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Amendments to the Constitution,
George W. Nesmith, Franklin. Miscellaneous and subjects not otherwise provided for,
Bening W. Jenness, Strafford. Revising Business,
James Bell, Gilford. On Education,
Levi W. Leonarde, Dublin.
Some of the other leading members of this convention were William Plumer, Jr., of Epping ; Gilman Marston and J. G. Hoit, of Exeter; Thomas E. Sawyer, of Dover ; Charles Lane, of Gilford; Joel Eastman, of Conway; N. G. Upham and George Minot, of Concord; William C. Clarke, of Manchester; Edmund Parker and George Y. Sawyer, of Nashua; Daniel Abbott, of Nashville ; John H. Steele, of Peterborough; Edwin D. Sanborn, of Hanover; Samuel Swasey, of Haverhill.
This convention revised the constitution by considering it under the separate and consecutive heads in Committee of the Whole. The various proposed amendments and resolutions were then sent to special and appropriate committees as instructions from the convention.
The convention was in session from November 6 to November 22, 1850, and from December 3 to January 3, 1851. Besides the changes affecting the ratio and basis of representation those of the most importance approved by the convention were provisions for a Lieutenant-Governor, for bien nial sessions, to abolish the council, to provide for a Commissioner of Agriculture, a state Superintendent of Public Instruction, and a Railroad Commissioner, and to divide the state into fifteen senatorial districts for the election of thirty senators.
It was voted to submit the amendments to the people for their approval at the annual town meetings to be held on the second Tuesday of March, 1851, in the form of fifteen (15) questions. These questions and the amendments, with the popular vote thereon, are given on a following page.
On January 3 the convention adjourned to April 16, 1851.
AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION,
PROPOSED 1851. FIRST SERIES.
[The numbers of articles first herein below cited are those of the constitution of 1783, as amended in 1792, and printed in Poor's “ Constitutions and Charters” (second edition) 1878. (Part II, pp. 1294-1308.) The numbers of articles in quotation marks correspond to those in the constitution authorized by the convention of 1850–51, embodying its proposed amendments.
The following amendments, with few exceptions, do not appear in the Journal of the convention of 1850–51, except in their appropriate places in the draft of the constitution authorized by that convention. They have been extracted by comparison of the text of the constitution as amended in 1792 with the draft previously named of 1850-51 ; and the extracts have been arranged under what by reference to the fifteen questions submitted to the people appear to be their appropriate numerals.]
ARTICLE 6. Strike out this article, and in lieu thereof insert Art. 6. As morality and piety, rightly grounded on the principles of the Bible, will give the best and greatest security to government, and will lay in the hearts of men the strongest obligations to due subjection, and as the knowledge of these is most likely to be propagated through society by the institution of the public worship of the Deity, and of public instruction in morality and religion, therefore to promote those important purposes, the People of this State have the right to empower, and do hereby fully empower, the several religious societies which may at any time exist within this State, to make adequate provision, at their own expense, for the support and maintenance of public teachers of piety, religion and morality: provided, that such religious societies shall at all times have the exclusive right of electing their own public teachers and of contracting with them for their support and maintenance; and no person of any one particular religious sect or denomination, shall ever be compelled to pay towards the support of a teacher, or teachers, of another persuasion, sect or denomination; and every religious denomination, demeaning themselves quietly, and as good subjects of the State, shall be equally under the protection of the law; and no subordination of any one sector denomination to another shall ever be established by the law.
ART. 12. Strike out the words “ to which they or their representative body, have given their consent,” and insert in lieu thereof, " enacted in conformity to this Constitution and that of the United States."
ART. 20. Strike out this article and insert in lieu thereof the following: “ Art. 20. In all controversies concerning property, and in all suits between two or more persons, except in cases otherwise provided for in the Constitution or laws made in pursuance thereof by the Legislature, the parties have a right to trial by jury, but the court shall try the facts as well as the law in cases where the parties agree.”
Art. 34. Strike out the words, “but by the authority of the Legislature."
After Art. 34, insert the following:
· Art. 35. Arrest or imprisonment on mesne or final process, founded on contract, shall not be allowed, unless the creditor, or his agent, shall previously make affirmation of his belief that the debtor has fraudulently concealed or conveyed his property to place it beyond the reach of his creditors, or is about to leave the State to avoid the payment of his debts."
Art. 35. Strike out the words “ It is therefore, not only the best policy, but for the security of the rights of the people, that the judges of the supreme judicial court should hold their offices so long as they behave well : subject, however, to such limitations on account of age as may be provided by the constitution of the State; and that they shall have honorable salaries, ascertained and established by standing laws."
Art. 36. Strike out the words - especially in a young one"; and also strike out the word
and insert or two" in lieu thereof. Art. 38. Strike out this article and insert:
". Art. 40. Knowledge and learning generally infused through a community being essential to the preservation of a free government, and spreading the opportunities and advantages of education through the various parts of the country, being highly conducive to promote this end, it shall be the duty of the Legislature and magistrates, in all future periods of this government, to cherish the interests of literature and the sciences, and all seminaries and public schools ; to encourage private and public institutions, rewards and immunities for the promotion of agriculture, arts, sciences, commerce, trades, manufactures and natural history of the country; to countenance and inculcate the principles of humanity and general benevolence, public and
private charity, industry and economy, honesty and punctuality, sincerity, sobriety and all social affections and generous sentiments among the People.”
Add numbering it Art. 41 the following: " Art. 41. Perpetuities are contrary to the genius of a free government, and shall never be allowed ; and the Legislature shall have the power at all times to alter, amend or repeal any legislative act conferring corporate powers, franchises or privileges, as the public good shall be deemed to demand."
Strike out Arts. 9, 10, 11, and insert in lieu thereof the following:
“. Art. 14. There shall be in the Legislature of this State a representation of the People elected once in two years, and founded upon principles of equality; and in order that such representation may be as equal as circumstances will admit, every town, or place entitled to town privileges, having one hundred and seventy-five ratable polls of twenty-one years of age and upwards, who shall have resided in this State six months or more immediately preceding the election, paupers and foreigners not naturalized excepted, may elect one representative; if seven hundred and fifty ratable polls, may elect two representatives; if fifteen hundred and fifty ratable polls, may elect three representatives ; if twenty-five hundred and fifty ratable polls, may elect four representatives; and so proceeding, making one thousand such ratable polls the mean increasing number for every additional representative after the third. Such towns or places as have less than one hundred and seventy-five ratable polls may elect a representative such proportion of the time as the number of their ratable polls shall bear to one hundred and seventy-five: provided that such towns and places as shall not have one hundred and seventy-five ratable polls, and shall be conveniently located for that object, may, on application to the Legislature, be classed for the choice of a representative, such classed towns not to contain less than one hundred and seventy-five ratable polls in each representative district so formed : and provided, further, that all towns, cities or places, which now are, or hereafter may be, divided into sections or wards for the choice of representatives, shall,