Imágenes de páginas


tives, their election and general powers.




in the said province again, or the pleasure of their majesties, their heirs or successors, be further known.

That for the good government and rule of their majesties' subjects, a session of a general assembly be held in this province once in every year. freeholder within this province, and freeman in any corporaThat every tion, shall have his free choice and vote in the electing of the representatives, without any manner of constraint or imposition; and that in all elections, the majority of votes shall carry it: And by freeholders, is to be understood every one who shall have forty shillings per annum in freehold. That the persons to be elected to sit as representatives in the general assembly, from time to time, for the several cities, towns, counties, shires, divisions or manors of this province, and all places within the same, shall be according to the proportion and number hereafter expressed, that is to say: For the city and county of New-York, four; for Suffolk county, two; for Queens county, two; for Kings county, two; for the county of Richmond, two; for the county of Westchester, two; for the county of Ulster, two; for the city and county of Albany, two; for the colony of Ranslaerswick, one; Dukes county, two; and as many more as their majesties, their heirs and successors, shall think fit to establish. That all persons chosen and assembled in manner aforesaid, or the major part of them, shall be deemed and accounted the representatives of this province in general assembly. That the representatives, convened in general assembly, may appoint their own times of meeting, during their sessions, and may adjourn their house from time to time, as to them shall seem meet and convenient. That the said representatives, as aforesaid convened, are the sole judges of the qualifications of their own members, and likewise of all undue elections; and may from time to time purge the house, as they shall see occasion. That no member of the general assembly, or their servants, during the time of their sessions, and whilst they shall be going to and returning from the said assembly, shall be arrested, sued, imprisoned, or any ways molested or troubled, or be compelled to make answer to any suit, bill, plaint, declaration, or otherwise, (cases of high treason and felony only excepted.) That all bills agreed upon by the representatives, or the major part of them, shall be presented unto the governor and council for their approbation and consent: All and every which said bills so approved of and consented to by the governor and the council, shall be esteemed and accounted the laws of this province; which said laws shall continue and remain in force until they be disallowed by their majesties, their heirs and successors, or expire by their own limitation. That in all cases of death or absence of any of the said representatives, the governor for the time being shall issue out a writ of summons to the respective cities, towns, counties, division or manors, for which he or they so deceased or absent were chosen, willing and requiring the freeholders of the same to elect others in their places and stead.

That no freeman shall be taken and imprisoned, or be deseized of his freehold or liberty or free customs, or outlawed or exiled, or any other ways destroyed, nor shall be passed upon, adjudged or condemned, but by the lawful judgment of his peers, and by the law of this province.

Justice nor right shall be neither sold, denied or delayed to any person within this province.

That no aid, tax, tollage, assessments, custom, loan, benevolence, gift, excise, duty or imposition whatsoever, shall be laid, assessed, imposed, levied or required of or on any of their majesties' subjects within this province, &c. or their estates, upon any manner of colour or pretence whatsoever, but by the act and consent of the governor and council, and representatives of the people in general assembly met and convened.

That no man, of what estate or condition soever, shall be put out of his lands, tenements, nor taken, nor imprisoned, nor disinherited, nor banished, nor any ways destroyed or molested, without first being brought to answer by due course of law.



That a freeman shall not be amerced for a small fault, but after the Amercement manner of his fault, and for a great fault after the greatness thereof, saving blo to offence. to him his freehold; and a husbandman, saving to him his wainage; and a merchant, saving to him his merchandize; and none of the said amercements shall be assessed, but by the oath of twelve honest and lawful men of the vicinage: Provided, The faults and misdemeanors be not in contempt of courts of judicature.

All trials shall be by the verdict of twelve men, and as near as may be Trial by jury. peers or equals of the neighborhood of the place where the fact shall arise or grow, whether the same be by indictment, declaration or information, or otherways, against the person offender or defendant. That in all cases capital or criminal, there shall be a grand inquest, who shall first present the offence, and then twelve good men of the neighborhood to try the offender, who, after his plea to the indictment, shall be allowed his reasonable challenges.

That in all cases whatsoever, bail by sufficient sureties shall be allowed Bail. and taken, unless for treason or felony, plainly and specially expressed and mentioned in the warrant of commitment, and that the felony be such as is restrained from bail by the law of England.

That no freeman shall be compelled to receive any soldiers or mariners, Quartering except innholders and other houses of public entertainment, who are to soldiers. quarter, for ready money, into his house, and there suffer them to sojourn against their wills, provided it be not in time of actual war within this province.

That no commission for proceeding by martial law, against any of his Martial law. majesty's subjects within this province, &c. shall issue forth to any person or persons whatsoever, lest by color of them any of his majesty's subjects be destroyed or put to death, except all such officers and soldiers that are in garrison and pay, during the time of actual war.

be freeholds.

That all the lands within this province shall be esteemed and accounted All lands to land of freehold and inheritance, in free and common soccage, according to the tenor of East-Greenwich in their majesties' realm of England.

That no estate of a feme covert shall be sold or conveyed, but by deed Feme covert. acknowledged by her in some court of record, the woman being secretly examined, if she doth it freely, without threats or compulsion of her husband.

That all wills in writing, attested by three or more credible witnesses, Wills. shall be of the same force to convey lands, as other conveyances, being proved and registered in the proper offices in each county, within days after the testator's death.

That all lands and heritages within this province and dependencies Lands to be shall be free from all fines, licenses upon alienations, and from all heriots, free from fines, &c. wardships, liveries, primer seisins, year and day, waste, escheat and forfeitures upon the death of parents and ancestors, natural, unnatural, casual or judicial, and that forever, cases of high treason only excepted. That no person, of what degree or condition soever throughout this Oaths of province, chosen, appointed, commissionated to officiate or execute any office or place, civil or military, within this province, &c. shall be capable in the law to take upon him the charge of such places, before he hath first taken the oaths appointed by act of parliament to be taken in lieu of the oaths of supremacy and allegiance, and subscribes the test.


That no person or persons which profess faith in God by Jesus Christ Freedom in his only Son, shall at any time be any ways molested, punished, disturbed, religious



Charters, &c.

the provinca

ed in the se

fice, to be

good in law notwith

want of form,

disquieted, or called in question for any difference in opinion, or matter of conscience in religious concernment, who do not under that pretence disturb the civil peace of the province. And that all and every such person or persons may from time to time, and at all times hereafter, freely and fully enjoy his or their opinion, persuasions, judgments, in matters of conscience and religion, throughout all this province, and freely meet at convenient places within this province, and there worship according to their respective persuasions, without being hindered or molested, they behaving themselves peaceably, quietly, modestly and religiously, and not using this liberty to licentiousness, nor to the civil injury or outward disturbance of others. Always provided, That nothing herein mentioned or contained shall extend to give liberty for any persons of the Romish religion to exercise their manner of worship, contrary to the laws and statutes of their majesties' kingdom of England.

[This act was repealed by the king, on the 11th day of May, 1697; see Smith's History, p. 127; 1 Van Schaack, p. 5.]

An act for settling, quieting and confirming unto the cities, towns, manors, and freeholders within this province, their several grants, patents and rights respectively. Passed the 6th of May, 1691.1

FORASMUCH as the many changes, alterations, and disturbances, that have been lately given unto their majesties subjects inhabiting within this their province, hath and doth very much discourage the settling, improving, and the growth and strength thereof; and that it is now absolutely necessary, for the quieting and satisfying their majesties good subjects within the same, that the rights and privileges formerly held by, and granted to, the respective cities, towns, manors, and freeholders within this province, &c. should be now ratified and confirmed:

§ 1. Be it therefore enacted by the Governor, Council and Representaunder seal of tives, convened in General Assembly, and it is hereby enucted and declared and register by the authority of the same, That all the charters, patents, and grants, cretary's of made, given and granted, and well and truly executed under the seal of this province, constituted and authorised by their late and present majesties, the kings of England, and registered in the secretary's office, unto standing the the several and respective corporations or bodies politic of the cities, towns, and manors, and also to the several and respective freeholders within this province, are and shall for ever be deemed, esteemed and reputed good and effectual charters, patents and grants authentic in the law, against their majesties, their heirs and successors, for ever, notwithstanding of the want of form in the law, or the non-feasance of any right, privilege or custom, which ought to have been done heretofore by the constitutions and directions contained in the respective charters, patents and grants aforesaid.


Chartors, &é. heretofore made as aforesaid,


§ 2. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That all the charters, patents and grants, made, given and granted, as aforesaid, unto all and every the several and respective corporations or bodies politic of the cities, towns and manors, and their successors, and also unto all and every the respective freeholders, their heirs and assigns, for ever, within this province, are, to all intents and purposes whatsoever, hereby ratified and confirmed, to have, hold, exercise, occupy, possess and enjoy all their and every of their former rights, customs, prerogatives, privileges, preheminences, practices, immunities, liberties, franchises, royalties and usages whatsoever, in as full and ample manner as if none of these changes, alterations, disturbances, want of other forms in the law, or the non-fea

(1) 1 Van Schaack, p. 2; 1 Smith & L. p. 2.

sance of any rights, privileges or customs of any of the corporations aforesaid, had never happened, or been neglected; any thing herein contained, or in any other law, to the contrary in any wise notwithstanding: Pro- Proviso. vided, That nothing herein contained, shall be construed or taken, to bar any person or persons, of his or their former and just right or pretences, to any house, tract or parcel of land within this province: Always provided, That he or they that have any such just right or pretence, do make his or their claim within the space of five years next after the date hereof: And also provided, That nothing herein contained shall be intended, or construed to the prejudice or hindrance of the title or claim of any person under age, feme covert, non compos mentis, imprisonment, or beyond the seas.

An act for the better settlement and assurance of lands in this colony. Passed the 30th of October, 1710.1

Title to

by posses.


§ 1. Be it enacted by the Governor, Council and Assembly, and by the authority of the same, That every person or persona, bodies politic and cor- lands, &c. porate, cities or towns, who by themselves, their tenants or servants, or his or their assignee or assigns, grantees, their ancestors, predecessors, or others, under whom they claim, have been seised to their own use or uses, or taken the rents, issues and profits of any messuages, houses, tenements, lands and hereditaments whatsoever, in this colony and plantation, in his or their own proper right, for the term and space of ten years now last past, and shall so continue, whether in their own persons, their heirs, successors or assigns, or by any other person or persons under them, in possession, as aforesaid, without any claim, either by actual entry, and possession thereupon continued, or suit to be prosecuted to effect, until the first day of September, in the year of our Lord seventeen hundred and thirteen; shall, from and after the said first day of September, and for ever, be adjudged, deemed and taken to be the true, rightful and lawful owner of such messuages, houses, lands, tenements and hereditaments respectively, and shall and may have, hold and enjoy the same; any claim, right, title, demand or pretence to the contrary thereof, by or from any person or persons, bodies politic and corporate whatsoever, in any wise notwithstanding.

tain suits.

§2. Provided, That neither this act, nor any thing therein contained, This act not shall extend, or be construed to the prejudice or bar of any person or to bar cerpersons, who shall, before the said first day of September, seventeen hundred and thirteen, commence any suit for any lands, houses, tenements or hereditaments in this colony, and afterwards prosecute the same to effect; nor to the prejudice of any mortgagee or lessee, whose mortgage or lease shall be recorded in the secretary's office of this colony, before the said first day of September, seventeen hundred and thirteen.

&c. saved.

§3. Provided also, That neither this act, nor any thing therein con- Disabilities tained, shall be extended or construed to the prejudice or hindrance of of infants, any person or persons, under age of one and twenty years, married women, not of sound mind, imprisoned, or beyond the seas: Provided, Such Proviso. person or persons, within three years after his or their coming to the age of one and twenty years, being unmarried, becoming of sound mind, liberty, or return into this plantation and colony, do make their actual entry, or bring their suit, as aforesaid; otherwise to be utterly debarred and excluded from any entry, claim, suit or demand whatsoever.

§ 4. And whereas by many accidents, the deeds and writings relating Recitalto estates, some time have been, and may hereafter be destroyed, con

(1) 1 Van Schaack, p. 82; 1 Smith & L. p. 84.

ed and re

the tran

sumed and lost, whereby the lawful and rightful owner of any lands, messuages, houses, tenements and hereditaments, may be exposed to many doubtful, expensive and vexatious suits, and other inconveniences, for the Deeds duly preventing whereof, Be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, That all and acknowledg every deed or deeds, conveyance or conveyances, and writings, relating corded, and to the title or property of any lands, messuages, tenements or hereditascripts there- ments, within this colony, which have been already, or shall be hereafter of to be good executed, being duly acknowledged and recorded in the secretary's office of the said colony, or in the county records, where such lands are situate and being; such deed or writing so recorded, or transcript thereof, shall be good and effectual evidence in any court of record within this colony, to all intents and purposes, as if the original deed or deeds, conveyance or conveyances, and writings, was or were produced and proved in court.


The Dutch words onroerende and

to signify

real estate.

§ 5. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the Dutch word onroerende, and the words vaste staat, which are commonly rendered vaste staat, into English by the words immoveable and fast estate, by which, in the Dutch language, is understood a real estate, houses, lands and tenements, and other real estate of inheritance, and are used in any Dutch antenuptial contract, or last will and testament, or deed or deeds made in this colony, and duly executed before two or more credible witnesses, at any time before the publication of this act, ought therefore to be understood of a real estate; and that the parties who have or claim any right to any real estate or part thereof, within this colony, by virtue of the aforesaid Dutch words or either of them, used in such Dutch antenuptial contracts, or wills and testaments, or deed or deeds, as aforesaid, shall and may enjoy the same, to his or their heirs and assigns forever, in as full and ample a manner as if the devise, deed, grant or conveyance, was made by the words [real estate, lands or tenements,] and sue for the same in her majesty's courts within this colony, and recover possession accordingly, any law, usage, or custom to the contrary hereof in any wise notwithstanding.


An act declaring that all persons of foreign birth, heretofore inhabiting within this colony, and dying seised of any lands, tenements or hereditaments, shall be forever hereafter deemed, taken, and esteemed to have been naturalized; and for naturalizing all protestants of foreign birth, now inhabiting within this colony. Passed the 5th of July, 1715.1

WHEREAS by letters patent under the great seal of England, dated the twelfth day of March, in the sixteenth year of Charles the second, the soil and government of this colony was, by the said king, given and granted to his then dearest brother, James, duke of York, his heirs and assigns; and amongst other the powers therein and thereby given to the said duke, it was granted, that it should and might be lawful for the said duke, his heirs and assigns, or any of them, at all and every time and times hereafter, to take, lead, carry and transport, for and towards the plantation of this colony, not only any of the subjects of his then majesty's realms and dominions, but any other strangers who would become subjects to the said king, and live under his allegiance: And whereas by the articles made on the surrender of this province to the crown of England, it was, among other things, stipulated, that all people should continue free denizens, and enjoy their lands and houses, wheresoever they were, within this colony, and dispose of them as they pleased; that any people might come from the Netherlands, and plant in this country; and that any of the

(1) 1 Van Schaack, p. 97; 1 Smith & L. p. 112.

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