« ПретходнаНастави »
and 1873. New constitutions become necessary to keep up with the progress of the times. Lord Macaulay once said that “the cause of all revolutions is that while nations move onward, constitutions stand still." There are numerous interests in our State now that did not exist a century ago; these all need the fostering care of the constitution. Nearly every year a new machine has to be connected with the main shaft, which propels the wheels of government. This year the agricultural bureau was established, a few years ago the banking department came into existence, and thus they multiply.
The Seat of Government.Three cities have had the honor of being the seat of government,-Philadelphia, until 1799; Lancaster, from 1799 until 1812; and Harrisburg, from 1812 to the present time.
ANALYTICAL REVIEW.-What was the “Frame of Government''? Under whom did the first company of colonists come to Pennsylvania ? When ? What was it to do? What was the spirit of the “Frame''? Give the quotations. From whom had Penn taken lessons ? What was the plan of the “Frame”? What duties were put upon the Provincial Council? What do you think of the ground which they covered ? To what was the power of the General Assembly limited ? Why do you think that body was thus limited ? What is the difference between making amendments to the Constitution now and the way in which they were made to the “Frame?” Why should Penn's heirs, etc., have had anything to do with making amendments? When did the first General Assembly meet? and what did it do? Is the “Great Law” still in force ? What disturbance put Pennsylvania under the Crown of England ? What difficulties had Penn when he returned ? How did he settle them? What greater powers were given to the people in the “Charter of Privileges "'? What is said of Philadelphia as a city? How did the colonists fare under Penn's heirs ? What did Franklin say of the Governors ? Which colonies had more changes of government during the colonial times than Pennsylvania? What change was once proposed in Pennsylvania? What
is a constitutional government? What is a constitution? What are “ Acts of Assembly"'? What was the nature of the first Constitution ? When and how was the change from colonial to constitutional government made? When were the subsequent constitutions adopted ? How did their adoption differ from that of the first? What did Macaulay once say?
What cities have been the capital?
THE TOWNSHIP. The Justice of the Peace.—This officer may be said to hold court on a small scale. He is judge of the law and the facts. His highest duty is that of peacemaker between his neighbors in the case of petty disputes and quarrels.
Suits in which the amount in dispute is not over $300 may be brought before a justice; and where the amount involved is not over $5.33, his decision is final, and no appeal can be taken to the Court of Common Pleas.
In the case of crimes the justice issues a warrant, upon proper complaint, for the arrest of the criminal. For minor offenses, after hearing the evidence, he imposes a fine, and in rare cases a short term in jail. For more serious offenses, he binds the person over to court, but releases him on bail until the time of trial. If the accused can not give satisfactory bail, or if the crime is not bailable, such as murder, he is sent to jail to await trial.
Other duties which can also be performed by a justice of the peace are administering oaths, acknowledging deeds and attesting the signatures of other documents,
performing the marriage ceremony, issuing search-warrants, etc. In the absence of the coroner, a justice may hold inquests.
The number of justices in a township is two, and the term of office is fi
years. They must be commissioned by the Governor; frequently in townships with little busiuess, only one takes out his commission. The jurisdiction of a justice extends over the whole county, but he cannot go about the county holding court. He is paid in fees.
The Notary Public.—This officer protests notes, bills of exchange, etc., administers oaths, and takes depositions and affidavits. He also takes proofs and acknowledgments of instruments intended to be recorded. To give his acts authenticity, he places his seal upon them, which is judicially recognized all over the world.
The notary public is appointed by the Governor for a term of four years. His salary consists of fees fixed by law. There may be a notary public appointed in every place having a bank or savings institution. Before he can receive his commission, he must pay $25 to the State Treasurer. Strictly speaking, this is a State office.
The Constable.—The constable is to preserve the peace of the community. If unable to suppress a disturbance himself, he may call upon the citizens to help him. He must make a full report to the court as to whether the laws have been faithfully carried out in his jurisdiction.
A common duty of a constable is to serve writs of summons and warrants as directed by a justice. A writ of summons is a notice in a civil case to a defendant to appear before a justice to answer a complaint. It must be served by reading it to the defendant or by leaving a copy with some adult member of the family, at his place of residence, at least four days before the hearing.
A warrant is an order for the arrest of one accused of a crime. When a warrant is placed in a constable's hands, he must arrest the accused and take him before a justice; and if the accused is committed to jail, the constable must take him there.
Notices and subpoenas, also, issued by a justice of the peace, and such as are issused by the court, may be served by the constable. He must put up posters of the township elections. With a search warrant he can search premises for stolen goods. He can sell a debtor's goods after judgment has been obtained before a justice of the peace. He can arrest vagrants. As a peace officer, he has the right to arrest without a warrant if he himself sees an offender breaking the law. Constables are also exofficio fire, game and fish wardens in their townships.
The term of office is three years. He is paid by fees.
The Assessors.—Every three years a valuation must be puton all taxable property in the township. This is called the “triennial assessment.” In the other two years, changes in the valuation must be made to include new buildings, additions, and other improvements in the value. Money on interest or invested in stocks, bonds, etc., must also be reported yearly. Voters owning no property must be assessed for their profession or occupation.
Other duties pertaining to this office are to prepare an annual list of all the voters of the township for the use of the election officers, to be present at all elections for the purpose of giving information regarding the right of any person to vote, and to report annually to the clerk of the orphans' court the births and deaths in the township.
Another duty of the assessors is to make a list of all children between the ages of six and twenty-one within the district, and to forward the same to the county com
missioners, who shall send them to the secretaries of the school districts. Ten days' pay is allowed to make this list, which may be made by the attendance officer before February 1, by order of the school board and paid by them; but another list of all children between six and sixteen must be made biennially by the assessors.
The number of assessors is one principal, and as many assistants as there are election precincts in the township. The former is elected for three years; the latter are elected for one year.
The chief duty of the principal is to make the assessment of all the taxable property, while that of the assistants relates to elections and the school enrollment. Assessors receive $2.00 a day from the county, when actually engaged in their duties.
The Supervisors.—The making and repairing of the public roads and bridges is done by the supervisors. To meet the expense, they lay a road tax, and collect it or appoint some one to collect it. A common practice is to work out this tax; and a fourth of it may be paid by planting shade trees, $1.00 being allowed for every four trees planted. As supervisors can sue and be sued, they represent the township in a corporate capacity.
Among the minor duties is to erect and keep in repair guide posts at the intersection of roads, and wateringtroughs along the roadside, and a town-house in which to hold elections, store road machinery, hold meetings of township officers, etc. Upon the request of a land-owner whose land fronts upon a public highway, the supervisors may establish a sidewalk, provided the land owner pay for and keep the same in repair. In the absence of the constable, the supervisor may perform that official's duties.
The usual number of supervisors is two, but in some counties, special legislation allows more. In some parts