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COMPILED UNDER AN ORDER OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE
By BEN: PERLEY POORE,
GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE.
REPORT BY THE COMPILER.
Hon. HENRY B. ANTHONY,
WASHINGTON, D. C., Fanuary 1, 1877.
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Printing:
SENATOR: I have the honor to submit a copy of the Federal and State constitutions, colonial charters, and other organic laws of the United States, compiled under the direction of the Committee on Public Printing, in accordance with an order of the United States Senate.
Congress, before declaring a final separation from Great Britain in 1776, formally recommended to the Assemblies and Conventions of the Colonies the establishment of independent governments "for the maintenance of internal peace, and the defence of their lives, liberties and properties." The constitutions adopted in response to this request, which were the basis of the State governments, were collected and published, with the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation, in a small volume, copies of which were distributed at home and abroad. Since that time numerous editions of different compilations of "The American Constitutions" have been published by private enterprise, many of them containing important errors. In two instances constitutions were published which had not been adopted by the States to which they were assigned, and there were often grave mistakes in copying.
Before preparing an accurate and complete edition of the Organic Laws of the Union and of the States, the advice of distinguished historians and jurists was sought and followed in maturing the plan which received the sanction of the Committee on Public Printing, and which I have endeavored to execute. While nearly all of the State Secretaries of State have cordially co-operated, some of them rendering valuable assistance, a few either did not furnish the desired information concerning the constitutions of their respective States, or indirectly demanded pecuniary compensation for the trouble entailed by the necessary researches, and a great deal of time has been unavoidably consumed in correspondence with gentlemen at the various capitals and elsewhere in obtaining reliable copies of constitutions and amendments. Should there be any errors or omissions discovered in the edition ordered to be printed by the Senate, which is small in number, they can be corrected, if Congress deems the work worthy of a more extended circulation. The index can be enlarged and made more in detail if desirable.
In the performance of the task assigned me I have been greatly aided by your advice and assistance, and I hope that you will be repaid by the accuracy, the usefulness, and the value of the work.
I remain, Senator, faithfully and respectfully, your obedient servant,
BEN: PERLEY POORE, Clerk of Printing Records, U. S. S.