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11. In the proper organization of these departments, and the just distribution of authority amongst them, with the application of proper aids and checks to secure the necessary independence and efficiency of each, “ THE BEST CONSTITUTED REPUBLIC” is alone to be attained.
12. These three powers of Government cannot be wholly united, or injudiciously blended in the same department, consistently with the liberties and security of the People; and the danger to public freedom would be equal, whether the same powers were delegated to a single magistrate, or to a numerous body.
13. If the principle of representation be extended only to à part of the Government, and other parts exist in it independent of that principle, the security afforded by the one is partial and uncertain ; whilst the danger to be apprehended from the other, will be in proportion to its predominance in the system.
14. As representation may be partial in regard to the powers of Government, so it may be confined to a portion of the community; and in this respect the system would be objectionable in proportion to the numbers unnecessarily excluded from representation, or from the exercise of a free and intelligent voice in the appointment of their representatives.
15. According to the theory of a Republican Constitution, the right of representation is universal in re. ference both to the powers of the Government, and the delegation of their exercise ; but in practice there are exceptions in the application of the rule, which do not, however, impair it as a general principle.
16. The great advantage of a written Constitution
consists in its accurately defining the limits of the three great departments of Government, and by proper checks and securities preserving unimpaired the principle of representation in regard to the exercise both of the powers of Government, and the right of delegating them to the representative.
17. Where the Constitution depends on tradition, or is to be collected from the proceedings of the Government itself, there can be no stability in the system, and of course no certainty of security under it; as every new act of the Government may introduce a new principle, and the Legislative power may, from its omnipotence, alter the Constitution at its pleasure.
18. A written Constitution, therefore, is most conducive to the freedom, security, and happiness of individuals, as it may be appealed to by the People and enforced by the Judicial power as a fundamental and paramount law, binding on the Legislature it.
19. The foundations of a Government formed on the principle of popular representation, were laid in the United States by the institutions which, as Colonies, they received from England.
20. Two sorts of provincial Governments were established by Great Britain in her American Colonies; first, Royal Governments, in which limited territorial grants were made to settlers, reserving the general domain to the Crown, and providing for the exercise of the whole political and civil jurisdiction under its authority; and secondly, Proprietary Governments, in which the whole territory and jurisdiction were granted by the king to one or more individuals,
21. In the one, the Chief Executive Magistrate was appointed by the Crown; in the other, by the Proprietaries. In both, the Legislalive power was vested wholly or partially in the People, subject in the one case to the control of the king in council, and in the other to that of the proprietaries.
22. In some few of the Colonies the Supreme Executive Magistrate, and one branch of the legislature, were at first elected by the People, and in two of them so continued to be chosen until the Revolution ; and in all these cases the power of legislation was uncontrolled by the parent State. .
23. The powers of the Crown being abrogated by the declaration of independence, the People remained the only source of legitimate authority in all the Colonies; and Governments, representative in all their branches, were established by them as free and Sovereign States.
24. In general, the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial departments were kept so far distinct as to render them, in a great degree, independent of each other.
25. The State Legislatures were for the most part divided into two branches, both chosen by the People; and all persons holding offices of trust or profit were excluded from them.
- 26. The Supreme Executive Magistrate was universally rendered elective for a limited time ; and the superior officers in the Judicial department received their appointments from the Legislature or the Executive, and in most cases held their offices during good behaviour.
27. The civil and municipal institutions derived from Great Britain were in general preserved by the several States, so far as they were compatible with the abolition of regal authority and Colonial dependence.
28. Amongst these institutions was the Common Law of England, which, before the American Revolution, had been generally established as the municipal code of the British Provinces, so far as it was applicable to their situation and circumstances; and the benefit of it was claimed by the first general Congress as a branch of those “ indubitable rights and liberties” to which the respective Colonies were entitled.
29. By this system of Law, the absolute and inalienable rights of the Colonists as individuals, were recognized and secured to them; their relative rights, or political and civil privileges as members of society, regulated and maintained; and offences against public justice investigated and punished.
30. The most essential of these privileges were those natural rights which are common to all mankind, and which, in virtue of certain fundamental laws of England, were held to be the peculiar birthright and inheritance of every British subject.
31. They consist either of that portion of natural liberty which is not required by the Laws of society to be surrendered for the public benefit; or, of those civil privileges which society engages to provide in lieu of them,
32. The former comprehend
sists in the uninterrupted legal enjoyment
2. The right of personal liberty; which includes
the power of removing the person to whatsoever place inclination may direct without
restraint, unless by due course of law. And, 3. The right of private property; or the free use
and enjoyment of a man's own acquisitions, without control or diminution, except by the Laws of the land.
33. The subordinate privileges of a similar character, to which the Colonists were entitled in lieu of those natural rights surrendered for the general benefit, were, 1. The constititution, powers, and privileges of
their provincial assemblies, which were intended to preserve the Legislative power exercised over them in due health and vigour, and to prevent the enactment of Laws
destructive to general liberty. 2. The limitation of the King's prerogative by
certain and notorious bounds; which was designed as a guard upon the Executive power by retaining it within the rules esta
blished by fundamental Laws. 3. The right of applying to the Courts of jus
tice for the redress of injuries, and of having justice administered impartially and speedily; the most valuable incidents to which were the right of trial by jury; and the benefit of the writ of Habeas Corpus, as the most effectual security of the right of
personal liberty. 4. The right of petitioning the King, or either
branch of the Legislature, for the redress of
grievances; and, 5. The right of every individual to keep arms
for his defence, suitable to his condition and degree; which was the public allowance, un