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State. Our canals have, therefore, practically become a national waterway, benefitting other States more than our own, and all restrictions should be removed that prevent the general government from using and maintaining the same as ship canals.
In our judgment, the march of events makes a ship canal to connect the great lakes with the sea a logical sequence, and it is for this Convention to decide whether the great west shall be connected by it with the east through New Orleans, or Baltimore, or the city of New York.
We, therefore deem it the part of wisdom for this Convention to remove all impediments through the adoption of the McDonough amendment, that shall prevent the consummation of a national waterway through the Empire State, and thus, with one act, not only make greater New York the metropolis of the continent and the grandest seaport of the world, but also give to the people of this State the benefit of a free canal without the burden of taxation or the costly manipulations of an unscrupu lous canal ring.
In conclusion, as the federated body of representatives of the farmers of the State, which includes the Grange, Patrons of Industry, Clubs, Leagues and Alliances, we commend this Convention for all the efforts it has made in the way of true reform, and especially in the judiciary department, by which the law that pensioned our judges has been annulled, thereby saving to the taxpayers of the State nearly a half million annually, and also rebuking the growing and pernicious custom of class legislation.
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.
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.
Sec. 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.
Sec. 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.
Sec. 4. The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when, in cases of rebellion or invasion, the public safety may require its suspension.
Sec. 5. Excessive bail shall not be required nor excessive fines imposed, nor shall cruel and unusual punishments be inflicted, nor shall witnesses be unreasonably detained.
Sec. 6. No person shall be held to answer for a capital or otherwise infamous crime (except in cases of impeachment, and in cases of militia when in actual service, and the land and naval forces in time of war, or which this State may keep with the con
sent of Congress in time of peace, and in cases of petit larceny, under the regulation of the Legislature), unless 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 offense; 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.
Sec. 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. Private 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 benefited. General laws may be passed permitting the owners or occupants of agricultural lands to construct and maintain for the drainage thereof, necessary drains, ditches and dykes upon the lands of others, under proper restrictions and with just compensation, but no special laws shall be enacted for such purposes.
Sec. 8. Every citizen may freely speak, write and publish his sentiments 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 libelous is true, and was published with good motives and for justifiable ends, the party shall be acquitted; and the jury shall have the right to determine the law and the fact.
Sec. 9. 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 or the sale of lottery tickets, pool-selling, book-making, or any other kind of gambling hereafter be authorized or allowed within this State; and the Legislature shall pass appropriate laws to prevent offenses against any of the provisions of this section.
Sec. 10. 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.
Sec. 11. All feudal tenures of every description, with all their incidents, are declared to be abolished, saving, however, all rents and services certain which at any time heretofore have been lawfully created or reserved.
Sec. 12. 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.
Sec. 13. 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.
Sec. 14. All fines, quarter-sales, or other like restraints upon alienation, reserved in any grant of land hereafter to be made, shall be void.
Sec. 15. 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 valid, unless made under the authority, and with the consent of the Legislature.
Sec. 16. Such parts of the common law, and of the acts of the Legislature 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 Legisture 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 same. 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.
Sec. 17. 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 State, made by the authority of the said king or his predecessors, 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 the 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.
Sec. 18. The right of action now existing to recover damages for injuries resulting in death, shall never be abrogated; and the amount recoverable shall not be subject to any statutory limitation.
Section 1. Every male citizen of the age of twenty-one years, who shall have been a citizen for ninety days, and an inhabitant of this State one year next preceding an election, and for the last four months a resident of the county, and for the last thirty days a resident of the election district in which 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 else where, for all officers that now are or hereafter may be elective by the people, and upon all questions which may be submitted to the vote of the people; provided that in time of war no elector in the actual military service of the State or of the United States, in the army or navy thereof, shall be deprived of his vote by reason of his absence from such election district; and the Legislature shall have power to provide the manner in which and the time and place at which such absent electors may vote, and for the return and canvass of their votes in the election districts in which they respectively reside.
Sec. 2. No person who shall receive, accept or offer to receive, or pay, offer or promise to pay, contribute, offer or promise to contribute to another, to be paid or used, any money or other valuable thing as a compensation or reward for the giving or withholding a vote at an election, or who shall make any promise to influence the giving or withholding any such vote, or who shall make or become directly or indirectly interested in any bet or wager depending upon the result of any election, shall vote at such election; and upon challenge for such cause, the person so