Page images

bly to that effect; which resolution shall be voted for by a majority of all the members elected to the house in which it may originate, and be concurred in by the same majority of the other house. Such resolution shall not be entertained at any other than the annual session for the election of public officers; and in default of the passage thereof at said session, the judge shall hold his place as is herein provided. But a judge of any court shall be removed from office, if, upon impeachment, he shall be found guilty of any official misdemeanor.

5. In case of vacancy by death, resignation, removal from the State or from office, refusal or inability to serve, of any judge of the Supreme Court, the office may be filled by the grand committee, until the next annual election, and the judge then elected shall hold his office as before provided. In cases of impeachment, or temporary absence or inability, the Governor may appoint a person to discharge the duties of the office during the vacancy caused thereby.

6. The judges of the Supreme Court shall receive a compensation for their services, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office.

7. The towns of New Shoreham and Jamestown may continue to elect their wardens as heretofore. The other towns and the city of Providence may elect such number of justices of the peace, resident therein, as they may deem proper. The jurisdiction of said justices and wardens shall be regulated by law. The justices shall be commissioned by the Governor.

ARTICLE XI.-Of Impeachments. Sec. 1. The House of Representatives shall have the sole power of impeachments. A vote of two-thirds of all the members elected shall be required for an impeachment of the Governor. Any officer impeached, shall thereby be suspended from office until judgment in the case shall have been pronounced.

2. All the impeachments shall be tried by the Senate; and when sitting for that purpose, they shall be under oath or affirmation. No person shall be convicted except by vote of two-thirds of the members elected. When the Governor is impeached, the chief or presiding justice of the Supreme Court for the time being, shall preside, with a casting vote in all preliminary questions,

3. The Governor and all other executive and judicial officers, shall be liable to impeachment; but judgment in such cases shall not extend further than to removal from office. The person convicted, shall, nevertheless, be liable to indictment, trial, and punishment, according to law.

ARTICLE XII.-Of Education. Sec. 1. The diffusion of knowledge, as well as of virtue, among the people, being essential to the preservation of their rights and liberties, it shall be the duty of the General Assembly to promote public schools, and to adopt all means which they may deem necessary and proper to secure to the people the advantages and opportunities of education.

2. The money which now is, or which may hereafter be appropriated by law for the establishment of a permanent fund for the support of public schools, shall be securely invested and remain a perpetual fund for that purpose.

3. All donations for the support of public schools or for other purposes of education, which may be received by the General Assembly, shall be applied according to the terms prescribed by the donors.

4. The General Assembly shall make all necessary provisions by law for carrying this article into effect. They shall not divert said money or fund from the aforesaid uses, nor borrow, appropriate, or use the same, or any part thereof, for any other purpose, under any pretence whatsoever.

ARTICE XIII.—On Amendments. The General Assembly may propose amendments to this Constitution by the votes of a majority of all the members elected to each house. Such propositions for amendment shall be published in the newspapers, and printed copies of them shall be sent by the Secretary of State, with the names of all the members who shall have voted thereon, with the yeas and nays, to all the town and city clerks in the State. The said propositions shall be, by said clerks, inserted in the warrants or notices by them issued, for warning the next annual town and ward meetings in April; and the clerks shall read said propositions to the electors when thus assembled, with the names of all the representatives and senators who shall have voted thereon, with the yeas and nays, before the election of senators and representatives shall be had. If a majority of all the members elected to each house, at said annual meeting, shall approve any proposition thus made, the same shall be published and submitted to the electors in the mode provided in the act of approval ; and if then approved by three-fifths of the electors of the State present, and voting thereon in town and ward meetings, it shall become a part of the Constitution of the State.

ARTICLE XIV.Of the Adoption of this Constitution. Sec. 1. This Constitution, if adopted, shall go into operation on the first Tuesday of May, in the year one thousand eight hundred and forty-three. The first election of Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney-General, and General Treasurer, and of senators and representatives under said Constitution, shall be had on the first Wednesday of April next preceding by the electors qualified under said Constitution. And the town and ward meetings, therefore, shall be warned and conducted as is now provided by law. All civil and military officers now elected, or who shall hereafter be elected, by the General Assembly, or other competent authority, before the said first Wednesday of April, shall hold their offices and may exercise their powers until the said first Tuesday of May, or until their successors shall be qualified to act. All statutes, public and private, not repugnant to this Constitution, shall continue in force until they expire by their own limitation, or are repealed by the General Assembly. All charters, contracts, judgments, actions, and rights of action, shall be as valid as if this Constitution had not been made. The present government shall exercise all the powers with which it is now clothed, until the said first Tuesday of May, one thousand eight hundred and forty-three, and until the government under this Constitution is duly organized.

2. All debts contracted and engagements entered into, before the adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the State as if this Constitution had not been adopted.

3. The Supreme Court, established by this Constitution, shall have the same jurisdiction as the Supreme Judicial Court at present established, and shall have jurisdiction of all causes which may be appealed to, or pending in the same; and shall be held at the same times and places, and in each county, as the present Supreme Judicial Court, until otherwise prescribed by the General Assembly.

4. The towns of New Shoreham and Jamestown shall continue to enjoy the exemptions from military duty which they now enjoy, until otherwise prescribed by law.

[merged small][graphic][subsumed]

This State consisted, at its first settlement, of three colonies, called Hartford, New Haven, and Saybrook colonies. The colony of Saybrook afterwards became united with Hartford. The first English settlement was at Windsor, in 1633, by emigrants from Massachusetts—then a journey of fourteen days from Boston-now of five hours. New Haven colony was settled by the English in 1638. In 1662 these colonies were united under one government by a charter from Charles II. The New Haven colony refused to accede to this charter until 1665. This charter was suspended in 1686, and Sir Edmund Andross was appointed Governor-General of New England. Upon his arrival at Boston, he wrote to the colony of Connecticut, demanding of them their charter. This they refused. In October, 1687, the Assembly met, as usual, at Hartford. About this time, Sir Edmund, with his suit of more than sixty regular troops, made their appearance in the Assembly, and demanded of them their charter, declaring their government under it dissolved. A long discussion ensued, which continued till evening. Meantime a large number of the inhabitants came together to witness the result. The charter was at length brought and laid upon the table. Suddenly, at a signal, the lights were all extinguished, and one Capt. Wadsworth, of Hartford, seized the charter and bore it away, secreting it in a large hollow oak, standing near the place. By this means, it was preserved. The old oak still stands, bearing the significant name of the Old Charter Oak, (See Barber's Hist. Collections of Conn.) This charter was confirmed after the revolution in England, of 1688, and formed the basis of government until 1818, when the present Constitution was adopted. Area, 4,674 sq. m. Pop., in 1850, 370,791.



The people of Connecticut, acknowledging, with gratitude, the good providence of God in having permitted them to enjoy a free government, do, in order more effectually to define, secure, and perpetuate the liberties, rights, and privileges which they have derived from their ancestors, hereby, after a careful consideration and revision, ordain and establish the following Constitution and form of civil government,

ARTICLE I.—Declaration of Rights. That the great and essential principles of liberty and free government may be recognized and established, we declare :

Sec. 1. That all men, when they form a social compact, are equal in rights; and that no man, or set of men, are entitled to exclusive public emoluments or privileges from the community.

2. That all political power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority, and instituted for their benefit; and that they have at all times an undeniable and indefeasible right to alter their form of government in such manner as they may think expedient.

3. The exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination, shall forever be free to all persons in this State, provided that the right hereby declared and established shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness, or to justify practices inconsistent with the peace and safety of the State.

4. No preference shall be given by law to any Christian sect or mode of worship

5. Every citizen may freely speak, write, and publish his sentiments on all •subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that liberty.

6. No law shall ever be passed to curtail or restrain the liberty of speech or of the press.

7. In all prosecutions or indictments for libels, the truth may be given in evidence, and the jury shall have a right to determine the law and the facts, under the direction of the court.

8. The people shall be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and possessions, from unreasonable searches, or seizures; and no warrant to search any place, or to seize any person or things, shall issue, without describing them as nearly as may be, nor without probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation.

9. In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall have a right to be heard, by himself and by counsel : to demand the nature and cause of the accusation ; to be confronted by the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process to obtain witnesses in his favor;

« PreviousContinue »