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SEC. 10. This Constitution, if adopted by a majority of the legal votes cast on the first Wednesday of June next, shall go into operation on the fourth day of July next, and on and after said day shall supersede the present Constitution of this State.
A. R. TI C L E XI.
It shall be the duty of the Legislature, at its first session immediately succeeding the returns of every census of the United States, hereafter taken, to pass a law for ascertaining, at the next general election of Delegates, the sense of the people of Maryland in regard to the calling a Convention for altering the Constitution; and in case the majority of votes cast at said election shall be in favor of calling a Convention, the Legislature shall provide for assembling such Convention, and electing Delegates thereto at the earliest convenient day; and the Delegates to the said Convention shall be elected by the several counties of the State and the city of Baltimore, in proportion to their representation respectively in the Senate and House of Delegates, at the time when said Convention may be called.
This Constitution to go into effect on 4th July.
The sense of the people tobe taken every ten years in regard to calling a Convention for altering the Constitution,
The Proportion of Delegates to such Convention.
Done in Convention the 13th day of May, in the year of
our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty-one, and of the Independence of the United States the seventy-fifth. J. G. CHAPMAN,
President of the Convention.
Attes? —GEORGE G. BREWER,
Secretary to Convention.
STATE OF MARYLAND,
I, RICHARD W. GILL, Clerk of the Court of Appeals aforesaid, do hereby certify that this Constitution was this sirteenth
day of May, in the year of our Lord eighteen hundred and fifty-one, filed in this office.—Witness my hand as Clerk.
R. W. GILL, Clerk.
APPENDIX TO SECONI) EDITION.
HAVING, at the request of the publishers, prepared the marginal notes to this Edition of the New Constitution, it seemed to me that it would be useful to add, by way of Appendix, brief notes of the principal changes which have been made in the fundamental law of the State, with their apparent or supposed causes, and of the subjects that require particular attention on the part of the Legislature, and of officers in other departments of the Government.
It is said, by the learned and elegant Commentator on the Laws of England, that there are three points to be considered in the construction of statutes, viz. the old law, the mischief and the remedy. The framers of the New Constitution had before them the Old Law, and had also, it is to be presumed, some idea of the mischiefs, which were intended to be prevented, by the remedies which have been provided. It may be useful therefore to note both the changes and their causes; for no change is ever made without a cause, and without a due consideration of both, no man can clearly understand or properly perform his duty.
THE DECLARATION OF RIGHTS.
This Declaration, consisting principally of immutable principles of government, has been but slightly altered. *
The addition to the first article of it is the only change of sufficient importance to notice. It relates to the “unalienable right to alter the form of government,” and contains a restriction of this right to “the mode prescribed in the Constitution.” The importance of this alteration may be seen by reflection upon the fact that the Old Constitution was altered, at the time of the formation of this New one, in a mode different from that which was prescribed in the former, and that the right of alteration in the new mode was, at that time, the subject of much discussion.
ART. I.-ELECTIVE FRANCHISE.
The Elective Franchise, which is the subject of the first article of the New Constitution, has been a little enlarged, by the provision in relation to removals; and it is moreover better protected than heretofore, by the provisions against fraud. The oath, which is now required of all officers, before entering upon their duties, that they have not been in any way guilty of bribery at elections, and the perpetual disfranchisement of those who have at any time violated the laws regulating the elective franchise, are important and salutary changes. The whole foundation of a Republican Government is the will of the people fairly expressed, and all attempts to influence that will, by any other means than rational argument, tend to the destruction of that form of government, and hence of Liberty. o
ART. II.-ExECUTIVE DEPARTMENT.
By the first section of this article the term of office of the Governor is enlarged from three to four years. By this change, the expiration of it is made to coincide with that of every second term of the Delegates, they being elected biennially, in which respect there is a similarity between the Constitution of this State and that of the United States.
By the fourth section it is provided, that when two or more persons have the highest and an equal number of votes for Governor, the second vote shall be confined to those persons, and if the votes be again equal, the election is to be determined by lot. The great use of such a provision, in some cases, will readily be perceived by those who have studied the history of the elections of Speakers, Presidents and other officers, both in the National and State Legislatures. It would have been well if this principle had been extended to other officers than the Governor. It can be demonstrated, with almost mathematical certainty, that the only plan which is both just and certain in its operation, for the election of a person to any office, where there are several candidates, is continually to drop the lowest one, after the first ballot, and if at last there be a tie, to decide by lot. - .
The ninth section prohibits the Governor from taking the command in person of the forces of the State, without the consent of the Legislature. It is to be hoped that there may never be occasion for his asking or their giving such consent.
The seventeenth section imposes upon the Governor the new duty of examining the books of the Treasurer, which is designed to be an additional check upon that Department of Government.
The nineteenth section imposes restrictions upon the pardoning power, which are well calculated to restrain the exercise of it within proper bounds.
Besides these changes, affecting the Governor’s prerogative, there is another, which is the most important of them all. He has been stripped of the power of judging of the suitability of candidates for all the principal offices in the State, and of appointing them, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, and is now clothed with such powers only as properly appertain to the chief Executive authority in a State. It is to be presumed that several causes operated together to produce this change, viz. with some persons, a conviction that the Legislative, Executive and Judicial powers of the government were not separate and distinct from each other, under the old mode of appointing Judges, &c.—-although the Declaration of Rights expressly declares that they ought to be;—with others, an opinion that the people at large can judge of the qualifications of candidates for all offices as well as the Governor can ; and with a third class of persons, a disposition to restrain the appointing power of the Governor, or the Executive patronage, as it is called, in order to prevent what was thought to be its injurious influence upon popular elections, and its growing tendency to abuse.
ART. III.-LEGISLATIVE DEPARTMENT.
The changes which have been made in this Article are numerous and important. .
By the second section of it the term of office of Senators is reduced from six to four years, and by a subsequent Section it is provided, that one-half of them, instead of one-third as formerly, shall be elected biennially. The Old Constitution, in this respect, was like that of the United States, but it was contended, by those who advocated this change, that the term was so long as in a measure to take away the responsibility of Senators to the people for their conduct.
The third section apportions representation in the House of Delegates according to population. This principle of representation, now for the first time adopted in this State, although it is a fundamental one in all Republican governments, is restricted in regard to Baltimore City, for fear that her power might become so great as to lead to the passing of