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Constitution of the State of New Hampshire: January 5, 1776 (United States [us])

Constitution of New Hampshire

© 2014 Oxford University Press

In Congress at Exeter Jan’y 5th 1776

Voted That this Congress Take up Civil Government for this Colony in the manner & Form Following Viz—

We the Members of the Congress of New Hampshire Chosen and Appointed by the Free Suffrages of the People of Said Colony,—and—Authorized and Impowered by them to meet together, and use Such means and Pursue Such Measures as we Should Judge best for the Public Good; And in Particular to Establish Some Form of Government, Provided that Measure Should be recommended by the Continental Congress: And a Recommendation to that Purpose having been Transmitted to us From the Said Congress: Have Taken into our Serious Consideration the Unhappy Circumstances, into which this Colony is Involved by means of Many Grievous and Oppressive Acts of the British Parliament, Depriving us of our Natural & Constitutional rights & Priviledges; To Enforce Obedience to which Acts, A Powerfull Fleet and Army have been Sent into this Country, by the Ministry of Great Britain, who have Exercised a Wanton & Cruel Abuse of their Power, in Destroying the Lives & Properties of the Colonists in many Places with Fire & Sword: Taking the Ships & Lading from many of the Honest and Industrious Inhabitants of this Colony Employ’d in Commerce, Agreeable to the Laws & Customs a long time used here.—

The Sudden & Abrupt Departure of his Excellency John Wentworth Esq: our Late Governor, & Several of the Council, Leaving us Destitute of Legislation,—and no Executive Courts being open to Punish Criminal Offenders; whereby the Lives & Propertys of the Honest People of this Colony, are Liable to the Machinations & Evil Designs of wicked men; Therefore for the Preservation of Peace and good order, and for the Security of the Lives & Properties of the Inhabitants of this Colony, We Conceive ourselves Reduced to the Necessity of Establishing A Form of Government to Continue During the Present Unhappy and Unnatural Contest with Great Britain; Protesting & Declaring that we Never Sought to throw off our Dependance upon Great Britain, but felt ourselves happy under her Protection, while we Could Enjoy our Constitutional Rights & Priviledges.—And that we Shall Rejoice if Such a Reconciliation between us and our Parent State can be Effected as Shall be Approved by the Continental Congress in whose Prudence and Wisdom we Confide:

Accordingly Pursuant to the Trust reposed in us, We do Resolve That This Congress, Assume the Name, Power & Authority of a house of Representatives or Assembly for the Colony of New Hampshire. And that Said House then Proceed to Choose Twelve Persons, being Reputable Freeholders and Inhabitants within this Colony, in the Following manner viz, Five in the County of Rockingham, Two in the County of Strafford, Two in the County of Hillsborough, Two in the County of Cheshire, and one in the County of Grafton, To be a Distinct & Separate branch of the Legislature, by the Name of A Council for this Colony, to Continue as Such untill [the Third Wednesday in December next; any Seven of whom to be a Quorum to do Business.

That Such Council Appoint their President; and in his Absence that the Senior Councellor Preside.

That a Secretary to Appointed by both Branches, who may be a Councellor, or otherwise as they Shall Choose.

That no Act or resolve Shall be Valid & put into Execution unless agreed to and passed by both Branches of the Legislature.

That all Publick Officers for the Said Colony, and Each County, for the Current Year, be Appointed by the Council & Assembly, Except the Several Clerks of the Executive Courts, who Shall be Appointed by the Justices of the respective Courts—

That All Bills, Resolves or Votes for Raising Levying & Collecting money Originate in the House of Representatives.

That at any Session of the Council and Assembly, Neither Branch Shall Adjourn for any Longer time than from Saturday till the Next Monday—without Consent of the other.

And it is further Resolved, That if the Present unhappy Dispute with Great Britain Should Continue longer than this present year, & the Continental Congress Give no Instruction or Direction to the Contrary, the Council be Chosen by the People of Each respective County in Such manner as the Council & house of Representatives shall order—

That General & field officers of the Militia, on any Vacancy, be Appointed by the Two houses & all Inferior Officers be Chosen by the Respective Companys.—

That all officers of the Army be Appointed by the Two houses, Except they Should Direct otherwise in Case of any Emergency—

That all Civil officers for the Colony & for Each County be Appointed, & the time of their Continuance in Office, be Determined by the Two houses, Except Clerks of Court, & County Treasurers & recorders of Deeds.—

That a Treasurer and a recorder of Deeds for Each County be Annually Chosen by the People of Each County Respectively: The Votes for Such officers to be returned to the respective Courts of General Sessions of the Peace in the County, there to be ascertained as the Council & Assembly Shall hereafter Direct.—

That Precepts in the name of the Council & Assembly, Signed by the President of the Council & Speaker of the House of Representatives, Shall Issue Annually at or before the first day of November, for the Choice of A Council and house of Representatives to be returned by the third Wednesday in December then next Ensuing, in Such manner as the Council & Assembly Shall hereafter Prescribe.—