CONSTITUTION OF 1861


ARTICLE VI

GENERAL PROVISIONS

 

Section 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 do solemnly swear [or affirm, as the case may be] that I will support the 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!"

Section 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.

Section 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.

Section 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.

Section 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 privelege of free suffrage shall be supported by laws regulating elections, and prohibiting under adequate penalties, all undue influence thereon from power, bribery, tumult, or improper conduct.

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

Section 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 receipts and expenditures of all public moneys shall be published annually.

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

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

Section 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.

Section 11. Temporary absence from this State, shall not cause a forfeiture of a residence once obtained.

Section 12. No member or delegate to any Congress of other States or powers, nor persons holding any office of profit or trust under any foreign power, shall hold or exercise any office of profit under this State: Provided , that this section does not apply to any deputy, delegate or commissioner elected by this convention.

Section 13. Divorces from the bonds of Matrimony shall not be granted, but in cases provided for by law in chancery. But decrees for divorce shall be final, unless appealed from within three months from the date of the enrollment thereof.

Section 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 the right to determine the law and the facts under the direction of the courts.

Section 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.

Section 16. The General Assembly may, by a vote of two-thirds of both branches thereof, arrange and designate boundaries for the several counties of this State, which shall not be altered, except by a like vote of the General Assembly. But no new county shall be hereafter formed of less extent than nine hundred square miles, nor shall it contain, at the time, less than one hundredth part of the population of the State, and no existing county shall be hereafter reduced below such area or population by the formation of a new county.

Section 17. 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.

Section 18. 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.

Section 19. Within five days after the adoption of this Constitution, the body or 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.

Section 20. The General Assembly shall make provisions 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.

Section 21. In the event of the annexation of any foreign territory to this State, 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 acquisition: anything 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 have been 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 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.


BANKING


Section 1.
No bank shall be established, nor bank charter renewed under the authority of this State, without the concurrence of two-thirds of each house of the General Assembly.

Section 2. Not more than one bank shall be established, nor bank charter renewed at any one session of the General Assembly, nor shall any bank be established, or bank charter renewed, but in conformity with the following rules.

  1. The stockholders shall be liable respectively for the debts of the bank in proportion to their stock holden therein.

  2. The remedy for collecting debts shall be reciprocal for and against the bank.

  3. 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.

  4. Should any bank 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 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 annun from the date of such demand, unless the General Assembly shall sanction such suspension of specie payments by a vote ot two-thirds of each house of the General Assembly.

  5. Whenever any bank suspends specie payments, the charter is thereby forfeited, unless such suspension is legalized, as is provided by the preceding rule at the then next ensuing session of the General Assembly after such suspension.


SLAVERY


Section 1.
No slave in this State shall be emancipated by any act done to take effect in this State, or any other country.

Section 2. The humane treatment of slaves shall be secured by law.

Section 3. Laws may be enacted to prohibit the introduction into this State, of slaves who have committed high crimes in other States or territories, and to regulate or prevent the introduction of slaves into this State as merchandise.

Section 4. 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 petiti jury.

Section 5. Any person who shall maliciously dismember or deprive a slave of life, shall suffer such punishment as would be inflicted in case the like offense had been committed on a free white person, and on the like proof, except in case of insurrection of such slave.


EXPLANATORY PROVISIONS

PART I.

Relating To The Change From The Territorial To The State Form Of Government


Section 1.
That no inconvience may arise from a change of territorial to a permanent State government, it is declared that all rights, actions, prosecutions, claims, and contracts, as well of individuals, as of bodies corporate, shall continue as if no such change had taken place; and all process, which shall, before the third Monday in September next, be issued in the name of the Alabama territory, shall be as valid as if issued in the name of the State.

Section 2. All fines, penalties, forfeitures, and escheats, accruing to the Alabama territory, shall accrue to the use of the State.

Section 3. The validity of all bonds and recognizances, executed to the Governor of the Alabama territory, shall not be impaired by the change of government, by may be sued for and recovered in the name of the Governor of the State of Alabama, and his successors in office; and all criminal and penal actions, arising or now depending within the limits of this State, shall be prosecuted to judgment and execution in the name of said State, all causes of action arising to individuals, and all suits at law or in equityn now depending in the several courts, within the limits of this State, and not already barred by law, may be commenced in, or transferred to, such courts as may have jurisdiction thereof.

Section 4. All officers, civil or military, now holding commissions under the authority of the United States, or of the Alabama territory, within this State, shall continue to hold and exercise their respective offices under the authority of this State, until they shall be superseded under the authority of this Constitution, and shall receive from the treasury of this State, the same compensation which they heretofore received, in proportion to the time they shall be so employed. The Governor shall have power to fill vacancies by commissions, to expire so soon as elections or appointments can be made to such offices, by authority of this Constitution.

Section 5. All laws and parts of laws, now in force in the Alabama territory, which are not repugnant to the provisions of this Constitution, shall continue and remain in force as the laws of this State, until they expire by their own limitation, or shall be altered, or repealed, by the Legislature thereof.


PART II

Relating To The Secession Of The State Of Alabama From The Government Of The United States

CHAPTER I.


Section 1.
Be it declared and ordained by the people of the State of Alabama in Convention assembled , That the State of Alabama now withdraws, and is hereby withdrawn from the Union known as "the United States of America", and henceforth ceases to be one of said United States, and is, and of right ought to be a Sovereign and Independent State .

Section 2. Be it further declared and ordained by the people of the State of Alabama in Convention assembled , That all the powers over the territory of said State, and over the people thereof, heretofore delegated to the government of the United States of America, be, and they are hereby withdrawn from said government, and are hereby resumed and vested in the people of the State of Alabama.

Section 3. Be it ordained by the people of Alabama in Convention Assembled, That the Constitution framed and adopted on the 11th day of March, 1861, by the Deputies from the States of South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas, in convention assembled, at Montgomery, Alabama, be, and the same is hereby Approved, Ratified and Adopted , as the Federal Constitution for the people of Alabama.


CHAPTER II.


Section 1.
No law enacted by the authority of the State of Alabama, in force on the 11th day of January, A. D., 1861, and consistent with the Constitution of this State, and not inconsistent with the ordinances of this Convention, is affected by the ordinance known as the Ordinance of Secession, adopted on said day, and entitled "An Ordinance to dissolve the Union between the State of Alabama and other States, united under the compact styled the Constitution of the United States."

Section 2. No office, civil or military, created by this State, or under the authority of its laws, in force on the eleventh day of January, A. D., 1861, and no officer lawfully exercising the powers or duties of such office, is affected by said Ordinance of Secession, except the offices of the members of the House of Representatives, and of the Senators of the Congress of the United States of America, and these are abrogated.

Section 3. No offense against the laws of this State, committed before or since the adoption of said Ordinance of Secession, is affected by said ordinance, and no offender against said laws, is relieved or discharged from the consequences of such offense by said ordinance; and no amercement, fine, penalty, forfeiture, escheat, bond, or recognizance, accruing or enuring, in whole or in part, to the State of Alabama, whether in action or in judgment, is affected by said ordinance.

Section 4. No bond issued by authority of the laws of this State, or bills or coin lawfully used as money in this State, and no bond, obligation, debt or duty, due or owing to this State, or enuring, in whole or in part, to this State, before or since the adoption of said ordinance, is affected thereby.

Section 5. No process or proceeding of any Court of this State, is affected by said Ordinance of Secession.

Section 6. No right, title, franchise, easement, license or privilege given, granted or conferred to, or upon any person or body corporate, under and by authority of the laws of this State, and no right of possession of property, action or prosecution, title, claim, contract, agreement, obligation, debt or duty, of any person or body corporate, is affected by said Ordinance of Secession, unless the same is inconsistent with said ordinance, or is affected by some other ordinance of this Convention.

Section 7. No rights acquired, or vested in any body corporate under the Constitution of the United States, or under any act of Congress passed in pursuance thereof, or under any law of this State, and not incompatible with said Ordinance of Secession, is affected by said ordinance.


PART III.

Relating To The Changes In The Constitution Of Alabama


Section 1.
Be it ordained by the people of the State of Alabama in Convention assembled , That no change made in the Constitution of the State of Alabama, by this Convention, shall have the effect to divest any right, title, or legal trust existing at the time of making such change. But all such changes shall have a prospective and not a retrospective effect, unless otherwise declared in the change itself.

Section 2. Be it ordained by the people of Alabama in Convention assembled , That, an ordinance adopted by the people of this State, in Convention, at Huntsville, on the second day of August, one thousand eight hundred and nineteen, disclaiming forever all right to the waste or unappropriated lands lying within this State, is hereby repealed; but the navigable waters of this State shall remain forever free to the citizens of this State, and of such States as may unite with the State of Alabama, in a Southern slaveholding Confederacy. But no right heretofore obtained, by any person or corporation, to erect a bridge, or bridges, across the navigable waters of this State, shall be affected by this ordinance; Provided , That the navigation of such rivers be not obstructed thereby.


Mode Of Amending Or 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; Provided further , That a Convention of the people of the State may be called by a vote of two-thirds of each branch of the General Assembly, under such rules and regulations as the Legislature may prescribe, to amend the Constitution or for any other purpose.


Adopted by the people of Alabama by the unanimous vote of their delegates in Convention assembled, at the Capitol, in the city of Montgomery, on this the twentieth day of March, in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-one, and of the Confederate States of America the first year.

WILLIAM M. BROOKS
President of the Convention of the people of the State of Alabama

Attest - A. G. HORN
Secretary of the Convention


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