Page images

Constitution.—The form of government adopted in 1799 consists of a general assembly, composed of a senate and house of representatives. The representatives are chosen annually, on the first Monday in August, by the free male citizens (negroes, mulattoes, and Indians being excepted) of twenty-one years of age, who have been two years resident in the state. The person elected must be a citizen of the United States, twenty-four years of age, and have resided in the state two years next preceding the election, and for the last year in the county or town for which he is chosen. To preserve an equal and uniform representation, an enumeration is made every fourth year of all the free male inhabitants of full age; and it is fixed, that the number of representatives shall not be less than 58, nor more than 100. The senate consists of twenty-four members, with an increase of one additional member for every three above fiftyeight, in the house of representatives; but the number is limited to thirty-eight. They are divided into four classes, one of which is renewed yearly. A senator must be thirty-five years of age, he must have resided six years in the state next preceding the election, and the last in the district for which he is chosen. No member of either house can be appointed during a year after the term for which he is elected, to any civil office of profit that has been created, or of which the emoluments have been increased, during the time of his service. No clergyman, while exercising his profession, nor any person holding any office of profit under the commonwealth, is eligible to the general assembly, except attornies at law, justices of the peace, and militia officers. Justices of the court of quarter sessions are declared ineligible, as long as they receive compensations for their services; and also attornies for the commonwealth, who have a fixed annual salary. No bill has the force of law till it has been read and discussed three days successively in each house, unless in case of extreme urgency, in which fourfifths of the members may deem it expedient to dispense with this rule. All bills for raising a revenue originate in the house of representatives. Provision is made for a revisal of the constitution, by a convention called for the purpose, by a majority of the citizens. The assembly meets on the first Monday in November.

The executive power is vested in a chief magistrate, or governor, elected for four years by all the citizens entitled to suffrage; and is ineligible the next seven succeeding years. The governor must be thirty-five years of age, a citizen of the United States, and an inhabitant of the state six years next preceding the election. No member of Congress, public officer, or clergyman, is eligible to the office of governor. As in other states, he is commander-in-chief of the army, navy, and militia, except when called into the actual service of the United States. He is empowered to remit fines and forfeitures, and to grant reprieves and pardons, except in cases of impeachment; also to dissent from a bill, which cannot in this case become a law, unless, upon being re-considered, it be agreed to by a majority of both houses. In the event of his death, absence, or resignation, the office devolves on the lieutenant-governor for the time being, who is chosen in the same manner, and for the same time, and is president of the senate.

Judiciary.—The judicial power is vested in a supreme court, or court of appeals, and also in inferior courts. The judges appointed by the governor, with the advice of the senate, hold their offices during good behaviour, subject, however, to impeachment, and to removal, on the address of two-thirds of each house of the general assembly. In every county there is a county court, and a competent number of justices of the peace, commissioned during good behaviour. Attornies for the commonwealth are appointed in the several counties, by the respective courts.

The penitentiary or state-prison of this state, established on the plan of those of Pennsylvania and New York, creates no expence to the government, and is found to be preferable to all other modes of punishment. In 1813 the articles manufactured by the convicts amounted to 20,204 dollars, the raw materials to 11,035, leaving a balance of 9169 dollars. The establishment incloses an acre of ground; the walls are of stone. The number of convicts confined in it, in 1817, at one time, was forty-six, of whom forty- three were engaged in some species of labour, and three were unable to work from disease. * The judiciary officers of the United States for Kentucky are, 1st, A judge; c2d, An attorney with a salary of 200 dollars; 3d, A marshal with 200; Uh, A clerk with fees.

Finances.—The receipts of the treasury, in the year 1810, amounted to 105,130 dollars; the expenditure to 90,136.

Military Force.—All the freemen in the commonwealth (negroes, mulattoes, and Indians excepted) are obliged to arm and discipline themselves for its defence. Those who, from religious motives, refuse to bear arms, pay an equivalent lor personal service. The

Birkbcck's Letters from Illinois, p. 102.

regimental staff is appointed by the commanding officers of the respective regiments; the brigade-major by the brigadier-general; the non-commissioned officers of companies by the captains. The military is in strict subordination to the civil power, and no standing army can be kept up in time of peace without the consent of the legislature. In 1815, the militia, including officers, amounted to 41,732 infantry, 102 artillery, 445 dragoons, 1511 riflemen.

Slavery.—-Slaves are the legal property of the owner, without whose consent, or a full equivalent in money, the general assembly, though empowered to prevent their future importation as merchandise, cannot grant the emancipation of those already introduced. It has power to pass laws to oblige their owners to treat them humanely, and to provide them with wholesome food and suitable clothing. In the prosecution of a slave for felony, no inquest by a grand jury is necessary, but he is entitled to an impartial trial by a petty jury. All citizens have the right of emigrating from the state.

Education.—The Transylvanian University at Lexington, founded by the legislature of Virginia, and incorporated by that of Kentucky, in 1798, is endowed with landed funds, yielding an annual revenue of 2700 dollars. Some of these lands, to the amount of 75,000 dollars, have been lately sold, and the proceeds vested in bank stock, which produces annually from ten to twelve and a half per cent. The establishment is under the direction of twenty-five trustees. The number of students is between fifty and sixty. The professorships are five in number—of natural philosophy, moral phi*

« PreviousContinue »