Imágenes de páginas

atives to which it may be entitled; which districts shall be formed of contiguous counties, and be compact. Each district shall contain, as nearly as may be, an equal number of population, to be determined according to the rule prescribed in the Constitution of the United States.



[ocr errors][ocr errors]

1. The territory of the following counties, formerly parts of the Commonwealth of Virginia, shall constitute and form the State of West Virginia, viz:

The counties of Barbour, Berkeley, Boone, Braxton, Brooke, Cabell, Calhoun, Clay, Doddridge, Fayette, Gilmer, Grant, Greenbrier. Hampshire, Hancock, Hardy, Harrison. Jackson, Jefferson, Kanaw hat. Lewis, Lincoln, Logan, Marion, Marshall, Mason, McDowell, Mercer. Mineral, Monongalia, Monroe, Morgan, Nicholas, Ohio, Pendleton. Pleasants, Pocahontas, Preston, Putnam, Raleigh, Randolph, Ritchie. Roane; Summers, Taylor, Tucker, Tyler, Upshur, Wayne, Webster. Wetzel, Wirt, Wood and Wyoming The State of West Virginia includes the bed, bank and shores of the Ohio river, and so much of the Big Sandy river as was formerly included in the Commonwealth of

irginia; and all territorial rights and property in, and jurisdiction over, the same, heretofore reserved by, and vested in, the Commonwealth of Virginia, are vested in, and shall hereafter be exercised by. the State of West Virginia. And such parts of the said beds, banks and shores, as lic opposite, and adjoining the several counties of this State, shall form parts of said several counties respectively.

2. The powers of government reside in all the citizens of the State, and can be rightfully exercised only in accordance with their will and appointment.

3. All persons residing in this State, born, or naturalized in the l'nited States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, shall be citizens of this State.

4. Every citizen shall be entitled to equal representation in the government, and, in all apportionments of representation, equality of numbers of those entitled thereto, shall as far as practicable, be preserved.

5. No distinction shall be made between resident aliens and citizens is to the acquisition, tenure, disposition, or descent of property.

6. Treason against the State, shall consist only in levying war against it, or in adhering to its enemies, giving them aid and comfort.

No person shall be convicted of treason, unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court. Treason shall be punished accoding to the character of the acts committed, by the infliction of one, or more, of the penalties, of death, imprisonment or fine, as may be prescribed by law.

7. The present seal of the State, with its motto, Montani Semper Liberi,” shall be the great seal of the State of West Virginia, and shall be kept by the Secretary of State, to be used by him officially, as directed by law.

8. Writs, grants and commissions, issed under the authority of this State, shall run in the name of, and official bonds shall be made payable to, the State of West Virginia. Indictments shall conclude, Against the peace and dignity of the State."



1. 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 of pursuing and obtaning happiness and safety

2. All power is vested in, and consequently derived from the people. Magistrates are their trusters and servants, and at all times amenable to them.

3. Government is instituted for the common benefit, protection and security of the people, nation or community: Of all its various forms that is the best, which is capable of producing the greatest degree of happiness and safety, and is most effectually secured against the danger of mal-administration; and when any government shall be found independent or contrary to these purposes, a majority of the community, has 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.

4. The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended. No

person shall be held to answer for treason, felony or other crime not cognizable by a justice, unless on presentment or indictment of a grand jury. No bill of attainder, ex posto facto law, or law impairing the obligation of a contract, shall be passed.

5. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishment inflicted. Penalties shall be proportioned to the character and degree of the offence. No person shall be transported out of, or forced to leave the State, for any offence committed within the same; nor shall any person,


any criminal be compelled to be a witness against himself, or be twice put in jeopardy of life or liberty for the same offence.


6. The right of the citizens to be secure in their houses, persons, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated. No warrant shall issue except upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, particularly describing the place to be searched, or the person or thing to be seized.

7. No law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, shall be passed; but the Legislature may, by suitable penalties, restrain the publication or sale of obscene books, papers or pictures, and provide for the punishment of libel, and defamation of character, and for the recovery, in civil actions, by the aggrieved party, of suitable damages for such libel, or defamation.

8. In prosecutions, and civil suits for libel, the truth may be given in evidence; and if it shall appear to the jury, that the matter charged as libelous, is true, and was published with good motives, and for justifiable ends, the verdict shall be for the defendant,

9. Private property shall not be taken or damaged for public use, without just compensation; nor shall the same be taken by any company, incorporated for the purposes of internal improvement, until

just compensation shall have been paid, or secured to be paid, to the owner; and when private property shall be taken, or damaged, for public use, or for the use of such corporations, the compensation to the owner shall be ascertained in such manner, as may be prescribed by general law: Provided, that when required by either of the parties, such compensation shall be ascertained by an impartial jury of twelve freeholders.

10. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property, without due process of law, and the judgment of his peers.

11. Political tests, requiring persons, as a pre-requisite to the enjoyment of their civil and political rights, to purge themselves by their own oaths, of past alleged offences, are repugnant to the principles of free Government, and are cruel and oppressive. No religious or political test oath shall be required as a pre-requisite or qualification to vote, serve as a juror, sue, plead, appeal, or pursue any profession or employment. Nor shall any person be deprived by law, of any right, or privilege, because of any act done prior to the passage of such law.

12. Standing armies in time of peace, should be avoided, as dangerous to liberty: The military shall be subordinate to the civil power; and no citizen, unless engaged in the military service of the State, shall be tried or punished by any military court, for any offence that is cognizable by the civil courts of the State. No soldier shall, in time of peace, be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner; nor in time of war, except in the manner to be prescribed by law.

13. In suits at common law, where the value in controversy, exclusive of interest and costs. exceeds twenty dollars, the right of trial by a jury of twelve men, if required by either party, shall be preserved ; except that in appeals from the judgments of justices, a jury of a less number may be authorized by law; but in trials of civil cases before a justice, no jury shall be allowed. No fact tried by a jury, shall, in any case, be otherwise re-examined, than according to the rules of the common law.

14. Trials of crimes, and of misdemeanors, unless herein otherwise provided, shall be by a jury of twelve men, public, without unreasonable delay, and in the county where the alleged offence was committed. unless upon petition of the accused, and for good cause shown, it is removed to some other county. In all such trials, the accused shall be fully and plainly informed of the character and cause of the accusation, and be confronted with the witnesses against him, and shall have


the assistance of counsel, and a resonable time to prepare for his detence: and there shall be awarded to him, compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor.

15. No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place or ministry whatsoever; nor shall any man be enforced, restrained, inolested or burthened, in his body or goods, or otherwise suffer, on account of his religious opinions or belief; but all inen shall be free to profess, and, by argument, to maintain their opinions in matters of religion ; and the same shall, in no wise, effect, diminish, or enlarge their civil capacities ; and the Legislature shall not prescribe any religious test whatever, confer any pecular privileges or advantages on any sect or denomination, or pass any law requiring or thorizing any religious society, or the people of any district within this State, to levy on themselves, or others, any tax, for the erection or repair of any house for public worship, or for the support of any church or ministry, but it shall be left free, for every person to select his relig. ious instructor, and to make for bis support, such private contract, as he shall please.

16. The right of the people to assemble in a peaceable manner, to consult for the common good, to instruct their representatives, or to :pply for redress of grievances, shall be held inviolate.

17. The courts of this State shall be open, and every person, for an injury done to him. in his person, property, or reputation, shall have remedy by due course of law; and justice shall be administered without sale, denial or delay.

18. No conviction shall work corruption of blood or forfeiture of estate.

19. No hereditary emoluments, honors or privileges, shall ever be granted or conferred in this State.

20. Free government, and the blessings of liberty, can be preserved to any people, only by a firm adherenceto justice, moderation, temperance frugality and virtue, and by a frequent recurrence to fundamental principles.




1. The male citizens of the State, shall be entitled to vote at all

« AnteriorContinuar »