We, the People of the State of Florida, in Convention assembled, do solemnly
ordain, publish and declare, that the State of Florida hereby withdraws herself
from the Confederacy of States existing under the name of the United States
of America, and from the existing government of said States; and that all political
connection between her and the government of said States ought to be and the
same is hereby totally annulled and said Union of States dissolved, and the
State of Florida is hereby declared a sovereign and independent Nation; and
that all ordinances heretofore adopted, in so far as they create or recognize
said Union, are rescinded, and all laws or parts of laws in force in this State,
in so far as they recognize or assent to said Union, be and they are hereby
Done in open Convention, January 10, 1861.
Declaration of Rights.
That the great and essential principles of liberty and free government may
be recognized and established, we declare:
Section 1. That all freemen, when they form a social compact, are equal,
and have certain inherent and indefeasible rights, among which are those of
enjoying and defending life and liberty; of acquiring, possessing, and protecting
property and reputation; and of pursuing their own happiness.
Section 2. That all political power is inherent in the people, and all
free governments are founded on their authority, and established for their benefit,
and therefore, they have at all times an inalienable and indefeasible right
to alter or abolish their form of government, in such manner as they may deem
Section 3. That all men have a natural and inalienable right to worship
Almighty God according to the dictates of their own conscience; and that no
preference shall ever be given by law to any religious establishment or mode
of worship in this State.
Section 4. That all elections shall be free and equal; and that no property
qualification for eligibility to office, or for the right of suffrage, shall
ever be required in this State.
Section 5. That every citizen may freely speak, write and publish his
sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that liberty;
and no law shall ever be passed to curtail, abridge, or restrain the liberty
of speech or of the press.
Section 6. That the right of trial by jury shall forever remain inviolate.
Section 7. That the people shall be secure in their persons, houses,
papers, and possessions, from unreasonable seizures and searches; and that no
warrant to search any place, or to seize any person or thing, shall issue without
describing the place to be searched, and the person or thing to be seized, as
nearly as may be, not without probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation.
Section 8. That no freeman shall be taken, imprisoned or disseized of
his freehold, liberties, or outlawed or exiled, or in any manner destroyed or
deprived of his life, liberty, or property, but by the law of the land.
Section 9. That all Courts shall be open, and every person, for an injury
done him, in his lands, goods, person or reputation, shall have remedy by the
due course of law; and right and justice administered without sale, denial or
Section 10. That in all criminal prosecutions, the accused hath a right
to be heard by himself or counsel, or both; to demand the nature and cause of
the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory
process for obtaining witnesses in his favor; and in all prosecutions by indictment
or presentment, a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury of the county
or district where the offense was committed; and shall not be compelled to give
evidence against himself.
Section 11. That all persons shall be bailable, by sufficient securities,
unless in capital offenses, where the proof is evident, or the presumption is
strong; and the privilege of habeas corpus shall not be suspended unless, when
in case of rebellion or invasion, the public safety may require it.
Section 12. That excessive bail shall in no case be required; nor shall
excessive fines be imposed; nor shall cruel or unusual punishments be inflicted.
Section 13. That no person shall, for the same offense, be twice put
in jeopardy of life or limb.
Section 14. That private property shall not be taken or applied to public
use, unless just compensation be made therefor.
Section 15. That in all prosecutions and indictments for libel, the
truth may be given in evidence; and if it shall appear to the jury that the
libel is true, and published with good motives and for justifiable ends, the
truth shall be a justification; and the jury shall be the judges of the law
and the facts.
Section 16. That no person shall be put to answer any criminal charge
but by presentment, indictment or impeachment.
Section 17. That no conviction shall work corruption of blood or forfeiture
Section 18. That retrospective laws, punishing acts committed before
the existence of such laws, and by them only declared penal or criminal, are
oppressive, unjust, and incompatible with liberty; wherefore, no ex post
facto law shall ever be made.
Section 19. That no law impairing the obligation of contracts shall
ever be passed.
Section 20. That the people have a right in a peaceable manner to assemble
together to consult for the common good; and to apply to those invested with
the powers of government for redress of grievances, or other proper purposes,
by petition, address or remonstrance.
Section 21. That the free white men of this state shall have the right
to keep and to bear arms for their common defense.
Section 22. That no soldier in time of peace shall be quartered in any
house without the consent of the owner; nor in time of war but in a manner prescribed
Section 23. That no standing army shall be kept up without the consent
of the Legislature; and the military shall, in all cases and at all times, be
in strict subordination to the civil power.
Section 24. That perpetuities and monopolies are contrary to the genius
of a free State, and ought not to be allowed.
Section 25. That no hereditary emoluments, privileges or honors shall
ever be granted or conferred in this State.
Section 26. That frequent recurrence to fundamental principles is absolutely
necessary to preserve the blessings of liberty.
Section 27. That to guard against transgressions upon the rights of
the people, we declare that everything in this article is excepted out of the
general powers of government and shall forever remain inviolate; and that all
laws contrary thereto, or to the following provisions, shall be void.
Distribution of the Powers of Government.
Section 1. The powers of government of the State of Florida shall be
divided into three distinct departments, and each of them confided to a separate
body of Magistracy, to-wit: those which are Legislative to one; those which
are Executive to another; and those which are Judicial to another.
Section 2. No person or collection of persons, being one of those departments,
shall exercise any power properly belonging to either of the others, except
in the instances expressly provided for in this Constitution.
Section 1. The Supreme Executive power shall be vested in a Chief Magistrate,
who shall be styled the Governor of the State of Florida.
Section 2. The Governor shall be elected for two years, by the qualified
electors, at the time and place where they shall vote for Representatives, and
shall remain in office until a successor be chosen and qualified. The first
election for Governor shall be held on the first Monday in October, 1865.
Section 3. No person shall be eligible to the office of Governor unless
he shall have attained the age of thirty years, and shall have been a citizen
of Florida at least five years next preceding the day of election.
Section 4. The returns of every election for Governor shall be sealed
up and transmitted 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 person having the highest number of votes shall be Governor, but if two
or more shall be equal and highest in votes, one of them shall be chosen Governor
by the joint vote of the two houses; and contested elections for Governor shall
be determined by both Houses of the General Assembly, in such manner as shall
be prescribed by law.
Section 5. He shall at stated times receive a compensation for his services,
which shall not be increased or diminished during the term for which he shall
have been elected.
Section 6. He shall be Commander-in-Chief of the army and navy of this
State, and of the militia thereof.
Section 7. He may require information in writing from the officers of
the Executive Departments on any subject relating to the duties of their respective
Section 8. He may, by proclamation, on extraordinary occasions, convene
the General Assembly at the seat of Government, or at a different place, if
that shall have become dangerous from an enemy, or from disease; and in case
of disagreement between the two houses with respect to the time of adjournment,
he may adjourn them to such time as he shall think proper, not beyond the day
of the next meeting designated by this Constitution.
Section 9. He shall, from time to time, give to the General Assembly
information of the state of the Government, and recommend to their consideration
such measures as he may deem expedient.
Section 10. He shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.
Section 11. In all criminal and penal cases, (except of treason and
impeachment) after conviction, he shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons,
and remit fines and forfeitures, under such rules and regulations as shall be
prescribed by law; and in cases of treason he shall have power, by and with
the advice and consent of the Senate, to grant reprieves and pardons, and he
may, in the recess of the Senate, respite the sentence until the end of the
next session of the General Assembly.
Section 12. There shall be a seal of the State, which shall be kept
by the Governor, and used by him officially.
Section 13. All commissions shall be in the name and by the authority
of the State of Florida, be sealed with the State seal and signed by the Governor,
and attested by the Secretary of State.
Section 14. There shall be a Secretary of State appointed by joint vote
of both Houses of the General Assembly, who shall continue in office during
the term of two years; and he shall keep a fair register of the official acts
and proceedings of the Governor, and shall, when required, lay the same and
all papers, minutes and vouchers relative thereto, before the General Assembly,
and shall perform such other duties as may be required of him by law.
Section 15. Vacancies that happen in offices, the appointment to which
is vested in the General Assembly, or given to the Governor, with the advice
and consent of the Senate, shall be filled by the Governor during the recess
of the General Assembly, by granting commissions, which shall expire at the
end of the next session.
Section 16. Every bill which shall have passed both Houses of the General
Assembly, shall be presented to the Governor; if he approve, he shall sign it;
but if not, he shall return it with his objections to the House in which it
shall have originated, who shall enter the objections at large upon the journals,
and proceed to reconsider it; and if after such reconsideration two-thirds of
the whole number elected to that House shall agree to pass the bill, it shall
be sent, with the objections to the other House, by which it shall likewise
be reconsidered; and if approved by two-thirds of the whole number elected to
that House, it shall become a law; but in such cases, the votes of both Houses
shall be by yeas and nays, and the names of the members voting for or against
the bill shall be entered on the journals of each House respectively; and if
any bill shall not be returned by the Governor within five days (Sundays excepted)
after it shall have been presented to him, the same shall be a law in like manner
as if he had signed it, unless the General Assembly, by their adjournment, prevent
its return, in which case it shall not be a law.
Section 17. Every order, resolution or vote, to which concurrence of
both Houses may be necessary, except on questions of adjournment, shall be presented
to the Governor, and before it shall take effect, be approved by him, or being
disapproved, be re-passed by both Houses, according to the rules and limitations
prescribed in case of a bill.
Section 18. In case of the impeachment of the Governor, his removal
from office, death, refusal to qualify, resignation, or absence from the State,
the President of the Senate shall exercise all the power and authority appertaining
to the office of Governor, during the term for which the Governor was elected,
unless the General Assembly shall provide by law for the election of a Governor
to fill such vacancy; or, until the Governor absent, or impeached, shall return
or be acquitted.
Section 19. If, during the vacancy of the office of Governor, the President
of the Senate shall be impeached, removed from office, refuse to qualify, resign,
die or be absent from the State, the Speaker of the House of Representatives
shall in like manner administer the Government.
Section 20. The President of the Senate or Speaker of the House of Representatives,
during the time he administers the government, shall receive the same compensation
which the Governor would have received.
Section 21. It shall be the duty of the General Assembly to provide
for the purchase or erection of a suitable building for the residence of the
Governor; and the Governor shall reside at the seat of government. But whenever
by reason of danger from an enemy, or from disease, the Governor may deem the
capital unsafe, he may by proclamation fix the seat of government at some secure
place within the State, until such danger cease.
Section 22. No person shall hold the office of Governor and any other
office or commission, civil or military, either in this State, or under the
Confederate States, or any other power, at one and the same time, except the
President of the Senate, or the Speaker of the House of Representatives, when
he shall hold the office as aforesaid.
Section 23. A State Treasurer and Comptroller of Public Accounts shall
be elected every two years by joint vote of both Houses of the General Assembly.
Section 1. The Legislative power of this State shall be vested in two
distinct branches, the one to be styled the Senate, the other the House of Representatives,
and both together the "General Assembly of the State of Florida," and the style
of all the laws shall be, "Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives
of the State of Florida in General Assembly convened."
Section 2. The members of the House of Representatives shall be chosen
by the qualified voters, and shall serve for the term of two years from and
after the day of the first election under this amended Constitution, and no
longer; and the sessions of the General Assembly shall be annual, and commence
on the third Monday in November in each year, or at such other times as may
be prescribed by law.
Section 3. The Representatives shall be chosen on the first Monday in
October, each and every second year, from and after the first election under
this amended Constitution, or on such other day as may be directed by law.
Section 4. The first election for Assemblymen under this Constitution,
shall take place on the first Monday in October, eighteen hundred and sixty-two;
and the first session of the General Assembly, under this amended Constitution,
shall commence on the third Monday in November, in the year eighteen hundred
Section 5. No person shall be a Representative unless he be a white
man, a citizen of the Confederate States of America, and shall have been an
inhabitant of the State two years next preceding his election, and the last
year thereof a resident of the county for which he shall be chosen, and shall
have attained the age of twenty-one years.
Section 6. The Senators shall be chosen by the qualified electors for
the term of four years, at the same time, in the same manner, and in the same
places where they vote for members of the House of Representatives; and no man
shall be a Senator unless he be a white man, a citizen of the Confederate States,
and shall have been an inhabitant of this State two years next preceding his
election, and the last year thereof, a resident of the district or county for
which he shall be chosen, and shall have attained the age of twenty-five years.
Section 7. The House of Representatives, when assembled, shall choose
a Speaker and its other officers, and each House shall be judge of the qualifications,
elections and returns of its members; but a contested election shall be determined
in such manner as shall be directed by law.
Section 8. A majority of each House shall constitute a quorum to do
business, but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and may compel the
attendance of absent members, in such manner and under such penalties as each
House may prescribe.
Section 9. Each House may determine the rules of its own proceedings,
punish its members for disorderly behavior, and with the consent of two-thirds,
expel a member, but not a second time for the same cause.
Section 10. Each House, during the session, may punish by imprisonment
any person not a member, for disrespectful or disorderly behavior in its presence,
or for obstructing any of its proceedings, provided such imprisonment shall
not extend beyond the end of the session.
Section 11. Each House shall keep a journal of its proceedings, and
cause the same to be published immediately after its adjournment; and the yeas
and nays of the members of each House shall be taken and entered upon the journals
upon the final passage of every bill, and may, by any two members, be required
upon any other question; and any member of either House shall have liberty to
dissent from or protest against any act or resolution which he may think injurious
to the public or an individual, and have the reasons of his dissent entered
on the journal.
Section 12. Senators and Representatives shall, in all cases, except
treason, felony or breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest during the
session of the General Assembly, and in going to or returning from the same,
allowing one day for every twenty miles such member shall reside from the place
at which the General Assembly is convened; and for any speech or debate in either
House, they shall not be questioned in any other place.
Section 13. The General Assembly shall make provision by law for filling
vacancies that may occur in either House by the death, resignation (or otherwise)
of any of its members.
Section 14. The doors of each house shall be open, except on such occasions
as in the opinion of the House the public safety may imperiously require secrecy.
Section 15. 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
Section 16. Bills may originate in either House of the General Assembly,
and all bills passed by one House may be discussed, amended or rejected by the
other; but no bill shall have the force of law until on three several days it
be read in each House and free discussion be allowed thereon, unless, in cases
of urgency, four-fifths of the House in which the same shall be depending, may
deem it expedient to dispense with the rule; and every bill having passed both
Houses, shall be signed by the Speaker and President of their respective Houses.
Section 17. Each member of the General Assembly shall receive from the
public treasury such compensation for his services as may be fixed by law, but
no increase of compensation shall take effect during the term for which the
Representatives were elected when such law was passed.
Section 18. The number of members of the House of Representatives shall
never exceed sixty.
Section 19. The sessions of the General Assembly shall not extend in
duration over thirty days, unless it be deemed expedient by a concurrent majority
of two-thirds of the members of each House, and no member shall receive pay
from the State for his services after the expiration of sixty days continuously
from the commencement of the session.
Section 20. The General Assembly may by law authorize the Circuit Court
to grant licenses for building toll-bridges and to establish ferries, and to
regulate the tolls of both; to construct dams across streams not navigable;
to ascertain and declare what streams are navigable; but no special law for
such purpose shall be made.
Section 21. The General Assembly shall pass a general law prescribing
the manner in which names of persons may be changed, but no special law for
such purpose shall be passed; and no law shall be made allowing married women
or minors to contract or to manage their estates, or to legitimate bastards.
Section 22. The General Assembly shall have power to tax the lands and
slaves of non-residents higher than the like property of residents.
Section 23. The public lands accruing to the State in consequence of
the dissolution of the late Union between Florida and the United States, shall
be applied exclusively to the payment of the debt and necessary expenses of
the State, and no law shall be passed granting such lands for any other purpose.
Section 24. The General Assembly shall pass a general law for
the incorporation of towns, religious, literary, scientific, benevolent, military
and other associations, not commercial, industrial or financial, but no special
act incorporating any such associations shall be passed.
Section 25. No act incorporating any railroad, banking, insurance, commercial,
industrial, or financial corporation, shall be introduced into the General Assembly,
unless the person or persons applying for such incorporation shall have deposited
with the Treasurer the sum of one hundred dollars as a bonus to the State.
Section 26. Officers shall be removed from office for incapacity, misconduct,
or neglect of duty; and where no special mode of trial is provided by the Constitution,
the General Assembly shall pass a law providing the mode in which such trials
shall be had, which shall be before a jury and in the Circuit Court.
Section 27. The General Assembly shall have power to create special
tribunals for the trial of offenses committed by slaves, free negroes and mulattoes;
and until the General Assembly otherwise provides, there is hereby created a
Court in each county, which shall consist of two Justices of the Peace, and
twelve citizens, being qualified Jurors of the county, who shall have power
to try all cases of felony committed in their county by slaves, free negroes
and mulattoes. A majority of said Court may pronounce judgment, and all trials
before it shall be had upon the statement of the offense in the warrant of arrest,
and without presentment or indictment by a Grand Jury. The Sheriff of the county
shall act as the ministerial officer of said Court, and the citizens who, with
the Justices, are to compose the same, shall be selected by said Justices and
summoned to attend by the Sheriff; and appeals from the judgment of said Court
shall be had to the Circuit Court of the county upon an order made by the Judge
thereof, upon an inspection of the record of the trial, full minutes of which
shall be made by the said Justices, and such appeal, when allowed, shall operate
as a supersedeas of the judgment.
Section 1. The Judicial power of this State, both as to matters of law
and equity, shall be vested in a Supreme Court, Courts of Chancery, Circuit
Courts and Justices of the Peace, provided the General Assembly may also vest
such criminal jurisdiction as may be deemed necessary in corporation Courts;
but such jurisdiction shall not extend to capital offenses.
Section 2. The Supreme Court, except in cases otherwise directed in
this Constitution, shall have appellate jurisdiction only, which shall be co-extensive
with the State, under such restrictions and regulations, not repugnant to this
Constitution, as may from time to time be prescribed by law, provided that the
said Court shall always have power to issue writs of injunction, mandamus, quo
warranto, habeas corpus, and such other remedial and original writs as may be
necessary to give it a general superintendence and control of all other Courts.
Section 3. The Supreme Court, when organized, shall be holden at such
times and places as may be provided by law.
Section 4. The State shall be divided into convenient Circuits; and
for each Circuit there shall be a Judge, who shall, after his election or appointment,
reside in the Circuit for which he has been elected or appointed, and shall
at stated times receive for his services a salary of not less than two thousand
dollars per annum, which shall not be diminished during the continuance of such
judge in office; but the judges shall receive no fees or perquisites of office,
nor hold any other office of profit under the State, the Confederate States,
or any other power.
Section 5. The Circuit Courts shall have original jurisdiction in all
matters, civil and criminal, within this State, not otherwise excepted in this
Section 6. A Circuit Court shall be held in such counties and at such
times and places therein as may be prescribed by law, and the Judges of the
several Circuit Courts may hold courts for each other, and shall do so when
directed by law.
Section 7. The General Assembly shall have power to establish and organize
a separate Court or Courts of original Equity jurisdiction; but until such Court
or Courts shall be established and organized, the Circuit Courts shall exercise
Section 8. The General Assembly shall provide by law for the appointment
in each County of an officer to take probate of wills, to grant letters testamentary,
of administration and guardianship, to attend to the settlement of the estates
of decedents, and of minors, and to discharge the duties usually appertaining
to courts of ordinary, subject to the direction and supervision of the Courts
of Chancery, as may be provided by law.
Section 9. A competent number of Justices of the Peace shall be, from
time to time, appointed or elected, in and for each County, in such mode and
for such term of office as the General Assembly may direct, and shall possess
such jurisdiction as may be prescribed by law; and in cases tried before a Justice
of the Peace, the right of appeal shall be secured, under such rules and regulations
as may be prescribed by law.
Section 10. Judges of the Supreme Court, Chancellors, and Judges of
the Circuit Court, shall be appointed by the Governor, by and with the advice
and consent of two-thirds of the Senate, when in session, and hold office for
the term of six years from the date of their appointment, unless sooner removed
under the provisions made in this Constitution for the removal of Judges by
address or impeachment; and for wilful neglect of duty or other reasonable cause,
which shall not be sufficient ground for impeachment, the Governor shall remove
any of them on the address of two-thirds of the General Assembly: Provided,
however, That the cause or causes shall be stated at length in such address,
and entered on the journals of each House: And provided further, That
the cause or causes shall be notified to the Judge so intended to be removed,
and he shall be admitted to a hearing in his own defense before any vote for
such removal shall pass, and in such cases the vote shall be taken by yeas and
nays and entered on the journals of each House respectively.
Section 11. Whenever the General Assembly shall create a separate Chancery
Court, under the provisions of this Constitution, the Judges thereof shall be
elected in the manner provided in the 10th clause of this article, and shall
hold their offices for the same term, and be subject to all the provisions of
Section 12. The Clerk of the Supreme Court, and the Clerks of the Courts
of Chancery, shall be appointed by the Judges of their respective Courts; and
the Clerks of the Circuit Courts shall be elected by the qualified electors,
in such mode as may be prescribed by law.
Section 13. The Justices of the Supreme Court, Chancellors and Judges
of the Circuit Courts, shall, by virtue of their offices, be conservators of
the peace throughout the State, and Justices of the Peace in their respective
Section 14. The style of all process shall be "The State of Florida,"
and all criminal prosecutions shall be carried on in the name of the State of
Florida, and all indictments shall conclude, "against the peace and dignity
of the same."
Section 15. There shall be an Attorney General for the State, who shall
reside at the seat of Government. It shall be his duty to attend all sessions
of the General Assembly, and upon the passage of any act, to draft and submit
to the General Assembly, at the same session, all necessary forms of proceedings
under such laws, which, when approved, shall be published therewith; and he
shall perform such other duties as may be prescribed by law. He shall be elected
by joint vote of the two Houses of the General Assembly, and shall hold his
office for two years, but may be removed by the Governor on the address of two-thirds
of the two Houses of the General Assembly, and shall receive for his services
a compensation to be fixed by law.
Section 16. There shall be one Solicitor for each Circuit, who shall
reside therein and shall be elected by the qualified voters of such Circuit,
on the first Monday in October in the year one thousand eight hundred and sixty-one,
and every four years thereafter, or at such time as the General Assembly may
by law prescribe, and he shall receive for his services a compensation to be
fixed by law.
Section 17. No Justice of the Supreme Court shall sit as Judge or take
part in the appellate Court on the trial or hearing of any case which shall
have been decided by him in the Court below.
Section 18. The General Assembly shall have power to establish in each
county a Board of Commissioners for the regulation of the county business therein.
Section 19. No duty, not judicial, shall be imposed by law upon the
Justices of the Supreme Court, Chancellors, or the Judges of the Circuit Courts,
of this State.
The Right of Suffrage and Qualifications of Officers; Civil
Officers, and Impeachments and Removals from Office.
Section 1. Every free white male person of the age of twenty-one years
and upwards, and who shall be at the time of offering to vote, a citizen of
the Confederate States, and who shall have resided and had his habitation, domicil,
home and place of permanent abode in Florida for one year next preceding the
election at which he shall offer to vote, and who shall have at such time and
for six months immediately preceding said time, shall have had his habitation,
domicil, home and place of permanent abode in the county in which he may offer
to vote, and shall have paid all taxes due by him, at least five days before
the day of election, shall be deemed a qualified elector at all elections under
this Constitution, and none others shall be, except in elections by general
ticket in the State or District prescribed by law, in which cases the elector
must have been a resident of the State one year next preceding the election,
and six months within the election district in which he offers to vote: Provided,
That no person in the regular army or navy of the Confederate States, unless
he be a qualified elector of the State previous to his entry in the regular
army or navy of the Confederate States, or of the revenue service, shall be
considered a resident of the State in consequence of being stationed within
Section 2. The General Assembly shall have power to exclude from every
office of honor, trust or profit within the State, and from the right of suffrage,
all persons convicted of bribery, perjury or other infamous crime.
Section 3. No person shall be capable of holding or being elected to
any post of honor, profit, trust or emolument, civil or military, legislative,
executive or judicial, under the government of this State, who shall hereafter
fight a duel or send or accept a challenge to fight a duel, the probable issue
of which may be the death of the challenger or challenged, or who shall be a
second to either party, or who shall in any manner aid or assist in such duel,
or shall be knowingly the bearer of such challenge or acceptance, whether the
same occur or be committed in or out of the State; but the legal disability
shall not accrue until after trial and conviction, according to due form of
Section 4. No person who may hereafter be a collector or holder of public
moneys, shall have a seat in either House of the General Assembly, or be eligible
to any office of trust or profit under this State, until he shall have accounted
for and paid into the treasury all sums for which he may be accountable.
Section 5. No Governor, member of Congress or of the General Assembly
of this State, shall receive a fee, be engaged as counsel, agent or attorney,
in any civil case or claim against this State, or to which this State shall
be a party, during the time he shall remain in office.
Section 6. No Senator or Representative shall, during the term for which
he shall have been elected, be appointed to any civil office of profit under
this State, which shall have been created, or the emoluments of which shall
have been increased, during such term, except such offices as may be filled
by elections by the people.
Section 7. Members of the General Assembly and all officers, civil or
military, before they enter upon the execution of their respective offices,
shall take the following oath or affirmation: I do swear (or affirm) that I
am duly qualified, according to the Constitution of this State, to exercise
the office to which I have been elected (or appointed,) and will, to the best
of my abilities, discharge the duties thereof, and preserve, protect and defend
the Constitution of this State, and of the Confederate States of America.
Section 8. Every person shall be disqualified from serving as Governor,
Senator, Representative, or from holding any other office of honor or profit
in this State, for the term for which he shall have been elected, who shall
have been convicted of having given or offered any bribe to procure his election.
Section 9. Laws shall be made by the General Assembly to exclude from
office and from suffrage those who shall have been or may hereafter be convicted
of bribery, perjury, forgery, or other high crime or misdemeanor; and the privilege
of suffrage shall be supported by laws regulating elections and prohibiting,
under adequate penalties, all undue influence thereon, from power, bribery,
tumult, or other improper practices.
Section 10. All civil officers of the State at large shall reside within
the State, and all district or county officers within their respective districts
or counties, and shall keep their respective offices at such places therein
as may be required by law.
Section 11. It shall be the duty of the General Assembly to regulate
by law in what cases, and what deduction from the salaries of public officers
shall be made for neglect of duty in their official capacity.
Section 12. Returns of elections for members of Congress and the General
Assembly shall be made to the Secretary of State, in manner to be prescribed
Section 13. In all elections by the General Assembly, the vote shall
be viva voce, and in all elections by the people, the vote shall be
Section 14. No member of Congress or person holding or exercising any
office of profit under the Confederate States, or under any foreign power, shall
be eligible as a member of the General Assembly of this State, or hold or exercise
any office of profit under the State; and no person in this State shall ever
hold two offices of profit at the same time, except the office of Justice of
the Peace, Notary Public, Constable and Militia offices.
Section 15. The General Assembly shall, by law, provide for the appointment
or election and the removal from office of all officers, civil and military,
in this State, not provided for in this Constitution.
Section 16. The power of impeachment shall be vested in the House of
Section 17. All impeachments shall be tried by the Senate, and when
sitting for that purpose, the Senators shall be upon oath or affirmation, and
no person shall be convicted without the concurrence of two-thirds of the members
Section 18. The Governor and all civil officers shall be liable to impeachment
for any misdemeanor in office; but judgment in such cases shall not extend further
than to removal from office and disqualification to hold any office of honor,
trust or profit under this State; but the parties shall nevertheless be liable
to indictment, trial and punishment, according to law.
Section 19. No citizen of any of the States or Territories of the United
States, which are now at war with the Confederate States, shall ever be admitted
to the rights of citizenship in this State. No such person shall vote at elections,
be eligible to office, hold real estate, exercise any profession or trade, be
engaged in mechanical, manufacturing, commercial, banking, insurance, or other
business, under pain of confiscation, to the use of the State, of all property
of such person as shall violate this clause of this Constitution.
Section 1. All militia officers shall be elected or appointed, under
such rules and regulations as the General Assembly may from time to time direct
Section 2. All offenses against the militia laws shall be tried by Court
Martial or before a court and jury, as the General Assembly may direct.
Section 3. No commission shall be vacated except by sentence of Court
Taxation and Revenue.
Section 1. The General Assembly shall devise and adopt a system of revenue,
having regard to an equal and uniform mode of taxation to be general throughout
Section 2. No other or greater amount of tax or revenue shall at any
time be levied, than may be required for the necessary expenses of government.
Section 3. No money shall be drawn from the treasury but in consequence
of an appropriation by law, and a regular statement of the receipts and the
expenditures of all public monies shall be published and promulgated annually
with the laws of the General Assembly.
Section 4. The General Assembly shall have power to authorize the several
counties and incorporated towns in this State to impose taxes for county and
corporation purposes, respectively, and all property shall be taxed upon the
principles established in regard to State taxation.
Census and Apportionment of Representation.
Section 1. The General Assembly shall, in the year one thousand eight
hundred and sixty-five, and every tenth year thereafter, cause an enumeration
to be made of all the inhabitants of the State, and to the whole number of free
white inhabitants shall be added three-fifths of the number of slaves, and they
shall then proceed to apportion the representation equally among the different
counties, according to such enumeration, giving, however, one representative
to every county, and increasing the number of representatives on a uniform ratio
of population, according to the foregoing basis, and which ratio shall not be
changed until a new census shall have been taken.
Section 2. The General Assembly shall also, after every such enumeration,
proceed to fix by law the number of Senators which shall constitute the Senate
of the State of Florida, and which shall never be less than one-fourth, nor
more than one-half of the whole number of the House of Representatives; and
they shall lay off the State into the same number of senatorial districts, as
nearly equal in the number of inhabitants as may be, according to the ratio
of representation established in the preceding section, each of which districts
shall be entitled to one Senator.
Section 3. When any senatorial district shall be composed of two or
more counties, the counties of which such district consists shall not be entirely
separated by any county belonging to another district, and no county shall be
divided in forming a district.
Section 4. No county now organized shall be divided into new counties,
so as to reduce the inhabitants of either below the ratio of representation.
Section 1. The proceeds of all lands that have been granted by the United
States for the use of Schools and a Seminary or Seminaries of Learning, shall
be and remain a perpetual fund, the interest of which, together with all monies
derived from any other source, applicable to the same object, shall be inviolably
appropriated to the use of Schools and Seminaries of Learning, respectively,
and to no other purpose.
Section 2. The General Assembly shall take such measures as may be necessary
to preserve, from waste or damage, all land so granted and appropriated to the
purpose of Education.
Public Domain and Internal Improvements.
Section 1. It shall be the duty of the General Assembly to provide for
the prevention of waste and damage of the public lands, now possessed or that
may hereafter be ceded to the State of Florida, and it may pass laws for the
sale of any part or portion thereof, and in such case provide for the safety,
security and appropriation of the proceeds.
Section 2. A liberal system of Internal Improvements being essential
to the development of the resources of the country, shall be encouraged by the
government of this State; and it shall be the duty of the General Assembly,
as soon as practicable, to ascertain by law proper objects of improvement in
relation to roads, canals, and navigable streams, and to provide for a suitable
application of such funds as may be appropriated for such improvements.
Section 1. The jurisdiction of the State of Florida shall extend over
the Territories of East and West Florida, which, by the treaty of amity, settlement
and limits between the United States and his Catholic Majesty, on the 22d day
of February, A. D. 1819, were ceded to the United States.
Banks and Other Corporations.
Section 1. The General Assembly shall pass no act of incorporation,
nor make any alteration in one, unless with the assent of at least two-thirds
of each House, and unless public notice, in one or more newspapers in the State,
shall have been given for at least three months immediately preceding the session
at which the same may be applied for.
Section 2. No bank charter, nor any act of incorporation granting exclusive
privileges, shall be granted for a longer period than twenty years.
Section 3. Banks chartered by the General Assembly shall be restricted
to the business of exchange, discount, and deposit, and they shall not deal
in real estate, nor in merchandise or chattels, except as security for loans
or discounts, or for debts due to such Bank; nor shall they be concerned in
insurance, manufacturing, exportation, or importation, except of bullion or
specie; nor shall they own real estate or chattels, except such as shall be
necessary for their actual use in the transaction of business, or which may
be received in payment of previously contracted debts, or purchased at legal
sales to satisfy such debts, of which they shall be required to make sale within
three years after the acquisition thereof.
Section 4. The capital stock of any bank shall not be less than one
hundred thousand dollars, to be paid in suitable instalments, and shall be created
only by the payment of specie thereon.
Section 5. All liabilities of such banks shall be payable in specie,
and the circulation of no bank shall exceed three dollars for one of capital
actually paid in.
Section 6. No dividends or profits exceeding ten per centum per annum
on the capital stock paid in shall be made; but all profits over ten per centum
per annum shall be set apart and retained as a safety fund.
Section 7. Stockholders in a bank, when an act of forfeiture is committed,
or when it is dissolved or has expired, shall be individually and severally
liable for the redemption of the outstanding circulation, in proportion to the
stock owned by each, and no transfer of stock shall exonerate such stockholder
from this liability, unless such transfer was made at least one year previous
to said forfeiture, dissolution or expiration.
Section 8. Banks shall be open to inspection under such regulations
as may be prescribed by law, and it shall be the duty of the Governor to appoint
a person or persons, not connected in any manner with any Bank in the State,
to examine at least once a year into their State and condition; and the officers
of every Bank shall make quarterly returns to the Governor of its state and
condition, and the names of the stockholders and shares held by each.
Section 9. Non-user for the space of one year, or any act of a corporation
or those having the control or management thereof, or intrusted therewith, inconsistent
with, or in violation of the provisions of this Constitution, or of its charter,
shall cause its forfeiture; and the General Assembly shall by general law provide
a summary process for the sequestration of its effects and assets, and the appointment
of officers to settle its affairs, and no forfeited charter shall be restored.
Section 10. The General Assembly shall not pledge the faith and credit
of the State to raise funds in aid of any corporation whatever.
Amendments and Revisions of the Constitution.
Section 1. No part of this Constitution shall be altered except by a
Convention duly elected.
Section 2. No Convention of the people shall be called unless by the
concurrence of two-thirds of all the members of each House of the General Assembly,
made known by the passing of a bill which shall be read three times on three
several days in each House.
Section 3. Whenever a Convention shall be called, proclamation of an
election for delegates shall be made by the Governor at least thirty days before
the day of election. Every County and Senatorial District shall be entitled
to as many delegates as it has representatives in the Assembly. The same qualifications
shall be required in delegates and in electors that are required in members
of Assembly and voters for the same, respectively, and the elections for delegates
to a Convention, and the returns of such elections, shall be held and made in
the manner prescribed by law for regulating elections for members of the Assembly,
but the Convention shall judge of the qualifications of its members.
Section 1. The General Assembly shall have no power to pass laws for
the emancipation of slaves.
Section 2. The General Assembly shall have power to pass laws to prevent
free negroes, mulattoes, and other persons of color from immigrating to this
State, or from being discharged from on board any vessel in any of the ports
Section 3. Treason against the State shall consist only in levying war
against it or in adhering to its enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person
shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the
same overt act, or his confession in open court.
Section 4. Divorces from the bonds of matrimony shall not be allowed
but by the judgment of a court, as shall be prescribed by law.
Section 5. The General Assembly shall declare by law what parts of the
common law, and what parts of the civil law, not inconsistent with this Constitution,
shall be in force in this State.
Section 6. The oaths of officers directed to be taken under this Constitution,
may be administered by any Judge or Justice of the Peace of the State of Florida,
until otherwise prescribed by law.
Section 7. The Courts of this State shall never entertain jurisdiction
of any grants of land, in the Floridas, made by the King of Spain, or by his
authority, subsequent to the twenty-fourth day of January, eighteen hundred
and eighteen, nor shall the said Courts receive as evidence, in any case, certain
grants said to have been made by the said King of Spain in favor of the Duke
of Alagon, the Count Punon Rostro, and Don Pedro de Vargas, or any title derived
from either of said Grants.