« PreviousContinue »
PENNSYLVANIA was first settled by the Swedes in 1638, who purchased the territory from the natives, but they were conquered by the Dutch in 1654. At the time the English took New Netherland, in 1664, the Dutch possessions on the Delaware river fell into their hands, and for several years were subject to the Governor of New York. In 1681, Pennsylvania was granted by Charles II. to William Penn, a member of the Society of Friends, in consideration of the services of his father as British Admiral. In 1682, Penn disposed of some 20,000 acres to a company of Friends for £400 sterling. A colony of 2000 came over about this time, and settled in Philadelphia. The State was governed by deputies, appointed by the proprietors, until the commencement of the Revolutionary War. Penn died in 1718, leaving his interests in Pennsylvania as an inheritance to his children. Their claim was eventually purchased by the commonwealth for £130,000 sterling. In 1768, Mason and Dixon's line was drawn to mark the boundary between this State and Maryland; and, in 1784, the north-western portion of this State, not being included in the former purchase, was bought of the Indians. The first Constitution was adopted in 1776, the second in 1790, and the present one in 1838.
Area, 46,000 sq. m. Pop., in 1850, 2,311,681. Philadelphia is the most important city in Pennsylvania, and next to New York in the Union, with a population of 220,423. It is marked for its regularity and beauty. This city was the seat of the General Government from 1776 to 1800, when it was removed to Washington. Among its many public buildings is the old State House, in Chesnut street, erected 1735. In this Congress sat when Independence was declared, and here the Convention assembled that framed the Constitution of the United States. The room in which they sat is carefully preserved as it was. The original bell, cast many years before the Declaration, still hangs in the tower, and bears this interesiing inscription : “Proclaim liberty throughc ut the land, unto all the inhabitants thereof."--Levit. xxv. 10
We, the People of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, ordain and establish this Constitution for its government.
ARTICLE I. Sec. 1. The Legislative power of this commonwealth shall be vested in a General Assembly, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.
2. The representatives shall be chosen annually, by the citizens of the city of Philadelphia, and of each county respectively, on the second Tuesday of October.
3. No person shall be a representative who shall not have attained the age of twenty-one years, and have been a citizen and inhabitant of the State three years next preceding his election, and the last year thereof an inhabitant of the district in and for which he shall be chosen a representative, unless he shall have been absent on the public business of the United States or of this State.
4. Within three years of the first meeting of the General Assembly, and within every subsequent term of seven years, an enumeration of the taxable inhabitants shall be made in such manner as shall be directed by law. The number of representatives shall at the several periods of making such enumeration, be fixed by the Legislature, and apportioned among the city of Philadelphia and the seve. ral counties, according to the number of taxable inhabitants in each ; and shall never be less than sixty nor greater than one hundred. Each county shall have at least one representative, but no county hereafter created shall be entitled to a separate representation until a sufficient number of taxable inhabitants shall be contained within it to entitle them to one representative, agrecably to the ratio which shall then be established.
5. The senators shall be chosen for three years by the citizens of Philadelphia and of the several counties, at the same time, in the same manner, and at the same places where they shall vote for representatives.
6. The number of senators shall, at the several periods of making the enumeration before mentioned, be fixed by the Legislature, and apportioned among the districts formed as hereinafter, directed according to the number of taxable in habitants in each ; and shall never be less than one-fourth, nor greater than one-third of the number of representatives.
7. The senators shall be chosen in districts, to be formed by the Legislature; but no district shall be so formed as to entitle it to elect more than two senators, unless the number of taxable inhabitants in any city or county shall, at any time, be such as to entitle it to elect inore than two, but no city or county shall be entitled to elect
more than four senators; when a district shall be composed of two or more counties, they shall be adjoining; neither the city of Philadelphia nor any county shall be divided in forming a district.
8. No person shall be a senator who shall not have attained the age of twenty-five years, and have been a citizen and inhabitant of the State four years next before his election, and the last year thereof an inhabitant of the district for which he shall be chosen, unless he shall have been absent on the public business of the United States or of this State ; and no person elected as aforesaid shall hold said office after he shall have removed from such district.
9. The senators who may be elected at the first general election after the adoption of the amendments to the Constitution, shall be divided by lot into three classes. The seats of the senators of the first class shall be vacated at the expiration of the first year: of the second class at the expiration of the second year; and of the third class at the expiration of the third year; so that thereafter one-third of the whole number of senators may be chosen every year.
The senators elected before the amendments to the Constitution shall be adopted shall hold their offices during the term for which they shall respectively have been elected.
10. The General Assembly shall meet on the first Tuesday of January, in every year, unless sooner convened by the Governor.
11. Each house shall choose its speaker and other officers; and the Senate shall also choose a speaker pro tempore, when the speaker shall exercise the office of Governor.
12. Each house shall judge of the qualifications of its members. Contested elections shall be determined by a committee to be selected, formed and regulated in such manner as shall be directed by law. A majority of each house shall constitute a quorum to do business ; but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and may thorized by law to compel the attendance of absent members, in such manner and under such penalties as may be provided.
13. Each house may determine the rules of its proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, and with the concurrence of two-thirds, expel a member, but not a second time for the same cause; and shall have all other powers necessary for a branch of the Legislature of a free State.
14. The Legislature shall not have power to enact laws annulling the contract of marriage in any case where, by law, the courts of this commonwealth are, or hereafter may be, empowered to decree a divorce.
15. Each house shall keep a journal of its proceedings, and publish them weekly, except such parts as may require secrecy: and the yeas and nays of the members on any question shall, at the desire of any two of them, be entered on the journals.
16. The doors of each house and of committees of the whole shall be open, unless when the business shall be such as ought to be kept secret.
17. Neither house shall, without the consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other place than that in which the two houses shall be sitting.
15. The senators and representatives shall receive a compensation for their services to be ascertained by law, and paid out of the treasury of the commonwealth. They shall in all cases, except treason, felony, and breach or surety of the peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance at the session of their respective houses, and in going to and returning from the same. And for any speech or debate in either house, they shall not be questioned in any other place. 19. No senator or representative shall
, during the time for which he shall have been elected, be appointed to any civil office under this commonwealth which shall have been created, or the emoluments of which shall have been increased during such time; and no member of Congress or other person holding any office, (except of attorney-at-law and in the militia) under the United States or this commonwealth, shall be a member of either house during his continuance in Congress or in office.
20. When vacancies happen in either house, the speaker shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies.
21. All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives, but the Senate may propose amendments as in other bills.
22. No money shall be drawn from the treasury but in consequence of appropriations made by law.
23. Every bill which shall have passed both houses shall be presented to the Governor. If he approve, he shall sign it, but if he shall not approve, he shall return it with his objections to the house in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the objections at large upon their journals, and proceed to reconsider it. If, after such reconsideration, two-thirds of that house shall agree to pass the bill, it shall be sent with the objections to the other house, by which likewise it shall be reconsidered, and if approved by two-thirds of that house, it shall be a law. But in such cases the votes of both houses shall be determined by yeas and nays, and the names of the persons voting for or against the bill shall be entered on the journals of each house respectively. If any bill shall not be returned by the Governor within ten days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, it shall be a law in like manner as if he had signed it, unless the General Assembly, by their adjournment, prevented its return, in which case it shall be a law, unless sent back within three days after their next meeting.
24. Every order, resolution or vote, to which the concurrence of both houses may be necessary (except on a question of adjournment) shall be presented to the Governor, and before it shall take effect, be approved by him, or being disapproved, shall be repassed by two
thirds of both houses according to the rules and limitations prescribed in case of a bill.
25. No corporate body shall be hereafter created, renewed or extended with banking or discounting privileges, without six months' previous public notice of the intended application for the same in such manner as shall be prescribed by law. Yer shall any charter for the purposes aforesaid, be granted for a longer period than twenty years, and every such charter shall contain a clause reserying to the Legislature the power to alter, revoke or annul the same, whenever in their opinion it may be injurious to the citizens of the commonwealth, in such manner, however, that no injustice shall be done to the corporators. No law hereafter enacted, shall create, renew, or extend the charter of more than one corporation.
ARTICLE II. Sec. 1. The supreme cxecutive power of this commonwealth shali be vested in a Governor.
2. The Governor shall be chosen on the second Tuesday of October, by the citizens of the commonwealth, at the places where they shall respectively vote for representatives. The returns of every election for Governor shall be sealed up and transmitted to the seat of government, directed to the speaker of the Senate, who shall open and publish them in the presence of the members of both houses of the Legislature. The person having the highest number of votes shall be Governor. But if two or more shall be equal and highest in votes, one of them shall be chosen Governor by the joint vote of the members of both houses. Contested elections shall be determined by a committee to be selected from both houses of the Legislature, and formed and regulated in such manner as shall be directed by law.
3. The Governor shall hold his office during three years from the third Tuesday of January next ensuing his election, and shall not be capable of holding it longer than six in any term of nine years.
4. He shall be at least thirty years of age, and have been a citizen and an inhabitant of this State seven years next before his election; unless he shall have been absent on the public business of the United States, or of this State.
5. No member of Congress or person holding any office under the United States, or this State, shall exercise the office of Governor.
6. The Governor shall at stated times receive for his services a compensation, which shall be neither increased nor diminished during the period for which he shall have been elected.
7. He shall be commander-in-chief of the army and navy of this commonwealth, and of the militia, except when they shall be called into the actual service of the United States.
8. He shall appoint a Secretary of the commonwealth during pleasure, and he shall nominate, and by and with the advice and