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The first settlement of this State was made by the Dutch, in 1614, on Manhattan Island. They established a colonial government in 1629, under the name of New Netherlands. In 1664, Charles II. granted to his brother, the Duke of York, afterwards James II., a patent of a tract of country, comprising the present States of New York and New Jersey. The same year Col. Nichols, with a large force, took the country by conquest, for the Duke of York, and gave it the name of “New York." In 1673, the territory was recaptured by the Dutch; but after a few months was restored by a treaty, and the Duke of York took out a new patent. The first legislative body of this province assembled in Oct. 1683. In 1693 Episcopacy was made the estabIished religion of this province.
New York bore a very important part both in the French and Revolutionary wars. As it is the most populous State in the union, and has the largest legislation in Congress, it has received the appellation of the Empire State. The first Constitution was adopted in 1777, the second in 1822. (See Appendix.) The present one was adopted Nov. 3d, 1846.
Area 46,000 sq. m. Population, 1845, 2,603,980.
The city of New York is the largest in the United States. Its population in 1845 was 371,223, which, with Brooklyn and Williamsburg (places contiguous), make a population of more than 450,000. The city and county have the same limits, embracing the island of Manhattan. It is about 14 miles long, and its average width 14 miles. The British had possession of this city during most of the Revolution. They evacuated it Nov. 25, 1783, when Gen. Washington with his troops marched in. Here the first Congress assembled in 1789, and here was Gen. Washington inaugurated as the first President of the United States of America, April 30, 1789. The house where the first Congress assembled occupied the place where the Custom House now stands.
The chair in which Washington was inaugurated, and those occupied by the members of the first Congress, may now be seen in the Common Council Room of this City.
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. Sec. 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.
2. The trial by jury, in all cases in which it has been heretofore used, shall remain iuviolate forever. But a jury trial may be waived by the parties in all civil cases in the manner to be prescribed by law.
3. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, 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.
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.
5. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor shall cruel and unusual punishment be inflicted, nor shall witnesses be unreasonably detained.
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. No person shall be subject to be twice put in jeopardy for the same offence; 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.
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 law. Private roads may be opened in the 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 there