Thursday, August 25, 2005

Organic Law for the Territory of New Mexico

Organic Law for the Territory of New Mexico, Compiled Under the Directions of General Kearny; September 22, 1846
[Received at the War Department November 23,1846.]

The government of the United States of America ordains and establishes the following organic law for the territory of New Mexico, which has become a territory of the said government:

SEC. 1. The country heretofore known as New Mexico shall be known hereafter and designated as the territory of New Mexico, in the United States of America, and the temporary government of the said territory shall be organized and administered in the manner herein prescribed.
Executive power.

SEC. 1. The executive power shall be vested in a governor, who shall reside in the said territory, and shall hold his office for two years, unless sooner removed by the President of the United States.

He shall be the commander-in-chief of the militia of the said territory, except when called into the service of the United States, and ex officio superintendent of Indian affairs.

He shall have power to fill all civil and military offices which shall be established, the appointments to which shall not be otherwise provided for by law.

He shall cause the laws to be distributed and faithfully executed, and shall be conservator of the peace throughout the territory.

He shall, from time to time, inform the general assembly of the condition of the government, and shall recommend all necessary measures, and may convene them on extraordinary occasions by proclamation, stating the purpose for which they are convened.

Whenever any office shall become vacant, he shall fill the same, until a successor shall be properly appointed and qualified. He shall have power to remit fines and forfeitures, and grant reprieves and pardons for all offenses against the laws of the territory and reprieves in all cases against the laws of the United States, until the decision of the President thereof can be known.

SEC. 2. There shall be a secretary of the territory who shall hold his office for two years, unless sooner removed by the President of the United States.

He shall, under the direction of the governor, record and preserve all the proceedings and papers of the executive, and all acts of the general assembly, and transmit copies of the same to the President every six months.

In case of a vacancy in the office of governor, the secretary shall discharge the duties of governor until another be appointed and qualified.

SEC. 3. There shall be a marshal, a United States district attorney, an auditor of public accounts, and a treasurer, for the territory, and a sheriff and coroner for each county, whose duty shall be defined by law.
Legislative power.

SEC. 1. The legislative power shall be vested in a general assembly, which shall consist of a legislative council and a house of representatives.

SEC. 2. The house of representatives shall consist of members to be chosen every two years by the qualified electors of' the several counties; and the legislative council shall consist of members to be chosen every four years by the qualified electors of their respective districts.

SEC. :3. No person shall be eligible to the house of representatives who shall not have attained to the age of twenty-four years, who shall not be a free male citizen of the territory of New Mexico, and who shall not have been an inhabitant of the county 'he may be chosen to represent at least six months next preceding his election.

SEC. 4. No person shall be eligible to the legislative council who shall not have attained to the age of thirty years, who shall not be a free male citizen of the territory of New Mexico, and who shall not have been an inhabitant of the district which he may be chosen to represent at least six months next Receding his election, if such district shall be so long established; but if not, then of the district or districts from which the same shall have been taken.

SEC. 5. The legislative council shall never be more than one-third as numerous as the house of representatives for the election of whom the territory shall be divided into convenient districts, whit h may be altered from time to time, and new districts established, as public convenience may require.

SEC. 6. The general assembly shall divide the territory into a convenient number of counties, and shall apportion the members of the house of representatives among the same according to the free male population; but the whole number of its members shall never exceed twenty-one, until otherwise directed by the law of the United States.

SEC. 7. Until the legislative power shall otherwise direct, the territory of New Mexico shall retain the division of counties and districts established by the decree of the department of New Mexico, of June 17, 1844, and they shall be represented as follows: In the house of representatives, the county of Santa Fe shall have three members; the county of San Miguel del Bado, three; the county of Rio Arriva, three; the county of Valencia, five; the county of Taos, three; the county of Santa Anna, two; and the county of Bernalillo, two. In the legislative council, the central district shall have three members; in the northern district two members; and the southeastern districts two members; which apportionment shall continue until otherwise directed by law.

SEC. 8. All free male citizens of the territory of New Mexico who then are, and for three months next preceding the election shall have been, residents of the county or district in which they shall offer to vote, shall be entitled to vote for a delegate to the Congress of the United States, anti for members of the general assembly, and for all other officers elected by the people.

SEC. 9. The first election for a delegate to Me Congress of the United States, and for members of the general assembly, shall be on the first Monday in August, A D 1847 And the governors by proclamations shall designate as many places in each county as may be necessary for the public conveniences at which the electors may vote.

SEC. 10. The general assembly shall convene at the city of Santa Fe, on the first Monday in December 7 A. D. 1847, and on the first Monday in December every two years thereafter, until otherwise provided by law; and each house shall elect one of its own members as a speaker, and shall choose clerks and such other officers As may be necessary; and shall sit from day to day, on its own adjournments, until all its business shall be finished.

SEC. 11. In case of a vacancy in either house, by death or otherwise, the governor shall issue a writ to the county or district from which such member was elected to elect another for the residue of the term.

SEC. 12. No person who now is, or hereafter may be, a collector of holder of public money assistants or deputy thereof shall be eligible to any office of profit or trust, until he shall have accounted for, and paid over, all sums for which he may be accountable; and no person holding any lucrative office under the United States, or this territory, except militia officers and justices of the peace shall be eligible to either house of the general assembly. No person who shall be convicted of having, directly or indirectly, given or offered any bribe to procure his own election or appointment, or the election or appointment of any other person, or who shall be convicted of perjury or other infamous crime, shall be eligible to any office of honor, profit, or trust, within this territory, or shall be allowed the right of suffrage.

SEC. 13. The general assembly shall have power to make laws in all cases, both civil and criminals for the good government of the people of this territory, not inconsistent with, or repugnant to, the constitution and laws of the United States; to establish inferior courts, and prescribe their jurisdiction and duties; and to create other offices in said territory, and to fix the fees of officer, and provide for the payment of the same, except those whose payment is provided for by the government of the United States. Each house shall judge of the election, qualifications, and returns of its own members. A majority of 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. Each house shall make its own rules of proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, and two-thirds of all the members elected may expel a member; but no member shall be expelled twice for the same offense.. Each house shall keep, and publish from time to time, a journal of its proceedings; all votes in the house shall be "viva voce," and, on the final passage of all bills, shall be entered on the journals.

SEC. 14. Any bill may originate in either house, and may be altered, amended, or rejected by the other, and shall be read on three different days in each house; and, having passed both houses, shall be signed by their respective sneakers, and presented to the governor for his approval. If he approve the same, he shall sign it; if he disapprove it, he shall return it to the house in which it originated, within six days, with his objections; if he fail to return it within six days, or, after it shall have been returned, it again pass both houses, it shall be a law without the governor's approval.

SEC. 15. The members of the general assembly shall, in all cases except treason, felony, and breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest in going to, returning from, and during their attendance on their respective houses; and, for any speech or debate in either houses they shall not be questioned in any other place.

SEC. 16. The sittings of each house shall be public, except when secrecy shall be required; and each house may punish any persons not a member, for disorderly or contemptuous behaviour in their presence while in session, by a fine not exceeding three hundred dollars, or imprisonment not exceeding forty-eight hours, for one offence.

SEC. 17. Each member of the general assembly shall receive three dollars a day for each day he may attend the house of which he is a member, and three dollars for every twenty-five miles he must travel in going from his residence to the place of meeting, and returning from thence; and the speaker of each house shall receive five dollars a day for every day he may attend the house of which he is a member, and the same mileage with other members. The other officers of the general assembly shall receive such compensation as the law may provide.

SEC. 18. The style of all laws shall be: " Be it enacted by the general assembly of the territory of New Mexico."
Judicial power.

SEC. 1. The judicial power shall be vested in a superior court, and inferior tribunals, to be established by law.

SEC. 2. The superior court shall consist of three judges, to be appointed by the President of the United States. One of them shall be the presiding judge, and the others associate judges. The Judges shall be conservators of-the peace throughout the territory' and shall hold courts at such times and places, and perform such duties, as shall be prescribed by law.

SEC. 3. The superior court shall have a general superintending control over all inferior courts and tribunals of justice, and shall have power to issue original writs to compel inferior courts, and their officers, to perform their duties according to law, whenever they may fail or refuse so to do.

SEC. 4. Every court and tribunal of justice shall appoint its oven clerk, who shall hold his office during the continuance of the temporary government, unless sooner removed by his respective court.

SEC. 5. All officers, both civil and military, shall, before entering on the duties of their office, take an oath to support the constitution of the United States, and to faithfully demean themselves in office.

SEC. 1. Members of the general assembly; the governor, whose salary shall he $2,000 a year; the secretary of the territory Whose salary shall be $1,200 a year; the judges of the superior courts whose salaries shall be $1500 a year each; the marshal of the territory, whose salary shall be $500 a year; the United States district attorney, whose salary shall be $500 a year, shall be paid out of the treasury of the United States. The auditor and treasurer shall each receive a salary of $500 a year, one-half of which shall be paid out of the treasury of the United States, and the remainder out of the territorial treasury.

SEC. 2. The governor, secretary of the territory, marshal, and United States district attorney, shall be appointed by the President of the United States. The auditor and treasurer shall be elected every two years by joint vote of the general assembly, and shall hold their respective offices for two years' and until their successors are duly elected and qualified.

Sac. 3. All offices in this territory are hereby declared vacant, except such as have been filled by the appointments of Brigadier General Kearny; and all offices created by this law shall be filled by appointments of Brigadier General Kearny or his successor until tile government is fully organized, in accordance with thy provisions of this law.

SEC. 4. Schools and the means of education shall be forever encouraged in this territory. One or More schools shall be established in each village as soon as practicable, where the poor shall be educated free of all charges.
Bill of Rights.

That the great and essential principles of liberty and free government may be recognized and established, it is hereby declared-

1st. That all political power is vested in and belongs to the people.

2d. That the people have the right peaceably to assemble for their common good, and to apply to those in power for redress of grievances, by petition or remonstrance.

3d. That all men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their consciences; that no person can ever be hurt, molested, or restrained in his religious professions, if he do not disturb others in their religious worship, and that all Christian churches shall be protected and none oppressed, and that no person, on account of his religious opinions, shall be rendered ineligible to any office of honor, trust, or profit.

4th. That courts of justice shall be open to every person; just remedy given for every injury to person and property; that right and justice shall be administered without sale, denial, or delay, and that no private property shall be taken for public use without just compensation.

5th. That the right of trial by jury shall remain inviolate.

6th. That in all criminal cases the accused has the right to be heard by himself and counsel; to demand the nature and cause of the accusation; to have compulsory process for witnesses in his favor; to meet the witnesses against him face to face, and to have a speedy trial by a jury of his country.

7th. The accused cannot be compelled to give evidence against himself, or be deprived of life, liberty, or property, but by a verdict of a jury and the laws of the land.

8th. No person, after having been once acquitted by a jury, can be tried a second time for the same offense..

9th. That all persons shall be bailed by sufficient sureties, except in capital offences, where the proof of guilt is evident; and the privileges of the writ of "habeas corpus" cannot be suspended, except the public safety shall require it, in the case of a rebellion or invasion.

10th. Excessive bail shall not be required, excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

11th. That the people shall be secure in their persons, papers, houses, and effects, from unreasonable searches and seizures; and that no writ shall issue for search or seizure without probable case of guilt is made out under oath.

12th. That the free communication of thoughts and opinions is one of the invaluable rights of freemen, and that every person may freely speak, write, and print on any subject, being responsible for every abuse of that liberty.

13th. That no vicars priest, preacher of the gospel, nor teacher of any religious denomination, shall ever be compelled to bear arms, or to serve on juries, work on roads, or perform military duty.

Done at the government house, in the city of Santa Fé, in the territory of New Mexico, by Brigadier General Stephen W. Kearny, by virtue of the power and authority conferred on him by the government of the United States, this twenty-second September, 1846.


Brigadier General U. S. A.


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