صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني


A DECLARATION of RIGHTS and Fundamental Rules of the Delaware State, formerly filed, The Government of the Counties of Newcastle, Kent, and Suffex, upon Delaware.


[ocr errors]

HAT all government of right originates from the people, is founded in compact only, and inftituted folely for the good of the whole.....

2. That all men have a natural and unalienable right to worfhip Almighty God according to the dictates of their own confciences and understandings; and that no man ought, or of right can be compelled to attend any religious worship, or maintain any miniftry, contrary to or against his own free will and confent, and that no authority can or ought to be vested in, or affumed by any power whatever, that fhall in any cafe interfere with, or in any manner controul the right of confcience, in the free exercife of religious worship.

3. That all perfons profeffing the chriftian religion, ought for ever to enjoy equal rights and privileges in this ftate, unlefs under colour of religion any man disturb the peace, the happiness, or fafety of fociety.

4. That the people of this ftate have the fole, exclusive, and inherent right of governing and regulating the internal police of the fame.

5. That perfons intrufted with the legislative and executive powers are the trustees and fervants of the public, and as fuch accountable for their conduct; wherefore, whenever the ends of government are perverted, and public liberty manifeftly endangered by the legislative fingly, or a treacherous combination of both, the people may, and of right ought to establish a new, or reform the old government.

6. That the right in the people to participate in the legislature, is the foundation of liberty and of all free government, and for this end all elections ought to be free and frequent, and every freeman having fufficient evidence of a permanent common interest with, and attachment to the community, hath a right of fuffrage. 7. That no power of fufpending laws, or the execution of laws, ought to be exercifed unlefs by the legislature.

8. That for redrefs of grievances, and for amending and ftrengthening of the laws, the legiflature ought to be frequently convened.

9. That every man hath a right to petition the legislature for the redrefs of grievances, in a peaceable and orderly manner.


Ic. Tha

10. That every member of fociety hath a right to be protected in the enjoyment of life, liberty, and property, and therefore is bound to contribute his proportion towards the expence of that protection, and yield his personal service when neceffary, or an equivalent thereto; but no part of a man's property can be juftly taken from him, or applied to public ufes without his own confent, or that of his legal reprefentatives: Nor can any man that is confcientiously fcrupulous of bearing arms in any cafe, be juftly compelled thereto, if he will pay fuch equivalent.

11. That retrofpective laws punishing offences committed before the existence of fuch laws, are oppreffive and unjust, and ought not to be made.

12. That every freeman, for every injury done him in his goods, lands, or perfon, by any other perfon, ought to have remedy by the courfe of the law of the land, and ought to have juftice and right for the injury done to him, freely without fale, fully without any denial, and fpeedily without delay, according to the faw of the land.

13. That trial by jury of facts where they arife, is one of the greateft fecurities of the lives, liberties, and estates of the people.

14. That in all profecutions for criminal offences, every man hath a right to be informed of the accufation against him, to be allowed counfel, to be confronted with the accufers or witneffes, to examine evidence on oath in his favour, and to a speedy trial, by an impartial jury, without whofe unanimous confent he ought not to be found guilty.

15. That no man in the courts of common law ought to be compelled to give evidence against himself.

16. That exceffive bail ought not to be required, nor exceffive fines impofed, nor cruel or unusual punishments inflicted.

17. That all warrants without oath to search fufpected places, or to feize any perfon or his property, are grievous and oppreffive; and all general warrants to fearch fufpected places, or to apprehend all perfons fufpected, without naming or defcribing the place or any perfon in fpecial, are illegal, and ought not to be granted. 18. That a well regulated militia is the proper, natural, and fafe defence of a free government.

19. That ftanding armies are dangerous to liberty, and ought not to be raised or kept up without the confent of the legislature. 20. That in all cafes and at all times the military ought to be under ftrict fubordination to, and governed by the civil power.

21. That no foldier ought to be quartered in any house in time of peace, without the confent of the owner; and in time of war in fuch manner only as the legislature shall direct.

22. That the independency and uprightness of judges are ef fential to the impartial administration of justice, and a great fecurity to the rights and liberties of the people.

23. That the liberty of the prefs ought to be inviolably preferved.



[ocr errors]

The CONSTITUTION, or Syftem of Government, agreed to and refolved upon by the Reprefentatives in full CONVENTION of the Delaware State, formerly filed, The Government of the Counties of Newcastle, Kent, and Suffex, upon Delaware; the faid Representatives being chosen by the Freemen of the faid State for that express Purpose.



HE government of the counties of Newcastle, Kent and Suffex, upon Delaware, fhall hereafter in all public and other writings be called, The Delaware State.

2. The legiflature fhall be formed of two diftinct branches: They fhall meet once or oftener in every year, and shall be called, The General Affembly of Delaware.

3. One of the branches of the legislature fhall be called, The Houfe of Affembly, and shall confift of feven reprefentatives to be chofen for each county annually, of fuch perfons as are freeholders of the fame.

4. The other branch shall be called, The Council, and confift of nine members; three to be chofen for each county at the time of the firft election of the affembly, who fhall be freeholders of the county for which they are chofen, and be upwards of twentyfive years of age. At the end of one year after the general election, the councillor who had the fmalleft number of votes in each county fhall be difplaced, and the vacancies thereby occafioned fupplied by the freemen of each county choofing the fame or another person at a new election in manner aforefaid. At the end of two years after the first general election, the councillor who ftood fecond in number of votes in each county shall be difplaced, and the vacancies thereby occafioned fupplied by a new election in manner aforesaid. And at the end of three years from the first general election, the councillor who had the greatest number of votes in each county fhall be displaced, and the vacancies thereby occafioned fupplied by a new election in manner aforefaid. And this rotation of a councillor being difplaced at the end of three years in each county, and his office fupplied by a new choice, fhall be continued afterwards in due order annually for ever, whereby, after the first general election, a councillor will remain in truft for three years from the time of his being elected, and a councillor will be difplaced, and the fame or another chofen in each county at every election.

5. The right of fuffrage in the election of members for both houfes fhall remain as exercifed by law at prefent; and each house fhall choose its own fpeaker, appoint its own officers, judge of the qualifications and elections of its own members, fettle its own

N 2


rules of proceeding, and direct writs of election for fupplying intermediate vacancies. They may alfo feverally expel any of their own members for misbehaviour, but not a fecond time in the fame feffions for the fame offence, if re-elected; and they fhall have all other powers neceffary for the legislature of a free and independent ftate.

6. All money-bills for the fupport of government fhall originate in the house of affembly, and may be altered, amended or rejected by the legislative council. All other bills and ordinances may take rife in the houfe of affembly or legislative council, and may be altered, amended or rejected by either.

7. A prefident or chief magiftrate fhall be chofen by joint ballot of both houses, to be taken in the house of affembly, and the box examined by the fpeakers of each houfe in the prefence of the other members; and in cafe the numbers for the two highest in votes fhould be equal, then the fpeaker of the council fhall have an additional cafting voice, and the appointment of the perfon who has the majority of votes fhall be entered at large on the minutes and journals of each houfe, and a copy thereof on parchment, certified and figned by the fpeakers refpectively, and fealed with the great feal of the state, which they are hereby authorifed to affix, fhall be delivered to the perfon fo chofen prefident, who fhall continue in that office three years, and until the fitting of the next general affembly and no longer, nor be eligible until the expiration of three years after he fhall have been out of that office. An adequate but moderate falary fhall be fettled on him during his continuance in office. He may draw for fuch sums of money as fhall be appropriated by the general affembly, and be accountable to them for the fame; he may, by and with the advice of the privy council, lay embargoes or prohibit the exportation of any commodity for any time not exceeding thirty days, in the recefs of the general affembly; he fhall have the power of granting pardons or reprieves, except where the profecution fhall be carried on by the house of affembly, or the law fhall otherwise direct, in which cafes no pardon or reprieve fhall be granted, but by a refolve of the houfe of aflembly; and may exercife all the other executive powers of government, limited and reftrained as by this conftitution is mentioned, and according to the laws of the ftate. And on his death, inability, or absence from the ftate, the fpeaker of the légiflative council for the time being fhall be vice-prefident; and in cafe of his death, inability, or abfence from the state, the fpeaker of the house of affembly thall have the powers of a prefident, until a new nomination is made by the general; affembly.

8. A privy-council confifting of four members fhall be chofen by ballot, two by the legislative council, and two by the house of affembly: Provided, that no regular officer of the army or navy in the fervice and pay of the continent, or of this, or of any other


ftate fhall be eligible. And a member of the legislative council or of the houfe of affembly being chofen of the privy-council, and accepting thereof, fhall thereby lofe his feat. Three members fhall be a quorum, and their advice and proceedings thall be entered on record, and figned by the members prefent. (to any part of which any member may enter his diffent) to be laid before

the general affembly, when called for by them. Two members fhall be removed by ballot, one by the legislative council, and one by the house of affembly, at the end of two years, and those who remain the next year after, who fhall feverally be ineligible for the three next years. Thefe vacancies, as well as thofe occafioned by death or incapacity, fhall be fupplied by new elections in the fame manner. And this rotation of a privy-councillor fhall be continued afterwards in due order annually for ever. The prefident may by fummons convene the privy-council at any time when the public exigencies may require, and at fuch place as he fhall think most convenient, when and where they are to attend accordingly.

9. The prefident, with the advice and confent of the privycouncil, may embody the militia, and act as captain-general and commander in chief of them, and the other military force of this ftate, under the laws of the fame.

10. Either houfe of the general affembly may adjourn themfelves refpectively. The prefident fhall not prorogue, adjourn, or diffolve the general affembly, but he may, with the advice of the privy-council, or on the application of a majority of either houfe, call them before the time to which they fhall ftand adjourned; and the two houfes fhall always fit at the fame time and place, for which purpofe immediately after every adjournment, the fpeaker of the houfe of affembly fhall give notice to the speaker of the other houfe of the time to which the houfe of affembly ftands adjourned.

11. The delegates for Delaware to the congrefs of the united ftates of America, fhall be chofen annually, or fuperfeded in the mean time, by joint ballot of both houfes in the general affembly,

12. The prefident and general affembly fhall by joint ballot appoint three juftices of the fupreme court for the ftate, one of whom fhall be chief-juftice, and a judge of admiralty, and alfo four juftices of the courts of common pleas and orphans courts for each county, one of whom in each court fhall be filed Chief Justice (and in cafe of divifion on the ballot, the prefident fhall have an additional cafting voice) to be commiffioned by the prefident under the great feal, who shall continue in office during good behaviour; and during the time the juftices of the faid fupreme court and courts of common-pleas remain in office, they shall hold none other except in the militia; any one of the juftices of either of faid courts fhall have power in cafe of the non-coming of his brethren

« السابقةمتابعة »