THE MEMBERS OF THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL
Your memorialists, members of the general assembly of the State of " Deseret," would respectfully lay before your honorable body the wishes and interests of our constituents, together with the reasons and design of our early organization as a civil government; to which the consideration of your honorable body is most earnestly solicited.
Whereas the history of all ages proves that civil governments, combining in their administration the protection of person, property, character, and religion, encouraging the science of agriculture, manufactures, and literature, are productive of the highest, happiest, and purest state of society:
And whereas all political power is inherent in the people, and governments, to be permanent and satisfactory, should emanate from the same:
And whereas the inhabitants of all newly-settled countries and territories, who have become acquainted with their climate, cultivated their soil, tested their mineral productions, and investigated their commercial advantages, are the best judges of the kinds of government and laws necessary for their growth and prosperity:
And whereas Congress have failed to provide by law a form of civil government for this or any other portion of territory ceded to the United States by the republic of Mexico in the late treaty of peace:
And whereas, since the expiration of the Mexican civil authority, however weak and imbecile, anarchy to an alarming extent has prevailed: the revolver and bowie-knife have been the highest law of the land
the strong have prevailed against the weak—while person, property, character, and religion have been unaided, and virtue unprotected:
And whereas from the discovery of the valuable gold mines west of the Sierra Nevada mountains, many thousands of able-bodied men are emigrating to that section, armed with all the implements and munitions of war:
And whereas strong fears have been, and still are entertained, from the failure of Congress to provide legal civil authorities, that political aspirants may subject the government of the United States to the sacrifice oi'nmch blood and treasure in extending jurisdiction over that valuable country:
And whereas the inhabitants of the State of Deseret, in view of their own security, and for the preservation of the constitutional right of the United States to hold jurisdiction there, have organized a provisional State government, under which the civil policy of the nation is duly maintained:
And whereas there are so many natural barriers to prevent communication with any other State or territory belonging to the United States, during a great portion of the year, such as snow-capped mountains, sandy deserts, sedge plains, saleeratus lakes and swamps, over which it is very difficult to effect a passage:
And whereas it is important, in meting out the boundaries of the States and Territories, so to establish them that the heads of department maybe able to communicate with all branches of their government with the least possible delay:
And whereas there are comparatively no navigable rivers, lakes, or other natural channels of commerce: And whereas, no valuable mines of gold, silver, iron, copper, or lead having as yet been discovered within the boundaries of this State, commerce must necessarily be limited to a few branches of trade and manufactures: And whereas the laws of all States and Territories should be adapted to their geographical location, protecting and regulating those branches of trade only which the country is capable of sustaining; thereby relieving the government from the expense of those complicated and voluminous statutes which a more commercial State requires: And whereas there is now a sufficient number of individuals residing within the State of Deseret to support a State government, thereby relieving the general government from the expense of a territorial government in that section; and in evidence of which, the inhabitants have already erected a legislative hall, equal to most, and surpassed by few in the older States:
Your memorialists, therefore, ask your honorable body to favorably con. sider their interests; and, if consistent with the constitution and usages of the federal government, that the constitution accompanying this memorial be ratified, and that the State of Deseret be admitted into the Union on an equal footing with other States—or such other form of civil government as your wisdom and magnanimity may award to the people of Deseret. And, upon the adoption of any form of government here, that their delegate be received, and their interests properly and faithfully represented in the Congress of the United States.
And your memorialists, as in duty bound, will ever pray.
Constitution of the State of Deseret, with the journal of the convention which formed it-, and the proceedings of the legislature consequent .thereon..
Justice is hereby given to all the citizens of that portion of Upper California lying east of the Sierra Nevada mountains, that a convention will be held at the Great Salt Lake city, in said Territory, on Monday, the 5th day of March next, for the purpose of taking into consideration the propriety of organizing a Territorial or State government.
Dated at the Great Salt Lake city, Great Basin, North America, this 1st day of February, 1849.
After several addresses and deliberations, the said convention proceeded to appoint a committee of ten to draught and report to said convention a constitution, under which the inhabitants of said Territory may organize and govern themselves until the Congress of the United States shall otherwise provide by law. Whereupon the chairman of said convention appointed Albert Carrington, Joseph L. Heywood, William W. Phelps, David Fullmer, John S. Fullmer, Charles C. Rich, John Taylor, Parley P. Pratt, John M. Bernhisel, and Erastus Snow, members of said committee; after which the convention adjourned until Thursday, the 8th day of March, at 10 o'clock a. m., to receive and deliberate upon the report of said committee.
We, the people, grateful to the Supreme Being for the blessings hitherto enjoyed, and feeling our dependence on Him for a continuation of those blessings, do ordain and establish a free and independent government by the name of the State of Deseret, including all the territory of the United States within the following boundaries, to wit: commencing at the 33d degree of north latitude where it crosses the lOSth degree of longitude west of Greenwich; thence running south and west to the northern boundary of Mexico; thence west to and down the main channel of the Gila river, on the northern line of Mexico, and on the northern boundary of Lower California, to the Pacific ocean; thence along the coast northwesterly to 118 degrees 30 minutes of west longitude; thence north to where said line intersects the dividing ridge of the Sierra Nevada mountains: thence north along the summit of the Sierra Nevada mountains to the dividing range of mountains that separates the waters flowing into the Columbia river from the waters running into the great basin; thence easterly along the dividing range of mountains that separates said waters flowing into the Columbia river on the north from the waters flowing into the great basin on the south to the summit of the Wind River chain of mountains; thence southeast and south, by the dividing range of mountains that separate the waters flowing into the gulf of Mexico from the waters flowing into the gulf of California, to the place of beginning, as set forth in a map drawn by Charles Preuss, and published by order of the Senate of the United States, in 1848.
Sec. 2. The session of the General Assembly shall be annual, and the first session be held on the first Monday of July next, and thereafter, on the first Monday of December, unless the governor of the State shall convene the Assembly, in the interim, by proclamation.
Sec. 3. The members of the House of Representatives shall be chosen biennially by the qualified electors of their respective districts, on the firs-t Monday in August, whose term of office shall continue two years from the day of the general election.
Sec. 4. No person shall be a member of the House of Representatives who has not attained the age of twenty-five years; the same to be a free white male citizen of the United States, and an inhabitant of this State one year preceding the time of his election, and a resident of the district or county thirty days next preceding his election, and have, at his election, an actual residence in the district he may be chosen to-represent.
Sec. 5. Senators shall be chosen for the term of four years, at the same time and place of representatives; they shall be thirty years of age, and possess the qualifications of representatives, as to residence and citizenship.
Sec. 6. The number of senators shall not be less than one-third, nor more than one-half of the representatives; and at the first session of the General Assembly after this constitution takes effect, the Senate shall be divided by lot, as equal as may be, into two classes; the seats of the senators of the first class shall be vacated at the expiration of two years, so that one-half of the Senate shall be elected biennially.
Sec. 7. Each house shall choose its own officers, and judge of the qualification, election, and return of its own members, and contested elections shall be determined in such manner as shall hereafter be determined by law.
Sec. 8. A majority, in each house, shall constitute a quorum to do business; but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and compel the attendance of absent members, in such manner and under such penalty as each house may provide.
Sec. 9. Each house shall have all powers necessary for a branch of the General Assembly of a free and independent government.
Sec. 10. Each member of the Assembly shall be privileged from civil arrest during any session, and in going to and returning from the same.
Sec. 11. Neither house shall, without the consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other place than that in which they may be sitting.
Sec. 12. The Assembly shall, at its first session, provide for an enumeration of the white inhabitants, and an apportionment for the senators and representatives.
Sec. 13. Each member of the Assembly shall take an oath or affirmation to support the constitution of the United States, and of this State; and members shall, and are hereby empowered to administer said oath or affirmation to each other.
Sec. 14. The veto power of the governor shall be allowed by the Assembly, except on bills, which, when reconsidered, shall be again passed by a majority of two-thirds of those present; and any bill vetoed by the governor shall be returned within ten days, (Sundays excepted,) with his objections; otherwise, it shall become a law, unless the Assembly, by adjournment, prevent its return.
Sec. 15. Every law passed by the Assembly shall take effect from and after due publication, by authority.
Sec. 16. The voters of this State may elect, at the first election, not exceeding seventeen senators and thirty-five representatives.
Sec. 2. No person shall be eligible to the office of governor or lieutenant governor who has not been a citizen of the United States and a resident of this State two years next preceding his election, and attained the age of thirty-five years at the time of his election.
Sec. 5. He shall see that the laws are faithfully executed.
Sec. 6. When any office shall, from any cause, become vacant, and no mode is prescribed by the constitution and" laws for filling such vacancy, the governor shall have power to fill such vacancy, by granting a commission, which shall expire when such vacancy shall be filled by due course of law.
Sec. 7. He shall also have power to convene the General Assembly by proclamation, when, in his opinion, the interests of the State require it.
Sec. 8. He shall communicate, by message to the General Assembly,, at every session, the condition of the State, and recommend such matters as he shall deem expedient.
Sec. 9. In case of disagreement in the General Assembly with regard to the time of adjournment, the governor shall have power to dissolve the session by proclamation.
Sec. 10. No person shall, while holding any lucrative office under the United States or this State, execute the office of governor, except as shall be prescribed by law.
Sec. 11. The governor shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons, and commute punishments after convictions, except in cases of impeachment.
Sec. 12. The governor shall receive for his services such compensation as shall hereafter be provided by law.
Sec. 13. There shall be a seal of this State, which shall be kept by the governor, and used by him officially, and shall be called the great seal of the State of Deseret.
Sec. 14. All grants and commissions shall be in the name and by the authority of the people of the State of Deseret, sealed with the great seal of this State, signed by the governor, and countersigned by the secretary of state.
Sec. 15. A secretary state, auditor of public accounts, and treasurer,, shall be elected by the qualified electors, who shall continue in office for the term of four years. The secretary of state shall keep a fair register of all the official acts of the governor, and shall, when required, lay the same, together with all papers, minutes, and vouchers relative thereto, before either branch of the General Assembly, and shall perform such other duties as shall be assigned him by law.
Sec. 16. In case of the impeachment of the governor, his removal from office, death, resignation, or absence from the State, the powers and duties of the office shall devolve upon the lieutenant governor until such disability shall cease or the vacancy be filled.
ARTICLE IV.—Of the Judiciary.
Sec. 1. The judicial power shall be vested in a supreme court and such inferior courts as the General Assembly shall, from time to establish.
Sec. 2. The supreme court shall consist of a chief justice and two associates, either two of whom shall be a quorum to hold courts.
Sec. 3. The judges of the supreme court shall be elected by joint vote of both houses of the General Assembly, and shall hold their courts at such time and place as the General Assembly shall direct, and hold their office for the term of four years, and until their successors are elected and qualified. The judges of the supreme court shall be conservators of the peace throughout the State, and shall exercise such other jurisdictions and appellate powers as shall be prescribed by law.
Sec. 4. The style of all process shall be the Slate of Deseret, and all prosecutions shall be in the name and by the authority of the State.
Sec. 2. The returns of every election for governor, lieutenant governor, auditor, treasurer, and secretary of state shall be sealed up and transmitted forthwith to the seat of government, directed to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, who shall, during the first week of the session, open and publish them in the presence of both houses of the General Assembly; and the persons receiving a majority of all the legal votes cast for their respective offices shall be declared duly elected.
Sec. 3. The governor, lieutenant governor, auditor, treasurer, and secretary of state shall, before entering upon the duties of their respective offices, take an oath or affirmation to support the constitution of the United States and of this State, which oath or affirmation shall be administered by the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Sec. 4. The first election for members of the General Assembly and other officers under this constitution shall be held on the first Monday of May next, at the usual places of holding public meetings, in the different districts and settlements; at which time and place the qualified voters shall vote for or against the adoption of this constitution; and if a majority of all the legal votes shall be in favor of its adoption, the same shall take effect from and after said election.
Sec. 5. At the time and place of holding the elections, the qualified electors shall organize the polls by appointing two judges, who shall be authorized to qualify each other and appoint two suitable persons as clerks; and said judges shall, at the close of said election, seal up the number of votes so cast, and forthwith transmit them to the president of this convention.
Sec. 6. The returns of the first election herein provided for shall be made to the chairman of this convention, who, together with the two secretaries, shall proceed immediately to open said returns and count the votes; upon ascertaining the persons receiving a majority of votes, they shall forthwith notify them of their election.
Sec. 7. The General Assembly shall, at its first session, provide by law a general system of election for officers under this constitution, and such other officers as may be hereafter created by law.
Sec. 8. The manner of voting shall be by ballot.
Sec. 9. The General Assembly shall meet at Great Salt Lake city, which place shall be the seat of government until otherwise provided by law.
Sec. 10. All white male residents of this State over the age of twenty one years shall have the privilege of voting at the first election and at the adoption of this constitution, provided that no person in the military, naval, or marine service of the United States shall be considered a resident of this State by being stationed in any garrison, barrack, military or naval place or station within this State, unless otherwise provided for by law.
Sec. 2. All commissioned officers of the militia, (staff officers excepted.,) shall be elected by the persons liable to perform military duty in their respective divisions; and all commissioned officers shall be commissioned by the governor.
ARTICLE VII.—Amendments of the constitution.
Sec. 1. If at any time the General Assembly shall deem it necessary, and for the best interest of the State, that this constitution should be revised, altered, or amended, the Assembly shall cause such revisions,, alterations, or amendments to be published in the same manner as shall be provided for the publication of the statutes; and appoint a day, not less than thirty days thereafter, for the electors of the Commonwealth to assemble in their several precincts, and vote for or against said .revisions, alterations, or amendments; and if a majority of said electors shall vote in favor of said ,revisions, alterations, or amendments, the same shall thereafter become parts and parcels of this constitution; otherwise, this constitution shall remain unaltered.
Sec. 2. All political power is inherent in the people; and all free governments are founded in their authority, and instituted for their benefit; therefore, they have an inalienable and indefeasible Right to institute government; and to alter., reform, and totally change the same, when their safety, happiness, and the public good shall require it.
.sec. 3. All men shall have a natural and inalienable right to worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences; and the General Assembly shall make no law respecting an.establishment of religion, or of prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or disturb any person in. his religious worship or sentiments., provided he does not disturb the public peace, nor obstruct others in their religious worship; and all persons demeaning themselves peaceably, as good members of the State, shall be equally under the protection of the laws; and no subordination or preference of any one sect or denomination to another, shall ever be .established by law; nor shall any religious test be ever required for any office of trust under this State.
Sec. 4. Any citizen of this State who may hereafter be engaged, either directly or indirectly, in a duel, either as principal or accessory before the fact, shall be disqualified from holding ;any office under the constitution and laws of this State.
Sec. 5. Every person may speak., write., and .publish his sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right; and no law shall be passed to abridge the liberty of speech or of the press.
Sec. 6. The people shall be secure in-their persons, houses, papers, and possessions from unreasonable searches .and seizures.
Sec. 7. The right of trial by jury shall remain inviolate; and all criminals shall be heard by self, or counsel, at their own,election.
Sec. 8. All penalties and punishments shall be in proportion to the offence; and all offences, before conviction, shall be bailable, except capital offences, where the proof is evident or the presumption great.
Sec. 9. The writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless in case of rebellion or invasion, or .the public safety shall require it.
Sec. 10. Treason against this State shall consist only in levying war against it, or adhering to its enemies, or giving them aid and comfort.
Sec- 11. The .General Assembly shall pass no bill of attainder, or ex post facto laws, or law impairing the obligation of contracts to hinder the execution of justice.
Sec. 12. The laws shall not be suspended but by the legislative or executive authority.
Sec. 13. The right of petition by the people shall be preserved inviolate.
Sec. 14. The right of citizens to keep and bear arms for common defence shall not be questioned.
Sec. 15. Private property shall not be taken for public use without just compensation.
Sec. 16. No standing army shall be kept up in time of peace, and the military shall, at all times and in all places, be in strict subordination to the civil power.
Sec. 17. The enumeration of certain rights shall not be construed to impair nor deny others retained by the people.
After the reading of the report and constitution, it was motioned, seconded, and carried unanimously, that the report of the committee be accepted, and they discharged from further duties.
Convention adjourned until Friday, the 9th, at 10 a. m.
[INDEX MISCELANEOUS DOCUMENTS PRINTED BY ORDER OF THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES DURING THE FIRST SESSION OF THE THIRTY-FIRST CONGRESS, 1849-50 IN TWO VOLUMES. WASHINGTON: PRINTED BY WM. M. BELT. 1850. VOL. I No. 10]