Act Relating to the Biennial and Other Assemblies and Regulating Elections and Members in North Carolina

1715

 

Whereas his Excellency the Palatine and the rest of the true and absolute lords proprietors of Carolina, having duly considered the privileges and immunities wherewith kingdom of Great Britain is induced and being desirous that this their province may have such as may thereby enlarge this settlement and that the frequent sitting of assemblies is a principal safeguard of their peoples privileges, have thought fit to enact.

And be it enacted by the said Palatine and Lords Proprietors, by and with the advice and consent of the present Grand Assembly now met at Little River for the northeast part of the said province, and it is hereby enacted, that for the due election and constituting of members of the biennial and other assemblies, it shall be lawful for the freemen of the respective precincts of Albemarle to meet the first Tuesday in September every two years in the places hereafter mentioned, that is to say, the inhabitants of Chowan at the land laid out for a town on the fork of Queen Anne’s Creek, the inhabitants of Perquimons at the upper side of the mouth of Suttons Creek, the inhabitants of Pasquotank at the plantation now in possession of Mr. Joseph Glaister on New Begunn Creek, the inhabitants of Currituck at the plantation of Mr. Thomas Vandermulin, the inhabitants of Beaufort in Bath in Bath Town, the inhabitants of Hyde precinct at the plantation at Mr. Websterson’s the west side of Matchapungo, a river, the inhabitants of Craven at Swift’s plantation at the mouth of Handock’s Creek, the inhabitants of New Bern at the town so called, and then there to choose such members as are to sit in that Assembly, which shall be five freeholders out of every precinct in Albemarle County aforesaid.

And be it further enacted that it shall and may be lawful for the inhabitants and freemen in each precinct in every other county or counties that now is or shall be hereafter erected in this government aforesaid to meet as aforesaid at such place as shall be adjudged most convenient by the marshal of such county, unless he be otherwise ordered by the special commands of the Governor or Commander-in-Chief, to choose two freeholders out of every precinct in the county aforesaid to sit and vote in the said Assembly.

And be it further enacted that the burgesses so chosen in each precinct for the biennial Assembly shall meet and sit the first Monday in November then next following, every two years at the same place the assembly last sat, except the Palatines’ Court shall, by their proclamation published twenty days before the said meeting, appoint some other place; and there, with the consent and concurrence of the Palatines’ Court, shall make and ordain laws as shall be thought most necessary for the good of this government.

Provided always, and nevertheless, that the powers granted to the Lords Proprietors from the crown of calling, proroguing, and dissolving Assemblies are not hereby meant or intended to be invaded, limited, or restrained.

And it is hereby further enacted, by the authority aforesaid, that no person whatsoever, inhabitant of this government, born out of the allegiance of his Majesty and not made free, no Negro, Mulatto, or Indians shall be capable of voting for members of the Assembly and that no other person or persons shall be allowed or admitted to vote for members of Assembly in the government unless he be of the age of one and twenty years and has been one full year resident in the government and has paid one year’s levy preceeding the election.

And be it further enacted that all persons offering to vote for members of Assembly shall bring a list to the marshal or deputy taking the poll containing the names of the persons he votes for and shall subscribe his own name or cause the same to be done. And if any such person or persons shall be suspected either by the marshall or any other candidates not to be qualified according to the true intent and meaning of this act then the marshal, deputy marshal, or other officer that shall be appointed to take and receive such votes or lists shall have power to administer an oath or attestation to every suspected person of his qualification and ability to choose members of Assembly and whether he has not before given in his list at that election.

And be it further enacted that every officer or marshal which shall admit of or take the vote of any person not truly qualified according to the purport and meaning of this act, provided the objection be made by any candidate or inspector, or shall make undue return of any person for member of Assembly, shall forfeit, for such vote taken and admitted and for such returns, twenty pounds, to be employed for and toward the building of any court house, church, or chapels as the governor for the time being shall think fit; but if no such building require it, then to the lords proprietors, and twenty pounds to each person of right and by a majority of votes ought to have been returned, to be recovered by action of debt, bill, plaint, or information in any court of record in this government wherein no essoin, wager of law, or protection shall be allowed or admitted.

And be it further enacted that every marshall or officer whose business and duty it is to make return of elections of members of Assembly shall attend the Assembly the first three days of their sitting, unless he have leave of the assembly to depart, to inform the Assembly of all matters and disputes as shall arise about elections and shall show to the Assembly the list of the votes for every person returned and have made complaint of false returns to the Assembly. And every marshal or other officer, as aforesaid, which shall deny and refuse to attend as aforesaid shall forfeit the sum of twenty pounds, to be recovered and disposed of in such manner and form as the forfeitures before by this act appointed.

And be it further enacted that whatsoever representative, so elected as aforesaid, shall fail in making his personal appearance and giving his attendance at the Assembly precisely at the day limited by the writ or on the day appointed for the meeting of the biennial Assembly, when the election is for a biennial Assembly, shall be fined for every day’s absence during the sitting of the Assembly, twenty shilling, to be seized by a warrant from the Speaker and so to be applied to such uses as the lower house of Assembly shall think fit.

And be it further enacted that every member of the Assembly that shall be elected as aforesaid after the ratifying this act shall not be qualified to sit as a member in the House of Burgesses before he shall willingly take the oath of allegiance and supremacy, the abjuration oath, and all such other oaths as shall be ordered and directed to be taken by the members of Parliament in Great Britain.

And be it further enacted that the quorum of the House of Burgesses for voting and passing up bills shall not be less than one full half of the House and that no bill shall be signed and ratified except there be present eight of the members, whereof the Speaker to be one; and in case eight members shall meet at any Assembly those eight shall have full power to adjourn from day to day till sufficient number can assemble to transact the business of government.

Charles Eden
N. Chevin
C. Gale
Francis Foster
T. Knight
Edward Mosely,Speaker

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