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force and obligation thereof, upon the ground that they were deprived of the consideration by the emancipation of the slaves subsequent thereto. Without expressing any opinion as to the validity of such defence, the committee has no doubt that the courts of the State have full and complete jurisdiction in all cases of failure of consideration, as defined by law, and that the parties, if entitled to relief, must seek and obtain it in those tribunals.
In arriving at these conclusions, the committee has not been unmindful of the impoverished condition of the State, and of the pecuniary embarrassments which have overtaken so many of its citizens. But whilst sympathising with the debtor, and acknowledging his claim upon us as individuals to all reasonable indulgence, the committee, where required to pass upon grave questions of constitutional interpretation, does not feel warranted in yielding to sympathy or prejudice, or by its action to awaken in that unfortunate class hopes of relief which can never be realized,
The committee is furthermore of opinion, that if this Convention had the power to act in the premises; it would be unwise and inexpedient to exercise it. Regarding all movements looking to repudiation of public or private debts, or in any way interfering with the obligation of contracts as immoral in their character, and tending to destroy all public and private credit; this committee feels that it would be derelict in duty to themselves, and to this Convention, to recommend any measure, the adoption of which would add to the misfortunes of the people, the stigma of a breach of plighted faith, and the disgrace of solemn contracts,
Upon all of these questions the committee was unanimous, and recommend the adoption of the following resolution :
Resolved, That this Convention has no power to grant the relief sought in the resolution aforesaid, and that it be discharged from the further consideration of the subject. Respectfully submitted,
December 19, 1867. C. Y. THOMAS, Chairman.
REPORT OF COMMITTEE
PREAMBLE, BILL OF RIGHTS
Division of the Powers of Government.
The committee to whom were referred the Preamble. Billof Rights and Division of the Powers of Government have had the subjects to them referred under consideration, and have, in performance of the duties devolved upon them, agreed to recommend to the Convention the adoption of the following Preamble, Bill of Rights, and Articles one and two of the Constitution :
A DECLARATION OF RIGHTS, made by the representatives of the good people of Virginia, assembled in full and free Convention, which rights do pertain to them and their posterity as the basis and foundation of government.
I. That all men are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any eompact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety. .
II. That the authority of the General Government of the United States is paramount to that of an individual State, except as to rights guaranteed to each State by the Constitution of the United States; and that, therefore, the first allegiance of a citizen of any State is due to the General Government.
III. That all power is vested in, and eonsequently derived from, the people; that magistrates are their trustees and servants, and at all times amenable to them.
IV. That government is, or ought to be, instituted for the common benefit, protection and security of the people, nation or community; of all the various modes and forms of government, that is best which is capable of producing the greatest degree of happiness and safety, and is most effectually secured against the danger of maladministration ; and that, when any government shall be found inadequate or contrary to these purposes, a majority of the community hath an indubitable, unalienable and indefeasible right to reform, alter or abolish it, in such manner as shall be judged most conducive to the public Weal.
V. That no man, or set of men, are entitled to exclusive or separate emoluments or privileges from the community, but in consideration of public services; which, not being descendible, neither ought the offices of magistrate, legislator or judge to be hereditary.
VI. That the legislative, executive and judicial powers should be separate and distinct; and that the members thereof may be restrained from oppression, by feeling and participating the burthens of the people, they should, at fixed periods, be reduced to a private station, return into that body from which they were originally taken, and the vacancies be supplied by frequent, certain and regular elections, in which all, or any part of the former members, to be again eligible or ineligible, as the laws shall direct.
VII. That all elections ought to be free; and that all men, having sufficient evidence of permanent common interest with, and attachment to, the community, have the right of suffrage, and cannot be taxed or deprived of their property for public uses, without their own consent, or that of their representatives so elected, nor bound by any law to which they have not, in like manner, assented, for the public good.
VIII. That all power of suspending laws, or the execution of laws by any authority, without consent of the representatives of the people, is injurious to their rights, and ought not to be exercised.
IX. That, in all capital or criminal prosecutions, a man hath a right to demand the cause and nature of his accusation, to be confronted with the accusers and witnesses, to call for evidence in his favor, and to a speedy trial by an impartial jury of twelve men of his vicinage, without whose unanimous consent he cannot be found guilty; nor can he be compelled to give evidence against himself; that no man be deprived of his liberty, except by the law of the land or the judgment of his peers.
Y. That excessive bail ought not to be required, nor excessive sines imposed, nor Cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
XI, That general warrants, whereby an officer or messenger may be commanded to search suspected places without evidence of a fact committed, or to seize any person or persons not named, or whose offence is not particularly described and supported by evidence, are grievous and oppressive, and ought not to be granted. . --.
XII. That, in controversies respecting property, and in suits between man and man, the ancient trial by jury of twelve men is preferable to any other, and ought to be held sacred.
|XIII. That the freedom of the press is one of the great bulwarks of liberty, and can never be restrained but by despotic governments.
XIV, That a well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural and safe defence of a free State; that standing armies, in time of peace, should be avoided as dangerous to liberty, and that in all cases the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.
XV, That the people have a right to uniform government; and, therefore, that no government separate from, or independent of, the government of Virginia, “light to be erected or established within the limits thereof.
XVI. That no free government, or the blessings of liberty, ean be preserved to any people but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality and virtue, and by a frequent recurrence to fundamental principles.
XVII. That religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and, therefore, all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love and charity towards each Other.
CONSTITUTION OF WIRGINIA.
Whereas the delegates and representatives of the good people of Virginia, in convention assembled, on the 29th day of June, in the year of Our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy-six—reciting and declaring, that whereas George the Third, King of Great Britain and Ireland and Elector of Hanover, before that time entrusted with the exercise of the kingly office in the government of Virginia, had endeavored to pervert the same into a detestable and insupportable tyranny, by putting his negative on laws the most wholesome and necessary for the public good; by denying his governors permission to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation for his assent, and when so suspended, neglecting to attend to them for many years; by refusing to pass certain other laws, unless the persons to be benefited by them would relinquish the inestimable right of representation in the legislature; by dissolving legislative assemblies repeatedly and continually, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions of the rights of the people; when dissolved, by refusing to call others for a long space of time, thereby leaving the political system without any legislative head; by endeavoring to prevent the population of our country, and for that purpose obstructing the laws for the naturalization of foreigners; by keeping among us, in time of peace, standing armies and ships of war; by affecting to render the military independent of, and superior to, the civil power; by combining with others to subject us to a foreign jurisdiction, giving his assent to their pretended acts of legislation, for quartering large bodies of armed troops among us, for cutting off our trade with all parts of the world, for imposing taxes on us without our consent, for depriving us of the benefits of the trial by jury, for transporting us beyond seas for trial for pretended offences, for suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever; by plundering our seas, ravaging our coasts, burning our towns, and destroying the lives of our people; by inciting insurrections of our fellow-subjects with the allurements of forfeiture and confiscation; by prompting our negroes to rise in arms among us—those very negroes whom, by an inhuman use of his negative, he had refused us permission to exclude by law; by endeavoring to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions of existence; by transporting hither a large army of foreign mercenaries to complete the work of death, desolation and tyranny, then already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy unworthy the head of a civilized nation ; by answering our repeated petitions for redress with a repetition of injuries; and finally, by abandoning the helm of government, and declaring us out of his allegiance and protection; by which several acts of misrule, the government of this country, as before exercised under the crown of Great Britain, was totally dissolved—did, therefore, having maturely considered the premises, and viewing with great concern the deplorable condition to which this once happy country would be reduced, unless some regular, adequate mode of civil policy should be speedily adopted, and in compliance