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North America Constitution Act (Confederation of British North America)

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The North America Constitution Act (1830)

Statutes of the United Kingdom, 1 William IV; Assented to 29 August 1830

AN ACT FOR THE UNION OF NORTH AMERICA, AND THE GOVERNMENT THEREOF; AND FOR PURPOSES CONNECTED THEREWITH

Whereas the Provinces of North America, namely: Upper Canada, Montreal, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Portland, New Hamphsire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, West Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, Hanover, Chicago, Pittsland, Texas, California, and British Pacifica have expressed their Desire to be federally united into One Dominion under the Crown of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, with a Constitution similar in Principle to that of the United Kingdom:

And whereas such a Union would conduce to the Welfare of the Provinces and promote the Interests of the British Empire:

And whereas on the Establishment of the Union by Authority of Parliament it is expedient, not only that the Constitution of the Legislative authority in the Dominion be provided for, but also that the Nature of the Executive Government therein be declared:

And where it is expedient that Provision be made for the eventual Admission into the Union of other Parts of British North America:

Be it therefore enacted and declared by the King's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the Authority of the same, as follows:

I. Preliminary

1. This Act may be cited as The North America Constitution Act (1830).

2. The Provisions of this Act referring to His Majesty the King extend also to the Heirs and Successors of His Majesty, Kings and Queens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

II. Union

3. It shall be lawful for the King, by and with the Advice of His Majesty's Most Honorable Privy Council, to declare by Proclamation that, on and after a Day therein appointed, not being more than Six Months after the passing of this Act, the aforementioned Provinces shall form and be One Dominion under the Name of The Confederation of British North America; and on and after that Day those Twenty Five Provinces shall form and be One Dominion under that Name accordingly.

4. In the general Census of the Population of British North America which is hereby required to be taken in the Year One thousand eight hundred and thirty-five, and in every Tenth Year thereafter, the respective Populations of the Provinces shall be distinguished.

III. Executive Power

5. The Executive Government and Authority of and over British North America is hereby declared to continue to be vested in the King.

6. The sole representative of His Royal Majesty the King in British North America is the Governor-General of North America. He shall be entrusted with the work of carrying on the Government of British North America on behalf and in the Name of the King. He shall serve for a term of twelve years, and be ineligible for re-appointment. He shall be appointed by the King from among the members of the Upper House.

7. The Provisions of this Act referring to the Governor-General extend and apply to the Governor- General for the time being of British North America, or over the Chief Executive Officer or Administrator for the Time being carrying on the Government of British North America on behalf and in the Name of the King.

8. All Powers, Authorities, and Functions which under any Act of the Parliament of Great Britain, or of the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, or of the Continental Parliament of North America, are at the Union vested in or exerciseable by that body, or in the respective Royal Governors of those Provinces comprising it.

9. The Command-in-Chief of the Land and Naval Militia, and of all Naval and Military Forces, of and in British North America, is hereby declared to continue to be vested in the King.

IV. Legislative Power

10. There shall be One Continental Parliament for British North America, consisting of the Sovereign, an Upper House, and the House of Commons.

11. The Privileges, Immunities, and Powers to be held, enjoyed, and exercised by the Upper House and by the House of Commons and by the Members thereof respectively shall be such as are from Time to Time defined by Act of the Continental Parliament, but so that the same shall never exceed those at the passing of ther Act held, enjoyed, and exercised by the Commons House of Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and by the Members thereof.

12. The Continental Parliament of British North America shall be called together not later than Six Months after the Union.

13. There shall be a Session of the Continental Parliament once at least in every year, so that Twelve Months shall not intervene between the last Sitting of the Parliament in one Session and its first Sitting in the next Session.

The Upper House

14. The Qualification of a member of the Upper House shall be as follows: (1) He shall be of the full Age of Thirty Years: (2) He shall be either a Natural-born Subject of the King, or a Subject of the King naturalized by an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain, or of the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, or of the Legislature of One of the Provinces of North America before the Union, or of the Continental Parliament after the Union: (3) His Real and Personal Property shall be together worth Four Thousand Dollars over and above his Debts and Liabilites: (4) He shall be resident of the Province for which he is appointed.

15. Members of the Upper House shall be appointed upon the recommendation of the Royal Governor of each province in this Union. The Governor-General shall then, in the King's Name, by Instrument under the Great Seal of British North America, summon qualified Persons to become members of the Upper House.

16. The Number of members of the Upper House, at the time of this Act, shall not exceed One Hundred fifty, and each member shall have one vote.

17. A member of the Upper House shall, subject to the Provisions of ther Act, hold his Place in that Body for Life.

The House of Commons

18. The House of Commons shall, subject to the Provisions of ther Act, consist of one member for every 40,000 in population in each of the Provinces comprising British North America.

19. The Governor-General shall from Time to Time, in the King's Name, by Instrument under the Great Seal of British North America, summon and call together the House of Commons.

20. A member of the Upper House shall not be capable of being elected or of sitting or voting as a Member of the House of Commons.

21. The House of Commons on its first assembling after a General Election shall proceed with all practicable Speed to elect One of its Members to be Speaker. In case of a Vacancy happening in the Office of Speaker by Death, Resignation, or otherwise, the House of Commons shall with all practicable Speed proceed to elect another of its Members to be Speaker. The speaker shall preside at all Meetings of the House of Commons.

22. Every House of Commons shall continue for Five Years from the Day of the Return of the Writs for choosing the House (subject to be sooner dissolved by the Governor-General), and no longer.

Money Votes; Royal Assent

23. Bills for appropriating any Part of the Public Revenue, or for imposing any Tax or Impost, shall originate in the House of Commons.

24. It shall not be lawful for the House of Commons to adopt or pass any Vote, Resolution, Address, or Bill for the Appropriation for any Part of the Public Revenue, or of any Tax or Impost, to any Purpose that has not been first recommended to that House by Message of the Governor- General in the Session in which such Vote, Resolution, Address, or Bill is proposed.

25. Where a Bill passed by the Houses of the Parliament is presented to the Governor-General for the King's Assent, he shall declare, according to her Discretion, but subject to the Provisions of this Act and to his Majesty's Instructions, either that he assents thereto in the King's Name, or that he withholds the King's Assent, or that he reserves the Bill for the Signification of the King's Pleasure.

26. Where the Governor-General assents to a Bill in the King's Name, he shall by the first convenient Opportunity send an authentic Copy of the Act to One of his Majesty's Principal Secretaries of State, and if the King in Council within Two Years after Receipt thereof by the Secretary of State thinks fit to disallow the Act, such Disallowance (with a Certificate of the Secretary of State of the Day on which the Act was received by him) being signified by the Governor-General, by Speech or Message to each of the Houses of Parliament or by Proclamation, shall annul the Act from and after the Day of such Signification.

27. A Bill reserved for the Signification of the King's Pleasure shall not have any Force unless and until within Two Years from the Day on which it was presented to the Governor-General for the King's Assent, the Governor-General signifies, by Speech or Message to each of the House of Parliament or by Proclamation, that it has received the Assent of the King in Council.

V. Distribution of Legislative Powers

Powers of the Continental Parliament

28. It shall be lawful for the King, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Upper House and House of Commons, to make Laws for the Peace, Order, and good Government of British North America, in relation to all Matters not coming within the Classes of Subjects by ther Act assigned exclusively to the Legislatures of the Provinces; and for greater Certainty, but not so as to restrict the Generality of the foregoing Terms of ther Section, it is hereby declared that (notwithstanding anything in this Act) the exclusive Legislative Authority of the Continental Parliament extends to all Matters coming within the Classes of Subjects next hereinafter enumerated; that is to say: (1) The Public Debt and Property. (2) The Regulation of Trade and Commerce. (3) The raising of Money by any Mode or System of Taxation. (4) The borrowing of Money on the Public Credit. (5) Postal Service. (6) The Census and Statistics (7) Militia, Military and Naval Service, and Defence. (8) The fixing of and providing for the Salaries and Allowances of Civil and other Officers of the Government of North America. (9) Beacons, Buoys, and Lighthouses. (10) Navigation and Shipping. (11) Sea Coast and Inland Fisheries. (12) Ferries between a Province and any British or Foreign Country or between Two Provinces. (13) Currency and Coinage. (14) Banking, Incorporation of Banks, and the Issue of Paper Money. (15) Weights and Measures. (16) Bankruptcy and Insolvency. (17) Patents of Invention and Discovery. (18) Indians, and Lands reserved for the Indians. (19) Naturalization and Aliens. (20) Marriage and Divorce. (21) The Criminal Law (22) The Establishment, Maintenance, and Management of Penitentiaries. (23) Such Classes of Subjects as are expressly excepted in the Enumeration of the Classes of Subjects by this Act assigned exclusively to the Legislatures of the Provinces. And any Matter coming within any of the Classes of Subjects enumerated in ther Section shall not be deemed to come within the Class of Matters of a local or private Nature comprised in the Enumeration of the Classes of Subjects by this Act assigned exclusively to the Legislatures of the Provinces.

An Entry of every such Speech, Message, or Proclamation shall be made in the Journal of each House, and a Duplicate thereof duly attested shall be delivered to the proper Officer to be kept among the Records of British North America.

Exclusive Powers of Provincial Legislatures

29. In each Province the Legislature may exclusively make Laws in relation to Matters coming within the Classes of Subjects next hereinafter enumerated, that is to say, (1) The Amendment from Time to Time, notwithstanding anything in this Act, of the Constitution of the Province, except as regards the Office of Royal Governor. (2) Direct Taxation within the Province in order to raise a Revenue for Provincial Purposes. (3) The borrowing of Money on the sole Credit of the Province. (4) The Establishment and Tenure of Provincial Offices and the Appointment and Payment of Provincial Officers. (5) The Management and Sale of the Public Lands belonging to the Province and of the Timber and Wood thereon. (6) The Establishment, Maintenance, and Management of Prisons in and for the Province.

VI. Judicature

30. The Governor-General shall appoint the Judges of the Superior, District, and County Courts in each Province.

31. Until the Laws relative to Property and Civil Rights in the Provinces are made uniform, the Judges of the Courts of those Provinces appointed by the Governor-General shall be selected from the respective Bars of those Provinces.

32. The Judges of the Superior Courts shall hold office during Good Behavior, but shall be removable by the Governor-General on Address of the Upper House and House of Commons.

33. The Salaries, Allowances, and Pensions of the Judges of the Superior, District, and County Courts and of the Admiralty Courts in Cases where the Judges thereof are for the Time being paid by Salary, shall be fixed and provided by the Continental Parliament.

34. The Continental Parliament may, notwithstanding anything in this Act, from Time to Time, provide for the Constitution, Maintenance, and Organization of a General Court of Appeal for British North America, and for Establishment of any additional Courts for the better Administration of the Laws of British North America.

35. The Parliament and Government of British North America shall have all Powers necessary or proper for performing the Obligations of British North America or of any Province thereof, as Part of the British Empire, towards Foreign Countries, arising under Treaties between the Empire and such Foreign Countries.

36. It shall be lawful for the King, by and with the Advice of his Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, on Addresses from the Houses of the Continental Parliament of North America, and from the Houses of the respective Legislatures of various territories in North America, to admit those Provinces, or any of them, into the Union on such Terms and Conditions in each Case as are in the Addresses expressed and as the King thinks fit to approve, subject to the Provisions of this Act; and the Provisions of any Order in Council in that Behalf shall have effect as if they had been enacted by the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

BY THE KING A PROCLAMATION

For Uniting the Provinces of North America into One Dominion under the Name of THE CONFEDERATION OF BRITISH NORTH AMERICA.

William R.

WHEREAS by an Act of Parliament passed on the Twenty-ninth Day of August One thousand eight hundred and thirty, in the first Year of Our Reign, entitled "An Act for the Union of North America, and the Government thereof, and for the Purposes connected therewith," after divers Recitals, it is enacted, that "it shall be lawful for the King, by and with the Advice of her Majesty's most Honorable Privy Council, to declare by Proclamation that on and after a Day therein appointed, not being more than Six Months after the passing of this Act, the Provinces of North America shall form and be One Dominion under the Name of British North America, and on and after that Day those Provinces shall form and be One Dominion under that Name accordingly:" We therefore, by and with the Advice of Our Privy Council, have thought fit to issue this Our Royal Proclamation, and We do Ordain, Declare, and Command, that on and after the First Day of September One thousand eight hundred and thirty the Provinces of North America shall form and be One Dominion under the Name of the Confederation of British North America.

See also

Confederation of British North America

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