RHODE ISLAND. The name of one of the original states of the United
States of America. This state was settled by emigrants from Massachusetts, who
assumed the government of themselves by a voluntarry association, which was soon
discovered to be insufficient for their protection. In 1643, a charter of
incorporation of Providence Plantations was obtained; and in 1644, the two
houses of parliament, during the forced absence of Charles the First, granted a
char-ter for the incorporation of the towns of Providence, Newport and
Portsmouth, for the absolute government of themselves, according to the laws of
England. Soon after the restoration of Charles the Second, in July, 1663, the
inhabi-tants obtained a new charter from the crown. Upon the accession of James,
the inhabitants were accused of a violation of their charter; and a quo warranto
was filed against them, when they resolved to surrender it. In 1686, their
government was dissolved, and Sir Edward Andros assumed, by royal authority, the
administration of the colony. The revolution of 1688 put an end to his power and
the colony immediately resumed its charter, the powers of which, with some
interruptions, it continued to maintain and exercise down to the period of the
2. This charter remained as the fundamental law of the state until the first
Tuesday of May, one thousand eight hundred and forty-three. A convention of the
people assembled in November, 1842, and adopted a constitution which went into
operation in May, 1843, as above mentioned.
3. By the third article of the constitution the powers of the government are
distributed into three departments; the legislative, the executive, and the
4. - §1. The fourth article regulates the legislative power as follows, to
wit: Sect. 1. This constitution shall be the supreme law of the state, and any
law inconsistent therewith shall be void. The general assembly shall pass all
laws necessary to carry this constitution into effect.
5. - Sect. 2. The legislative power, under this constitution, shall be vested
in two houses, the one to be called the senate, the other the house of
representatives; and both together the, general assembly. The concurrence of the
two houses shall be necessary to the enactment of laws. The style of their laws
shall be, It is enacted by the general assembly as follows.
6. - Sect. 3. There shall be two sessions of the general assembly holden
annually; one at Newport, on the first Tuesday of May, for the purposes of
election and other business; the other on the last Monday of October, which last
session shall be holden at South Kingstown once in two years, and the
intermediate years alternately at Bristol and East Greenwich; and an adjournment
for the October session shall be holden annually at Providence.
7. - Sect. 4. No member of the general assembly shall take any fee, or be of
counsel in any case pending before either house of the general assembly, under
penalty of forfeiting his seat, upon proof thereof to the satisfaction of the
house of which he is a member.
8. - Sect. 5. The person of every member of the general assembly shall be
exempt from arrest and his estate from attachment, in any civil action, during
the session of the general assembly, and two days before the commencement, and
two days after the termination thereof; and all process served contrary hereto
shall be void. For any speech in debate in either house, no member shall be
questioned in any other place.
9. - Sect. 6. Each house shall be the judge of the elections and
qualifications of its members; and a majority shall constitute a quorum to do
business; but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and may compel the
atten-dance of absent members, in such manner, and under such penalties, as may
be prescribed by such house or by law. The organization of the two houses may be
regulated by law, subject to the limitations contained in this constitution.
10. - Sect. 7. Each house may determine its rules of proceeding, punish
contempts, punish its members for disorderly behaviour, and, with the
concurrence of two-thirds, expel a member; but not a second time for the same
11. - Sect. 8. Each house shall keep a journal of its proceedings. The yeas
and nays of the members of either house, shall, at the desire of one-fifth of
those present, be entered on the journal.
12. - Sect. 9. Neither house shall, during a session, without the consent of
the other, adjourn for more than two days, nor to any other place than that in
which they may be sitting.
13. - Sect. 10. The general assembly shall continue to exercise the powers
they have heretofore exercised, unless prohibited in this constitution.
14. - Sect. 11. The senators and representatives shall receive the sum of one
dollar for every day of attendance, and eight cents per mile for travelling
expenses in going to and returning, from the general assembly. The general
assembly shall regulate the compensation of the governor and all other officers,
subject to the limitations contained in this constitution.
15. - Sect. 12. All lotteries shall hereafter be prohibited in this state,
except those already authorized by the general assembly.
16. - Sect. 13. The general assembly shall have no power hereafter, without
the express consent of the people, to incur state debts to an amount exceeding
fifty thousand dollars, except in time of war, or in case of insurrection or
invasion, nor shall they in any case, without such consent, pledge the faith of
the state for the payment of the obligations of others. This section shall not
be construed to refer to any money that may be deposited with this state by the
government of the United States.
17. - Sect. 14. The assent of two-thirds of the members elected to each house
of the general assembly shall be required to every bill appropriating the public
money or property for local or private purposes.
18. - Sect. 15. The general assembly shall, from time to time, provide for
making new valuations of property for the assessment of taxes, in such manner as
they may deem best. A new estimate of such property shall be taken before the
first direct state tax, after the adoption of this constitution, shall be
19. - Sect. 16. The general assembly may provide by law for the continuance
in office of any officers of annual election or appointment, until other persons
are qualified to take their places.
20. - Sect. 17. Hereafter when any bill shall be presented to either house of
the general assembly, to create a corporation for any other than for religious,
literary or charitable purposes, or for a military or fire company, it shall be
continued until another election of members of the general assembly shall have
taken place, and such public notice of the pendency thereof shall be given as
may be required by law.
21. - Sect 18. It shall be the duty of the two houses upon the request of
either, to join in grand committee for the purpose of electing senators in
congress, at such times and in such manner as may be prescribed by law for said
22. Having disposed of the rules which regulate both houses, a detailed
statement of the powers of the house of representatives will here be given.
23. - 1. The house of representatives is regulated by the fifth article as
follows; Sect. 1. The house of representatives shall never exceed seventy-two
members, and shall be constituted on the basis ofpopulation, always allowing one
representative for a fraction, exceeding half the ratio; but each town or city
shall always be entitled to at least one member; and no town or city shall have
more than one-sixth of the whole number of members to which the house is hereby
limited. The present ratio shall be one representative to every fifteen hundred
and thirty inhabitants, and the general assembly may, after any new census taken
by the authority of the United States or of this state, re-apportion the
representation by altering the ratio; but no town or city shall be divided into
districts for the choice of representatives.
25. - Sect. 2. The house of representatives shall have authority to elect its
speaker, clerks and other officers. The senior member from the town of Newport,
if any be present, shall preside in the organization of the house.
26. - 2. The senate is the subject of the sixth article, as follows: Sect. 1.
The senate shall consist of the lieutenant-governor and of one senator from each
town or city in the state.
27. - Sect. 2. The governor, and, in his absence the lieutenant-governor,
shall preside in the senate and in grand committee. The presiding officer of the
senate and grand committee shall have a right to vote in case of equal division,
but not otherwise.
28. Sect. 3. If, by reason of death, resignation, absence, or other cause,
there be no governor or lieutenant governor present, to preside in the senate,
the senate shall elect one of their own members to preside during such absence
or vacancy, and until such election is made by the senate, the secretary of
state shall preside.
29. - Sect. 4. The secretary of state shall, by virtue of his office, be
secretary of the senate, unless otherwise provided by law; and the senate may
elect such other officers as they may deem necessary.
30. - §2. The seventh article regulates the executive power. It provides:
Sect. 1. The chief executive power of this state shall be vested in a governor,
who, together with a lieutenant governor, shall be annually elected by the
31. - Sect. 2. The governor shall take care that the laws be faithfully
32. - Sect. 3. He shall be captain general and commander-in-chief of the
military and naval force of this state, except when they shall be called in
to the service of the United States.
33. - Sect. 4. He shall have power to grant reprieves after conviction, in
all cases except those of impeachment, until the end of the next session of the
34. - Sect. 5. He may fill vacancies in office not otherwise provided for by
this constitution, or by law, until the same shall be filled by the general
assembly, or by the people.
35. - Sect. 6. In case of disagreement between the two houses of the general
assembly, respecting the time or place of adjournment, certified to him by
either, he may adjourn them to such time and place as he shall think proper;
provided that the time of adjournment shall not be extended beyond the day of
the next stated session.
36. - Sect. 7. He may, on extraordinary occasions, convene the general
assembly at any town or city in this state, at any time not provided for by law;
and in case of danger from the prevalence of epidemic or contagious disease, in
the place in which the general assembly are by law to meet, or to which they may
have been adjourned; or for other urgent reasons, he may, by proc-lamation,
convene said assembly, at any other place within this state.
37. - Sec. 8. All commissions shall be in the name and by the authority of
the state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations; shall be sealed with the
state seal, signed by the governor and attested by the secretary.
38. - Sect. 9. In case of vacancy in the office of governor, or of his
inability to serve, impeachment, or absence from the state, the lieutenant
governor shall fill the office of governor and exercise the powers and authority
appertaining thereto, until a governor is qualified to act, or until the office
is filled at the next annual election.
39. - Sect. 10. If the offices of governor and lieutenant governor be both
vacant by reason of death, resignation, impeachment, absence, or otherwise, the
person entitled to preside over the senate for the time being, shall in like
manner fill the office of governor during such absence or vacancy.
40. - Sec. 11. The compensation of the governor and lieutenant governor shall
be established by law, and shall not be diminished during the term for which
they are elected.
41. - Sect. 12. The duties and powers of the secretary, attorney general, and
general treasurer, shall be the same under this constitution as are now
established, or as from time to time may be prescribed by law.
42. - §3. The judicial power is regulated by the tenth article as follows:
Sect. 1. The judicial power of this state shall be vested in one supreme court,
and in such inferior courts as the general assembly may from time to time,
ordain and establish.
43. - Sect. 2. The several courts shall have such jurisdiction as, may from
time to time be prescribed by law. Chancery powers may be conferred on the
supreme court, but on no other court to any greater extent than is now provided
44. - Sect. 3. The judges of the supreme court shall in all trials, instruct
the jury in the law. They shall also give their written opinion upon any
question of law whenever requested by the governor, or by either house of the
45. - Sect. 4. The judges of the supreme court shall be elected by the two
houses in grand committee. Each judge shall hold his office until his place be
declared vacant by a resolution of the general assembly to that effect; which
resolution shall be voted for by a majority of all the members elected to the
house in which it may originate, and be concurred in by the same majority of the
other house. Such resolution sliall not be entertained at any other than the
annual session for the election of public officers: and in default of the
passage thereof at said session, the judge shall hold his place as herein
provided. But a judge of any court shall be removed from office, if, upon
impeachment, he shall be found guilty of any official misdemeanor.
46. - Sect. 5. In case of vacancy by death, resignation, removal from the
state or from office, refusal or inability to serve, of any judge of the supreme
court, the office may be filled by the grand committee, until the next annual
election, and the judge then elected shall hold his office as before provided.
In cases of impeachment, or temporary absence or inability, the governor may
appoint a person to discharge the duties of the office during the vacancy caused
47. - Sect. 6. The judges of the supreme court shall receive a compensation
for their services, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in
48. - Sect. 7. The towns of New Shoreham and Jamestown may continue to elect
their wardens as heretofore. The other towns and the city of Providence, may
elect such number of justices of the peace resident therein, as they may deem
proper. The jurisdiction of said justices and wardens shall be regulated by law.
The justices shall be commissioned by the governor.
RHODIAN LAW. A code of marine laws established by the people of
Rhodes, bears this name. Vide Law Rhodian.
RIAL OF PLATE, and RIAL OF VELLON, comm. law. Denominations of money
2. In the ad valorem duty upon goods, &c., the former are computed at ten
cents, and the latter at five cents each. Act of March 2, 1799, s. 61, 1 Story's
Laws U. S. 626. Vide Foreign Coins.
RIBAUD. A rogue; a vagrant. It is not used.
RIDER, practice, legislation. A schedule or small piece of paper or
parchment added to some part of the record; as, when, on the reading of a bill
in the legislature, a new clause is added, this is tacked to the bill on a
separate piece of paper, and is called a rider.
RIDING, Eng. law. An ascertained district, part of a county. This term
has the same meaning in Yorkshire which division has in Lincolnshire. 4 T. R.
RIEN. This is a French word which signifies nothing. It has generally
this meaning; as, rien in arrere; rien passe per le fait, nothing passes by the
deed; rien per descent, nothing by descent; it sometimes signifies not, as rien
culpable, not guilty. Doct. Plac. 435.
RIEN EN ARRERE, pleading. Nothing in arrear; nothing remaining due and
2. The plea in an action of debt for rent, may be rien en arrere. This is a
good general issue. Cowp. 588: Bac. Ab. Pleas, I; 12 Saund. 297, n. 1; 2 Lord
Raym. 1503; 2 Chit. Pl. 486; 4 Bouv. Inst. n. 3576.
RIENS PASSA PAR LE FAIT. The name of a plea; it signifies that nothing
pass-ed by the deed; for example, when a deed is acknowledged in court, a man
cannot plead non est factum, because the act was done in court, which cannot be
denied; but when the deed has been acknowledged in a court not having
jurisdiction, the party may avoid the effect or operation of the deed by
pleading riens passa par le fait, for this plea does not impeach the court where
it was acknowledged. Bac. Ab. Evidence F; 1 Gilb. ET. by Lofft, 326.