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representation in the legislature; a right inestimable to them, and formidable to tyrants only.

"He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

"He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

"He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large, for their exercise; the state remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without and convulsions within.

"He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states, for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to piss others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.

"He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.

“He has made judges dependent on his will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

"He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

"He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies, without the consent of our legislatures.

"He has affected to render the military independent of, and superior to, the civil power.

"He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation

"For quartering large bodies of troops among us:

"For protecting them, by a mock trial, from punishment for any murders. they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:

"For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:

"For imposing taxes on us, without our consent:

"For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury: "For transporting us beyond seas, to be tried for pretended offenses: "For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries, so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these colonies:

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For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:

"For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

"He has abdicated government here by declaring us out of his protection, and waging war against us.

"He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns and destroyed the lives of our people.

"He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries, to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy, scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.

"He has constrained our fellow-citizens, taken captive on the high seas, to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.

"He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers the merciless Indian savages,.


Powers of


whose known rule of warfare is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

"In every stage of these oppressions, we have petitioned for redress, in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince whose character is thus marked, by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

"Nor have we been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them, from time to time, of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connection and correspondence. They, too, have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must therefore acquiesce in the necessity which denounces our separation, and hold them as we hold the rest of mankind: enemies in war; in peace, friends. "We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in general congress assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be, FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor."

AND WHEREAS this convention, having taken this declaration into their most serious consideration, did, on the ninth day of July last past, unanimously resolve that the reasons assigned by the continental congress, for declaring the united colonies free and independent states, are cogent and conclusive; and that, while we lament the cruel necessity which has rendered that measure unavoidable, we approve the same, and will, at the risk of our lives and fortunes, join with the other colonies in supporting it.

By virtue of which several acts, declarations and proceedings, the conven- mentioned and contained in the afore-recited resolves or resolutions of the general congress of the United American States, and of the congresses or conventions of this state, all power whatever therein hath reverted to the people thereof, and this convention hath, by their suffrages and free choice, been appointed, and among other things, authorized to institute and establish such a government as they shall deem best calculated to secure the rights and liberties of the good people of this state, most conducive of the happiness and safety of their constituents in particular, and of America in general:

All authority derived

from the people.

Legislative power.

I. This convention, therefore, in the name and by the authority of the good people of this state, DOTH ORDAIN, DETERMINE AND DECLARE, That no authority shall, on any pretense whatever, be exercised over the people or members of this state but such as shall be derived from and granted by them.

II. This convention doth further, in the name and by the authority of the good people of this state, ORDAIN, DETERMINE AND DECLARE, That the supreme legislative power within this state shall

be vested in two separate and distinct bodies of men: the one to be called the assembly of the State of New York; the other to be called the senate of the State of New York; who, together, shall form the legislature, and meet once at least in every year for the dispatch of business.


III. AND WHEREAS laws inconsistent with the spirit of this con- Council of stitution, or with the public good, may be hastily and unadvisedly passed: BE IT ORDAINED, That the governor, for the time being, the chancellor, and the judges of the supreme court, or any two of them, together with the governor, shall be, and hereby are constituted a council to revise all bills about to be passed into laws by the legislature. And for that purpose shall assemble themselves, from time to time, when the legislature shall be convened; for which, nevertheless, they shall not receive any salary or consideration under any pretense whatever. And that all bills which have passed the senate and assembly shall, before they become laws, be presented to the said council for their revisal and consideration; and if upon such revision and consideration it should appear improper to the said council, or a majority of them, that the said bill should become a law of this state, that they return the same, together with their objections thereto in writing, to the senate or house of assembly, in whichsoever the same shall have originated, who shall enter the objections sent down by the council, at large, in their minutes, and proceed to reconsider the said bill. But if after such reconsideration, two-thirds of the said senate or house of assembly shall, notwithstanding the said objections, agree to pass the same, it shall, together with the objections, be sent to the other branch of the legislature, where it shall also be reconsidered, and if approved by two-thirds of the members present, shall be a law. And in order to prevent any unnecessary delays,

come laws if


BE IT FURTHER ORDAINED, That if any bill shall not be returned Bills to beby the council within ten days after it shall have been presented, not returnthe same shall be a law, unless the legislature shall, by their ad- edin ten journment, render a return of the said bill, within ten days, impracticable; in which case, the bill shall be returned on the first day of the meeting of the legislature, after the expiration of the said ten days.

IV. That the assembly shall consist of at least seventy members, The assem to be annually chosen in the several counties, in the proportions fol- bly. lowing, viz.:

For the city and county of New York,

The city and county of Albany,

The county of Dutchess,

Representation appor tioned to each coun





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Census, when and

how to be


Ballot, opinion of

V. That as soon after the expiration of seven years, subsequent to the termination of the present war, as may be, a census of the electors and inhabitants in this state be taken, under the direction of the legislature. And if on such census it shall appear that the number of representatives in assembly from the said counties is not justly proportioned to the number of electors in the said counties respectively, that the legislature do adjust and apportion the same by that rule. And further, that once in every seven years, after the taking of the said first census, a just account of the electors resident in each county shall be taken; and if it shall thereupon appear that the number of electors in any county shall have increased or diminished one or more seventieth parts of the whole number of electors, which on the said first census shall be found in this state, the number of representatives for such county shall be increased or diminished accordingly, that is to say, one representative for every seventieth part, as aforesaid.

VI. AND WHEREAS an opinion hath long prevailed among divers voting by. of the good people of this state, that voting at elections by ballot would tend more to preserve the liberty and equal freedom of the people than voting viva voce: to the end, therefore, that a fair experiment be made, which of those two methods of voting is to be preferred:

Alter c

war, experi



DE IT ORDAINED, That as soon as may be, after the termination ment to be of the present war between the United States of America and Great Britain, an act or acts be passed by the legislature of this state, for causing all elections thereafter to be held in this state, for senators and representatives in assembly, to be by ballot, and directing the manner in which the same shall be conducted. AND WHEREAS it is possible, that after all the care of the legislature in framing the said act or acts, certain inconveniences and mischiefs, unforeseen at this day, may be found to attend the said mode of electing by ballot:

To be abolished if

found inconvenient.

Qualifications of electors.

IT IS FURTHER ORDAINED, That if after a full and fair experiment shall be made of voting by ballot aforesaid, the same shall be found less conducive to the safety or interest of the state than the method of voting viva voce, it shall be lawful and constitutional for the legislature to abolish the same: Provided, two-thirds ofthe members present, in each house respectively, shall concur therein. And further, that during the continuance of the present war, and until the legislature of this state shall provide for the election of senators and representatives in assembly by ballot, the said elections shall be made viva voce.

VII. That every male inhabitant of full age, who shall have personally resided within one of the counties of this state for six months immediately preceding the day of election, shall at such election be entitled to vote for representatives of the said county in assembly;

1 Names afterwards altered, and the territory of which they consisted divided into several counties. Ceded to Vermont.

if during the time aforesaid he' shall have been a freeholder, possessing a freehold of the value of twenty pounds, within the said county, or have rented a tenement therein of the yearly value of forty shillings, and been rated and actually paid taxes to this state: Provided, always, That every person who now is a freeman of the city of Albany, or who was made a freeman of the city of New York, on or before the fourteenth day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five, and shall be actually and usually resident in the said cities respectively, shall be entitled to vote for representatives in assembly within his said place of residence. VIII. That every elector, before he is admitted to vote, shall, if Oath of allerequired by the returning officer or either of the inspectors, take an oath, or if of the people called quakers, an affirmation, of allegiance to the state.


of members

IX. That the assembly thus constituted shall choose their own Privileges speaker, be judges of their own members, and enjoy the same privi- of assembly. leges, and proceed in doing business, in like manner as the assemblies of the colony of New York of right formerly did; and that a majority A quorum, of the said members shall, from time to time, constitute a house to proceed upon business.


whom cho


X. And this convention doth further, in the name and by the Number of authority of the good people of this state, ORDAIN, DETERMINE AND and by DECLARE, That the senate of the State of New York shall consist of twenty-four freeholders, to be chosen out of the body of the freeholders, and that they be chosen by the freeholders of this state possessed of freeholds of the value of one hundred pounds, over and above all debts charged thereon.

Their term

years, of election, into and rotation

in office.


XI. That the members of the senate be elected for four and immediately after the first election they be divided by lot four classes, six in each class, and numbered, one, two, three and four; and that the seats of the members of the first class shall be vacated at the expiration of the first year, the second class the second year, and so on continually, to the end, that the fourth part of the senate, as nearly as possible, may be annually chosen. XII. That the election of senators shall be after this manner: Manner of that so much of this state as is now parcelled into counties, be divided into four great districts; the southern district to comprehend the city and county of New York, Suffolk, Westchester, Kings, Queens and Richmond counties: the middle district to comprehend the counties of Dutchess, Ulster and Orange: the western district, the city and county of Albany, and Tryon county; and the eastern district, the counties of Charlotte, Cumberland and Gloucester. That the senators shall be elected by the freeholders of the said districts, qualified as aforesaid, in the proportions following, to wit: in the southern district, nine; in the middle district, six; in the western district, six; and in the eastern district, three. AND BE Census, and IT ORDAINED, That a census shall be taken as soon as may be, after ment of the the expiration of seven years from the termination of the present war, under the direction of the legislature; and if, on such census, it shall appear that the number of senators is not justly proportioned to the several districts, that the legislature adjust the proportion, as near as may be, to the number of freeholders, qualified as aforesaid, in each district. That when the number of electors within any of



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