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THE FORM OF GOVERNMENT.
The people inhabiting the territory formerly called the Province of New Hampshire, do hereby solemnly and mutually agree with each other to form themselves into a free, sovereign, and independent body politic, or State, by the name of the State of New Hampshire.
THE GENERAL COURT.
The supreme legislative power within this State shall be vested in the Senate and House of Representatives, each of which shall have a negative on the other. The Senate and House shall assemble every year on the first Wednesday of June, and at such other times as they may judge necessary; and shall dissolve and be dissolved seven days next preceding the said first Wednesday of June, and shall be styled THE GENERAL COURT OF NEW HAMPSHIRE. The General Court shall forever have full power and authority to erect and constitute judicatories and courts of record, or other courts, to be holden in the name of the State, for the hearing, trying, and determining all manner of crimes, offences, pleas, processes, plaints, actions, causes, matters and things whatsoever, arising or happening within this State, or between or concerning persons inhabiting or residing, or brought within the same, whether the same be criminal or civil, or whether the crimes be capital or not capital, and whether the said pleas be real, personal, or mixed; and for the awarding and issuing execution thereon. To which courts and judicatories are hereby given and granted full power and authority, from time to time, to administer oaths or affirmations for the better discovery of truth in any matter in controversy, or depending before them.
And farther, full power and authority are hereby given and granted to the said General Court, from time to time, to make, ordain, and establish all manner of wholesome and reasonable orders, laws, statutes, ordinances, directions, and instructions, either with penalties or without, so as the same be not repugnant or contrary to this Constitution, as they may judge for the benefit and welfare of this State, and for the governing and ordering thereof, and of the subjects of the same, for the necessary support and defence of the government thereof; and to name and settle annually, or provide by fixed laws for the naming and settling, all civil officers within this State; such officers excepted the election and appointment of whom are hereafter in this form of government otherwise provided for; and to set forth the several duties, powers, and limits of the several civil and military officers of this State, and the forms of such oaths or affirmations as shall be respectively administered unto them for the execution of their several offices and places, so as the same be not repugnant or contrary to this Constitution ; and also to impose fines, mulcts, imprisonments, and other punishments; and to impose and levy proportional and reasonable assessments, rates, and taxes upon all the inhabitants of, and residents within, the said State, and upon all estates within the same; to be issued and disposed of by warrant under the hand of the president of this State for the time being, with the advice and consent of the council, for the public service in the necessary defence and support of the government of this State, and the protection and preservation of the subjects thereof, according to such acts as are or shall be in force within the same.
And while the public charges of government, or any part thereof, shall be assessed on polls and estates in the manner that has heretofore been practiced, in order that such assessments may be made with equality there shall be a valuation of the estates within the State taken anew once in every five years at least, and as much oftener as the General Court shall order.
There shall be annually elected by the freeholders and other inhabitants of this State, qualified as in this Constitution is provided, twelve persons, to be senators for the year ensuing their election, to be chosen in and by the inhabitants of the districts into which this State may from time to time be divided by the General Court for that purpose; and the General Court in assigning the number to be elected by the respective districts shall govern themselves by the proportion of public taxes paid by the said districts, and timely make known to the inhabitants of the State the limits of each district and the number of senators to be elected therein, provided the number of such districts shall never be more than ten, nor less than five.
And the several counties in this State shall, until the General Court shall order otherwise, be districts for the election of senators, and shall elect the following number, viz. : Rockingham, five; Strafford, two; Hillsborough, two; Cheshire, two; Grafton, one.
The Senate shall be the first branch of the Legislature, and the senators shall be chosen in the following manner, viz. : Every male inhabitant of each town and parish with town privileges in the several counties in this State, of twenty-one years of age and upwards, paying for himself a poll tax, shall have a right at the annual or other meetings of the inhabitants of said towns and parishes, to be duly warned, and holden annually forever in the month of March, to vote in the town or parish wherein he dwells for the senators in the county or district whereof he is a member.
And every person qualified as the Constitution provides shall be considered an inhabitant for the purpose of electing and being elected into any office or place within this State, in that town, parish, and plantation where he dwelleth and hath his home.
The selectmen of the several towns and parishes aforesaid shall, during the choice of senators, preside at such meetings impartially, and shall receive the votes of all the inhabitants of such towns and parishes, present and qualified to vote for senators, and shall sort and count the same in the meeting, and in presence of the town clerk, who shall make a fair record in presence of the selectmen, and in open meeting, of the name of every person voted for, and the number of votes against his name; and a fair copy of this record shall be attested by the selectmen and town clerk, and shall be sealed up and directed to the secretary of the State, with a superscription expressing the purport thereof, and delivered by said clerk to the sheriff of the county in which such town or parish lies, thirty days at least before the first Wednesday of June; and the sheriff of each county, or his deputy, shall deliver all such certificates by him received, into the secretary's office, seventeen days at least before the first Wednesday of June.
And the inhabitants of plantations and places unincorporated, qualified as this Constitution provides, who are or shall be required to assess taxes upon themselves towards the support of government, or shall be taxed therefor, shall have the same privilege of voting for senators in the plantations and places wherein they reside as the inhabitants of the respective towns and parishes aforesaid have.
And the meetings of such plantations and places for that purpose shall be holden annually in the month of March, at such places respectively therein as the assessors thereof shall direct; which assessors shall have like
authority for notifying the electors, collecting and returning the votes, as the selectmen and town clerks have in their several towns by this Constitution. And, that there may be a due meeting of senators on the first Wednesday of June, annually, the president and three of the council for the time being shall, as soon as may be, examine the returned copies of such records; and fourteen days before the said first Wednesday in June, he shall issue his summons to such persons as appear to be chosen senators by a majority of votes, to attend and take their seats on that day; provided, nevertheless, that for the first year the said returned copies shall be examined by the president and five of the council of the former constitution of government; and the said president shall in like manner notify the persons elected to attend and take their seats accordingly.
The Senate shall be final judges of the elections, returns, and qualifications of their own members, as pointed out in this Constitution, and shall on the said first Wednesday of June, annually, determine and declare who are elected by each district to be senators by a majority of votes, and in case there shall not appear to be the full number returned elected by a majority of votes for any district, the deficiency shall be supplied in the following manner, viz. : The members of the House of Representatives and such senators as shall be declared elected shall take the names of such persons as shall be found to have the highest number of votes in each district, and not elected, amounting to twice the number of senators wanting, if there be so many voted for, and out of these shall elect by joint ballot the number of senators wanted for such district; and in this manner all such vacancies shall be filled up in every district of the State, and in like manner all vacancies in the Senate arising by death, removal out of the State, or otherwise, shall be supplied as soon as may be after such vacancies happen.