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fences against the states.' They are instructed by the court in the matters pertaining to their enquiries, and then withdraw to receive indictments, which are preferred to them, in the name of the state, but at the suit of a private prosecutor. After an examination, such of the bills as are found correct, are endorsed “ A true Bill," -signed by the foreman; and hence becomes an official accusation, to be rebutted only, by proof at the trial.
47. Taxes.-All contributions imposed by the government upon individuals, for the service of the state, are called taxes, by wbatever name known. Thus, the tithes imposed upon the people of England for the support of church government is a tax: so also imposts, duties, excises, &c., are taxes.
48. A LEGAL TENDER,—is the tender of such an article as the law requires to be made, in payment of a debt. In the United States, gold and silver coin is the legal tender; and the states are forbid making anything else a tender; but it is not so in many countries, nor has it always been so in this. 14 Blackst. 302. 84 Blackst. 302. 8 2 Story's Comm. 419.
ORIGIN OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES.
$ 1. The continent of North America was chiefly settled by emigrants from Great Britain. The jurisdiction over the new region, as well as the title to its lands, was claimed by the mother country, under the color of discovery and conquest. Hence, to acquire the right of property, as well as to sustain themselves against oppo sition, the authority of Great Britain became necessary to the early colonists. This was given in the form of grants and charters, to companies and large proprietors. Such was the grant of the territory of Massachusetts to the Plymouth Company, and of Maryland to Lord Baltimore.'
$ 2. There were originally three different forms of government in the colonies, viz.-The Charter, the Proprietary, and Royal Governments. The Charter Governments were confined to New-England; the middle and southern colonies were divided between the Proprietary and Royal Governments.
§ 3. The Charter Governments were composed of a Governor, Deputy-governor, and Assistants, elected by the people; these, with the freemen, i. e. citizens of the colony, were to compose the “General Courts," which were authorized to appoint such officers, and make such laws and ordinances for the welfare of the colony as to them might seem meet.
These first forms of government in New-England contained the same principles as, and were doubtless the origin of, our republican system.
1 Pitkin's Civil History, p. 31. 2 Idem. p. 36.
$ 4. The Proprietaryl governments were those of Maryland, Pennsylvania, the Carolinas, and Jersey. Part of these soon became royal governments. In the proprietary governments, the power of appointing officers and making laws rested in the proprietors, by the advice and assent, generally, of the freemen. In some of them, as in the Carolinas, singular irregularities were found. In all, great confusion took place.
$ 5. In the royal governments, which were NewYork, Virginia, Georgia, and Delaware, the Governor and Council were appointed by the crown; and the people elected representatives to the colonial legislature. The Governor had a negative in both houses of the legislature; and most of the officers were appointed by the king.
$ 6. These different governments, operating also upon a people of different habits and manners, as the Puritans of New-England, the Cavaliers of Virginia, and the Quakers of Pennsylvania, produced many diversities of legislation and political character. Notwithstanding these, however, the necessities of a common danger from hostile tribes of Indians, and of a common interest from similarity of circumstances, soon induced a union, or confederacy of the colonies. Those of Massachusetts, Plymouth, Connecticut, and New Haven, as early as 1643, formed a league, offensive and defensive, which they declared should be perpetual, and distinguished by the name of the United Colonies of New-England. This confederacy subsisted for forty years, under a regular form of government, in which the principle of a delegated congress was the prominent feature.
$ 7. A congress of commissioners, representing NewHampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New-York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, was held at Albany, in 1754. This convention unanimously re1 Pitkin's Civil History, p. 55.
2 Idem. p. 71. 3 Kent's Comm. p. 191, 192.
solved, that a union of the colonies was absolutely necessary for their preservation. They proposed a general plan of federal government, which, however, was not adopted.
$ 8. In October, 1765, a congress' of delegates from nine states assembled at New-York, and digested a bill of rights on the subject of taxation.
9. In September, 1774, an association of twelve states was formed, and delegates authorized to meet and consult for the cowemon welfare.
10. In May, 1775, the first congress of the thirteen states assembled at Philadelphia; and in July, 1776, issued the Declaration of Independence.
$ 11. In November, 1777, Congress agreed upon the celebrated Articles of Confederation, under which the United States successfully terminated the Revolution. This was the first formation of a general government of all the states, and continued till the adoption of the Constitution in 1788. This, however, had inherent defects, which forced the states to the adoption of the present system. During the Revolution, the pressure of an irstant and common danger kept the states in a close union, and incited them to make all possible efforts in the common defence. When that was over, however, mutual jealousies and separate interests, weakening the common bonds, soon proved the utter insufficiency of a mere confederacy for the purposes of national government. Then it was that the ablest heads and the purest hearts in the nation exercised their faculties in devising a new and better form of government. General Washington, in June, 1783, addressed a letter to the governors of the several states, in which he says, “There are four things which I humbly conceive are essential to the wellbeing, I may even venture to say, to the existence of the United States as an independent power. 1. An indis 1 Kent's Comm. p. 193.
» Idem. 195. 8 Marshall's Life of Washington, vol. 5, c. 1. p. 46.
soluble union of the states under one federal head. 2. A sacred regard to public justice. 3. The adoption of a proper peace establishment. 4. The prevalence of that pacific and friendly disposition among the people of the United States which will induce them to forget their local politics and prejudices."
$ 12. Under the first head he remarked that, “It is only in our united character that we are known as an empire, that our independence is acknowledged, that our power can be regarded, or our credit supported among foreign nations. The treaties of European powers with the United States of America will have no validity on a dissolution of the Union. We may find by our own unhappy experience, that there is a natural and necessary progression from the extreme of anarchy to the extreme of tyranny; and that arbitrary power is most easily established on the ruins of liberty abused to licentiousness.” Such were the sentiments of Washington, and such were those then of the nation.
$ 13. In January, 1786, the Legislature of Virginia recommended a meeting of commissioners from the several states to review. the powers of government. The delegates of five states met at Annapolis, but adjourned, proposing a general convention at Philadephia.
$ 14. In 1787, the convention of delegates from twelve states was convened, and after much deliberation, formed the present Constitution of the United States.
$ 15. By resolution of the convention, it was directed to be carried into effect when ratified by the conventions of nine states chosen by the people thereof." That ratification, after much opposition, scrutinizing discussion, and the adoption of several amendments, it finally received, and all the states, eventually assenting to its provisions, became members of the Union. In 1789 it went into practical operation, and from that period to this, more than forty years, has withstood unharmed
Marshall's Wash. vol. 5,p. 129.