Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

however, that an adjournment or adjournments of the election may be made to a time not exceeding seven days from the first meeting.

6. In the city of Providence, the polls for senator and representatives shall be kept open during the whole time of voting for the day, and the votes in the several wards shall be sealed up at the close of the meeting by the wardens and ward clerks in open ward meeting, and afterwards delivered to the city clerk. The Mayor and Aldermen shall proceed to count said votes within two days from the day of election; and if no election of senator and representatives, or if an election of only a portion of the representatives shall have taken place, the Mayor and Aldermen shall order a new election, to be held not more than ten days from the day of the first election, and so on until the election shall be completed. Certificates of election shall be furnished by the city clerk to the persons chosen.

7. If no person shall have a majority of votes for Governor, it shall be the duty of the grand committee to elect one by ballot from the two persons having the highest number of votes for the office, except when such a result is produced by rejecting the entire vote of any town, or city, or ward, for informality or illegality, in which case a new election by the electors throughout the State shall be ordered : and in case no person shall have a majority of votes for Lieutenant-Governor, it shall be the duty of the grand committee to elect one by ballot from the two persons having the highest number of votes for the office.

8. In case an election of the Secretary of State, Attorney-General, or General Treasurer, should fail to be made by the electors at the annual election, the vacancy or vacancies shall be filled by the General Assembly in grand committee, from the two candidates for such office having the greatest number of the votes of the electors. Orin case of a vacancy in either of said offices from other causes, between the sessions of the General Assembly, the Governor shall appoint some person to fill the same untila successor elected by the General Assembly is qualified to act; and in such case, and also, in all other cases of vacancies, not otherwise provided for, the General Assembly may fill the same in any manner they may deem

proper. 9. Vacancies from any cause in the Senate or House of Representatives may be filled up by a new election.

10. In all elections held by the people, under this Constitution, a majority of all the electors voting shall be necessary to the election of the persons voted for.

ARTICLE IX.-Of Qualifications for Office. SEC. 1. No person shall be eligible to any civil office, (except the office of school committee,) unless he be a qualified elector for such office.

2. Every person shall be disqualified from holding any office to which he may have been elected, if he be convicted of having offer

.

ed or procured any other person to offer, any bribe to secure his election, or the election of any other person.

3. All general officers shall take the following engagement before they act in their respective offices, to wit: You

being by the free vote of the electors of this State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, elected unto the place of

do solemnly swear (or affirm) to be true and faithful unto this State, and to support the Constitution of this State, and of the United States; that you will faithfully and impartially discharge all the duties of your aforesaid office to the best of your abilities, according to law; So help you God. Or, this affirmation you make, and give upon the peril of the penalty of perjury.

4. The members of the General Assembly, the judges of all the courts, and all other officers, both civil and military, shall be bound by oath or affirmation to support this Constitution, and the Constitution of the United States.

5. The oath, or affirmation, shall be administered to the Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, senators and representatives, by the Secretary of State, or, in his absence, by the Attorney-General. The Secre- . tary of State, Attorney General, and General Treasurer, shall be engaged by the Governor, or by a justice of the Supreme Court.

6. No person holding any office under the government of the United States, or of any other State or country, shall act as a general officer, or as a member of the General-Assembly, unless at the time of taking his engagement, he shall have resigned his office under such government; and if any general officer, senator, representative, or judge shall, after his election and engagement, accept any appointment under any other government, his office under this shall be immediately vacated; But this restriction shall not apply to any person appointed to take depositigns or acknowledgments of deeds, or other legal instruments, by the authority of any other State or country.

ARTICLE X.Of the Judicial Power. Sec. 1. The judicial power of this State shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the General Assembly may, from time to time, ordain and establish.

2. The several courts shall have such jurisdiction as may from time to time be prescribed by law. Chancery powers may be conferred on the Supreme Court, but on no other court to any greater extent than is now provided by law.

3. The judges of the Supreme Court shall, in all trials, instruct the jury in the law. They shall also give their written opinion upon any question of law, whenever requested by the Governor, or by either house of the General Assembly.

4. The judges of the Supreme Court shall be elected by the two houses in grand committee. Each judge shall hold his office until bis place be declared vacant by a resolution of the General Assem.

meanor.

bly to that effect; which resolution shall be voted for by a majority of all the members elected to the house in which it may originate, and be concurred in by the same majority of the other house. Such resolution shall not be entertained at any other than the annual session for the election of public officers; and in default of the passage thereof at said session, the judge shall hold his place as is herein provided. But a judge of any court shall be removed from office, if, upon impeachment, he shall be found guilty of any official misde

5. In case of vacancy by death, resignation, removal from the State or from office, refusal or inability to serve, of any judge of the Supreme Court, the office may be filled by the grand committee, until the next annual election, and the judge then elected shall hold his office as before provided. In cases of impeachment, or temporary absence or inability, the Governor may appoint a person to discharge the duties of the office during the vacancy caused thereby

6. The judges of the Supreme Court shall receive a compensation for their services, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office.

7. The towns of New Shoreham and Jamestown may continue to elect their wardens as heretofore. The other towns and the city of Providence may elect such number of justices of the peace,

resident therein, as they may deem proper. The jurisdiction of said justices and wardens shall be regulated by law. The justices shall be commissioned by the Governor.

ARTICLE XI.- Of Impeachments. Sec. 1. The House of Representatives shall have the sole power of impeachments. A vote of two-thirds of all the members elected shall be required for an impeachment of the Governor. Any officer impeached, shall thereby be suspended from office until judgment in the case shall have been pronounced.

2. All the impeachments shall be tried by the Senate; and when sitting for that purpose, they shall be under oath or affirmation. No person shall be convicted except by vote of two-thirds of the members elected. When the Governor is impeached, the chief or presiding justice of the Supreme Court for the time being, shall preside, with a casting vote in all preliminary questions.

3. The Governor and all other executive and judicial officers, shall be liable to impeachment; but judgment in such cases shall not extend further than to removal from office. The person convicted, shall, nevertheless, be liable to indictment, trial, and punishment, according to law.

ARTICLE XII.— Of Education. SEC. 1. The diffusion of knowledge, as well as of virtue, among the people, being essential to the preservation of their rights and liberties, it shall be the duty of the General Assembly to promote public schools, and to adopt all means which they may deem necessary

and proper to secure to the people the advantages and opportunities of education. 2. The money which now is, or which

may

hereafter be appropri. ated by law for the establishment of a permanent fund for the support of public schools, shall be securely invested and remain a perpetual fund for that purpose.

3. All donations for the support of public schools or for other purposes of education, which may be received by the General Assembly, shall be applied according to the terms prescribed by the donors.

4. The General Assembly shall make all necessary provisions by law for carrying this article into effect. They shall not divert said money or fund from the aforesaid uses, nor borrow, appropriate, or use the same, or any part thereof, for any

other
purpose,

under

any pretence whatsoever.

ARTICE XIII.-On Amendments.

The General Assembly may propose amendments to this Constitution by the votes of a majority of all the members elected to each house. Such propositions for amendment shall be published in the newspapers, and printed copies of them shall be sent by the Secretary of State, with the names of all the members who shall have voted thereon, with the yeas

and

nays, to all the town and city clerks in the State. The said propositions shall be, by said clerks, inserted in the warrants or notices by them issued, for warning the next annual town and ward meetings in April; and the clerks shall read said propositions to the electors when thus assembled, with the names of all the representatives and senators who shall have voted thereon, with the yeas and nays, before the election of senators and representatives shall be had. If a majority of all the members elected to each house, at said annual meeting, shall approve any proposition thus made, the same shall be published and submitted to the electors in the mode provided in the act of approval; and if then approved by three-fifths of the electors of the State present, and voting thereon in town and ward meetings, it shall become a part of the Constitution of the State.

ARTICLE XIV.-Of the Adoption of this Constitution. Sec. 1. This Constitution, if adopted, shall go into operation on the first Tuesday of May, in the year one thousand eight hundred and forty-three. The first election of Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney-General, and General Treasurer, and of senators and representatives under said Constitution, shall be had on the first Wednesday of April next preceding, by the electors qualified under said Constitution. And the town and ward meet

1.28

CONSTITUTION OF RHODE ISLAND.

ings, therefore, shall be warned and conducted as is now provided by law. All civil and military officers now elected, or who shall hereafter be elected, by the General Assembly, or other competent authority, before the said first Wednesday of April, shall hold their offices and may exercise their powers until the said first Tuesday of May, or until their successors shall be qualified to act. All statutes, public and private, not repugnant to this Constitution, shall continue in force until they expire by their own limitation, or are repealed by the General Assembly. All charters, contracts, judgments, actions, and rights of action, shall be as valid as if this Constitution had not been made. The present government shall exercise all the powers with which it is now clothed, until the said first Tuesday of May, one thousand eight hundred and forty-three, and until the government under this Constitution is duly organized.

2. All debts contracted and engagements entered into, before the adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the State as if this Constitution had not been adopted.

3. The Supreme Court, established by this Constitution, shall have the same jurisdiction as the Supreme Judicial Court at present established, and shall have jurisdiction of all causes which may be appealed to, or pending in the same; and shall be held at the same times and places, and in each county, as the present Supreme Judicial Court, until otherwise prescribed by the General Assembly.

4. The towns of New Shoreham and Jamestown shall continue to enjoy the exemptions from military duty which they now enjoy, until otherwise prescribed by law.

« PreviousContinue »