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any article which shall accidentally occasion the death of any person, be henceforth deemed a deodand, or in any wise forfeited on account of such misfortune.
All the laws which have heretofore been adopted, used, and approved in the Province, Colony, or State of New Hampshire, and usually practised on in courts of law, shall remain and be in full force until altered and repealed by the Legislature: such parts thereof only excepted as are repugnant to the rights and liberties contained in this Constitution : Provided, that nothing herein contained, when compared with the twenty-third article in the bill of rights, shall be construed to affect the laws already made respecting the persons or estates of absentees.
The privilege and benefit of the habeas corpus shall be enjoyed in this State, in the most free, easy, cheap, expeditious, and ample manner, and shall not be suspended by the Legislature, except upon the most urgent and pressing occasions, and for a time not exceeding three months.
The enacting style, in making and passing acts, statutes, and laws, shall be— Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives, in General Court con vened.
.No governor, or judge of the Supreme Judicial Court, shall hold any office or place under the authority of this State, except such as by this Constitution they are admitted to hold, saving that the judges of the said Court may hold the offices of justice of the peace throughout the State; nor shall they hold any place or office, or receive any pension or salary, from any other State, government, or power whatever.
No person shall be capable of exercising, at the same time, more than one of the following offices within this State, viz., judge of probate, sheriff, register of deeds; and never more than two offices of profit, which may be held by appointment of the Governor, or Governor and Council, or Senate and House of Representatives, or superior and inferior courts, military offices and offices of justices of the peace excepted.
No person holding the office of judge of any court (except special judges), Secretary, Treasurer of the State, Attorney-General, Commissary-General, military officers receiving pay from the continent or this State (excepting officers of the militia occasionally called forth on an emergency), register of deeds, sheriff, or officers of the customs, including naval officers, collectors of excise, and State and continental taxes, hereafter appointed, and not having settled their accounts with the respective officers with whom it is their duty to settle such accounts, members of Congress, or any person holding any office under the United States, shall, at the same time, hold the office of Governor, or have a seat in the Senate, or House of Representatives, or Council; but his being chosen, or appointed to, and accepting the same, shall operate as a resignation of his seat in the chair, Senate, or House of Representatives, or Council; and the places so vacated shall be filled up. No member of the Council shall have a seat in the Senate or House of Representatives.
No person shall ever be admitted to hold a seat in the Legislature, or any office of trust or importance under this government, who, in the due course of law, has been convicted of bribery or corruption in obtaining an election or appointment.
In all cases where sums of money are mentioned in this Constitution, the value thereof shall be computed in silver, at six shillings and eight pence per ounce.
To the end that there may be no failure of justice, or danger to the State, by the alterations and amendments made in the Constitution, the General Court is hereby fully authorized and directed to fix the time when the alterations and amendments shall take effect, and make the necessary arrangements accordingly.
It shall be the duty of the selectmen and assessors of the several towns and places in this State, in warning the first annual meeting for the choice of senators, after the expiration of seven years from the adoption of this Constitution, as amended, to assert expressly in the warrant, this purpose, among the others for the meeting, to wit: to take the sense of the qualified voters on the subject of a revision of the Constitution; and the meeting being warned accordingly, and not otherwise, the moderator shall take the sense of the qualified voters present, as to the necessity of a revision; and a return of the number of votes for and against such necessity, shall be made by the clerk, sealed up, and directed to the General Court, at their next session ; and if it shall appear to the General Court, by such return, that the sense of the people of the State has been taken, and that, in the opinion of the majority of the qualified voters in this State, present and voting at said meetings, there is a necessity for a revision of the Constitution, it shall be the duty of the General Court to call a convention for that purpose; otherwise the General Court shall direct the sense of the people to be taken, and then proceed in the manner before mentioned. The delegates to be chosen in the same manner, and proportioned as the representatives to the Gencral Court; provided that no alteration shall be made in. this Constitution, before the same shall be laid before the towns and unincorporated places, and approved by two-thirds of the qualified voters present and voting on the subject.
And the same method of taking the sense of the people as to a revision of the Constitution, and calling a Convention for that purpose, shall be observed afterwards, at the expiration of every seven years.
This form of government shall be enrolled on parchment, and deposited in the Secretary's office, and be a part of the laws of the land ; and printed copies thereof shall be prefixed to the books containing the laws of this state in all future editions thereof.
The first settlement in this State was at Fort Dummer, in the S. E. part of the State, from Mass. New York and New Hampshire respectively laid claim to the territory till 1764, when N. Y. obtained a grant from the British Parliament, which put an end to the claim of N. H. N. Y. thereupon attempted to enforce her jurisdiction, which was resisted by the inhabitants. They claimed to be independent both of N. H. and N. Y., and organized themselves in armea bands, with Ethan Allen at their head, under the celebrated name of the Green Mountain Boys. The contest continued and increased till the breaking out of the Revolutionary War. Owing to this claim of N. Y., Congress refused to admit Vermont into the confederation. Vermont, in 1790, paid to N. Y. $30,000 to withdraw her claim, and in 1791 was admitted to the union.
Notwithstanding this fourteenth State was not admitted into the uniori until after the Revolutionary contest was over, yet she bore an important part in that transaction, and her hardy sons gave ample proof of their bravery. A range of mountains, covered with evergreens, nearly divides this State in its centre from north to south. Hence its name, and hence the appellation Green Mountain Boys. The first Constitution of this State was formed in 1777; the present one was adopted July 3, 1793. Area, 9,700 sq. m. Population, in 1850, 313,611.
CHAPTER I A Declaration of Rights of the Inhabitants of the State of Vermont.
Art. 1. That all men are born equally free and independent, and have certain natural, inherent, and inalienable rights, amongst which are the enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety : therefore, no male person, born in this country, or brought from over sea, ought to be holden by law to serve any person as a servant, slave, or apprentice, after he arrives at the age of twenty-one years, nor female, in like manner, after she arrives to the
age of eighteen years, unless they are bound by their own consent, after they arrive to such age, or bound by the law for the pay. ment of debts, damages, fines, costs, or the like.
2. That private property ought to be subservient to public uses when necessity requires it; nevertheless, when any person's property is taken for the use of the public, the owner ought to receive an equivalent in money.
3. That all men have a natural and inalienable right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences and understandings, as in their opinion shall be regulated by the word of God: and that no man ought to, or of right can, be compelled to attend any religious worship, or crect or support any place of worship, or maintain any minister, contrary to the dictates of his conscience; nor can any man be justly deprived or abridged of any civil right as a citizen, on account of his religious sentiments or peculiar mode of religious worship; and that no authority can or ought to be vested in or assumed by any power whatever, that shall in any case interfere with, or in any manner control, the rights of conscience in the free exercise of religious worship. Nevertheless, every sect or denomination of Christians ought to observe the Sabbath, or Lord's day, and keep up some sort of religious worship, which to them shall seem most agreeable to the revealed will of God.
4. Every person within this State ought to find a certain remedy, by having recourse to the laws, for all injuries or wrongs which he may receive in his person, property, or character; he ought to obtain right and justice freely, and without being obliged to purchase it; completely, and without any denial; promptly, and without delay; conformably to the law.
5. That the people of this State, by their legal representatives, have the sole, inherent, and exclusive right of governing and regulating the internal police of the same.
6. That all power being originally inherent in, and consequently derived from the people, therefore, all officers of government, whether legislative or executive, are their trustees and servants, and at all times, in a legal way, accountable to them.
7. That government is, or ought to be, instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security of the people, nation, or community, and not for the particular emolument or advantage of any single man, family, or set of men, who are a part only of that community; and that the community hath an indubitable, inalienable, and indefeasible right to reform or alter government, in such manner as shall be, by that community, judged most conducive to the public weal.
8. That all elections ought to be free and without corruption, and that all freemen, having a sufficient evidence, common interest with, and attachment to the community, have a right to elect officers, and be elected into office, agreeably to the regulations made in this constitution.
9. That every member of society hath a right to be protected in the enjoyment of life, liberty, and property, and therefore is bound to contribute his proportion towards the expense of that protection, and yield his personal service, when necessary, or an equivalent thereto; but no part of any person's property can be justly taken from him, or applied to public uses, without his consent, or that of the representative body of freemen; nor can any man, who is conscientiously scrupulous of bearing arms, be justly compelled thereto, if he will pay such equivalent; nor are the people bound by any law but such as they have in like inanner assented to, for their common good; and previous to any law being made to raise a tax, the purpose for which it is to be raised ought to appear evident to the Legislature to be of more service to the community than the money
would be if not collected.
10. That, in all prosecutions for criminal offences, a person hath a right to be heard by himself and his counsel ; to demand the cause and nature of his accusation ; to be confronted with the witnesses; to call for evidence in his favor, and a speedy public trial, by an impartial jury of his country; without the unanimous consent of which jury, he cannot be found guilty; nor can he be compelled to give evidence against himself; nor can any person be justly deprived of his liberty, except by the laws of the land, or the judgment of his peers.
11. That the people have a right to hold themselves, their houses, papers, and possessions, free from search or seizure; and, therefore, warrants without oath or affirmation first made, affording sufficient foundation for them, and whereby an officer or messenger may be commanded or required to search such suspected places; or to seize any person or persons, his, her, or their property, not particularly described, are contrary to that right, and ought not to be granted.
12. That when an issue in fact, proper for the cognizance of a jury, is joined in a court of law, the parties have a right to trial by jury, which ought to be held sacred.
13. That the people have a right to a freedom of speech, and of writing and publishing their sentiments concerning the transactions of government, and therefore the freedom of the press ought not to be restrained.
14. The freedom of deliberation, speech, and debate, in the Legislature, is so essential to the rights of the people, that it cannot be the foundation of any accusation, or prosecution, action, or complaint, in any other court or place whatsoever.