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without any legislative head; by endeavoring to prevent the . population of our country, and for that purpose obstructing the laws for 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 benefit of trial by jury; for transporting us beyond the seas for trial for pretended offenses; 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 insurrection of our fellow-subjects with the

!lurements 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 answer. ing our repeated petitions for redress with a repetition of our 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 with the recommendations of the general congress, ordain and declare a form of government of Virginia.

And, whereas, a convention, held on the first Monday in Octoher, in the year one thousand eight hundred and twenty-nine, did propose to the people of this Commonwealth an amended constitution or form of government, which was ratified by them;

And, whereas, the General Assembly of Virginia, by an act passed on the fourth of March in the year one thousand eight hundred and fifty, did provide for the election, by the people, of delegates to meet in general convention, to consider, discuss and propose a new constitution, or alterations and amendments to the existing constitution of this Commonwealth; and by an act passed on the thirteenth of March, in the year one thousand eight hundred and fifty-one, did further provide for submitting the same to the people for ratification or rejection, and the same having been submitted accordingly was ratified by them;

And, whereas, the General Assembly of Virginia, by an act passed on the twenty-first day of December, in the year one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, did provide for the election, by the people, of delegates to meet in general convention, to consider, discuss and adopt alterations and amendments to the existing Constitution of this Commonwealth, the delegates so assembled, did, therefore, having maturely considered the premises, adopt a revised and amended Constitution as the form of government of Virginia;

And, whereas, the Congress of the United States did, by an act passed on the second day of March, in the year one thousand eight hundred and sixty-seven, and entitled "An act to provide for the more efficient government of the rebel States," and by acts supplementary thereto passed on the twenty-third day of March and the nineteenth day of July, in the year one thousand eight hundred and sixty-seven, provide for the election, by the people of Virginia, qualified to vote under the provisions of said acts, of delegates to meet in convention to frame a Constitution or form of government for Virginia in conformity with said acts; and by the same acts did further provide for the submitting of such Constitution to the qualified voters for ratification or rejection;

We, therefore, the delegates of the good people of Virginia, elected and in convention assembled, in pursuance of said act, invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God, do propose to the people the following Constitution and form of government for this Commonwealth:

Bill of Rights.

ARTICLE I. 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.

1. 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 compact, 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.

2. That this State shall ever remain a member of the United States of America, and that the people thereof are a part of the American nation, and that all attempts, from whatever source or upon whatever pretext, to dissolve said union or to sever said nation are unauthorized, and ought to be resisted with the whole power of the State.

3. That the Constitution of the United States and the laws of Congress passed in pursuance thereof, constitute the supreme law of the land, to which paramount allegiance and obedience are due from every citizen, anything in the Constitution, ordinances or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.

4. That all power is vested in, and consequently derived from, the people; that magistrates are their trustees and servants, and at all times amenable to them.

5. 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 major. ity of the community hath an indubitable, inalienable and indefeasible right to reform, alter or abolish it, in such manner as shall be judged most conducive to the public weal.

6. 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.

7. 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 for. mer members to be again eligible or ineligible, as the laws shall direct.

8. 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.

9. 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 exer. cised.

10. 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 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.

11. That excessive bail ought not to be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishment inflicted.

12. 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 offense is not particularly described and supported by evidence, are grievous and oppressive, and ought not to be granted.

13. That in controversies respecting property, and in suits between man and man, the trial by jury is preferable to any other, and ought to be held sacred.

14. That the freedom of the press is one of the great bulwarks of liberty, and can never be restrained but by despotic governments, and any citizen may speak, write and publish his sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that liberty:

15. That a well-regulated militia, composed of the body of the people trained to arms, is the proper, natural and safe defense 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.

16. That the people have a right to uniform government; and, therefore, that no government separate from or independent of the government of Virginia ought to be erected or established within the limits thereof.

17. That no free government or the blessings of liberty can be preserved to any people but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance and virtue, and by a frequent recurrence to fundamental principles

18. 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.

19. That neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as lawful imprisonment may cor stitute such, shall exist within this State.

20. That all citizens of the State are hereby declared to pos. sess equal civil and political rights.

21. The rights enumerated in this bill of rights shall not he construed to limit other rights of the people not therein expressed.

The declaration of the political rights and privileges of the inhabitants of this State is hereby declared to be a part of the Constitution of this Commonwealth, and shall not be violated on any pretense whatever.


Division of Powers. The legislative, executive and judiciary departments shall be separate and distinct, so that neither exercise the powers properly belonging to either of the others; nor shall any person exercise the power of more than one of them at the same time, except as hereinafter provided.

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