CONSTITUTION OF 1819


ARTICLE VI.
GENERAL PROVISIONS.

 

SEC. 1. The members of the General Assembly, and all officers, executive and judicial, before they enter on the execution of their respective offices, shall take the following oath or affirmation, to wit: "I solemnly swear (or affirm, as the case may be) that I will support the Constitution of the United States, and Constitution of the State of Alabama, so long as I continue a citizen thereof, and that I will faithfully discharge, to the best of my abilities, the duties of -------- according to law: so help me God."

SEC. 2. Treason against the State shall consist only in levying war against it, or in adhering to its enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or his own confession in open court.

SEC. 3. The General Assembly shall have power to pass such penal laws, to suppress the evil practice of Duelling, extending to disqualification from office or the tenure thereof, as they may deem expedient.

SEC. 4. Every person shall be disqualified from holding any office or place of honor or profit, under the authority of the State, who shall be convicted of having given or offered any bribe to procure his election or appointment.

SEC. 5. Laws shall be made to exclude from office, from suffrage, and from serving as Jurors, those who shall hereafter be convicted of bribery, perjury, forgery, or other high crimes or misdemeanors. The privilege of free suffrage shall be supported by laws regulating elections, and prohibiting, under adequate penalties, all undue influence thereon, from power, bribery, tumult, or other improper conduct.

SEC. 6. In all elections by the General Assembly, the members thereof shall vote viva voce, and the votes shall be entered on the journals.

SEC. 7. No money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in consequence of an appropriation made by law; and a regular statement and account of the receipts and expenditures of all public moneys shall be published annually.

SEC. 8. All lands liable to taxation in this State shall be taxed in proportion to their value.

SEC. 9. The General Assembly shall direct, by law, in what manner, and in what courts, suits may be brought against the State.

SEC. 10. It shall be the duty of the General Assembly to regulate, by law, the cases in which deductions shall be made from the salaries of public officers, for neglect of duty in their official capacities, and the amount of such deduction.

SEC. 11. Absence on business of this State, or of the United States, or on a visit, or necessary private business, shall not cause a forfeiture of a residence once obtained.

SEC. 12. No Member of Congress, nor any person holding any office of profit or trust under the United States, (the office of Postmaster excepted) or either of them, or any foreign power, shall hold or exercise any office of profit under this State.

SEC. 13. Divorces from the bonds of matrimony shall not be granted, but in cases provided for by law, by suit in Chancery: and no decree for such divorce shall have effect until the same shall be sanctioned by two thirds of both Houses of the General Assembly.

SEC. 14. In prosecutions for the publishing of papers investigating the official conduct of officers or men in public capacity, or when the matter published is proper for public information, the truth thereof may be given in evidence; and, in all indictments for libels, the jury shall have a right to determine the law and the facts, under the direction of the courts.

SEC. 15. Returns of all elections for officers who are to be commissioned by the Governor, and for members of the General Assembly, shall be made to the Secretary of State.

SEC. 16. No new county shall be established by the General Assembly, which shall reduce the county or counties, or either of them, from which it shall be taken to a less content that nine hundred square miles; nor shall any county be laid off of less contents. Every new county, as to the right of suffrage and representation, shall be considered as a part of the county or counties from which it was taken, until entitled by numbers to the right of separate representation.

SEC. 17. The General Assembly shall, at their first session, which may be holden in the year eighteen hundred and twenty-eight, or at the next succeeding session, arrange and designate boundaries for the several counties within the limits of this State, to which the Indian title shall have been extinguished, in such manner as they may deem expedient; which boundaries shall not be afterwards altered, unless by the agreement of two thirds of both branches of the General Assembly, and in all cases of ceded Territory acquired by the State, the General Assembly may make such arrangements and designations of the boundaries of counties within such ceded Territory as they may deem expedient, which shall only be altered in like manner; provided that no county hereafter to be formed shall be of less extent than nine hundred square miles.

SEC. 18. It shall be the duty of the General Assembly to pass such laws as may be necessary and proper, to decide differences by arbitrators, to be appointed by the parties, who may choose that summary mode of adjustment.

SEC. 19. It shall be the duty of the General Assembly, as soon as circumstances will permit, to form a penal code, founded on principles of reformation, and not of vindictive justice.

SEC. 20. Within five years after the adoption of this Constitution, the body of our laws, civil and criminal, shall be revised, digested, and arranged under proper heads, and promulgated in such manner as the General Assembly may direct: and a like revision, digest, and promulgation, shall be made within every subsequent period of ten years.

SEC. 21. The General Assembly shall make provision by law for obtaining correct knowledge of the several objects proper for improvement in relation to the navigable waters, and to the roads in this State, and for making a systematic and economical application of the means appropriated to those objects.
SEC. 22. In the event of the annexation of any foreign territory to this State, by a cession from the United States, laws may be passed, extending to the inhabitants of such territory all the rights and privileges which may be required by the terms of such cession; any thing in this Constitution to the contrary notwithstanding.

EDUCATION.

Schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged in this State; and the General Assembly shall take measures to preserve, from unnecessary waste or damage, such lands as are or hereafter may be granted by the United States for the use of schools within each township in this State, and apply the funds, which may be raised from such lands; in strict conformity to the object of such grant. The General Assembly shall take like measures for the improvement of such lands as have been or may be hereafter granted by the United States to this State, for the support of a Seminary of learning, and the moneys which may be raised from such lands, by rent, lease, or sale, or from any other quarter, for the purpose, aforesaid, shall be and remain a fund for the exclusive support of a State University, for the promotion of the arts, literature, and the sciences: and it shall be the duty of the General Assembly, as early as may be, to provide effectual means for the improvement and permanent security of the funds and endowments of such institution.

ESTABLISHMENT OF BANKS.

SEC. 1. One State Bank may be established, with such number of branches as the General Assembly may, from time to time, deem expedient: Provided, that no branch bank shall be established, nor bank charter renewed, under the authority of this State, without the concurrence of two thirds of both Houses of the General Assembly; and provided, also, that not more than one bank nor branch bank shall be established, nor bank charter renewed, at any one session of the General Assembly; nor shall any bank or branch bank be established, or bank charter renewed, but in conformity with the following rules:
1. At least two-fifths of the capital stock shall be reserved for the State.
2. A proportion of power in the direction of the bank shall be reserved to the State, equal at least to its proportion of stock therein.
3. The State, and the individual stockholders, shall be liable, respectively, for the debts of the bank, in proportion to their stock holden therein.
4. The remedy for collecting debts shall be reciprocal, for and against the bank.
5. No bank shall commence operations until half of the capital stock subscribed for, be actually paid in gold or silver, which amount shall, in no case, be less than one hundred thousand dollars.
6. In case any bank or branch bank shall neglect or refuse to pay, on demand, any bill, note, or obligation, issued by the corporation, according to the promise therein expressed, the holder of any such note, bill, or obligation, issued by the corporation, according to the promise therein expressed, the holder of any such note, bill, or obligation, shall be entitled to receive and recover interest thereon, until the same shall be paid or specie payments are resumed by said bank, at the rate of twelve per cent per annum from the date of such demand, unless the General Assembly shall sanction such suspension of specie payments; and the General Assembly shall have power, after such neglect or refusal, to adopt such measures as they may deem proper, to protect and secure the rights of all concerned: and to declare the charter of such bank forfeited.
7. After the establishment of a general state bank, the banks of this State now existing may be admitted as branches thereof, upon such terms as the Legislature and the said banks may agree, subject nevertheless to the preceding rules.

SLAVES.

SEC. 1. The General Assembly shall have no power to pass laws for the emancipation of slaves, without the consent of their owners, or without paying their owners, previous to such emancipation, a full equivalent in money for the slaves so emancipated. They shall have no power to prevent emigrants to this State from bringing with them such persons as are deemed slaves by the laws of any one of the United States, so long as any person of the same age or description shall be continued in slavery by the laws of this State: Provided, that such person or slave be the bona fide property of such emigrants; and provided, also, that laws may be passed to prohibit the introduction into this State of slaves, who have committed high crimes in other States or Territories. They shall have power to pass laws to permit the owners of slaves to emancipate them, saving the rights of creditors, and preventing them from becoming a public charge. They shall have full power to prevent slaves from being brought into this State as merchandize, and also to oblige the owners of slaves to treat them with humanity, to provide for them necessary food and clothing, to abstain from all injuries to them extending to life or limb, and, in case of their neglect, or refusal to comply with the directions of such laws, to have such slave or slaves sold for the benefit of the owner or owners.

SEC. 2. In the prosecution of slaves for crimes, of a higher grade than petit larceny, the General Assembly shall have no power to deprive them of an impartial trial by a petit jury.

SEC. 3. Any person who shall maliciously dismember or deprive a slave of life, shall suffer such punishment as would be inflicted in case the like offence had been committed on a free white person, and on the like proof; except in case of insurrection of such slave.

MODE OF AMENDING AND REVISING THE CONSTITUTION

The General Assembly, whenever two-thirds of each house shall deem it necessary, may propose amendments to this Constitution; which proposed amendments shall be duly published in print, at least three months before the next general election of Representatives, for the consideration of the people, and it shall be the duty of the several returning officers at the next general election which shall be held for Representatives, to open a poll for, and make a return to the Secretary of State for the time being, of the names of all those voting for representatives, who have voted on such proposed amendments; and if thereupon it shall appear that a majority of all the citizens of this state, voting for representatives, have voted in favor of such proposed amendments; and two thirds of each House of the next General Assembly shall, after such an election, and before another, ratify the same amendments by yeas and nays, they shall be valid, to all intents and purposes, as parts of this Constitution: Provided, that the said proposed amendments shall at each of the said sessions have been read three times, on three several days, in each House.


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