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next chosen, as aforesaid, such proposed amendment or amendments shall be agreed to by a majority of the senators and two-thirds of the members of the House of Representatives present and voting thereon; then it shall be the duty of the General Gourt to submit such proposed amendment or amendments to the people, and if they shall be approved and ratified by a majority of the qualified voters voting thereon, at meetings legally warned and holden for that purpose, they shall become part of the Constitution of this commonwealth.
Article of Amendment adopted March 24, 1837, as the 12th Article
of the Constitution. In order to provide for a representation of the citizens of this commonwealth, founded upon the principles of equality, a census of the ratable polls in each city, town, and district of the commonwealth, on the first day of May, shall be taken and returned into the Secretary's office, in such manner as the Legislature shall provide, within the month of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty-seven, and in every
year thereafter in the month of May, in manner aforesaid ; and each town or city having three hundred ratable polls at the last preceding decennial census of polls, may elect one representative, and for every four hundred and fifty ratable polls in addition to the first three hundred, one representative more.
Any town having less than three hundred ratable polls, shall be represented thus: the whole number of ratable polls, at the last preceding decennial census of polls, shall be multiplied by ten, and the product divided by three hundred, and such town may elect one representative as many years within ten years as three hundred is contained in the product aforesaid.
Any city or town having ratable polls enough to elect one or more representatives, with any number of polls beyond the necessary number, may be represented as to that surplus number by multiplying such surplus number by ten, and dividing the product by four hundred and fifty; and such city or town may elect one additional representative as many years within the ten years as four hundred and fifty is contained in the product aforesaid.
Any two or more of the several towns and districts may, by consent of a majority of the legal voters present at a legal meeting in each of said towns and districts respectively, called for that purpose and held previous to the first day of July, in the year in which the decennial census of polls shall be taken, form themselves into a representative district, to continue until the next decennial census of polls, for the election of a representative or representatives; and such district shall have all the rights, in regard to representation, which would belong to a town containing the same number of ratable polls.
The Governor and Council shall ascertain and determine, within the months of July and August, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty-seven, according to the foregoing principles, the number of representatives which each city, town and representative district is entitled to elect, and the number of years within the period of ten years then next ensuing, that each city, town and representative district may elect an additional representative; and where any town has not a sufficient number of polls to elect a representative each year, then how many years within the ten years such town may elect a representative; and the same shall be done once in ten years thereafter, by the Governor and Council, and the number of ratable polls in each decennial census of polls, hall determine the number of representatives which each city, town and representative district may elect as aforesaid; and when the number of representatives, to be clected by each city, town or representative district, is ascertained or determined as aforesaid, the Governor shall cause the same to be published forthwith for the information of the people, and that number shall remain fixed and unalterable for the period of ten years.
All the provisions of the existing Constitution, inconsistent with the provisions herein contained, are hereby wholly annulled.
Article of Amendment, adopted April 17th, 1840, as the 13th Article of
the Constitution. A census of the inhabitants of each city and town, on the first day of May, shall be taken, and returned into the Seocetary's office, on or before the last day of June, of the year one thousand eight hundred and forty, and of every tenth year thereafter, which census shall determine the apportionment of senators and representatives for the term of ten years.
The several senatorial districts now existing, shall be permanent. The Senate shall consist of forty members; and in the year one thousand eight hundred and forty, and every tenth year thereafter, the Governor and Council shall assign the number of senators to be chosen in each district, according to the number of inhabitants in the same. But, in all cases, at least one senator shall be assigned to each district.
The members of the House of Representatives shall be apportioned in the following manner : every town or city containing twelve hundred inhabitants, may elect one representative; and two thousand four hundred inhabitants shall be the mean increasing number which shall entitle it to an additional representative.
Every town containing less than twelve hundred inhabitants, shall be entitled to elect a representative as many times, within ten years, as the number one hundred and sixty is contained in the number of the inhabitants of said town.
Such towns may also elect one representative for the year in
which the valuation of estates within the Commonwealth shall be settled.
Any two or more of the several towns may, by consent of a majority of the legal voters present at a legal meeting, in each of said towns respectively, called for that purpose, and held before the first day of August, in the year one thousand eight hundred and forty, and every tenth year thereafter, form themselves into a representative district, to continue for the term of ten years; and such district shall have all the rights, in regard to representation, which would belong to a town containing the same number of inhabitants.
The number of inhabitants which shall entitle a town to elect one representative, and the mean increasing number which shall entitle a town or city to elect more than one, and also the number by which the population of towns, not entitled to a representative every year, is to be divided, shall be increased, respectively, by one tenth of tho numbers above mentioned, whenever the population of the commonwealth shall have increased to seven hundred and seventy thousand, and for every additional increase of seventy thousand inhabitants, the same addition of one tenth shall be made, respectively, to the said numbers above mentioned.
In the year of each decennial census the Governor and Council shall, before the first day of September, apportion the number of representatives which each city, town and representative district is entitled to elect, and ascertain how many years, within ten years, any town may elect a representative, which is not entitled to elect one every year; and the Governor shall cause the same to be published forthwith.
Nine counselors shall be annually chosen from among the people at large, on the first Wednesday of January, or as soon thereafter as may be, by the joint ballot of the senators and representatives assembled in one room, who shall, as soon as may be, in like manner, fill up any vacancies that may happen in the Council, by death, resignation, or otherwise. No person shall be elected a counselor, who has not been an inhabitant of this commonwealth for the term of five years immediately preceding his election ; and not more than one counselor shall be chosen from any one senatorial district in the commonwealth.
No possession of a freehold, or of any other estate, shall be required as a qualification for holding a seat in either branch of the General Court, or in the Executive Council.
Tuis is the smallest State in the union. Its resources are greater, in pro portion to its inhabitants, than any other State. The first settlement was at Providence, in 1643, by Roger Williams, and his associates, who were banished from Massachusetts on account of their views of religious toleration. (See Gammel's Life of Roger Williams, published by Gould, Kendall f. Lincoln, Boston, 1846.) This State embraces what were once the Rhode Island and Providence plantations. In 1643, Mr. Williams went to England, and obtained a patent from the Plymouth Colony, by which the two plantations were united under one government. In 1663, upon the restoration of Charles II. to the throne, a new charter was granted, which formed the basis of government till 1812, when the present Constitution was adopted. Thus, for almost two centuries, was Rhode Island without a written Constitution-showing to the world what a self-governed people may do.
Area, 1,360 sq. m. Population, in 1850, 147,544.
CONSTITUTION Ratified by the Vote of the People, Nov. 21, 22, and 23, 1842. . We, the people of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, grateful to Almighty God for the civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing upon our endeavors to secure and to transmit the same, unimpaired, to succeeding generations, do ordain and establish this Constitution of Government.
ARTICLE I. Declaration of certain Constitutional Rights and Principles. In order effectually to secure the religious and political freedom established by our venerated ancestors, and to preserve the same for our posterity, we do declare that the essential and unquestionable rights and principles hereinafter mentioned, shall be established, maintained, and preserved, and shall be of paramount obligation in all legislative, judicial and executive proceedings.
Sec. 1. In the words of the Father of his Country, we declare, that “ the basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and alter their constitutions of government; but that the Constitution which at any time exists, till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all."
2. All free governments are instituted for the protection, safety, and happiness of the people. All laws, therefore, should be made for the good of the whole; and the burdens of the State ought to be fairly distributed among its citizens.
3. Whereas, Almighty God hath created the mind free; and all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burthens, or by civil incapacitations, tend to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness; and whereas a principal object of our venerated ancestors, in their migration to this country and their settlement of this State, was, as they expressed it, to hold forth a lively experiment that á flourishing civil State may stand and be best maintained with full liberty in religious concernments: wc, therefore, declare, that no man shall be compelled to frequent or to support any religious worship, place or ministry whatever, cxcept in fulfilment of his own voluntary contract; nor enforced, restrained, molested or burthened in his body or goods; nor disqualified from holding any office; nor otherwise suffer on account of his religious belief: and that every man shall be free to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience, and to profess and by argument to maintain his opinion in matters of religion; and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge or affect his civil capacity.
4. Slavery shall not be permitted in this State.
5. Every person within this State ought to find a certain remedy, by having recourse to the laws, for all injuries or wrongs which he may receive in his person, property or character. He ought to obtain right and justice freely, and without purchase, completely and without denial, promptly and without delay; conformally to the laws.
6. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, papers, and possessions, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated ; and no warrant shall issue, but on complaint in writing, upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and describing, as nearly as may be, the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.