New Hampshire Constitution 1776
IN CONGRESS AT EXETER, January 5, 1776.
VOTED, That this Congress take up CIVIL GOVERNMENT for this
colony in manner and form following, viz.
WE, the members of the Congress of New Hampshire, chosen and
appointed by the free suffrages of the people of said colony,
and authorized and empowered by them to meet together, and
use such means and pursue such measures as we should judge
best for the public good; and in particular to establish some
form of government, provided that measure should be recommended
by the Continental Congress: And a recommendation to that
purpose having been transmitted to us from the said Congress:
Have taken into our serious consideration the unhappy circumstances,
into which this colony is involved by means of many grievous
and oppressive acts of the British Parliament, depriving us
of our natural and constitutional rights and privileges; to
enforce obedience to which acts a powerful fleet and army
have been sent to this country by the ministry of Great Britain,
who have exercised a wanton and cruel abuse of their power,
in destroying the lives and properties of the colonists in
many places with fire and sword, taking the ships and lading
from many of the honest and industrious inhabitants of this
colony employed in commerce, agreeable to the laws and customs
a long time used here.
The sudden and abrupt departure of his Excellency John Wentworth,
Esq., our late Governor, and several of the Council, leaving
us destitute of legislation, and no executive courts being
open to punish criminal offenders; whereby the lives and properties
of the honest people of this colony are liable to the machinations
and evil designs of wicked men, Therefore, for the preservation
of peace and good order, and for the security of the lives
and properties of the inhabitants of this colony, we conceive
ourselves reduced to the necessity of establishing A FORM
OF GOVERNMENT to continue during the present unhappy and unnatural
contest with Great Britain; PROTESTING and DECLARING that
we neaver sought to throw off our dependence upon Great Britain,
but felt ourselves happy under her protection, while we could
enjoy our constitutional rights and privileges. And that we
shall rejoice if such a reconciliation between us and our
parent State can be effected as shall be approved by the CONTINENTAL
CONGRESS, in whose prudence and wisdom we confide.
Accordingly pursuant to the trust reposed in us, WE DO Resolve,
that this Congress assume the name, power and authority of
a house of Representatives or Assembly for the Colony of New-Hampshire
And that said House then proceed to choose twelve persons,
being. reputable freeholders and inhabitants within this colony,
in the following manner, viz. five in the county of Rockingham,
two in the county of Stratford, two in the county of Hillsborough,
two in the county of Cheshire, and one in the county of Grafton,
to be a distinct and separate branch of the Legislature by
the name of a COUNCIL for this colony, to continue as such
until the third Wednesday in December next; any seven of whom
to be a quorum to do business. That such Council appoint their
President, and in his absence that the senior counsellor preside;
that a Secretary be appointed by both branches, who may be
a counssellor, or otherwise, as they shall choose:
That no act or resolve shall be valid and put into execution
unless agreed to, and passed by both branches of the legislature
That all public officers for the said colony, and each county,
for the current year, be appointed by the Council and Assembly,
except the several clerks of the Executive Courts, who shall
be appointed by the Justices of the respective Courts.
That all bills, resolves, or votes for raising, levying and
collecting money originate in the house of Representatives.
That at any session of the Council and Assembly neither branch
shall adjourn from any longer time than from Saturday till
the next Monday without consent of the other.
And it is further resolved, That if the present unhappy dispute
with Great Britain should continue longer than this present
year, and the Continental Congress give no instruction or
direction to the contrary, the Council be chosen by the people
of each respective county in such manner as the Council and
house of Representatives shall order.
That general and field officers of the militia, on any vacancy,
be appointed by the two houses, and all inferior officers
be chosen by the respective companies.
That all officers of the Army be appointed by the two houses,
except they should direct otherwise in case of any emergency.
That all civil officers for the colony and for each county
be appointed, and the time of their continuance in office
be determined by the two houses, except clerks of Courts,
and county treasurers, and recorders of deeds.
That a treasurer, and a recorder of deeds for each county
be annually chosen by the people of each county respectively;
the votes for such officers to be returned to the respective
courts of General Sessions of the Peace in the county, there
to be ascertained as the Council and Assembly shall hereafter
That precepts in the name of the Council and Assembly, signed
by the President of the Council, and Speaker of the house
of Representatives, shall issue annually at or before the
first day of November, for the choice of a Council and house
of Representatives to be returned by the third Wednesday in
December then next ensuing, in such manner as the Council
and Assembly shall hereafter prescribe.
Back to top of page
Contact us | View site map | Mobile version