years, and as often as the seat of government shall become When and how vacant, a wise and discreet freeholder of this state shall be, by ballot, elected governor, by the freeholders of this state, qualified, as before described, to elect senators, which elections shall be always held at the times and places of choosing representatives in assembly for each respective county; and that the person who hath the greatest number of votes within the said state, shall be the governor thereof.

to be chosen.

His

power.

And duty.

Lt. Governor.

XVIII. That the governor shall continus in office three years, and shall, by virtue of his office, be general and comma der in chief of all the militia, and admiral of the navy, of this state; that he shall have power to convene the assembly and senate on extraordinary occasions; to prorogue them from time to time, provided such prorogations shall not exceed sixty days, in the space of any one year; and, at his discretion, to grant reprieves and pardons to persons convicted of crimes other than treason or murder, in which he may suspend the execution of the sentence, until it shall be reported to the legislatare, at their subsequent meeting, and they shall either pardon, or direct the execution of the criminal, or grant a further reprieve.

XIX. That it shall be the duty of the governor to inform the legislature, at every session, of the condition of the state, so far as may respect his department; to recommend such matters to their consideration as shall appear to him to concern its good government, welfare, and prosperity; to correspond with the continental congress, and other states; to transact all necessary business with the officers of government, civil and military; to take care that the laws are faithfully executed, to the best of his ability; and to expedite all such measures as may be resolved upon by the legislature.

XX. That a lieutenant governor shall, at every election of a go. vernor, and as often as the lieutenant governor shall die, resign, or be removed from office, be elected in the same manner with the governor, to continue in office until the next election of a governor; and such lieutenant governor shall, by virtue of his office, be president To be president of the senate, and, upon an equal division, have a casting vote in their decisions, but not vote on any other occasion.

of the senate.

His further

And in case of the impeachment of the governor, or his removal power and duty, from office, death, resignation, or absence from the state, the lieutenant governor shall exercise all the power and authority appertaining to the office of governor, until another be chosen, or the ge

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