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ON

CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTIONS;

THEIR

HISTORY, POWERS, AND MODES OF

PROCEEDING.

BY

JOHN ALEXANDER JAMESON, LL. D.
LATE JUDGE OF THE SUPERIOR COURT OF CHICAGO, ILLINOIS.

Respublica est res populi; populus autem non omnis hominum coetus quoque modo congregatus,
sed coetus multitudinis juris consensu et utilitatis communione sociatus. — CICERO, de Repub.

They that go about by disobedience to do no more than reforme the commonwealth sball find that
they do thereby destroy it. - HOBBES, Leviathan.

Fourth Edition,
REVISED, CORRECTED, AND ENLARGED.

CHICAGO:
CALLAGHAN AND COMPANY.

1887.

и в

HARVARD COLLEGE LIBRARY

GIFT CF
ALBERT BUSHNELL HAST

nov. 17, 1922

Copyright, 1887,
BY JOHN A. JAMESON.

The Riverside Press, Cambridge:
Electrotyped and Printed by H. 0. Houghton & Co.

89.51

PREFACE.

IN 1862, certain influential members of the Illinois Constitutional Convention, then in session, set up for that body, in debate, a claim of inherent powers amounting almost to absolute sovereignty, — maintaining, for instance, that though the Act of the General Assembly under which the Convention had met required it to submit the fruit of its labors to the people, for ratification or rejection, it might lawfully refuse to do so and put the Constitution it should frame in operation without any reference whatever to the people. At the same time rumors were current throughout the State that there were in that body, seeking to control it, many members of a secret organization supposed to be disloyal to the Union, called the “ Knights of the Golden Circle.” Alarmed by this claim of power, which he deemed excessive, as well as by these sinister rumors, the author commenced a study of the Convention as an American institution from its foundation and in all its aspects and relations, with a view to ascertain whether the claim of power referred to was warranted either by history or by constitutional principles. The result was the text of the first edition of this work. Because, in the course of his examination of the Convention system, the author found reason to believe, as he thought, that the origin, functions, and powers of the institution had been widely misapprehended, and that, as conceived by the “natural man,” with). out knowledge or experience, jumping to conclusions respecting it hastily, it had been and was a source of extreme danger to the republic, the work was published by him in the autumn of 1866. The same considerations, strengthened by subsequent reflection and research, and by the change of sentiment in regard to the subject, which he could not but observe after the first edition of his work was published, a change as apparent as it was gratifying, not only in the press and in the debates of our

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