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[348] laws prescribing the qualifications of the electors and
Chap. LXII.} 1776. Mar.
the elected were continued in force; a legislative council of thirteen was elected by the general assembly out of their own body; the general assembly and the legislative council elected jointly by ballot the president and vice president; the privy council of seven was composed of the vice president, three members chosen by ballot by the assembly, and three by the legislative council; the judges were chosen by ballot jointly by the two branches of the legislature, by whose address they might be removed, though otherwise they were to hold office during good behavior.

On the twenty seventh John Rutledge was chosen president; Henry Laurens, vice president; and William Henry Drayton, chief justice. On accepting office, Rutledge addressed the general assembly: ‘To preside over the welfare of a brave and generous people is in my opinion the highest honor any man can receive; I wish that your choice had fallen upon one better qualified to discharge the arduous duties of this station; yet in so perilous a season as the present, I will not withhold my best services. I assure myself of receiving the support and assistance of every good man in the colony; and my most fervent prayer to the omnipotent Ruler of the universe is, that, under his gracious providence, the liberties of America may be forever preserved.’

On the twenty eighth the oaths of office were administered: then, to make a formal promulgation of the new constitution, the council and assembly, preceded by the president and vice president, and the

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