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STATE OF NEW-YORK.
WE, THE PEOPLE of the State of New York, grateful to Almighty God for
our freedom : in order to secure its blessings, DO ESTABLISH this Constitution.
ARTICLE I. SECTION 1. No member of this State shall be disfranchised, or deprived of any of the rights or privileges secured to any citizen thereof, unless by the law of the land, or the judgment of his peers.
Section 2. The trial by jury, in all cases in which it has been heretofore used, shall remain inviolate forever. But a jury trial may be waived by the parties in all civil cases, in the manner to be prescribed by law.
Section 3. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed in this State to all mankind; and no person shall be rendered incompetent to be a witness on account of his opinions on matters of religious belief ; but the liberty of conscience hereby secured shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness, or justify practices inconsistent with the peace or safety of this State.
Section 4. The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be sus. pended, unless when, in cases of rebellion or invasion, the priblic safety may require its suspension.
Section 5. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines im. posed, nor shall cruel and unusual punishments bé inflicted, nor shall witnesses be unreasonably detained.
Section 6. No person shall be held to answer for a capital or otherwise in. famous crime (except in cases of impeachment, and in cases of the militia, when in actual service; and the land and naval forces in time of war, or which this State may keep with the consent of Congress in time of peace; and in cases of petit larceny, under the regulation of the Legislature,) un. less on presentment or indictment of a grand jury, and in any trial in any court whatever, the party accused shall be allowed to appear and defend in person and with counsel, as in civil actions. No person shall be subject to be twice put in jeopardy for the same offence; nor shall he be compelled in any criminal case, to be a witness against himself; nor be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
Section 7. When private property shall be taken for any public use, the compensation to be made therefor, when such compensation is not made by the State, shall be ascertained by a jury, or by not less than three commissioners appointed by a court of record, as shall be prescribed by law. Pri. vate roads may be opened in the manner to be prescribed by law ; but in every case the necessity of the road, and the amount of all damage to be sustained by the opening thereof, shall be first determined by a jury of freeholders, and such amount, together with the expenses of the proceeding, shall be paid by the person to be benefitted.
Section 8. Every citizen may freely speak, write, and publish his senti. ments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right; and no law shall be passed to restrain or abridge the liberty of speech, or of the press. In all criminal prosecutions or indictments for libels, the truth may be given in evidence to the jury; and if it shall appear to the jury, that the matter charged as libellous is true, and was published with good motives, and for justifiable ends, the party shall be acquitted ; and the jury shali have the right to determine the law and the fact.
Section 9. The assent of two-thirds of the members elected to each branch of the Legislature, shall be requisite to every bill appropriating the public moneys or property for local or private purposes.
Section 10. No law shall be passed, abridging the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government, or any department thereof, nor shall any divorce be granted, otherwise than by due judicial proceedings, nor shall any lottery hereafter be authorized or any sale of lot. tery tickets allowed within this State.
Section 11. The People of this State, in their right of sovereignty, are deemed to possess the original and ultimate property in and to all lands within the jurisdiction of the State ; and all lands the title to which shall fail, from a defect of heirs, shall revert, or escheat to the people.
Section 12. All feudal tenures of every description, with all their inci. dents, are declared to be abolished, saving however, all rents and services certain which at any time heretofore have been lawfully created or reserved.
Section 13. All lands within this State are declared to be allodial, so that subject only to the liability to escheat, the entire and absolute property is vested in the owners according to the nature of their respective estates.
Section 14. No lease or grant of agricultural land, for a longer period than twelve years, hereafter made, in which shall be reserved any rent or service of any kind, shall be valid.
Section 15. All fines, quarter sales, or other like restraints upon aliena. tion reserved in any grant of land, hereafter to be made, shall be void.
Section 16. No purchase or contract for the sale of lands in this State, made since the fourteenth day of October, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five; or which may hereafter be made, of, or with the Indians, shall be valíd, unless made under the authority, and with the consent of the Le. gislature.
Section 17. Such parts of the common law, and of the acts of the Legisla. ture of the colony of New York, as together did form the law of the said colony, on the nineteenth day of April, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five, and the resolutions of the Congress of the said colony, and of the Convention of the State of New York, in force on the twentieth day of April, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-seven, which have not since expired, or been repealed or altered ; and such acts of the Legislature of this State as are now in force, shall be and continue the law of this state, subject to such alterations as the Legislature shall make concerning the
But all such parts of the common law, and such of the said acts, or parts thereof, as are repugnant to this Constitution, are hereby abrogated; and the Legislature, at its first session after the adoption of this Constitu. tion, shall appoint three commissioners, whose duty it shall be to reduce into a written and systematic code the whole body of the law of this State, or so much and such parts thereof as to the said commissioners shall seem practicable and expedient. And the said commissioners shall specify such alterations and amendments therein as they shall deem proper, and they shall at all times make reports of their proceedings to the Legislature, when called upon to do so; and the Legislature shall pass laws regulating the tenure of office, the filling of vacancies therein, and the compensation of the said com. missioners; and shall also provide for the publication of the said code, prior to its being presented to the Legislature for adoption.
Section 18. All grants of land within this state, made by the King of Great Britain, or persons acting under his authority, after the fourteenth day of October, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five, shall be null and void ; but nothing contained in this Constitution shall affect any grants of land within this Štate, made by the authority of the said king or his prede. cessors, or shall annul any charters to bodies politic and corporate, by him or them made, before that day; or shall affect any such grants or charters since made by this State, or by persons acting under its authority, or shall impair the obligation of any debts contracted by this State, or individuals, or bodies corporate, or any other rights of property, or any suits, actions, rights of action, or other proceedings in courts of justice.
ARTICLE II. SECTION 1. Every male citizen of the age of twenty-one years, who shall have been a citizen for ten days, and an inhabitant of this State one year next preceding any election, and for the last four months a resident of the county where he may offer his vote, shall be entitled to vote at such election in the election district of which he shall at the time be a resident, and not elsewhere, for all officers that now are or hereafter may be elective by the people ; but such citizen shall have been for thirty days next preceding the election, a resident of the district from which the officer is to be chosen for whom he offers his vote. But no man of color, unless he shall have been for three years a citizen of this State, and for one year next preceding any elec. tion shall have been seized and possessed of a freehold estate of the value of two hundred and fifty dollars, over and above all debts and incumbrances charged thereon, and shall have been actually rated and paid a tax thereon, shall be entitled to vote at such election. And no person of color shall be subject to direct taxation unless he shall be seized and possessed of such real estate as aforesaid.
Section 2. Laws may be passed excluding from the right of suffrage all persons who have been or may be convicted of bribery, of larceny, or of any infamous crime ; and for depriving every person who shall make, or become directly or indirectly interested in any bet or wager depending upon the result of any election, from the right to vote at such election.
Section 3. For the purpose of voting, no person shall de deemed to have gained or lost a residence, by reason of his presence or absence, wbile em. ployed in the service of the United States; nor while enaged in the naviga. tion of the waters of this State, or of the United States, or of the high seas; nor while a student of any seminary of learning ; nor while kept at any alms house, or other alysum, at public expense ; nor while confined in any public prison.
Section 4. Laws shall be made for ascertaining by proper proofs the citi. zens who shall be entited to the right of suffrage hereby established.
Section 5. All elections by the citizens shall be by ballot, except for such town officers as may by law be directed to be otherwise chosen.
ARTICLE III. SECTION 1. The legislative power of this State shall be vested in a Senate and Assembly
Section 2. The Senate shall consist of thirty-two members, and the Senators shall be chosen for two years.
The Assembly shall consist of one hundred and twenty.eight members, who shall be annually elected.
Section 3. The State shall be divided into thirty-two districts, to be called Senate districts, each of which shall choose one Senator. The districts shall be numbered from one to thirty-two inclusive.
District number one (1) shåll consist of the counties of Suffolk, Richmond and Queens.
District number two (2) shall consist of the county of Kings.
Districts number three (3) number four (4) number five (5) and number six (6) shall consist of the city and county of New York ; and the board of supervisors of said city and county shall, on or before the first day of May, one thousand eight hundred and forty-seven, divide the said city and county into the number of Senate Districts to which it is entitled, as near as may be of an equal number of inhabitants, excluding aliens and persons of color not taxed, and consisting of convenient and contiguous territory; and no Assembly district shall be divided in the formation of a Senate District. The board of supervisors, when they shall have completed such division shall cause certificates thereof, stating the number and boundaries of each district and the population thereof, to be filed in the office of the Secretary of State, and of the clerk of the said city and county.
District number seven (7) shall consist of the counties of Westchester, Putnam and Rockland.
District number eight (8) shall consist of the counties of Dutchess and Columbia.
District number nine (9) shall consist of the counties of Orange and Sul. livan.
District number ten (10) shall consist of the counties of Ulster and Greene.
District number eleven' (11) shall consist of the counties of Albany and Schenectady.
District number twelve (12) shall consist of the county of Rensselaer.
District number thirteen (13) shall consist of the counties of Washington and Saratoga.
District number fourteen (14) shall consist of the counties of Warren, Es.. sex and Clinton.
District number fifteen (15) shall consist of the counties of St. Lawrence and Franklin.
District number sixteen (16) shall consist of the counties of Herkimer, Hamilton, Fulton and Montgomery.
District number seventeen (17) shall consist of the counties of Schoharie and Delaware.
District number eighteen (18) shall consist of the counties of Otsego and Chenango.
District number nineteen (19) shall consist of the county of Oneida.
District number twenty (20) shall consist of the counties of Madison and Oswego.
District number twenty-one (21) shall consist of the counties of Jefferson and Lewis.
District number twenty-two (22) shall consist of the county of Onondaga.
District number twenty-three (23) shall consist of the counties of Cortland, Broome and Tioga.
District number twenty-four (24) shall consist of the counties of Cayuga
District number twenty-five (25) shall consist of the counties of Tompkins, Seneca and Yates.
District number twenty-six (26) shall consist of the counties of Steuben and Chemung.
District number twenty-seven (27) shall consist of the county of Monroe.
District number twenty-eight (28) shall consist of the counties of Orleans, Genesee and Niagara.
District number twenty-nine (29) shall consist of the counties of Ontario and Livingston.
District number thirty (30) shall consist of the counties of Allegany and Wyoming
District number thirty-one (31) shall consist of the county of Erie.
District number thirty-two (32) shall consist of the counties of Chautauque and Cattaraugus.
Section 4. An enumeration of the inhabitants of the State shall be taken, under the direction of the Legislature, in the year one thousand eight hundred and fifty-five, and at the end of every ten years thereafter; and the said districts shall be so altered by the Legislature, at the first session after the return of every enumeration, that each Senate district shall contain, as nearly as may be, an equal number of inhabitants, excluding aliens, and persons of color not taxed ; and shall remain unaltered until the return of another enumeration, and shall at all times consist of contiguous territory ; and no county shall be divided in the formation of a Senate district except such county shall be equitably entitled to two or more Senators.
Section 5. The members of Assembly shall be apportioned among the several counties of this State, by the Legislature, as nearly as may be, according to the number of their respective inhal itants, excluding aliens, and persons of color not taxed, and shall be chosen by single districts.
The several boards of supervisors in such counties of this State, as are now entitled to more than one member of Assembly, shall assemble on the first Tuesday of January next, and divide their respective counties into Assembly districts equal to the number of members of Assembly to which such counties are now severally entitled by law, and shall cause to be filed in the offices of the Secretary of State, and the clerks of their respective counties, a description of such Assembly districts, specifying the number of each district, and the population thereof, according to the last preceding State enumeration, as near as can be ascertained. Each Assembly district shall contain, as nearly as may be, an equal number of inhabitants, excluding aliens and persons of color not taxed, and shall consist of convenient and contiguous territory; but no town shall be divided in the formation of Assembly districts.
The Legislature, at its first session after the return of every enumeration, shall re-apportion the members of Assembly among the several counties of this State, in manner aforesaid ; and the boards of supervisors in such counties as may be entitled, under such re-apportionment, to more than one member, shall assemble at such time as the Legislature making such re-apportionment shall prescribe, and divide such counties into Assembly districts, in the manner herein directed; and the apportionment and districts so to be made, shall remain unaltered until another enumeration shall be taken under the provisions of the preceding section.
Every county heretofore established and separately organized, except the county of Hamilton, shall always be entitled to one member of the Assem. bly, and no new county shall be hereafter erected, unless its population shall entitle it to a member.
The county of Hamilton shall elect with the county of Fulton, until the population of the county of Hamilton shall, according to the ratio, be entiiled to a member.
Section 6. The members of the Legislature shall receive for their services