MISSISSIPPI. The name of one of the new states of the United States of
America. This state was admitted into the Union, by a resolution of congress,
passed the 10th day of December, 1817; 3 Story's L. U. S. 1716; by which it is
"Resolved, that the state of Mississippi, shall be one, and is hereby declared
to be one of the United States of America, and admitted into the Union on an
equal footing with these original states, in all respects whatever."
2. The constitution of this state was adopted at the town of Washington, the
15th day of August, 1817. It was revised by a convention, and adopted on the
26th day of October, 1832, when it went into operation.
3. By the second article of the constitution, a provision is made for the
distribution of powers as follows, namely;
1. The powers of the government of the state of Mississippi, 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
judicial to another, and those which are executive to another.
4. - 2. No person, or collection of persons, being of one of these
departments, shall exercise any power properly belonging to either of the
others, except in the instances hereinafter expressly directed or permitted.
5. - 1st. The legislative power of this state is vested in two distinct
branches the one styled "the senate" the other, "the house of representatives;"
and both together, "the legislature of the state of Mississippi.
6. The following regulations, contained in the third article of the
constitution, apply to both branches of the legislature.
7. - 16. Each house may determine the rules of its own proceedings punish
members for disorderly behaviour, and, with the consent of two-thirds, expel a
member, but not a second time for the same cause; and shall have all other
powers necessary for a branch of the legislature of a free and independent
8. - 17. Each house shall keep a journal of its proceedings, and publish the
same; and the yeas and nays of the members of either house, on any question,
shall, at the desire of any three members present, be entered on the
9. - 18. When vacancies happen in either house, the governor, or the person
exercising the powers of the governor, shall issue writs of election to fill
10. - 19. Senators and representatives shall, in all cases, except of
treason, felony, or breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest during the
session of the legislature and in going to and returning from the same, allowing
one day for every twenty miles such member may reside from the place at which
the legislature is convened.
11. - 20. Each house may punish, by imprisonment, during the session, any
person, not a member, for disrespectful or disorderly behaviour in its presence,
or for obstructing any of its proceedings: Provided, such imprisonment shall
not, at any one time, exceed forty-eight hours.
12. - 21. The doors of each house shall be open, except on such occasions of
great emergency, as, in the opinion of the house, may require secrecy.
13. - 22. 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
14. - 23. Bills may originate in either house, and be amended, altered or
rejected by the other, but no bill shall have the force of a law, until on three
several days, it be read in each house, and free discussion be allowed thereon,
unless four-fifths of the house in which the bill shall be pending, may deem it
expedient to dispense with this rule; and every bill having passed both houses,
shall be signed by the speaker and president of their respective houses.
15. - 24. All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the house of
representatives, but the senate may amend or rejec
t them as other bills.16. - 25. Each member of the legislature shall receive
from the public treasury a compensation for his services, which may be increased
or diminished by law, but no increase of compensation shall take effect during
the session at which such increase shall have been made.
17. - 26. No senator or representative shall, during the term for which be
shall have been elected, nor for one year thereafter, 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; and no member of either
house of the legislature shall, after the commencement of the first session of
the legislature after his election and during the remainder of the term for
which he is elected, be eligible to any office or place, the appointment to
which may be made in whole or in part by either branch of the legislature.
18. - 27. No judge of any court of law or equity, secretary of state,
attorney general, clerk of any court of record, sheriff or collector, or any,
person bolding a lucrative office under the United States or this state, shall
be eligible to the legislature: Provided, That offices in the militia, to which
is attached no annual salary, and the office of justice of the peace, shall
not be deemed lucrative. 19. - 28. No person who hath heretofore been, or
hereafter may be, a collector or holder of public moneys, shall have a seat in
either house of the legislature, until such person shall have accounted for, and
paid into the treasury, all sums for which he may be accountable.
20.- 29. The first election for senators and representatives shall be general
throughout the state, and shall be held on the first Monday and day following in
November 1833; and thereafter, there shall be biennial elections for senators to
fill the places of those whose term of service may have expired.
21. - 30. The first and all future sessions of the legislature shall be held
in the town of Jackson, in the county of Hinds, until the year 1850. During the
first session thereafter, the legislature shall have power to designate by law
the permanent seat of government: Provided, however, That unless such
designation be then made by law, the seat of government shall continue
permanently at the town of Jackson. The first session shall commence on the
third Monday in November, in the year 1833. And in every two years thereafter,
at such time as may be prescribed by law.
22. - 1. The senate. Under this lead will be considered the qualification of
senators; their number; by whom they are elected; the time for which they are
1. No person shall be a senator unless he be a citizen of the United States;
and shall have been an inhabitant of this state for four years next preceding
his election, and the last year thereof a resident of the district for which he
shall be chosen, and have attained the age of thirty years. Art. 3, s. 14.
2. The number of senators shall never be less than one-fourth, nor more than
one-third, of the whole number of representatives. Art. 3, s. 10. 3. The
qualifications of electors is as follows: every free white male person of the
age of twenty-one years or upwards, who shall be a citizen of the United States,
and shall have resided in this state one year next preceding an election, and
the last four months within the county, city, or town in which he offers to
vote, shall be deemed a qualified elector. Art. 3, s. 1. 4. The senators shall
be chosen for four years, and on their being convened in consequence of the
first election, they shall be divided by lot from their respective districts
into two classes, as nearly equal as can be. And the seats of the senators of
the first class shall be vacated at the expiration of the second year.
23. - 2. The house of representatives, will be considered in the same order
that has been observed in relation, to the senate. 1. No person shall, be a
representative unless he be a citizen of the United States, and shall have been
an inhabitant of this state two years next prceeding his election, and the last
year thereof a resident of the county, city or town for which be shall be
chosen; and shall have attained the age of twenty-one years. Art. 3, s. 7. 2.
The number of representatives shall not be less than thirty-six, nor more than
one hundred. Art. 3, s. 9. 3. They are elected by the same electors who elect
senators. Art. 3, s. 1. 4. The representatives are chosen every two years on the
first Monday and day following in November. They serve two years from the day of
the commencement of the general election and no longer. Art. 3, s. 5, and 6.
24. - 2d. The judicial power. By the fourth article of the constitution, the
judicial power is distributed as follows, namely:
1. The judicial power of this state shall be vested in one high court of
errors and appeals, and such other courts of law and equity as are hereafter
provided for in this constitution.
25. - 2. The high court of errors and appeals shall consist of three judges,
any two of whom shall form a quorum. The legislature shall divide the state into
three districts, and the qualified electors of each district shall elect one of
said judges for the term of six years.
26. - 3. The office of one of said judges shall be vacated in two years, and
of one in four years, and of one in six years, so that at the expiration of
every two years, one of said judges shall be elected as aforesaid.
27. - 4. The high court of errors and appeals shall have no jurisdiction, but
such as properly belongs to a court of errors and appeals.
28. - 5. All vacancies that may occur in said court, from death, resignation
or removal, shall be filled by election as aforesaid. Provided, however, that if
the unexpired term do not exceed one year, the vacancy sbalI be filled by
29. - 6. No person shall be eligible to the office of judge of the high court
of errors and appeals, who shall not have attained, at the time of his election,
the age of thirty yers.
30. - 7. The high court of errors and appeals shall be held twice in each
year, at such place as the legislature shall direct, until the year eighteen
hundred and thirty-six, and afterwards at the seat of government of the
31. - 8. Tbe secretary of state, on receiving all the official returns of the
first election, shall proceed, forthwith, in the presence and with the
assistance of two justices of the peace, to determine by lot among the three
candidates having the highest number of votes, which of said judges elect shall
serve for the term of two years, which shall serve for the term of four years,
and which shall serve for the term of six years, and having so determined the
same, it shall be the duty of the governor to issue commissions accordingly.
32. - 9. No judge shall sit on the trial of any cause when the parties or
either of them shall be connected with him by affinity or consanguinity, or when
he may be interested in the same, except by consent of the judge and of the
parties; and whenever a quorum of said court are situated as aforesaid, the
governor of the state shall in such case specially commission two or more men of
law knowledge for the determination thereof.
33. - 10. The judges of said court shall, receive for their services a
compensation to be fixed by law, which shall not be diminished during their
continuance in office.
34. - 11. The judges of the circuit court shall be elected by the qualified
electors of each judicial district, and hold their offices for the term of four
years, and reside in their respective districts.
35. - 12. No person shall be eligible to the office of judge of the circuit
court, who shall not, at the time of his election, have attained the age of
36. - 13. The state shall be divided into convenient districts, and each
district shall contain not less than three nor more than twelve counties.
37. - 14. The circuit court shall have original jurisdiction in all matters,
civil and criminal, within this state; but in civil cases only when the
principal of the sum in controversy exceeds fifty dollars.
38.- 15. A circuit court shall be held in each county of this state, at least
twice in each year; and the judges of said courts shall interchange circuits
with each other, in such manner as may be prescribed by law, and shall receive
for their services a compensation to be fixed by law, which shall not be
diminished during their continuance in office.
39. - 16. A separate superior court of chancery, shall be establisbed, with
full jurisdiction in all matters of equity; Provided, however, the legislature
may give to the circuit courts of each county equity jurisdiction in all cases
where the value of the thing, or amount in controversy, does not exceed five
hundred dollars; also, in all cases of divorce, and for the foreclosure of
mortgages. The chancellor shall be elected by the qualified electors of the
whole state, for the term of six years, and shall be at least thirty years old
at the time of his election.
40. - 17. The style of all process, shall be "The state of Mississippi," and
all prosecutions shall be carried on in the name and by the authority of "The
state of Mississippi," and shall conclude "against the peace and dignity of the
same."41. - 18. A court of probates shall be established in each county of this
state, with jurisdiction in all matters testamentary and of administration in
orpbans' business and the allotment of dower, in cases of idiotcy and lunacy,
and of persons non compos mentis; the judge of said court shall be elected by
the qualified electors of the respective counties, for the term of two
42. - 19. The clerk of the high court, of errors and appeals shall be
appointed by said court, for the term of four years, and the clerks of the
circuit, probate, and other inferior courts, shall be elected by the qualified
electors of the respective counties, and shall hold their offices for the term
of two years.
43. - 20. The qualified electors of each county shall elect five persons for
the term of two years, who shall constitute a board of police for each county, a
majority of whom may transact business; which body shall have full jurisdiction
over roads, highways, ferries, and bridges, and all other matters of county
police, and shall order all county elections to fill vacancies that may occur in
the offices of their respective counties: the clerk of the court of probate
shall be the clerk of the board of county police.
44. - 21. No person shall be eligible as a member of said board, who shall
not have resided one year in the county: but this qualification shall not extend
to such new counties as may hereafter be established until one year after tbeir
orgainization; and all vacancies that may occur in said board shall be supplied
by election as aforesaid to fill the unexpired term.
45. - 22. The judges of all the courts of the state, and also the members of
the board of county police, shall in virtue of their offices be conservators of
tbe peace, and shall be by law vested with ample powers in this respect.
46. - 23. A competent number of justices of the peace and constables shall be
chosen in each county by the qualified electors thereof, by districts, who shall
hold their offices for the term of two years. The jurisdiction of justices of
the peace shall be limited to causes in which the principal of the amount in
controversy shall not exceed fifty dollars. In all causes tried by a justice of
the peace, the right of appeal shall be secured under such rules and regulations
as shall be prescribed by law.
47. - 24. The legislature may from time to time establish, such other
inferior courts as may be deemed necessary, and abolish the same whenever they
shall deem it expedient.
48. - 25. There shall be an attorney general elected by the qualified
electors of the state: and a competent number of district attorneys shall be
elected by qualified voters of their respective districts, whose compensation
and term of service, shall be prescribed by law.
49. 26. The legislature shall, provide by law for determining contested
elections of judges of the high court of errors and appeals, of the circuit and
probate courts, and other officers.
50. - 27. The judges of the several courts of this state, for wilful neglect
of duty or other reasonable cause, shall be removed by the governor on the
address of two-thirds of both houses of the legislature; the address to be by
joint vote of both houses. The cause or causes for which such removal shall be
required, shall be stated at length in such address, and on the journals of each
house. The judge so intended to be removed, shall be notified and admitted to a
hearing in his own defence before any vote for such address shall pass; the vote
on such address shall be taken by yeas and nays, and entered on the journals of
51. - 28. Judges of probate, clerks, sheriffs, and other county officers, for
wilful neglect of duty, or misdemeanor in office, shall be liable to presentment
or indictment by a grand jury, and trial by a petit jury, and upon conviction
shall be removed from office.
52. - 3d. The chief executive power of this state shall be vested in a
governor. It will be proper to consider his qualifications; by whom he is
elected; the time for which he is elected; his rights, duties and powers; and
how, vacancies are supplied when the office of governor becomes vacant.
53. - 1. The governor shall be at least thirty years of age, shall have been
a citizen of the United States for twenty years, shall have resided in this
state at least five years next preceding the day of his election, and shall not
be capable of holding the office more than four in any term of six years. Art.
5, s. 3.
54. - 2. The governor shall be elected by the qualified elector's of the
state. Art. 5, s. 2.
55. - 3. He shall hold his office for two years from the time of his
installation. Art 5, s. 1.
56. - 4. He shall, at stated times, receive for his services a compensation
which shall not be increased or diminished during the term for which he shall be
elected. Art. 5 s. 4.
57. - 5. He shall be commander-in-chief of the army and navy in this state,
and of the militia, except when they shall be called into the service of the
United States. Art. 5, s. 5.
58. - 6. He may require information in writing, from the officers in the
executive department, on any subject relating to the duties of their respective
offices. Art. 5, s. 6.
59. - 7. He may, in cases of emergency, convene the legislature at the seat
of government, or at a different place, if that shall have become, since their
last adjournment, dangerous from an enemy or from disease; and in case of
disagreement between the two houses with respect to the time of adjournment,
adjourn them to such time as he shall think proper, not beyond the day of the
next stated meeting of the legislature. Art. 5, s. 7.
60. - 8. He shall from time to time give to the legislature information of
the state of the government, and recommend to their consideration, such measures
as he may deem necessary and expedient. Art. 5, s. 8.
61. - 9. He shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed. Art. 5, s.
62. - 10. In all criminal and penal cases, except in those of treason and
impeachment, he shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons, and remit
fines; and in cases of forfeiture to stay the collection until the end of the
next session of the legislature, and to remit forfeitures by and with the advice
and consent of the senate. In cases of treason he shall have power to grant
reprieves by and with the advice and consent of the senate, but may respite the
sentence until the end of the next session of the legislature. Art. 5, s.
63. - 11. All commissions shall be in the name and by the authority of the
state of Mississippi; be sealed with the great seal, and signed by the governor,
and be attested by the secretary of state. The governor is also invested with
the veto power. Art. 5, s. 15 and 16.
64. Whenever the office of governor shall become vacant by death,
resignation, removal from office, or otherwise, the president of the senate
shall exercise the office of governor until another governor shall be duly
qualified; and in case of the death, resignation, removal from office, or other
disqualifications of the president of the senate so exercising the office of
governor, the speaker of the house of representatives shall exercise the office,
until a president of the senate shall have been chosen; and when the office of
governor, president of the senate, and speaker of the house shall become vacant,
in the recess of the senate, the person acting as secretary of state for the
time being, shall by proclamation convene the senate, that a president may be
chosen to exercise the office of governor. Art. 5, s. 17.