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WEDNESDAY, October 30, 1776.
The council of safety having laid before the convention a letter from John Rogers, Esqr., inclosing a resignation of his commission as judge of the court of admiralty, the convention proceeded to appoint another in his stead, and Benjamin Nicholson, Esqr. was appointed.
On motion of Mr. J. Hall, Resolved, That the council of safety
The convention according to the order of the day, resolved itself into a committee of the whole, on that part of the constitution of Virginia which was referred to their consideration; Mr. T. Wright in the chair. After some time spent therein, Mr. President resumed the chair, and Mr. Wright reported, that the committee had, according to order, taken the same into consideration, and had come to several resolutions thereon, which he read in his place and afterwards delivered in at the table, where the same were again twice read, amended, and agreed to as follow :
Resolved unanimously, That it is the opinion of this convention, that the state of Virginia hath not any right or title to any of the territory, bays, rivers, or waters, included in the charter granted by his majesty Charles the first to Cæcilius Calvert, baron of Baltimore.
Resolved unanimously, That it is the opinion of this convention, That the sole and exclusive jurisdiction over the territory, bays, rivers, and waters, included in the said charter, belongs to this state; and that the river Potowmack, and almost the whole of the river Pocomoke, being comprehended in the said charter, the sole and
exclusive jurisdiction over the said river Potowmack, and also over such part of the river Pocomoke as is comprehended in the said charter, belongs to this state; and that the river Potowmack and that part of Chesapeake bay which lies between the capes and the south boundary of this state, and so much thereof as is necessary to the navigation of the rivers Potowmack and Pocomoke, ought to be considered as a common high-way, free for the people of both states, without being subject to any duty, burthens or charge, as hath been heretofore accustomed.
Resolved unanimously, That it is the opinion of this convention, that the very extensive claim of the state of Virginia to the back lands hath no foundation in justice, and that if the same or any like claim is admitted, the freedom of the smaller states and the liberties of America may be thereby greatly endangered; this convention being firmly persuaded, that if the dominion over those lands should be established by the blood and treasure of the United States, such lands ought to be considered as a common stock, to be parcelled out at proper times into convenient, free and independent governments.
Agreeable to the order of the day, the convention resolved itself into a committee of the whole, to consider further of the declaration of rights, and form of government for this state; Mr. T. Wright in the chair. After some time spent therein Mr. President resumed the chair, and Mr. Wright reported, that the committee had, according to order, taken the same into consideration, and had come to several resolutions thereon, which they directed him to report, as the declaration of rights, but not having had time to go through the form of government, had directed him to move for leave to sit again.
Resolved, That this convention will on to-morrow resolve itself into a committee of the whole, to consider further of the form of government of this state.
On motion of Mr. Fitzhugh, That the question be put on the following: "As the bill of rights formerly printed for the consideration of the members of the convention, has been materially altered by a committee of the whole house, and it is of infinite importance to the inhabitants of this state, that the said bill of rights should be maturely considered before it is passed by the convention, and that each member should have a copy before him, in order to judge of, and offer such amendments or alterations as he may think proper, Resolved, That the bill of rights as reported by a committee of the whole house be immediately printed for the consideration and use of the members of this convention, before
the same is taken into consideration."-An amendment was proposed to strike out all that part of the motion before the word "Resolved," on which amendment the question was put, and resolved in the affirmative.
Bond. The question was then put, That the bill of rights, as reported by a committee of the whole house, be immediately printed for the consideration and use of the members of this convention, before the same is taken into consideration? Carried in the negative.
Mr. Sheredine, Mr. Edmondson,
W. Ringgold, Chaille,
Mitchell On motion of Mr. Parnham, Resolved, That all and every action, suit, process, and proceeding, which were depending in the March and August courts of St. Mary's and Charles counties, and which have been discontinued by reason of the said courts not being held, shall be revived and continued to the next November courts to be held in the said counties, and shall stand and remain in the same state and condition as they would have been, had the said courts been regularly held.
On motion, Resolved, That three persons be appointed a committee to prepare and report instructions for recruiting serjeants, aud that Mr. Earle, Mr. Gust. Scott, and J. T. Chase, be a committee for that purpose. Convention adjourns till to-morrow morning, 9 o'clock.
THURSDAY, October 31, 1776. Convention met. All members present as on yesterday. The proceedings of yesterday were read.
On motion of Mr. Chaille, the following resolution was entered into:
Whereas, it is represented to this convention, that the committee of observation for Worcester county hath declined to act, whereby merchants who have vessels to clear out of Sinnepuxen inlet or Pocomoke river are put to great trouble and inconvenience, it is therefore Resolved, That Messrs. Robert Done, John Shelby, Joshua Mitchell, and John Dennis, or any two or more of them, of Worcester county, may clear out any vessel, in like manner and on the same conditions and terms as the committee of observation for Worcester county aforesaid might or could have done by virtue of any resolution of convention.
On motion of Mr. S. Chase, Resolved, That the council of safety be empowered to employ some fit and trusty person or persons, to purchase and salt up, at the expense of this state, a quantity of pork not exceeding two thousand five hundred barrels, and a quan
tity not exceeding five hundred casks of beef, and to draw on either of the treasurers of this state for the necessary sums to defray the expense thereof.
The convention took into consideration the report of the declaration of rights from the committee of the whole, which follows in these words, to wit :
" THE DECLARATION OF RIGHTS. “The parliament of Great Britain, by a declaratory act, having assumed a right to make laws to bind the colonies in all cases whatsoever, and in pursuance of such claim endeavored by force of arms to subjugate the united colonies to an unconditional submission to their will and power, and having at length constrained them to declare themselves independent States, and to assume government under the authority of the people, Therefore we, the delegates of Maryland, in free and full convention assembled, taking into our most serious consideration the best means of establishing a good constitution in this state, for the surer foundation, and more permanent security thereof; Declare,
"1. That government of right originates from the people, is founded in compact only, and instituted solely for the good of the whole.
“ 2. That the people of this state ought to have the sole and exclusive right of regulating the internal government and police thereof.
“3. That the inhabitants of Maryland are entitled to the common law of England, and the trial by jury, according to the course of that law, and to the benefit of such of the English statutes as existed at the time of their first emigration, and which by experience have been found applicable to their local and other circumstances, and of such others as have been since made in England or Great Britain, and have been introduced, used, and practised by the courts of law or equity; and also to all acts of assembly in force on the first of June seventeen hundred and seventy-four, except such as may have since expired, or have been, or may be altered by acts of convention, or this declaration of rights; subject nevertheless to the revision of and amendment or repeal by the legislature of this state; and the inhabitants of Maryland are also entitled to all property derived to them from or under the charter granted by his majesty Charles the first, to Cæcilius Calvert, baron of Baltimore.
" 4. That all persons entrusted with the legislative or executive powers of government, are the trustees and servants of the public, and as such accountable for their conduct, wherefore whenever the ends of government are perverted, and public liberty manifestly en