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after a new election of delegates, in the first seffion after such new election;. provided that nothing in this form of government which.' relates to the eastern shore particularly, shall at any time hereafter be altered unless for the alteration and confirmation theredf at least two thirds of all the members of each branch of the general afa sembly shall concur.
60. That every bill passed by. the general.assembly, when engrossed, shall be presented by the speaker ot" the house of delegates, in the senate, to the governor for the time being, who shall sign the same, and thereto asfix the great seal, in the presence of the members of both houses: every law shall be recorded in the general court office of the western shore, and in due time printed, published, and certified under the great seal, to the several county courts, in the same manner as hath been heretofore used in this state.
This form of government was assented to, and passed in convention of the delegates of the freemen of Maryland, begun and held at the city of Annapolis, the 14th of August, A. Di 1776.
By order of the Convention,
M. Tilghman, President.
The CONSTITUTION, or Form of Government, agrted to and resolved upon by the Delegates and Representatives of the several Counties and Corporations of Virginia, in a General Convention held at Williamsburgh, on the 6th of May, and continued by Adjournments to the 5th of July, 1776.
WE, the delegates and representatives of the good people of Virginia, do declare the suture form of government of Virginia to be as followeth:
The legislative, executive, and judiciary departments shall be separate and distinct, so that neither exercise the powers properly belonging to the other ; nor shall any person exercise the powers of more than one of them at the same time, except that the justices of the county courts shall be eligible to either house of assembly.
The legislative shall be formed of two distinct branches, who, together, shall be a complete legislature. They shall meet once, or oftener, every year, and shall be called, The General Assembly of Virginia. One of these shall be called, The H.ufe as Delegates, and consist of two representatives to be chosen for each county, and for the district of West-Augusta, annually, of such men as actually reside in and are freeholders of the same, or duly qualified according to law, and also of one delegate or representative to be' chosen annually for the city of Williamsburgh, and one for the borough of Norfolk, and a representative for each of such other cities and boroughs as may hereafter be allowed particular representation by the legislature; but when any city or borough shall fo decrease, as that the number of persons having right of suffrage therein shall have been for the space of seven years succeffively less than half the number of voters in someone county in Virginia, such city or borough thenceforward shall cease to send a delegate or representative to the assembly.
The other shall be called The Senate, and consist.of twentyfour members, of whom thirteen shall constitute a house to proceed en business, for whose election the different counties shall be divided into twenty-four districts, and each county of the respective
district, district, at the time of the election of its delegates, shall vote for one senator, who is actually a resident and freeholder within the district, or duly qualified according to law, and is upwards of twenty-five years of"age; and the sheriffs.of each county, within five days at sarthest after the last county election in the district, shall meetat some convenient place, and from the poll so taken in their respective counties, return as a senator the man who lhall have the greatest number of votes in the whole district. To keep up this assembly by rotation, the districts shall be equally divided into four classes, and numbered by lot. At the end of one yearafter the general election, the six members elected by the first division shall be displaced, and the vacancies thereby occasioned supplied from such class or division,. by new election in the manner- aforesaid. This rotation shall be applied to each division according to its number, and continued in due order annually.
The right of suffrage in the election of members for both houses shall remain as exercised at present, and each house shall choose its own speaker, appoint its own officers, settle its own rules of proceeding, and direct writs of election for the supplying intermediate vacancies.
All laws shall originate in the house of delegates, to be approved of or rejected by the senate, or to be amended with consent of the house of delegates; except money-bills, which in no instance shall be altered by the senate, but wholly approved or rejected.
A governor, or chief magistrate shall be chosen annually, by. joint ballot of both houses, to be taken in each house respectively, deposited in the conserence room, the boxes examined jointly by a committee of each house, and the numbers severally reported to them, that the appointments may be entered (which shall be the mode of taking the joint ballot of both houses in all cases) who shall not continue in that office longer than three years succeffively, nor be eligible until the expiration of four years after he shall have been out of that office. An adequate, but moderate salaryshall be settled on him during his continuance in office; and he shall, with the advice of a council of state, exercise the executive, powers of government, according to the laws of this commonwealth; and shall not, under any pretence, exercise any power or prerogative by virtue of any law, statute, or custom of England: But he shall, with the advice of the council as state, have the power of granting reprieves or pardons, except where the prosecution shall have been carried on by the house of delegates, or the law shall otherwise particularly direct; in which cases no reprieve or pardon shall be granted, but by resolve of the house of delegates. Either house of the general assembly may adjourn themselves respectively. The governor sh;ill not prorogue or adjourn the assembly during their fitting, nor dissolve them at any time; but
he shall, is necessary, either by advice of the council of state, or on application of a majority of the house of delegates, call them before the time to which they shall stand prorogued or adjourned.
A privy council, or council of state, consisting of eight members, shall be chosen by joint ballot of both houses of assembly, either from their own members or the people at large, to affist in the administration of government. They (hall annually choose, out of their own members, a president, who, in case of death, inability, or absence of the governor from the government, shall act as lieutenant-governor. Four members shall be sufficient to act, and their advice and proceedings shall be entered on record, and signed by the members present, (to any part whereof any member may enter his dissent) to belaid before the general assembly, when. called for by them. This council may appoint their own clerk, who shall have a salary settled by law, and take an oath of secrecy in such matters as he shall be directed by the beard to conceal. A • sum os money appropriated to that purpose, shall be divided annually among the members, in proportion to their attendance; and they shall be incapable, during their continuance in office, of sitting in either house of assembly. Two members shall be removed by joint ballot of both houses of assembly, at the end of every three years, and be ineligible for the three next years. These vacancies, as well as those occasioned by death or incapacity, shall be supplied by new elections in the same manner.
The dek.gatcs for Virginia to the continental congress shall be chosen.annually, or superseded in the mean time by joint ballot of both houses of assembly.
The present militia officers shall be continued, and vacancies supplied by appointment of the governor, with the advice of the privy council, on recommendations from the respective county courts; but the governor and council shall have a power of suspending any officer, and ordering a court martial on complaint ©f misbehaviour or inability, or to supply vacancies of officers ihappening when in actual service.
The governor may embody the militia, with the advice of the privy council; and, when embodied, shall alone have the direction of the militia under the laws of the country.
"The two houses of assembly shall, by joint ballot, appoint judges of the supreme court of appeals, and general court, judges in chancery, judges of admiralty, secretary, and the attorneygeneral, to be commiffioned by the governor, and continue in office during good behaviour. In case of death, incapacity, or resignation, the governor, with the advice of the privy-council, shall appoint persons to succeed in office, to be approved or displaced by both houses. These officers shall have fixed.and adequate salaries, and^, together with all others holding lucrative offices, and all ministers of the gospel of every denomination, be
incapable incapable of being elected members of either house of assembly, or the privy-council. ,
The governor, with the advice of the privy council, shall appoint justices of the peace for the counties; and in cafe of vacancies, or a neceffity of increasing the number hereafter, such appointments to be made upon the recommendation of the respective county courts. The present acting secretary in Virginia, and clerks of all the county courts, shall continue in office. In case of vacancies, either by death, incapacity, or resignation, a secretary shall be appointed, as before directed, and the clerks by the respective courts. The present and suture clerks shall hold their offices during good, behaviour, to be judged of and determined in the general court. The sheriffs and coroners shall be nominated by the respective courts, approved by the governor with the advice of the privy-council, and commissioned by the governor. The justices shall appoint constables; and all sees of the aforesaid ofsicers be regulated by law.
The governor, when he is out of office, and others offending against the state, either by mal-administration, corruption, or other means, by which the sasety of the state may be endangered, shall be impeachable by the house of delegates. Such impeachment to be prosecuted by the attorney-general, or such other person or persons as the house may appoint, in the general court, according to the laws of the land. If found guilty, he or they shall be either for ever disabled to hold any office under government, or be removed from such office pro tempore, or subjected to such pains or penalties as the law shall direct.
If all or any of the judges of the general court should, on good grounds (to be judged of by the house of delegates), beaccused of any of the crimes or offences above mentioned, such house of delegates may in like manner impeach the judge or judges so accused, to be prosecuted in the court of appeals; and he or they, is found guilty, shall be punished jn the same manner as is prescribed in the preceding clause.
Commiffions and grants shall run, In the name of the commonwealth of Virginia, and bear test by the governor, with the seal ©f the commonwealth annexed. Writs (hall run in the same manner, and bear test by the clerks of the several courts. Indictments shall conclude, Against the peace and dignity of the commonwealth.
A treasurer shall be appointed annually, by joint ballot of both houses.
All escheats, penalties, and forseitures, heretofore going to the king, shall go to the commonwealth, save only such as the legislature may abolish, or otherwise provide for.
The territories contained within the charters erecting the colonies of Maryland, Pennsylvania, North and South-Carolina,