VERMONT. The name of one of the new states of the United States of America. lt was admitted by virtue of "An act for the admission of the state of Vermont into this Union," approved February, 18, 1791, 1 Story's L. U. S. 169, by which it is enacted, that the state of Vermont having petitioned the congress to be admitted a member of the United States, Be it enacted, &c., That on the fourth day of March, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-one, the said state, by the name and style of "the state of Vermont," shall be received and admitted into this Union, as a new and entire member of the United States of America.
2. The constitution of this state was adopted by a convention holden at Windsor on the ninth day of July, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-three. The powers of the government are divided into three distinct branches; namely, the legislative, the executive, and the judicial.
3. - 1. The supreme legislative power is vested in a house of representatives of the freemen of the commonwealth or state of Vermont, ch. 2, §2. The house of representatives of the freemen of this state shall consist of persons most noted for wisdom and virtue, to be chosen by ballot, by the freemen of every town in this state respectively, on the first Tuesday in September, annually forever. Ch. 2, §8. The representatives so chosen, a majority of whom shall constitute a quorum for transacting any other business than raising a state tax, for which two-thirds of the members elected shall be present, shall meet on the second Thursday of the succeeding October, and shall be styled The General Assembly of the State of Vermont: they shall have power to choose their speaker, secretary of state, their clerk, and other necessary officers of the house - sit on their own adjournrments prepare bills, and enact them into laws - judge of the elections and qualifications of their own members; they may expel members, but not for causes known to their own constituents antecedent to their elections; they may administer oaths and affirmations in matters depending before them, redress grievances, impeach state criminals, grant charters of incorporation, constitute towns, boroughs, cities, and counties: they may annually, on their first session after their election, in conjunction with the council, or oftener if need be, elect judges of the supreme and several county and probate courts, sheriffs, and justices of the peace; and also, with the council may elect major generals and brigadier generals, from time to time, as often as there shall be occasion; and they shall have all other powers necessary for the legislature of a free and sovereign state: but they shall have no power to add to, alter, abolish, or infringe any part of this constitution. Ch. 2 §9.
4. - 2. The supreme executive power is vested in a governor, or in his absence a lieutenant-governor, and council. Ch. 2, §3. The duties of the executive are pointed out by the second chapter of the constitution as follows:
5. - §10. The supreme executive council of this state shall consist of a governor, lieutenant-governor, and twelve persons, chosen in the following manner, viz. The freemen of each town shall, on the day of the election, for choosing representatives to attend the general assembly, bring in their votes for governor, with his name fairly written, to the constable, who shall seal them up, and write on them, votes for the governor, and deliver them to the representatives chosen to attend the general assembly; and at the opening of the general assembly there shall be a committee appointed out of the council and assembly, who, after being duly sworn to the faithful discharge of their trust, shall proceed to receive, sort, and count the votes for the governor, and declare the person who has the major part of the votes to be governor for the year ensuing. And if there be no choice made, then the council and general assembly, by their joint ballot, shall make choice of a governor. The lieu-tenant-governor and treasurer shall be chosen in the manner above directed. And each freeman shall give in twelve votes, for twelve counsellors, in the same manner, and the twelve highest in nomination shall serve for the ensuing year as counsellors.
6. - §11. The governor, and, in his absence, the lieutenant-governor, with the council, a major part of whom, including the governor, or lieutenant-gov-ernor, shall be a quorum to transact business, shall have power to commission all officers, and also to-appoint officers, except where provision is, or shall be otherwise made by law, or this frame of government; and shall supply every vacancy in. any office, occasioned by, death, or otherwise, until the office can be filled in the manner directed by law or this constitution.
7. They are to correspond with other states, transact business with officers of government, civil and military, and to prepare such business as may appear to them necessary to lay before the general assembly. They shall sit as judges to hear and determine on impeachments, taking to their assistance, for advice only, the judges of the supreme court. And shall have power to grant pardons, and remit fines, in all cases whatsoever, except in treason and murder; in which they shall have power to grant reprieves, but not to pardon, until after the end of the next session of the assembly; and except in cases of impeachment, in which there shall be no remission or mitigation of punishment, but by act of the legislature.
8. They are also to take care that the laws be faithfully executed. They are to expedite the execution of such measures as may be resolved upon by the general assembly. And they may draw upon the treasury for such sums as may be appropriated by the house of representatives. They may also lay embargoes, or probibit the exportation of any commodity, for any time not exceeding thirty days, in the recess of the house only. They may grant such licenses as shall be directed by law; and shall have power to call together the general assembly, when necessary, before the day to which they shall stand. adjourned. The governor shall be captain general and commander-in-chief of the forces of the state, but shall not command in person, except advised thereto by the council, and then only so long as they shall approve thereof. And the lieutenant-governor shall, by virtue of his office, be lieutenant-general of all the forces of the state. The governor or lieutenant-governor, and council shall meet at the time and place with the general assembly; the lieutenant-governor shall, during the presence of the commander-in-chief, vote and act as one of the council: and the governor and, in his absence, the lieutenant-governor, shall, by virtue of their offices, preside in council, and have a casting, but no other vote. Every member of the council shall be a justice of the peace, for the whole state, by virtue of his office. The governor and council shall have a secretary, and keep fair books of their proceedings, wherein any councillor may enter his dissent, with his reasons to support it; and the governor may appoint a secretary for himself and his council.
9. - §16. To the end that laws, before they are enacted, may be more maturely considered, and the inconvenience of hasty determinations, as much as possible, prevented, all bills which originate in the assembly shall be laid before the governor and council for their revision and concurrence, or proposals of amendment; who shall return the same to the general assembly, with their proposals of amendment, if any, in writing; and if the same are not agreed to by the assembly, it shall be in the power of the governor and council to suspend the passing of such bill until the next session of the legislature: Provided, that if the governor and council shall neglect or refuse to return any such bill to the assembly with written proposals of amendment, within five days, or before the rising of the legislature, the same shall become a law.
10. - §24. Every officer of state, whether judicial or executive, shall be liable to be impeached by the general assembly, either when in office or after his resignation or removal, for mal-administration. All impeachments shall be before the governor, or lieutenant governor and council, who shall hear and determine the same, and may award costs; and no trial or impeachment shall be a bar to a prosecution at law.
11. - 3. The judicial power is regulated by the second chapter of the constitution, as follows
12. - §4. Courts of justice shall be maintained in every county in this state, and also in new counties, when formed: which courts shall be open for the trial of all causes proper for their cognizance; and justice shall be therein impartially administered, without corruption or unnecessary delay. The judges of the supreme court shall be justices of the peace throughout the state; and the several judges of the county courts, in their respective counties, by virtue of their office, execpt in the trial of such causes as may be appealed to the county court.
13. - §5. A future legislature may, when they shall conceive the same to be expedient and necessary, erect a court of chancery, with such powers as are usually exercised by that court or as shall appear for the interest of the commonwealth: Provided, they do not constitute themselves the judges of the said court.