Page images

Powers reserv. ed to the states.

ARTICLE 10. The powers not delegated to the United States by the constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

[ The following amendment was proposed at the second session of the third congress. It is printed in the Laws of the United States, 1st vol., p. 73, as article 11.]

Restriction of judicial powers.

ARTICLE 11. The judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by citizens of another state, or by citizens or subjects of any foreign state.

[ The three following sections were proposed as amendments at the first session of the eighth congress.

They are printed in the Laws of the United States as article 12.]

Mode of elect. ing the presi.

ARTICLE 12. 1. The electors shall meet in their respective states, and dent and vice vote by ballot for president and vice-president, one of

of the toited states, whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state

with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as president, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as vice-president; and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as president, and of all persons voted for as vice-president, and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the president of the senate; the president of the senate shall, in the presence of the senate and house of representatives, open all the certificates, and the votes shall then he counted: the person having the greatest number of votes for president, shall be the president, if such number be a majority of the whole number of electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers, not exceeding three, on the list of those voted for as president, the house of representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the president. But in choosing the president, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. And if the house of representatives shall not choose a president whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next


following, then the vice-president shall act as president, as in the case of the death or other constitutional disability of the president.

2. The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice-president. vice-president, shall be the vice-president, if such number be a majority of the whole number of electors appointed; and if no person have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the senate shall choose the vice-president: a quorum for the purpose shall consist of two-thirds of the whole number of senators, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice.

3. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office Vice-presi dent of president shall be eligible to that of vice-president of the United States.

[In the edition of the Laws of the U.S., before referred to, there is an amendment printed as article 13, prohibiting citizens from accepting titles of nobility or honor, or presents, offices, &c., from foreign nations. But, by a message of the president of the United States of the 4th of February, 1818, in answer to a resolution of the house of representatives, it appears that this amendment had been ratified only by 12 states, and therefore had not been adopted. See vol. iv. of the printed papers of the 1st session of the 15th Congress, No. 76.]



We the people of the State of New York, grateful to

Almighty God for our freedom, in order to secure its blessings, do establish this constitution.

ARTICLE I. SECTION 1. No member of this state shall be disfranchised, or deprived of any of the rights or privileges secured to any citizen thereof, unless by the law of the land or the judgment of his peers.

SECTION 2. The trial by jury, in all cases in which it has Trial by jury. been heretofore used, shall remain in violate forever. But a jury trial may be waived by the parties in all civil cases, in the manner to be prescribed by law.

SECTION 3. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious Belirious profession and worship, without discrimination or prefer



Writ of habeas

Bail, fines.

Grand jury.

No person

ence, shall forever be allowed in this state to all mankind; and no person shall be rendered incompetent to be a witness on account of his opinions on matters of religious belief; but the liberty of conscience hereby secured shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness, or justify practices inconsistent with the peace or safety of this state.

SECTION 4. The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when, in cases of rebellion or invasion, the public safety may require its suspension.

SECTION 5. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor shall cruel and unnatural punishments be inflicted, nor shall witnesses be unreasonably detained.

SECTION 6. No person shall be held to answer for a capital or otherwise infamous crime, (except in cases of impeachment, and in cases of militia, when in actual service; and the land and naval forces in time of war, or which this state may keep with the consent of congress in time of peace; and in cases of petit larceny, under the regulation of the legislature,) unless on presentment or indictment of a grand jury; and in any trial in any court whatever, the party accused shall be allowed to appear and defend in person and with counsel as in civil actions. shall be subject to be twice put in jeopardy, for the same offense; nor shall he be compelled, in any criminal case, to be a witness against himself; nor be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.

SECTION 7. When private property shall be taken for any public use, the compensation to be made therefor, when such compensation is not made by the state, shall be ascertained by a jury, or by not less than three commissioners

appointed by a court of record, as shall be prescribed by Private roads. law.

Private roads may be opened in a manner to be prescribed by law; but in every case the necessity of the road, and the amount of all damages to be sustained by the opening thereof, shall be first determined by a jury of freeholders, and such amount, together with the expenses of

the proceeding, shall be paid by the person to be benefited. speech and of

SECTION 8. Every citizen may freely speak, write and publish his sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right; and no law shall be passed to restrain or abridge the liberty of speech or of the press. In all criminal prosecutions or indictments for libels, the truth may be given in evidence to the jury; and if it shall appear to the jury that the matter charged as libelous is true, and was published with good motives and for justifia

Private property.

Freedom of

the press.


perty in lands.

ble ends, the party shall be acquitted; and the jury shall have the right to determine the law and the fact.

SECTION 9. The assent of two-thirds of the members Two-third bills. elected to each branch of the legislature shall be requisite to every bill appropriating the public moneys or property for local or private purposes,

SECTION 10. No law shall be passed abridging the right night of petiof the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government, or any department thereof; nor shall any divorce Divorces. be granted, otherwise than by due judicial proceedings; nor shall any lottery hereafter be authorized or any sale Lotteries. of lottery tickets allowed within this state.

SECTION 11. The people of this state, in their right of Right of proje sovereignty, are deemed to possess the original and ultimate property in and to all lands within the jurisdiction of the Escheats. state; and all lands, the title to which shall fail from a defect of heirs, shall revert or escheat to the people.

SECTION 12. All feudal tenures of every description, with Feudal tenures all their incidents, are declared to be abolished, saving however, all rents and services certain, which at any time heretofore have been lawfully created or reserved.

SECTION 13. All lands within this state are declared to Allodial tenure be allodial, so that, subject only to the liability to escheat, the entire and absolute property is vested in the owners according to the nature of their respective estates.

SECTION 14. No lease or grant of agricultural land, for Certain leases a longer period than twelve years, hereafter made, in which shall be reserved any rent or service of any kind, shall be valid.

SECTION 15. All fines, quarter sales or other like re- Fines and quarstraints upon alienation, reserved in any grant of land isted. hereafter to be made, shall be void.

SECTION 16. No purchase or contract for the sale of lands Sale of lands, in this state, made since the fourteenth day of October, one thousand seven hundred seventy-five, or which may hereafter be made, of or with the Indians, shall be valid, unless made under the authority and with the consent of the legislature.

SECTION 17. Such parts of the common law, and of the old colony laws acts of the legislature of the colony of New York, as to- legislature. gether did form the law of the said colony, on the nineteenth day of April, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five, and the resolutions of the congress of the said colony, and of the convention of the State of New York, in force on the twentieth day of April, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-seven, which have not since expired or been repealed or altered, and such acts of the legislature of this state as are now in force, shall be and continue the


Grants of land since 1775,

law of this state, subject to such alterations as the legis

lature shall make concerning the same. But all such parts Common law. of the common law, and such of the said acts or parts

thereof as are repugnant to this constitution, are hereby abrogated; and the legislature, at its first session after the

adoption of this constitution, shall appoint three commisCommissioners sioners, whose duty it shall be to reduce into a written and to be appointed

systematic code the whole body of the law of this state, or Their duties. so much and such parts thereof as to the said commissioners

shall seem practicable and expedient. And the said commissioners shall specify such alterations and amendments therein as they shall deem proper; and they shall at all times make reports of their proceedings to the legislature, when called upon to do so; and the legislature shall pass laws regulating the tenure of office, the filling of vacancies therein, and the compensation of said commissioners; and shall also provide for the publication of the said code, prior to its being presented to the legislature for adoption.

SECTION 18. All grants of land within this state, made by the king of Great Britain, or persons acting under his authority, after the fourteenth day of October, one thou

sand seven hundred and seventy-five, shall be null and Prior grants. void; but nothing contained in this constitution shall affect

any grants of land within this state, made by the authority of the said king, or his predecessors, or shall annul any charters to bodies politic and corporate, by him or them made, before that day; or shall affect any such grants or charters since made by this state, or by persons acting under its authority, or shall impair the obligation of any debts contracted by the state or individuals, or bodies corporate, or any other rights of property, or any suits, actions, rights of action, or other proceedings in courts of justice.

ARTICLE II. SECTION 1. Every male citizen of the age of twenty-one years, who shall have been a citizen for ten days, and an inhabitant of this state one year next preceding any election, and for the last four months a resident of the county where he

may offer his vote, shall be entitled to vote at such election, in the election district of which he shall at the time be a resident, and not elsewhere, for all officers that now are or hereafter may be elective by the people; but such citizen shall have been for thirty days next preceding the election, a resident of the district from which the officer is to be chosen for whom he offers his vote. But no man of color, unless he shall have been for three years a citizen of this state, and for one year next preceding any election shall have been seized and possessed of a freehold estate

Qualification of voters,

hold required for man of color,

« PreviousContinue »