A DECLARATION of RIGHTS and Fundamental . Ru'*$ of the Delaware State, formerly/iiled, The Government . of the Counties of Newcastle, Kent, and Sussex, upon Delaware.?

t. HT^HAT all government of right originates from the people, JL is founded in compact only, and instituted solely for the good of the whole. ...

2. That all men have a natural and unalienable right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences and understandings; and that no man ought, or of right can be compelled to attend any religious worship, or maintain any ministry, contrary to or against his own free will and consent, and that no authority can or ought to be Vested in, or assumed by any power whatever, that shall in any case intersere with, or in any manner controul the right of conscience, in the free exercise of religious worship.

3. That all persons proseffing the christian religion, ought for ever to enjoy equal rights and privileges in this state, unless under colour of religion any man disturb the peace, the happiness, or sasety of society.

4. That the people of this state have the sole, exclusive, and inherent right of governing and regulating the internal police of the same.

5. That persons intrusted with the legislative and executive powers are the trustees and servants cf the public, and as such accountable for their conduct; wherefore, whenever the ends of government are perverted, and public liberty manisestly endangered by the legislative singly, 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 sufficient evidence of a permanent common interest with, and attachment to the community, hath a right of suffrage.

7. That no power os suspending laws, or the execution of laws, ought to be exercised unlels by the legislature.

8. That for redress of grievances, and for amending and strengthening of the laws, the legislature ought t,o be frequently convened. , .

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

N ic. Tha

10. That every member of society hath a right to be protected in the enjoyment of lise, liberty, and property, and therefore is bound to contribute his proportion towards the expence of that protection, and yield his personal service when necessary, or an equivalent thereto j but no part of a man's property can be justly taken from him, or applied to public uses without his own consent, or that of his legal representatives: Nor can any man that is conscientiously scrupulous of bearing arms in any case, be justly compelled thereto, if he will pay such equivalent.

11. That retrospective laws punishing offences committed before the existence of such laws, are oppreslive and unjust, and ought not to be made.

12. That every freeman, for every injury done him in his goods, lands, or person, by any other person, ought to have remedy by the course of the law of the land, and ought to have justice and right for the injury done to him, freely without sale, sully without any denial, and speedily without delay, according to the law of the land.

13. That trial by jury of sacts where they arise, is one of the greatest securities of the lives, liberties, and estates of the people.

14. That in all prosecutions for criminal offences, every man hath a right to be informed of the accusation against him, to be allowed counsel, to be confronted with the accusers or witnesses, to examine evidence on oath in his savour, and to a speedy trial, by an impartial jury, without whose unanimous consent 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 imposed, nor cruel or unusual punishments inslicted.

17. That all warrants without oath to search suspected places, or to seize any person or his property, are grievous and oppressive; and all general warrants to search suspected places, or to apprehend all persons suspected, without naming or describing the place or any person in special, are illegal, and ought not to be granted.

18. That a well regulated militia is the proper, natural, and sase desence of a free government.

19. That standing armies are dangerous to liberty, and ought not to be raised or kept up without the consent of the legislature.

20. That in all cases and at all times the military ought to be under strict subordination to, sind governed by the civil power.

21. That no soldier ought to be quartered in any house in time cf peace, without the consent of the owner; and in time of war in such manner only as the legislature shall direct.

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

23. That the liberty of the press ought to be inviolably preserved. '3 Iht

The C O N S T 1 T U TIO N, or System of Government, agreed to and resolved upon by the Representatives insult Convention of the Delaware State, fermirlj Jliled, The Government of the Counties of Newcastle, Kent, and Sussex, upon Delaware; the said Representatives being chosen by the Freemen of the said State for that express Purpose.

I. Hp'HE government of the counties of Newcastle, Kent and A Sussex, upon Delaware, shall hereafter in all public and other writings be called, The Delaware State.

2. The legislature shall be formed of two distinct branches: They shall meet once or oftener in every year, and shall be called, The General Assembly of Delaware. . .. .

3. One of the branches of the legislature shall be called, The House of Assembly; and shall consist of seven representatives to be chosen for each county annually, of such persons as are freeholders of the same.

4. The other branch shall be called, The Council, and consist of nine members; three to be chosen for each county at the time of the first election of the assembly, who shall be freeholders of the county for which they are chosen, and be upwards of twentyfive years of age. At the end of one year after the generai election, the councillor who had the smallest number of votes in each county shall be' displaced, and the vacancies thereby occasioned supplied by the freemen of each county choosing the same or another person at a new election in manner aforesaid. At the end of two years after the first general election, the councillor who stood second in number of votes in each county shall be displaced, and the vacancies thereby occasioned supplied 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 (hall be displaced, and the vacancies thereby occasioned supplied by a new election in manner aforesaid. And this rotation of a councillor being displaced at the end of three years in each county, and his office supplied by a new choice, shall be continued afterwards in due order annually for ever, whereby, after the first general election, a councillor will remain in trust for three years from the time of his being elected, and a councillor will be displaced, and the same or another chosen in each county at every election.

5. The right of suffrage in the election of members for both houses shall remain as exercised by law at present; and each house shall choose its own speaker, appoint its own officers, judge of the qualifications and elections of its own members, settle its own

N 2 rule*

brethren, to open and adjourn the court. An adequate, sixed, but moderate salary shall be settled on them during their continuance in office.. The president and privy council shall appoint the secretary, the attorney-general, registers for the probate of wills, and granting letters of administration, registers in chancery, clerks of the courts of common-pleas and orphans courts, and clerks of the peace, who shall Bbe commiffioned as aforesaid, and remain in office during sive years, is they behave themselves well; during which time the said registers in chancery and clerks shall not be justices of either of the saidcourts of which they are officers, but they shall have authority to sign all writs by them issued, and take recognizances of bail. The justices of the peace shall be nominated by the house of assembly, that is to say, They lhall name twenty-four persons for each county, of whom the president,.with the approbation of the privy-council, shall appoint twelve, who shall be commiffioned as aforesaid, and continue in office during seven years, is they behave themselves well; and in case of vacancies, or is the legislature shall think proper to increase the number, they shall be nominated and appointed in like manner. The members of the legislative and privy councils shall be justices of the peace for the whole state, during their continuance in trust; and the justices of the courts of commonpleas shall be conservators of the peace in their respective counties.

13. The justices of the courts of common-pleas and orphans courts shall have the power of holding inserior courts os chancery as heretofore, unless the legislature shall otherwise direct.

14. The clerks of the supreme court shall be appointed by the chief justice thereof, and the recorders of deeds by the justices of the courts of common-pleas for each county severally, and commiffioned by the president under the great seal, and continue in office five years, is they behave themselves well.

15. The sheriffs and coroners of the respective counties shall be chosen annually as heretofore; and any person having served three years as sheriff, shall be ineligible for three years after; and the president and privy-council shall have the appointment of such of the two candidates returned for the said offices of sheriffs and coroners, as they shall think best qualified, in the same manner that the governor heretofore enjoyed this power.

16. The general assembly by joint ballot shall appoint the generals and field-officers, and all other officers in the army* or navy of this state. And the president may appoint during pleasure, until otherwise directed by the legislature, all necessary civil officers not herein before-mentioned.

17. There shall be an appeal from the supreme court of Delaware in matters of law and equity, to a court of seven persons, to consist of the president for the timj .being, who shall preside therein, and six others, to be appointed, three by the legislative


council, and three by the house of assembly, who shall continue in office during good behaviour, and be commiffioned by the president under the great seal; which court shall be styled, The Court es Appeals, and have all the authority and powers heretofore given by law in the last resort to the king in council, under the old government. The secretary shall be the clerk of this court, and vacancies therein occasioned by death or incapacity, shall be supplied by new elections in manner aforesaid.

18. The justices of the supreme court and courts of commonpleas, the members of the privy-council, the secretary, the trustees of the loan-office, and clerks of the courts of commonpleas, during their continuance in office, and all persons concerned in any army or navy contracts, shall be ineligible to either house of assembly ; and any member of either house accepting of any other of the offices herein before mentioned (excepting the office of a justice of the peace) shall have his seat thereby vacated, and a new election shall be ordered.

19. The legislative council and assembly shall have the power of making the great seal of this state, which shall be kept by the president, or in his absence by the vice-president, to be used by them as occasion may require. It shall be called, The Great Seal of the Delaware S>ate, and shall be affixed to all laws and commiffions.

20. Commiffions shall run in the name of The Delaware State, and bear test by the president. Writs shall run in the same manner, and bear test in the name of the chief justice, or justice first named in the commiffions for the several courts, and be sealed with the public seals of such court;. Indictments shall conclude, Again/1 the peace and dignity of thtjlate.

21. In case of vacancy or the offices above directed to be filled by the president and general assembly, the president and privycouncil may appoint others in their stead, until there shall be a new election.

22. Every person who shall be chosen a member of either house, or appointed to any office or place of trust, before taking his seat, or entering upon the execution of his office, shall take she following oath, or affirmation if conscientiously scrupulous of taking an oath, to wit,

"I, A. B. will bear true allegiance to the Delaware State, submit to its constitution and laws, and do no act wittingly whereby the freedom thereof may be prejudiced." •

And also make and. subscribe the following declara>ion, to wit,

"I, A. B. do prosess saith in God the Father, and in Jcfus .Christ his only Son, and the Holy Ghost, one God, blessed for evermore; and I do acknowledge the holy scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by divine inspiration."

And all officers shall also take an oath of office.

23. The

« ForrigeFortsett »