Page images

saries of life are in great abundance; and even the lowest class of labourers are well clothed and fed, and, like the rich, have their tea and coffee daily.

The inhabitants of this state sacrificed every personal consideration to the cause of independence, and were the first to appoint delegates to the memorable congress of Their vote in favour of the ratifi

cation of the federal constitution was not only unanimous, but was passed anterior to that of all the other states except Delaware and Pennsylvania, being passed on the lyth of December 1787.

of the father or mother was taken as sufficient evidence. In burglary, or highway robbery, the third offence was also punished with death; the first by burning on the hand; the second on the forehead; in both the party was to make restitution. In the case of stealing, treble restitution was required for the first, second, and third offences, with an increase of punishment even to death, if the party appeared incorrigible. Parties unable to make restitution were sold to satisfy the claim, or received corporal punishment. For adultery the party was divorced, corporally punished, or banished, as the court thought proper. Fornication was punished at the discretion of the court, by marriage, fine, or corporal punishment. Night walking and revelling after the hour of nine rendeied the person liable to arrest by the constable, or other officer; and if he did not give a satisfactory account to the magistrate, he was bound over to the next court. No son or daughter could marry without the consent of the parents, nor maid or servant without that of the overseer, and after public notice three times given in a kirk or meeting. In 1685 quarrels and challenges were numerous, in consequence 01 which a law was passed, making the person giving a challenge liable to six months imprisonment without bail or mainprize, and subjecting to a fine of L. 10 all who accepted orconcealcd it; and half this sum was the fine for wearing a short pistol, dagger, or other unusual weapon—Smith, p. 263and 195.

History.—This province was included in the patent granted by King James, in 1606, to Sir Thomas Gates and others, embracing all the lands situated between the 34th and 49th degree of north latitude, with all the islands lying within 100 miles of the coast. The first settlements were made by Dutch emigrants from the Delaware, when this country formed a part of the New Netherlands; and Bergen, called after the capital of Norway, shows that some Danes were also settled there. The tract of land on which Elizabethtown now stands was purchased from certain Indian chiefs in 1669; and four towns began to be formed, Elizabeth, Newark, Middleton, and Shrewsbury, by settlers from New England, and the west end of Long Island, and by emigrants from Europe. The neighbouring Indians were formidable, not by their numbers, but by their alliances. In the year 1664 Charles II. gave the territory as a donation to his brother the Duke of York, by whom it was afterwards sold to Lord Berkely and Sir George Carteret, who changed the name of New Albion, under which it was conveyed, into that of Nova Cesaria, or New Jersey; and by a line drawn from north-west to southeast, divided the country into East and West Jersey. The eastern division was retained by Carteret; the western, which belonged to Lord Berkely, was sold by him (I676) to William Penn, (a leading man among the English Quakers,) and other persons. Some years afterwards Sir George Carteret dying, his portion was sold to an association of Scotch people, Anabaptists and Quakers, among whom was the celebrated Barclay. In 1680 the colony of New Jersey separated from that of New York, and chose an annual assembly for its government. In 1681 the commissioners published their regulations for settling lands. In 1682 a large ship of 550 tons arrived with 360 passengers. It appears that little progress had been made at this time in agriculture, for the inhabitants were distressed for food. (Smith, p. 131.) In 1683 Robert Barclay, author of the Apology, was appointed governor for life by the twelve proprietors. The province, by the mutual agreement of the proprietors, was ceded to the crown in 1702, and afterwards re-united to New York, from which it was again separated in 1736, and a particular form of government established which continued till the revolution. Though more favourably situated, in some respects, than New York, its progress was much less rapid. Before the peace of Utrecht, (1713,) the whole population did not exceed 16,000, of whom 3000 were capable of bearing arms.

The battles of Trenton and Princeton, which were fought in 1776 and 1777, chiefly by the Jersey militia, arrested the progress of British arms, and prepared the way for American independence. Civil or Administrative Division of the Slate of Jersey, •with the Population of each County and Town, in 1810, the year of the late enumeration.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]
[merged small][table]

Constitution.—The constitution was established by a provincial congress held at Burlington in 1776, and has since suffered no other alteration than the substitution of the word state for that of colony. The power of making laws is vested in a legislative council and general assembly; and the executive power is lodged in a governor chosen annually by the joint vote of the council and assembly, at their first meeting after their election.

The Legislative Council is composed of one member, the General Assembly of three, from each county, chosen by a plurality of votes of the free inhabitants who have property to the value of L. 50 proclamation money, and who shall have resided a year at least in the county in which they have a right to vote. The qualifications of members of the council are, 1st, To have been freeholders and inhabitants of the county twelve months previous to the election. *id, To be possessors of real estate to the value of L. 1000. Before taking his seat each member swears that he will not assent to any law repealing annual election and trial by jury, nor to any law, vote, or proceeding, contrary to the constitution, or injurious to the public welfare. Members of the assembly must possess a clear estate, real and personal, of L.500. The assembly choose their own speaker and other officers, are judges of the qualifications of their members, and empower the speaker to convene them when any extraordinary occurrence renders it necessary. The governor is president of the council, and has a casting vote in their proceedings. He is chancellor of the state, and commander in chief of the militia, or other military force. The vice-president is chosen by the council, and takes the place of the governor in his absence. The governor and council form a Court of Appeals in questions of law, and have the power of granting pardon to criminals after condemnation in all cases of treason, felony, or other offences. The acts of assembly, and the common and statute laws in use before the revolution, remain in force, till altered by the legislature, except such parts as are inconsistent with the constitution. *

Judiciary.—The judges are appointed by the council and the assembly; those of the Supreme Court

* We have not been able to procure a statement of the expence of the state government. Before the revolution the governor's salary was generally L. 50 a-year, paid in country produce, at prices fixed by law, and sometimes four shillings a day besides, to defray his charges while a session was held. The members of the council and assembly had each three shillings a day during their sitting. The rates for public charges were levied at two shillings per head for every male above fourteen years of age. The salary of the chief justice of the supreme court was L. 150 per annum; that of the second and third justice L. 50 each; of the judges holding the circuit courts L. 10.—(Smith's History.J

« PreviousContinue »