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The first settlement in this State was at Fort Dummer, in the S. E. part of the State, from Mass. New York and New Hampshire respectively laid claim to the territory till 1764, when N. Y. obtained a grant from the British Parliament, which put an end to the claim of N. H. N. Y. thereupon attempted to enforce her jurisdiction, which was resisted by the inhabitants. They claimed to be independent both of N. H. and N. Y., and organized themselves in armed lands, with Ethan Allen at their head, under the celebrated name of the Green Mountain Boys. The contest continued and increased till the breaking out of the Revolutionary War. Owing to this claim of N. Y., Congress refused to admit Vermont into the confederation. Vermont, in 1790, paid to •N. Y. $30,000 to withdraw her claim, and in 1791 was admitted to the union.
Notwithstanding this fourteenth State was not admitted into the uniou until after the Revolutionary contest was over, yet she bore an important part in that transaction, and her hardy sons gave ample proof of their bravery. A range of mountains, covered with evergreens, nearly divides this State in its centre from north to south. Hence its name, and hence the appellation Green Mountain Boys. The first Constitution of this State was formed in 1777; the present one was adopted July 4, 1793. Area, 9,700 sq. m. Population, in 1840, 291,948.
CHAPTER I A Declaration of Rights of the Inhabitants of the State of Vermont. · Art. 1. That all men are born equally free and independent, and have certain natural, inherent, and inalienable rights, amongst which
are the enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety : therefore, no male person, born in this country, or brought from over sea, ought to be holden by law to serve any person as a servant, slave, or apprentice, after he arrives at the age of twenty-one years, nor female, in like manner, after she arrives to the age of eighteen years, unless they are bound by their own consent, after they arrive to such age, or bound by the law for the pay. ment of debts, damages, fines, costs, or the like.
2. That private property ought to be subservient to public uses when necessity requires it; nevertheless, when any person's property is taken for the use of the public, the owner ought to receive an equivalent in money.
3. That all men have à natural and inalienable right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences and understandings, as in their opinion shall be regulated by the word of God: and that no man ought to, or of right can be compelled to attend any religious worship, or erect or support any place of worship, or maintain any minister, contrary to the dictates of his conscience; nor can any man be justly deprived or abridged of any civil right as a citizen, on account of his religious sentiments or peculiar mode of religious worship; and that po authority can or ought to be vested in or assumed by any power whatever, that shall in any case interfere with, or in any manner control, the rights of conscience in the free exercise of religious worship. Nevertheless, every sect or denomination of Christians ought to observe the Sabbath, or Lord's day, and keep up some sort of religious worship, which to them shall seem most agreeable to the revealed will of
4. Every person within this State ought to find a certain remedy, by having recourse to the laws, for all injuries or wrongs which he may receive in his person, property, or character; he ought to obtain right and justice freely, and without being obliged to purchase it; completely, and without any denial; promptly, and without de-, lay; conformably to the law.
5. That the people of this State, by their legal representatives, have the sole, inherent, and exclusive right of governing and regulating the internal police of the same.
6. That all power being originally inherent in, and consequently derived from the people, therefore, all officers of government, whether legislative or executive, are their trustees and servants, and at all times, in a legal way, accountable to them.
7. That government is, or ought to be, instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security of the people, nation, or community, and not for the particular emolument or advantage of any single man, family, or set of men, who are a part only of that community; and that the community hath an indubitable, inalienable, and inde: feasible right to reform or alter government, in such manner as
shall be, by that community, judged most conducive to the public weal.
8. That all elections ought to be free and without corruption, and that all freemen, having a sufficient evidence, common interest with, and attachment to the community, have a right to elect officers, and be elected into office, agreeably to the regulations made in this constitution.
9. That every member of society hath a right to be protected in the enjoyment of life, liberty, and property, and therefore is bound to contribute his proportion towards the expense of that protection, and yield his personal service, when necessary, or an equivalent thereto; but no part of any person's property can be justly taken from him, or applied to public uses, without his consent, or that of the representative body of freemen; nor can any man, who is conscientiously scrupulous of bearing arms, be justly compelled thereto, if he will pay such equivalent; nor are the people bound by auy law but such as they have in like inanner assented to, for their common good; and previous to any law being made to raise a tax, the purpose for which it is to be raised ought to appear evident to the Legislature to be of more service to the community than the money would be if not collected.
10. That, in all prosecutions for criminal offences, a person hath a right to be heard by himself and his counsel ; to demand the cause and nature of his accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses; to call for evidence in his favor, and a speedy public trial, by an impartial jury of his country; without the unanimous consent of which jury, he cannot be found guilty; nor can he be compelled to give evidence against himself; nor can any person be justly deprived of his liberty, except by the laws of the land, or the judgment of his peers.
11. That the people have a right to hold themselves, their houses, papers, and possessions, free from search or seizure; and, therefore, warrants without oath or affirmation first made, affording sufficient foundation for them, and whereby an officer or messenger may be commanded or required to search such suspected places; or to seize any person or persons, his, her, or their property, not particularly described, are contrary to that right, and ought not to be granted.
12. That when an issue in fact, proper for the cognizance of a jury, is joined in a court of law, the parties have a right to trial by jury, which ought to be held sacred.
13. That the people have a right to a freedom of speech, and of writing and publishing their sentiments concerning the transactions of government, and therefore the freedom of the press ought not to be restrained.
14. The freedom of deliberation, speech, and debate, in the Legislature, is so essential to the rights of the people, that it cannot be the foundation of any accusation, or prosecution, action, or complaint, in any other court or place whatsoever.
15. The power of suspending laws, or the execution of laws, ought never to be exercised but by the Legislature, or by authority derived from it, to be exercised in such particular cases as this Constitution, or the Legislature shall provide for.
16. That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the State ; and, as standing armies in time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; and that the military should be kept under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.
17. That no person in this State can, in any case, be subjected to law martial, or to any penalties or pains by virtue of that law, except those employed in the army, and the militia in actual service.
18. The frequent recurrence to fundamental principles, and firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, industry, and frugality, are absolutely necessary to preserve the blessings of liberty, and keep government free; the people ought, therefore, to pay particular attention to these points, in the choice of officers and representatives, and have a right, in a legal way, to exact a due and constant regard to them, from their legislators and magistrates, in making and executing such laws as are necessary for the good government of the State.
19. That all people have a natural and inherent right to emigrate from one State to another that will receive them.
20. That the people have a right to assemble together to consult for their common good; to instruct their representatives : and apply to the Legislature for redress of grievances by address, petition, or remonstrance.
21. That no person shall be liable to be transported out of this State for trial of any offence committed within the same
Plan or Form of Government. Sec. 1.' The Commonwealth or State of Vermont shall be governed hereafter by a Governor or Lieutenant-Governor, Council, and an assembly of representatives of the freemen of the same, in manner and form following:
2. The supreme legislative power shall be vested in a House of Representatives of the freemen of the Commonwealth or State of Vermont.
3. The supreme executive power shall be vested in a Governor, or, in his absence, a Lieutenant-Governor, and Council
4. Courts of justice shall be maintained in every county in this State, and also in new counties, when formed ; which courts shall be open for the trial of all causes proper for their cognizance; and justice shall be therein impartially administered; without corruption or unnecessary delay. The judges of the Supreme Court shall be justices of the peace throughout the State ; and the several
judges of the county courts, in their respective counties, by virtue, of their office, except in the trial of such causes as may be appealed to the county court.
5. A future Legislature may, when they shall conceive the same te be expedient and necessary, erect a Court of Chancery, with such powers as are usually exercised by that Court, or as shall appear for the interest of the commonwealth: Provided they do not con stitute themselves the judges of the said Court.
6. The legislative, executive, and judiciary departments shall be separate and distinct, so that neither exercise the powers properly belonging to the other. '
7. In order that the freemen of this State may enjoy the benefit of election as equally as may be, each town within this State that consists or may consist of eighty taxable inhabitants within one septenary, or seven years next after the establishing this Constitution, may hold elections therein, and choose each two representatives ; and each other inhabited town in this State may, in like manner, choose each one representative to represent them in General Assembly, during the said septenary, or seven years; and after that, each inhabited town may, in like manner, hold such election, and choose each one representative, forever thereafter.
8. The House of Representatives of the freemen of this State shall consist of persons most noted for wisdom and virtue, to be chosen by ballot, by the freemen of every town in this State, respectively, on the first Tuesday in September annually forever.
9. The representatives so chosen, a majority of whom shall constitute a quorum for transacting any other business than raising a State tax, for which two-thirds of the members elected shall be present, shall meet on the second Thursday of the succeeding October, and shall be styled The General Assembly of the State of Vermont : they shall have power to choose their Speaker, Secretary of State, their clerk, and other necessary officers of the House—sit on their own adjournments-prepare bills, and enact them into laws—judge of the elections and qualifications of their own members: they may expel members, but not for causes known to their own constituents antecedent to their own elections: they may administer oaths and affirmations in matters depending before them, redress grievances, impeach State criminals, grant charters of incorporation, constitute towns, boroughs, cities, and counties: they may, annually, on their first session after their election, in conjunction with the Council, or oftener if need be, elect judges of the Supreme and several county and probate courts, sheriffs, and justices of the peace; and also with the Council may elect major-generals and brigadier generals, from time to time, as often as there shall be occasion; and they shall have all other powers necessary for the Legislature of a free and sovereign State : but they shall have no power to add to, alter, abolish, or infringe any part of this Constitution.
10. The Supreme Executive Council of this State shall consist