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NORTH CAROLINA. The name of one of the original states of the United States
of America. The territory which now forms this state was included in the
grant made in 1663 by Charles II. to Lord Clarendon and others, of a much
more extensive country. The boundaries were enlarged by a new charter
granted by the same prince to the same proprietaries, in the year 1665. By
this charter the proprietaries were authorized to make laws, with the assent
of the freemen of the province or their delegates, and they were invested
with various other powers. Being dissatisfied with the form of government,
the proprietaries procured the celebrated John Locke to draw a plan of
government for the colony, which was adopted and proved to be impracticable;
it was highly exceptionable on account of its disregard of the principles of
religious toleration and national liberty, which are now universally
admitted. After a few years of unsuccessful operation it was abandoned. The
colony had been settled at two points, one called the Northern and the other
the Southern settlement, which were governed by separate legislatures. In
1729, the proprietaries surrendered their charter, when it became a royal
province, and was governed by a commission and a form of government in
substance similar to that established in other royal provinces. In 1732, the
territory was divided, and the divisions assumed the names of North Carolina
and South Carolina.
2. The constitution of, North Carolina was adopted December 18, 1776. To this constitution amendments were made in convention, June 4, 1835, which were ratified by the people on the 9th day of November of the same year, and took effect on the 1st day of January, 1836.
3. The powers of the government are distributed into three branches, the legislative, the executive, and the judiciary.
4.-Sec. 1. The legislative power is vested in a senate and in a house of commons, and both are denominated the general assembly. These will be separately, considered.
5.-1st. In treating of the senate, it will be proper to take a view of, 1. The qualifications of senators. 2. Of electors of senators. 3. Of the number of senators. 4. Of the time for which they are elected.
6.-1. The first article, section 3, of the amendments, provides: All freemen of the age of twenty-one years, (except as is hereinafter declared,) who have been inhabitants of any one district within, the state twelve months immediately preceding the day of any election, and possessed of a freehold within the same district of fifty acres of land for six months next before and at the day of election, shall be entitled to vote for a member of the senate; consequently no free negro or free person of mixed blood, descended from negro ancestors to the fourth generation inclusive, can be a senator, as such persons cannot be voters. The 4th article, sec. 2, of the amendments, declares that no person who shall deny the being of God, or the truth of the Christian religion, or the divine authority of the Old or New Testament, or who shall hold religious principles incompatible with the freedom or safety of the state, shall be capable of holding any office or place of trust or profit in the civil department within this state. And the fourth section of the article directs that no person who shall hold any office or place of trust or profit under the United States, or any department thereof, or under this state, or any other state or government, shall hold or exercise any other office or place of trust or profit under the authority of this state, or be eligible to a seat in either house of the general assembly: Provided, that nothing herein contained shall extend to officers, in the militia or justices of the peace. The 31st section of the constitution provides that no clergyman, or preacher of the gospel, of any denomination, shall be capable of being a member of either the senate, house of commons, or council of state, while he continues in the exercise of his pastoral function. 2. The first article of the amendments, provides, section 3, Sec. 2, that all free men of the age of twenty-one years, (except as hereinafter declared,) who have been inhabitants of any one district within the state twelve months immediately preceding the day of any election, and possessed of a freehold within the same district of fifty acres of land, for six months next before and at the day of election, shall be entitled to vote for a member of the senate. And Sec. 3, no negro, free, mulatto, or free person of mixed blood, descended from negro ancestors to the fourth generation inclusive, (though one ancestor of each generation may have been a white person,) shall vote for members of the senate or house of commons. 3. The senate consists of fifty representatives. Amend. art. 1, s. 1. 4. They are chosen biennially by ballot. Id.
7.-2d. The house of commons will be considered in the same order which has been observed in speaking of the senate. 1. The sixth section of the constitution requires that each member of the house of commons shall have usually resided in the county in which he is chosen for one year immediately preceding his election, and for six months shall have possessed, and continue to possess, in the county which be represents, not less than one hundred acres of land in fee, or for the term of his own life. The disqualifications of persons for membership in the house of commons will be found ante, under the bead senate.
2. The qualifications of voters for members of the house of commons are, by sect. 8 of the constitution, that all freemen of the age of twenty- one years, who have been inhabitants of any one county within the state twelve months immediately preceding the day of any election, and shall have paid public taxes, shall be entitled to vote for members of the house of commons, for the county in which be resides. And by Sec. 9, that all persons possessed of a freehold, in any town in this state, having a right of representation, and also all freemen, who have been inhabitants of any such town twelve months next before, and at the day of election, and shall have paid public taxes, shall be entitled to vote for a member to represent such town in the house of commons; Provided, always, that this section shall not entitle any inhabitant of such town to vote for members of the house of commons for the county in which he may reside; nor ally freeholder in such county, who resides without or beyond the limits of such town, to vote for a member of the said town. But mulattoes, or persons of a mixed blood, are not voters. Amend. art. 1, sect. 3, Sec. 3.
3. The Amendments, article 1, section 1, Sec. 2, 3, and 4, direct bow the house of commons shall be composed, as follows: The house of commons shall be composed of one hundred and twenty representatives, biennially chosen by ballot, to be elected by counties according to their federal population; that is, according to their respective numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole number of free persons, including those bound to service for a term, of years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three-fifths of all other, persons; and each county shall have at least one member in the house of commons, although it may not contain the requisite ratio of population. This apportionment shall be made by the general assembly, at the respective times and periods when the districts for the senate are hereinbefore directed to be laid off; and the said apportionment shall be made according to an enumeration to be ordered by the general assembly, or according to the census which may be taken by order of congress, next preceding the making such apportionment. In making the apportionment in the house of commons, the ratio of representation shall be ascertained by dividing the amount of federal population in the state, after deducting that comprehended within those counties which do not severally contain the one hundred and twentieth part of the entire federal population aforesaid, by the number of representatives less than the number assigned to the said counties. To each county containing the said ratio, and not twice the said ratio, there shall be assigned one representative; 'to each county containing twice, but not three times the said ratio, there shall be assigned two representatives, and so on progressively; and then the remaining representatives shall be assigned severally to the counties having the largest fractions. 4. They are elected biennially.
8.-Sec. 2. The executive power is regulated by the amendments of the constitution, article 2, as follows, namely:
Sec. 1. The governor shall be chosen by the qualified voters for the members of the house of commons, at such time and places as members of the general assembly are elected.
Sec. 2. He shall hold his office for the term of two years from the time of bis installation, and until another shall be elected and qualified; but he shall not be eligible more than four years in any term of six years.
Sec. 3. The returns of every election for governor shall be sealed up and transmitted to the seat of government, by the returning officers, directed to the speaker of the senate, who shall open and publish them in the presence of a majority of the members of both houses of the general assembly. The person having the highest number of votes shall be governor; but if two or more shall be equal and highest in votes, one of them shall be chosen governor by joint vote of both houses of the general assembly.
Sec. 4. Contested elections for governor shall be determined by both houses of the general assembly, in such manner as shall be prescribed by law., SS 5. The governor elect shall enter on the duties of the office on the first day of January next after his election, having previously taken the oath of office in the presence of the members of both branches of the general assembly, or before the chief justice of the supreme court, who, in case the governor elect should be prevented from attendance before the general assembly, by sickness or other unavoidable cause, is authorized to administer the same.
9.-Sec. 3. The judicial powers are vested in supreme courts of law and equity, courts of admiralty, and justices of the peace.