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and ambassadors, as soon as possible, meanwhile amending the constitutions, and not ceasing the work of reform until the principle of self-government be wholly realized.
25. We have omitted, in our plans of Constitutions, bills of rights. We have done so because we are satisfied, that, on close examination, it will be found that the liberty of education, instruction and industry, embraces all these rights, and more than are usually enumerated in these bills; and that it will serve as a more effectual protection to the people. A man cannot be industrious, if he is undeservedly imprisoned; and if so, he is entitled to damages. If the liberty to print, or to plough, or to cast iron, or to speak, or to preach, is infringed, we cannot instruct ourselves, or earn money to live upon. Self-governing freemen are never in danger of arbitrary laws. Our present Federal and State constitutions are superabundantly provided with bills of rights, precautions, and prohibitory injunctions, just as if our state officers were Asiatic-European autocrats. Notwithstanding, they could not check slavery, war, mercantile revulsions, state bankruptcies, crimes and mismanagement of the most outrageous kind. Instead of what we believed to be superfluous, we have added some axioms, which might well be generally adopted as American public and common law, abstracted from the principle of self-government, and not from the laws and usages of uncivilized nations. America is by nature destined to be the lawgiver of the world. She will become so if all her sons have the courage to be, in fact, what they proclaim themselves to be, self-governing freemen, and will go bravely to work to set all things right which are not in harmony with self-government,
PLAN OF A CONSTITUTION FOR A STATE OF 200,000 VOTERS.
The freemen of the State of
have established the following
1. State. The State of
is one of the United States of
under the Constitution of the Confederation of the United States, dated and is bounded north by -, west by
east by Towns.
and is at present divided into
south by Counties and
(In an appendix the names of the Counties and Towns may be contained.)
2. Voting. The right of voting in all kinds of public business, and of electing public officers, shall belong to the freemen who are qualified, as follows:
a. Over 21 years of age.
b. Married (widowers included.)
c. Sufficiently able to speak, read and write the language in public
d. When immigrants, one year's residence in the town where the vote is to be cast shall be required, in addition to the foregoing qualifications.
3. Excluded from voting and offices, for the time being, are, insane, confirmed drunkards, town-poor, convicts during the time of punishment;-until admitted by a town vote, public defaulters, convicts after the time of punishment has expired, and duellists. Public officers are not allowed to vote upon any question touching the objects under their care.
4. Unmarried. Unmarried persons of proper age can be elected as officers, (servants of the people.)
5. Plurality In all cases a plurality of votes shall elect to office. 6. Towns. All public business, and no other, within the limits of a town, and concerning the municipal interests of the people of the town, shall belong exclusively to the town freemen and their officers. Laws making exceptions to this rule shall become valid when approved by the town, but not otherwise.
7. Districts. For certain purposes districts may be formed out of several towns for a longer or shorter time, and towns may be divided into smaller districts, according to law.
8. Town Expenses. The town expenses shall be raised by direct
9. Town Officers. The town officers shall consist of the Selectmen, Mayor, and other necessary officers.
10. Their Pay. The town officers shall get a compensation for their services, beyond those in meetings and ordinary sessions.
11. Election. In towns of more than five thousand voters, the number of Selectmen shall be one to two hundred voters; in towns of less than five thousand voters, the number of Selectmen shall be one to one hundred voters.
12. Two Chambers. In large towns, the Selectinen may be divided by ballot into two chambers.
(In an appendix to the Constitution may be added general rules for the organization and administration of towns and counties.)
13. Counties. For public business requiring the co-operation of sev eral towns, counties shall be organized.
14. County Officers. The public business in Counties shall be performed by a Board of County Commissioners, elected for two years. Half of the number shall have their seats after the lapse of one year, (the first time to be decided by ballot) afterwards, every year half of the number shall be elected.
15. County Election. Each town shall elect two County Commissioners. Out of their number a presiding officer, called Overseer, shall be elected by them. This board shall elect other necessary County Officers.
16. County Expense. The County expenses shall be raised by direct taxation.
17. Districts. Out of several Counties, Districts may be formed for business convenience, as harbor, river, navigation districts, &c.
18. By-laws. Counties and towns shall have the right to make Bylaws. In towns they shall be made by the qualified voters, in counties by the commissioners.
19. State. The public business concerning the whole state, or of general interest, is either legislative, judicial, or executive.
20. Legislature. The state legislative business shall belong to the state legislature, which is divided into two houses, the Senate, and the House of Representatives.
21. Election Qualifications. A freeman to be eligible to the State Legislature shall possess,
a. The qualifications of voting, mentioned in section 2, and shall have, b. Served as a Selectman or Commissioner, or in any other constitutional public station for at least two years.
22. The members of the Senate shall be chosen for four years. ter the first two years half of the number vacate their seats, which is decided by ballot. Each County shall elect one Senator.
23. Each town shall elect, biennially, one Representative, and each County one Senator for the respective vacated seats.
24. All State elections shall take place on the first Monday of on which day all public business shall be suspended.
25. Legislative Members no State Officers. A member of the Legislature cannot be, for the time being, elected to another State office.
26. Disqualified. Disqualified for the Legislature are all State and Congress officers with salary, or unsettled balances from their administration.
27. Meeting. The Legislature shall convene biennially on the first Monday of at the State Capitol.
28. Opinions and Recommendations. Three months before the Legis lature assembles, the County Courts, the Supreme Court, and the State Attorney shall state briefly, in one of the County papers, a copy of which the County Clerk shall send to the office of the Secretary of State, if any change in the laws is deemed desirable for the improvement of the Judicial Department, and the interests of society in general.
29. Impeaching. To the Representatives belongs the right of impeaching. To the Senate belongs the right of trial of impeachments. In either instance a two-thirds vote is required. The sentence of the Senate is not prejudicial to the lawful procedures of the Courts.
30. Speakers. Both houses elect their speakers and other officers; they are the judges of the qualifications and elections of their own members, and sit upou their own adjournments. Two-thirds of each house have the right to do business, (quorum.)
31. Vacancies. Vacancies require new elections.
32. Veto. The laws of the Legislature shall require the approval of the Governor. On sufficient grounds he may veto them. If threefourth parts of the Legislature, in joint ballot, insist upon the vetoed laws, they become valid.
33. Pay. The members of the Legislature shall receive a compensation according to law.
34. Judicial Business. The State judicial business is performed by the Justices of the Peace, (who are also Coroners,) County Courts, Supreme Court, Jurors, and County and State Attornies, and is either civil or criminal.
35. Justices of the Peace. In each town of about 500 voters, there shall be elected by the voters, two Justices of the Peace, to serve two years, whose duty it shall be to try small offences (against police and by-laws,) and civil cases in which the amount involved does not exceed $100, and from whose decisions there shall be no appeal. It shall also be the duty of these Justices of the Peace to endeavor to affect an amicable arrangement of all matters in controversy between individuals, in which instances no Jury, but only the presence of a Town Clerk or Notary shall be required. Without a certificate of the Justice of the Peace and Town Clerk or Notary, that a reconciliatory adjustment has been tried, no suit shall be admitted by the County Courts. Justices of the Peace shall be re-eligible, and may be removed by the County Courts, according to law. They shall receive a compensation fixed by law. In cases where a jury is required, it shall consist only of six qualified voters.
36. County Courts. The County Courts shall try all civil and criminal cases, which do not lie within the province of the Justices of the Peace.
37. A County Court may be divided into two branches, one for civil and one for criminal cases, if the County Commissioners approve it.
38. A County Court shall consist of respectively two, three, or four judges, to be elected by the County Commissioners for four, six, or eight years. Biennially one recedes (by ballot.) The judges shall be re-eligible, and may be removed by the Governor, according to law. The oldest judge shall preside in the Court.
39. The requisites for a County Judge are in general that he shall have served as justice of the peace, or county or town clerk, or counsellor for at least two years.
40. Supreme Court. To the Supreme Court shall belong the appellate jurisdiction in all cases; the decision in all doubtful cases of competency among the County Courts; grants of trials in case of sus. pected partiality of a Court; the decision on the question of the constitutionality of laws; the right to ask for the records, sentences, testimonies, &c., of inferior Courts; the decision in cases arising under this Constitution.
41. The Supreme Court is composed of five Judges, who elect their President, called Chief Judge.
42. They are elected and removed according to law by the Legislature, serve eight years, are re-eligible, and receive a salary fixed by law for the time of appointment.
43. The seat of the Supreme Court shall be permanently in the capital town, it being no Circuit Court.
44. From the decision of the Supreme Court there shall be no fur. ther appeal.
45. Jury. In all criminal and civil cases, pending before the County Courts, a verdict of the Common Jury, consisting of twelve qualified voters shall be required. In all criminal cases an inquest and indictment of the Grand Jury, consisting of twenty-four qualified voters, shall be required. In cases pending before the Supreme Court, no Jury is required. The Jury in Justice Courts shall consist of six qualified voters.
46. Foreign Laws. No Court shall be allowed to refer to any foreign law authority.
47. Town Executive. The executive business in towns shall belong to the Mayor, Marshals, and other officers. The Marshals are elected for two years by the Selectmen, and removed according to law.
48. County Executive. The executive business in Counties shall belong to the Overseer, Sheriff, and other officers. The Sheriff shall be elected for two years by the County Commissioners. Marshals and Sheriffs shall have the right to elect deputies. The latter may be removed by the Commissioners according to law.
49. State-Executive. The executive power of the State shall be vested in the Governor, chosen every second year by the qualified voters. He is not re-eligible after the expiration of two years, but once later. 50. Governor. The requisites for a Governor are as follows. He shall have,
a. Served in either branch of the Legislature, or in County Courts, as judge, or clerk, or attorney, for two years, and shall not haveb. Any office besides.
51. He shall have the control of the administration of the laws in general, shall inform the Legislature of the state of the public business, and shall appoint and remove, in conformity with the laws, the higher state officers and clerks, state and county attornies, public notaries, and other state officers not otherwise provided. He shall have the right of veto, and act as the representative of the State in business with other States, and shall, to the best of his ability, watch that nothing is done by the public officers, that may infringe in any way the rights of independent self-governing freemen. He shall have a salary fixed by law.
52. If any vacancy happens, the Secretary of State shall cause forthwith a new election of Governor. Meanwhile the Speaker of the Senate or of the House of Representatives shall act as Governor.