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experience may be found necessary, the General Court shall, at the expiration of seven years from the time this Constitution shall take effect, issue precepts, or direct them to be issued from the secretary's office, to the several towns and incorporated places, to elect delegates to meet in convention for the purposes asoresaid ; the said delegates to be chosen in the same manner and proportioned as the representatives to the General Assembly; provided, that no alteration shall be made in this Constitution before the same shall be laid before the towns and unincorporated places, and approved by two thirds of the qualified voters present, and voting upon the question.
IN CONVENTION HELD AT CONCORD,
The 31st Day of October, 1783. The returns from the several towns being examined, and it appearing that the foregoing bill of rights and form of government were approved of by the people, the same are hereby agreed on and established by the delegates of the people, and declared to be the civil Constitution for the State of New Hampshire, to take place on the first Wednesday in June, 1784; and that in the meantime the General Court, under the present government, make all the necessary arrangements for introducing this Constitution at that time, and in the manner therein described.
President, P. T. Attest:
J. M. SEWALL, Secretary.
Fourth Constitutional Convention of 1791-1792. After a period of seven years, pursuant to the provisions of the Constitution of 1784, and agreeably to precepts issued for that purpose, a convention to revise the Constitution of New Hampshire assembled in Concord, on Wednesday, September 7, 1791. It organized by the election of Samuel Livermore, of Portsmouth, as president, and John Calf, of Hampstead, as secretary.
Among the distinguished members of this body, besides its president and secretary, were William Plumer, of Epping, whose active part in this convention caused its work to be popularly known as Plumer's constitution ; Jeremiah Smith, of Peterborough ; John Pickering, of Newington; Edward St. Loe Livermore, of Portsmouth ; Abiel Foster, of Canterbury ; Timothy Walker, of Concord ; Nathaniel Peabody, of Atkinson ; Joshua Atherton, of Amherst; Major Benjamin Pierce, of Hillsborough; Elisha Payne, of Lebanon ; Gen. Joseph Cilley, of Nottingham ; Ebenezer Thompson, of Durham Moses Chase, of Cornish; and Jonathan Freeman, of Hanover.
On September 8th the following Rules of Procedure were adopted :
ist. The President having taken the Chair and a Quorum being present, the Journal of the preceding day shall be read, to the end that any mistake may be corrected that shall have been made in the entries.
2nd. No member shall speak to another or otherwise interrupt the business of the Convention while the Journal is reading or when any member is speaking ; nor pass between the President and a member speaking.
3rd. Every member when he speaks shall stand up and address the President and when he has finished shall sit down.
4th. No member shall speak more than twice in any one debate on the same day without leave of the Convention.
5th. When two members rise at the same time, the President shall name the person to speak, but in all cases the person first rising shall speak first.
(P. 41.) 6th. When the President shall stand up to put the question, the members shall sit down and keep silence.
7th. No motion shall be debated until the same shall be seconded—and any member may at any time withdraw his motion.
8th. When a motion shall be made and seconded it shall if desired by the President or any member be reduced to writing, delivered in at the table and read by the President before the same shall be debated.
gth. While a question is before the Convention, no motion shall be received, unless for an amendment, for postponing the main question, or to commit it, or to adjourn.
Ioth. The previous question being moved and seconded, the question from the Chair shall be, “Shall the main question be now put ? ” and if the negative prevails the main question shall not then be put.
(P. 42.) IIth. If a question in debate contain several points, any member may have the same divided.
12th. Committees of less than five shall be nominated by the President, but Committees of five or more shall be chosen by ballot.
13th. Questions of order shall be determined by the President, but any member may appeal to the Convention; and when a member is called to order, he shall sit down until the question is determined, whether he is in order or not, which shall be decided without debate, but the member may explain.
14th. The yeas & nays if called for by any one member shall be entered on the Journal upon any proposition moved to be sent out to the people as an amendment or alteration to the Constitution; and each member present, and having heard the debates upon the particular question shall give his yea or nay except excused by a vote of the Convention : (p. 43.)—and in the same manner may the yeas and nays be taken and entered on the Journal upon all the amendments collectively agreed to by the Convention to be sent out to the people.
15th. Every question being put by the President shall be taken to be in the affirmative unless disputed by a member, on which case, the members shall be counted, beginning with those in the affirmative standing up, and then those in the negative the same; and every member having heard the debates shall vote upon the question, except excused by a vote of the Convention.
16th. No person except a member or an officer of this Convention shall be allowed to come within the Bar of the House, (1) except such public characters as the President may invite, for whom particular seats shall be assigned.
17th. That it be a rule in conducting business that in any stage of a Question a motion to postpone a further consideration of any matter in debate, be considered as in order, and the main question left open for future discussion. (pp. 39-40, 42.)
It was then voted “that the Constitution be read by sections or articles, in order that any member may offer his sentiments relative to any defects therein and propose such alterations as he may think necessary.
Eight days later it was voted :
" That Mr. Peabody, Mr. Plumer, Mr. Hoit, Mr. Smith (Meredith), Mr. Wallace, Mr. Atherton, Mr. Page (Charlestown), Mr. Kingsbury, Mr. Payne & Mr. Freeman, be a committee to take into consideration the Constitution and the Resolutions passed at this session, and the several motions for alterations that have not been acted upon, and prepare and report to the Convention at the adjournment, alterations and amendments to be submitted to the people.”
On the same date, September 16, the Convention adjourned until the second Wednesday of February, 1792, then to meet at Concord. (p. 57.)
Pursuant to adjournment the Convention reassembled at Concord, February 8, 1792. In the absence of the president John Pickering was elected president pro tem.
The Committee chosen in September last to take into consideration the Constitution and the Resolutions passed at that session and the several motions for alterations, reported their opinions as to alterations and their reasons therefor; also the Constitution with the proposed alterations incorporated. (p. 63.)
On February 24, 1792, this report having been amended and adopted, it was voted to submit to the legal voters of the State at elections to be held on the 7th of May, 1792, the proposed amendments to the Constitution in the form of seventy-two (72) questions, to be voted upon separately. (p. 112.)
The text of these amendments, together with the vote, is given on pages 147+.
On the same day the Convention adjourned to Wednesday, May 30th, then to meet at Concord.