The Bill of Rights and amended Constitution.
The State Convention yesterday adopted the Bill of Rights
, amended in some few instances by restoring features of the earlier and better days of the Commonwealth
The fifth section now reads, "That the legislative and executive powers of the State
should be separate and distinct from the judiciary; and that the members of the two first may be restrained from oppression by feeling and participating the burthens of the people, they should, at fixed periods, be reduced to a private station," &c. In the sixth section, which declares that all elections ought to be free, the Convention
has changed the language thus!
That elections of members to serve as representatives of the people in Assembly ought to be free," &c. The eighth section, relative to trial by jury, has been amended by striking out the words "of twelve men," leaving the number of the jury undesignated; and a similar amendment occurs in the eleventh section.
No sure there changes have been made in the Bill of Rights
In the Constitution
, important amendments are introduced, of which we have, from time to time, advised our readers.
The establishment of two Courts of Appeals, the election of Judges by the Legislature, are among the most prominent.
The schedule requires the people shall have the privilege of voting for ratifying or rejecting the Constitution
as amended, the polls to be kept open for three days; and at the same time another poll-book is to be opened, headed "The right of suffrage," containing two columns, one headed "For the payment of the revenue, county, and corporation levels, and poor rates, assessed within the previous year, as a qualification to vote," and the other headed "For the right of suffrage without
the payment of the revenue," &c., as a qualification to vote.
Should a majority of the votes be cart in favor of the qualification of the right of suffrage, then the first section of the third article of the Constitution
will read as follows:
white male citizen of the Commonwealth
, of the age of twenty-one years, who has been a resident of the State
for two years, and of the county, city or town where he offers to vote, for twelve months next preceding an election, and who in such county, city or town, shall have been assessed with part of the revenue of the Commonwealth
, county levies or poor rates, for the year next preceding, and shall have actually paid the same, and no other person, shall be qualified to vote for members of the General Assembly, and all officer elected by the people; but no person in the military, naval or marine service of the Confederate States
, shall be deemed a resident of this State, by reason of being stationed therein; and no person shall have the right to vote who is of unsound mind, or a paper, or a non-commissioned officer, soldier, seaman or marine, in the regular army or navy of the Confederate States
, or who has been convicted of bribery in an election, or of any infamous offence."
Qualified voters of the Commonwealth
, who may be in the military service, are to have the privilege of voting in their camps upon the ratification or rejection of the amended Constitution and Schedule, and the proposed qualification of the right of suffrage.
We subjoin a portion of the Schedule, as a matter of general information:
"All persons who shall be in office when this amended Constitution is adopted, shall continue in office until the expiration of their respective terms of service, and until their successors are qualified, unless sooner removed pursuant to law. Vacancies occurring in the office of justice of the peace after the adoption of this Constitution, and before any election of justices is held under it, shall be filled in the same manner as is therein provided for filling vacancies occurring in said office after the first election.
"The Supreme Court of Appeals shall continue to exercise its present jurisdiction until the Court of Appeals, established by this Constitution, shall be organized, and the judges thereof who may be in office at the first session of the General Assembly under this Constitution may be assigned to the duties of either of the Courts
of Appeal, according to the pleasure of the General Assembly All laws in force when this Constitution is adopted, and not icons, stent therewith, and all rights, prosecutions, actions, claims, and contracts, shall remain and continue as if this Constitution was not adopted.
"The term of service of the Delegates
first elected to the General Assembly under this Constitution shall commence at the end of the term of service of the Delegates
The first general election of Delegates to the General Assembly under this Constitution shall be held on the fourth Thursday in May, 1863.
The Convention last night made some further amendments to the Constitution
, and adopted it as a whole by a vote of 71 to 9.
The schedule was then taken up, and at a late hour a warm debate was progressing upon a motion to amend so as to postpone the time of voting for ratification or rejection to "three months after peace shall have been declared between the United States
and the Confederate States
." There seemed to be little prospect of a termination of the labors of the Convention