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The CONSTITUTION, or form of Government, agreed to and refohed upon, by the Refrifentati.ves of the Freemen of the State of North- Carolina, eleflcd and chofen for that particular purpo/e, in Cougrefs ajfembled, at Halifax^ Dec. i8, i776.
A DECLARATION Of RIGHTS, &c. . I. ' I 'HAT all political power is vefted in, and derived JL from the People only.
II. That the People of this State ought to have the fole and exclufive right of regulating the internal goverment and police thereof.
III. That no man, or fet of men, are entitled to exclufive or feparate emoluments or privileges from the community, but in confideration of public i'ervices.
IV. That the legiflative, executive, and fupreme judicial powers of Government, ought to be forever feparate and di(Hnct from each other.
V. That all powers of fufpending laws, or the execution of laws, by any authority, without confent of the Reprefentatives of the People, is injurious to their rights, and ought not to be exercifed.
VI. That elections of Members, to ferve as Reprefematives in General Aflernbly, ought to be free.
VII. That in all criminal profecutions, every man has a right to be informed of the accufation againft him, and to confront the accufers and witneffes with other teftimony, and fhall not be compelled to give evidence againft himfelf.
VIII. That no freeman fnall be put to anfwerany criminal charge, but by indictment, prefentment or impeachment.
IX. That no freeman fhall be convicted of any crime, but by the unanimous verdict of a jury of good and lawful men, in open court, as heretofore ufed.
X. That exceffive bail ftiould not be required, nor exceffive tiaes impoled, nor cruel or unulual puniftments infli&ed. That
XI. That general warrants, whereby an officer or meffenger, maybe commanded to fearch f.ifpected places, without evidence of the fa£t committed, or to feize any peribn or perfons, not named, whole offences are not particularly defcribed, and fupported by evidence—are dangerous to liberty and ought not to be granted.
XII. That no freeman ought to be taken, imprifoned or diffcized of his freehold, liberties or privileges, or outlawed, or exiled, or in any manner deftroyed, or deprived of his life, liberty, or property, but by the law of the land.
XIII. That every freeman, retrained of his liberty, is entitled to a remedy, to enquire into the lawfulnefs thereof, and to remove the lame, if unlawful; and that fuch remedy ought not to be denied or delayed,
XIV. That in all controverfies at law, refpecting property, the ancient mode of trial by jury, is one of the bed l'ecurities of the rights of the People, and ought to remain facred and inviolable.
XV. That the freedom of the Prefs is one of the great bulwarks of Liberty, and therefore ought never to be retrained.
XVI. That the People of this State ought not to be taxed, or made l'ubject to the payment of" any impofr, or duty, without the confent of themfelves, or their Representatives in General Affembly freely given.
XVII. That the People have a right to bear arms, for the defence of the State; and as Handing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; and that the military mould be kept under ltrict fubordination to, and governed by the civil power.
XVIII. That the People have a right to affemble together, to confult for their common good, to inftruct their Reprefentatives, and to apply to the Legiflature for redrel's of grievances.
XIX. That all men have a natural and unalienable right to worfllip Almighty God, according to the dictates of their own confidences.
XX. That for redrefs of grievances, and for amending and IVrcngthening the laws, ele&ions ought oftea to be held. Jhat
XXI. That a frequent recurrence to fundamental principles is abfolutely necellary, to preierve the blelfings of Liberty.
XXII. That no hereditary emoluments, privileges, or honours, be granted or conferred in thisSrate.
XXIII. That perpetuities and monopolies are contrary to the genius of a free State, and ought not to
1 be allowed,
XXIV. That retrofpeclive laws, punifhing facts, committed before the cxiftence of Inch laws, and, by them only, declared criminal, are oppreflive, unjufr, and incompatible with Liberty; wherefore, no ex poji fafto law ought to be made,
XXV. The property of the foil in a free government, being one of the eh"ential rights of the collective body of the people, it isneceirary, in order to avoid future difputes, that the limits of the State fhould be afcertained with precifion: and as the former temporary line, between North and South-Carolina, was confirmed and extended by Commiffioncrs, appointed by the Legillatures of the two States, agreeable to the order of the late King George II, in council, that line, and that only, fhould be efteemed the fouthern boundary of this State—that is to fay, beginning on the fea fide, at a cedar flake, at or near the mouth of Little river, (being the fouthern extremity of Brunfwic couuty) and running from thence a north-weft courfe, through the boundary houfe, which ftands in 33 degrees ,56 min. to 35 deg. N.latitude; and from thence a weft courfe fo far as is mentioned in the charter of King Charles II, to the late proprietors of Carolina. Therefore all the territory, feas, waters and harbours, with their appurtenances, lying between the line above defcribed, and the fouthern line of the State of Virginia, which begins on the fea-fhore, in thirty fix degrees thirty minutes, north latitude, and from thence runs weft, agreeable to the faid charter of King Charles, are the right and property of the People of this State, to be held by them in fovereignty; any partial line without the con. fent of the Legiflature of this State, at any time thereafter dire£ted or laid outj in anywife notwitbfUndingi*
Provided always, That this Declaration of Right shall not prejudice any nation or nations of Indians, from enjoying such hunting grounds as may have been, or hereafter shall be, secured to them, by any foraner 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 shall affect the titles or possessions of individuals, holding or claiming under the laws heretofore in force, or grants heretofore made by the late King George II. or his predecessors, or the late lords proprietors, or any of them.
The Constitution Or Form Of Government, &cWHEREAS 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 Britian, 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 property found 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 r 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 whatsoever; and that the said Colonies now are, and forever shajl he, free and independent States-—
"Wherefore, in our present state, in order to prevent anarchy and confusion, it becomes necessary that Government should be established in this 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 maimer and form following, to ivit:
I. That the Legislative authority shall be vested in two distinct branches, both dependent on the People, 19 ivit: a Senate and House of Commons.
II. That the Senate shall be composed of Representatives, annually chosen by ballot, one for each county in the State.
III. That the House of Commons shall be composed of Representatives annually chosen by ballot, two for each county, and one for each of the towns of Edenton, Newbem, Wilmington, Salisbury, Hillsborough, and Halifax.
IV. That the Senate and House of Commons, assembled for the purpose of legislation, shall be denominated, The General Assemblxj.
V. 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 acres of land in fee.
VI. 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 life.
VII. 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 freehold,