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Sec. 21. That a frequent recurrence to fundamental principles is absolutely necessary to preserve the blessings of liberty.
Sec. 22. That no hereditary emoluments, privileges, or honors, ought to be granted or conferred in this State.
Sec. 23. That perpetuities and monopolies are contrary to the genius of a free State, and ought not to be allowed.
Sec. 24. That retrospective laws, punishing acts committed before the existence of such laws, and by them only declared criminal, are oppressive, unjust, and incompatible with liberty ; wherefore, no ex post facto law ought to be made.
Sec. 25. The property of the soil in a free government, being one of the essential rights of the collective body of the people, it is necessary, in order to avoid future disputes, that the limits of the State should be ascertained with precision; and as the former temporary line between North and South Carolina was confirmed and extended by Commissioners appointed by the Legislatures of the two states, agreeably to the order of the late King George the Second, in Council, that line, and that only, should be esteemed the Southern boundary of this State, as follows : That is to say, beginning on the sea side, at a cedar stake, at or near the mouth of Little River, being the Southern extremity of Brunswick county, and running from thence a north-west course through the boundary house, which stands in thirty-three degrees, fifty-six minutes, to thirty-five degrees North latitude ; and from thence a west course, so far as is mentioned in the charter of King Charles the Second, to the late proprietors of Carolina. Therefore, all the territories, seas, waters, and harbors, with their appurtenances, lying between the line above described and the Southern line in the State of Virginia, which begins on the sea shore, in thirty-six degrees thirty minutes North latitude, and from thence runs west, agreeably to the said charter of King Charles, are the right and property of the people of this States, to be held by them in sovereignty, any partial line, without the consent of the Legislature of this State, at any time thereafter directed or laid out, in any wise, notwithstanding. Provided always, That this declaration of right shall not prejudge any nation or nations of Indians froin enjoying such hunting grounds as may have been, or hereafter shall be secured to them, by any former or future Legislature of this State. And provided, also, That it shall not be construed so as to prevent the establishment of one or more governments westward of this State, by consent of the Legislature. And provided further, That nothing herein contained, snall affect the titles or possessions of individuals, holding or claiming, under the laws heretofore ir force, or grants hereto. fore made by the late King George the Third, or his predecessors, or the late Lords Proprietors, or any of them. December the 19th day, A. D. 1776 ; read the third time, and ratified in open Congress, THE CONSTITUTION
THE CONSTITUTION or FORM OF GOVERNMENT, agreed to and
resolved upon by the Representatives of the Freemen of the State of North Carolina, elected and chosen for that particular purpose, in Congress assembled, at Halifax, the eighteenth day of December, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy-six.
WHEREAS, allegiance and protection are in their nature reciprocal, and the one should of right be refused when the other is withdrawn. And whereas, George the Third, King of Great Britain, and late Sovereign of the British American Colonies, hath not only withdrawn from them his protection, but, by an act of the British Legislature, declared the inhabitants of these States out of the protection of the British Crown, and all their pro
upon the high seas liable to be seized and confiscated to the uses mentioned in the said act. And the said George the Third has also sent fleets and armies to prosecute a cruel war against them, for the purpose of reducing the inhabitants of the said colonies to a state of abject slavery. In consequence whereof, all government under the said King, within the said colonies, hath ceased, and a total dissolution of government in many of them hath taken place. And whereas, the Continental Congress having considered the premises, and other previous violations of the rights of the good people of America, have therefore declared, that the Thirteen United Colonies are, of right, wholly absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, or any other foreign jurisdiction whatscever, and that the said colonies now are, and for ever shall be, free and independent States. Wherefore, in our present State, in order to prevent anarchy and confusion, it becomes necessary that a government should be established in the State: Therefore, We, the Representatives of the Freemen of North Carolina, chosen and assembled in Congress for the express purpose of framing a constitution, under the authority of the people, most conducive to their happiness and prosperity do declare that a Government for this State shall be established in manner and form following, to-wit :
Section 1. That the Legislative authority shall be vested in two distinct branches, both dependent on the people, to-wit: a Senate and House of Commons.
Sec. 2. That the Senate shall be composed of Representatives [annually*] chosen by ballot, one from each [county) in this State.
Sec. 3. That the House of Commons shall be composed of Representatives (annually) chosen by ballot, (two for each county, and one for the towns of Edenton, Newbern, Wilmington, Salisbury, Hillsborough and Halifax.)
Sec. 4. That the Senate House of Commons assembled for the purpose of legislation, shall be denominated the General Assembly.
Sec. 5. That each member of the Senate shall have usually resided in the [county) in which he is chosen, for one year immediately preceding his election ; and for the same time shall have possessed, and continue to possess, in the county ) which he represents, not less than three hundred arcres of land in fee.
SEC. 6. That each member of the House of Commons shall have usually resided in the [county) in which he is chosen, for one year immediately preceding his election, and for six months shall have possessed, and continue to possess, in the [county] which he represents, not less than one hundred acres of land in fee, or for the term of his own lite.
Sec. 7. That all [freemen] of the age of twenty-one years, who have been inhabitants of any one (county) within the State twelve months immediately preceding the day of any election, and possessed of a free-hold within the same ccunty of fifty acres of land, for six months next before and at the day of Sec. 9. [That all persons possessed of a freehold in any town in this State, having a right of representation, and also all freemen who have been inhabitants of any z uch town twelve months next before and at the day of election, and shall liave paid public taxes shall be entitled to vote for a member to represent such town in the House of Commons. Provided always, That this section shall not entitle any inhabitant of such town to vote for members of the House of Coinmons for the county in which he may reside, nor any freeholder in such county, who resides without or beyond the limits of such town, to vote for a member for said town.]
Sec. 10. That the Senate and House of Commons, when met, shall each have power to choose a Speaker and other their officers, be judges of the qualifications and elections of their members, sit upon their own adjournments from day to day, and prepare bills to be passed into laws. The two Houses shall direct writs of elections for supplying intermediate vacancies, and shall also jointly, by ballot, adjourn themselves to any future day and place.
Sec. 11. That all bills shall be read three times in each House before they pass into laws, and be signed by the Speak ers of both Houses.
Sec. 12. That every person who shall be chosen a member of the Senate or House of Commons, or appointed to any office or place of trust, before taking his seat, or entering upon the execution of his office, shall take an oath to the State ; and all officers shall also take an oath of office.
Sec. 13. That the General Assembly shall, by joint ballot of both_Houses, appoint Judges of the Supreme Courts of Law and Equity, Judges of Admiralty, and [Attorney General,] who shall be commissioned by the Governor, and hold their offices during good behaviour.
Sec. 14. [That the Senate and House of Commons shall have power to appoint the Generals and Field Officers of the