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This State consisted, at its first settlement, of three colonies, called Hartford, New Haven, and Saybrook colonies. The colony of Saybrook afterwards became united with Hartford. The first English settlement was at Windsor, in 1633, by emigrants from Massachusetts--then a journey of fourteen: days from Boston—now of five hours. New Haven colony was settled by the English in 1638. In 1662 these colonies were united under one government by a charter from Charles II. The New Haven colony refused to accede to this charter until 1665. This charter was suspended in 1686, and Sir Edmund Andross was appointed Governor-General of New England. Upon his arrival at Boston, he wrote to the colony of Connecticut, demanding of them their charter. This they refused. In October, 1687, the Assembly met, as usual, at Hartford. About this time, Sir Edmund, with his suit of more than sixty regular troops, made their appearance in the Assembly, and demanded of them their charter, declaring their government under it dissolved. A long discussion ensued, which continued till evening. Meantime a large number of the inhabitants came together to witness the result. The charter was at length brought and laid upon the table. Suddenly, at a signal, the lights were all extinguished, and one Capt. Wadsworth, of Hartford, seized the charter and bore it away, secreting it in a large hollow oak, standing near the place. By this means, it was preserved. The old oak still stands, bearing the significant name of the Old Charter Oak, (See Barber's Hist. Collections of Conn.) This charter was confirmed after the revolution in England, of 1688; and formed the basis of government until 1818, when the present Constitution was adopted. Area, 4,674 sq. m. Pop., in 1840, 300,015.
PREAMBLE. The people of Connecticut, acknowledging, with gratitude, the good providence of God in having permitted them to enjoy a free government, do, in order more effectually to define, secure, and perpetuate the liberties, rights, and privileges which they have derived from their ancestors, hereby, after a careful consideration and revision, ordain and establish the following Constitution and form of civil government,
ARTICLE I.- Declaration of Rights. That the great and essential principles of liberty and free government may be recognized and established, we declare :
Sec. 1. That all men, when they form a social compact, are equal in rights; and that no man, or set of men, are entitled to exclusive public emoluments or privileges from the community. 2. That all political power
is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority, and instituted for their benefit; and that they have at all times an undeniable and indefeasible right to alter their form of government in such manner as they may think expedient.
3. The exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination, shall forever be free to all persons in this State, provided that the right hereby declared and established shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness, or to justify practices inconsistent with the peace and safety of the State.
4. No preference shall be given by law to any Christian sect or mode of worship
5. Every citizen may freely speak, write, and publish his sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that liberty
6. No law shall ever be passed to curtail or restrain the liberty of speech or of the press. 7. In all prosecutions or indictments for libels, the truth may
be given in evidence, and the jury shall have a right to determine the law and the facts, under the direction of the court.
8. The people shall be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and possessions, from unreasonable searches, or seizures; and no warrant to search any place, or to seize any person or things, shall issue, without describing them as nearly as may be, nor without probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation.
9. In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall have a right to be heard, by himself and by counsel : to demand the nature and cause of the accusation ; to be confronted by the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process to obtain witnesses in his favor;
and in all prosecutions by indictment or information, a speedy public trial by an impartial jury. He shall not be compelled to give evidence against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, but by due course of law. And no person shall be holden to answer for any crime, the punishment of which may be death or imprisonment for life, unless on a presentment or an indictment of a grand jury; except in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service, in time of war or public danger.
10. No person shall be arrested, detained, or punished, except in cases clearly warranted by law.
11. The property of no person shall be taken for public use, without just compensation therefor.
12. All courts shall be open, and every person, for an injury done him in his person, property, or reputation, shall have remedy by due course of law, and right and justice administered without sale, denial, or delay.
13. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed.
14. All prisoners shall, before conviction, be bailable by sufficient sureties, except for capital offences, where the proof is evident, or the presumption great; and the privileges of the writ of habeas. corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in case of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it; nor in any case, but by the Legislature.
15. No person shall be attainted of treason or felony by the Legislature.
16. The citizens have a right, in a peaceable manner, to assemble for their common good, and to apply to those invested with the powers of government for redress of grievances, or other proper purposes, by petition, address, or remonstrance.
17. Every citizen has a right to bear arms in defense of himself and the State.
18. The military shall, in all cases, and at all times, be in strict subordination to the civil power.
19. No soldier shall, in time of peace, be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner; nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
20. No hereditary emoluments, privileges, or honors shall ever be granted or conferred in this State.
21. The right of trial by jury shall remain inviolate.
ARTICLE II.- Of the Distribution of Powers. The powers of government shall be divided into three distinct departments, and each of them confided to a separate magistracy, to wit;—those which are legislative, to one; those which are executive, to another; and those which are judicial, to another.
ARTICLE III.- Of the Legislative Department. SEC. 1. The legislative power of this State shall be vested in two distinct houses or branches; the one to be styled the Senate, the other the House of Representatives, and both together the General Assembly. The style of the laws shall be: Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened.
2. There shall be one stated session of the General Assembly, to be holden each year, alternately at Hartford and New Haven, on the first Wednesday of May, and at such other times as the General Assembly shall judge necessary; the first session to be holden at Hartford; but the person administering the office of Governor, may, on special emergencies, convene the General Assembly at either of said places at any other time. And in case of danger from the prevalence of contagious diseases in either of said places, or other circumstances, the person administering the office of Governor, may, by proclamation, convene said Assembly at any other place in this State.
3. The House of Representatives shall consist of electors residing in towns from which they are elected. The number of representatives from each town shall be the same as at present practised and allowed. In case a new town shall hereafter be incorporated, such new town shall be entitled to one representative only: and if such new town shall be made from one or more towns, the town or towns from which the same shall be made, shall be entitled to the same number of representatives as at present allowed, unless the number shall be reduced by the consent of such town or towns.
4. The Senate shall consist of twelve members, to be chosen annually by the electors.
5. At the meetings of the electors, held in the several towns in this State, in April annually, after the election of representatives, the electors present shall be called upon to bring in their written ballots for senators. The presiding officer shall receive the votes of the electors, and count and declare them in open meeting. The presiding officer shall also make duplicate lists of the persons voted for, and of the number of votes for each, which shall be certified by the presiding officer; one of which lists shall be delivered to the town clerk, and the other, within three days after said meeting, shall be delivered, under seal, either to the Secretary or to the sheriff of the county in which said town is situated; which list shall be directed to the Secretary, with a superscription expressing the purport of the contents thereof. And each sheriff who shall receive such votes shall, within fifteen days after said meeting, deliver or cause them to be delivered, to the Secretary.
6. The Treasurer, Secretary, and Comptroller, for the time being, shall canvass the votes publicly. The twelve persons having the greatest number of votes for senators shall be declared to be elected. But, in cases where no choice is made by the electors, in conse: quence of an equality of votes, the House of Representatives shall designate, by ballot, which of the candidates having such equal number of votes shall be declared to be elected. The return of votes, and the result of the canvass, shall be submitted to the House of Representatives, and also to the Senate, on the first day of the session of the General Assembly, and each house shall be the final judge of the election returns and qualifications of its own members.
7. The House of Representatives, when assembled, shall choose a Speaker, Clerk, and other officers. The Senate shall choose its clerk and other officers, except the President. A majority of each house shall constitute a quorum to do business; but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and compel the attendance of absent members in such manner, and under such penalties, as each house may prescribe.
8. Each house shall determine the rules of its own proceedings, punish members for disorderly conduct, and, with the consent of two-thirds, expel a member, but not a second time for the same cause; and shall have all other powers necessary for a branch of the legislature of a free and independent State.
9. Each house shall keep a journal of its proceedings, and publish the same when required by one-fifth of its members, except such parts as, in the judgment of a majority, require secrecy. The yeas and nays
of the members of either house shall, at the desire of one-fifth of those present, be entered on the journals.
10. The Senators and Representatives shall, in all cases of civil process, be privileged from arrest during the session of the General Assembly, and for four days before the commencement and after the termination of any session thereof. And for any speech or debate in either house, they shall not be questioned in any other place.
11. The debates of each house shall be public, except on such occasions as in the opinion of the house may require secrecy.
ARTICLE IV.–Of the Executive Department. Sec. 1. The supreme executive power of the State shall be vested in a Governor, who shall be chosen by the electors of the State, and shall hold his office for one year from the first Wednesday of May next succeeding his election, and until his successor be duly qualified. No person who is not an elector of this state, and who has not arrived at the age of thirty, shall be eligible.
2. At the meetings of the electors, in the respective towns, in the month of April in each year, immediately after the election of senators, the presiding officers shall call upon the electors to bring in their ballots for him whom they would elect to be Governor, with his name fairly written. When such ballots shall have been received and counted, in the presence of the electors, duplicate lists of the persons voted for, and of the number of votes given for each, shall be made and certified by the presiding officer, one of which lists shall be deposited in the office of the town clerk, within three days, and the other within ten days after the said election, shall be