Front Page Titles (by Subject) New Jersey: 57: Fundamentals of West New Jersey - Colonial Origins of the American Constitution: A Documentary History
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New Jersey: 57: Fundamentals of West New Jersey - Donald S. Lutz, Colonial Origins of the American Constitution: A Documentary History 
Colonial Origins of the American Constitution: A Documentary History, ed. Donald S. Lutz (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund 1998).
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Fundamentals of West New Jersey
The text is reproduced as found in Thorpe, Federal and State Constitutions, 2565–67.
The middle colonies, developed later than those in New England and the South, did not have the freedom to develop from the bottom up on their own as some of the early colonies did. A strong governor was a central reality from the beginning. In New Jersey, as in New York, the legislature and constitution were added to the political system rather than founding it, and the English system was essentially used as a model. Central to that model was the principle that there should be no taxation without representation. Because the Glorious Revolution had not yet occurred in Britain, the colonies were still under the king through the charters he had granted them rather than under Parliament. Financial support was therefore not forthcoming for the king’s colonial governors unless the king asked for it—and he would rather do other things with any levy he could extract—hence the need for local legislatures to vote such support from the colonists. In order for a meaningful, viable legislature to exist, however, some major chunks had to be carved out of the governor’s powers. As a result, the New Jersey document is interesting because its central focus is a set of limits on the governor, which together make room for the legislature.
Forasmuch as it hath pleased God, to bring us into this Province of West New Jersey, and settle us here in safety, that we may be a people to the praise and honour of his name, who hath so dealt with us, and for the good and welfare of our posterity to come, we the Governor and Proprietors, freeholders and inhabitants of West New Jersey, by mutual consent and agreement, for the prevention of innovation and oppression, either upon us or our posterity, and for the preservation of the peace and tranquility of the same; and that all may be encouraged to go chearfully in their several places: We do make and constitute these our agreements to be as fundamentals to us and our posterity, to be held inviolable, and that no person or persons whatsoever, shall or may make void or disanul the same upon any pretence whatsoever.
i. That there shall be a General Free Assembly for the Province aforesaid, yearly and every year, at a day certain, chosen by the free people of the said Province, whereon all the representatives for the said Province, shall be summoned to appear, to consider of the affairs of the said Province, and to make and ordain such acts, and laws, as shall be requisite and necessary for the good government and prosperity of the free people of the said Province; and (if necessity shall require) the Governor for the time being, with the consent of his Council, may and shall issue out writts to convene the Assembly sooner, to consider and answer the necessities of the people of the said Province.
ii. That the Governor of the Province aforesaid, his heirs or successors for the time being, shall not suspend or defer the signing, sealing and confirming of such acts and laws as the General Assembly (from time to time to be elected by the free people of the Province aforesaid) shall make or act for the securing of the liberties and properties of the said free people of the Province aforesaid.
iii. That it shall not be lawful for the Governor of the said Province, his heirs or successors for the time being, and Council, or any of them, at any time or times hereafter, to make or raise war upon any accounts or pretence whatsoever, or to raise any military forces within the Province aforesaid, without the consent of the General Free Assembly for the time being.
iv. That it shall not be lawful for the Governor of the said Province, his heirs or successors for the time being, and Council, or any of them, at any time or times hereafter, to make or enact any law or laws for the said Province, without the consent, act and concurrence of the General Assembly; and if the Governor for the time being, his heirs or successors and Council, or any of them, shall attempt to make or enact any such law or laws of him or themselves without the consent, act and concurrence of the General Assembly; that from thenceforth, he, they, or so many of them as shall be guilty thereof, shall, upon legal conviction, be deemed and taken for enemies to the free people of the said Province; and such act so attempted to be made, to be of no force.
v. That the General Free Assembly from time to time to be chosen as aforesaid, as the representatives of the people, shall not be prorogued or dissolved (before the expirance of one whole year, to commence from the day of their election) without their own free consent.
vi. That it shall not be lawful for the Governor of the said Province, his heirs or successors for the time being, and Council, or any of them, to levy or raise any sum or sums of money, or any other tax whatsoever, without the act, consent and concurrence of the General Assembly.
vii. That all officers of State, or trust, relating to the said Province, shall be nominated and elected by the General Free Assembly for the time being, or by their appointment; which officer and officers shall be accountable to the General Free Assembly, or to such as the said Assembly shall appoint.
viii. That the Governor of the Province aforesaid, his heirs, or successor for the time being, or any of them, shall not send ambassadors, or make treaties, or enter into an alliance upon the publick account of the said Province, without the consent of the said General Free Assembly.
ix. That no General Free Assembly hereafter to be chosen by the free people of the Province aforesaid, shall give to the Governor of the said Province for the time being, his heirs or successors, any tax, or custom for a longer time than for one whole year.
x. That liberty of conscience in matters of faith and worship towards God, shall be granted to all people within the Province aforesaid; who shall live peaceably and quietly therein; and that none of the free people of the said Province shall be rendered uncapable of office in respect of their faith and worship.
Upon the Governors acceptance and performance of the proposals herein before expressed, we the General Free Assembly Proprietors and freeholders of the Province of West New Jersey aforesaid, do accept and receive Samuel Jenings as Deputy Governor.
In testimony whereof I have hereunto put my hand and seal, the day and year above written.
Thomas Ollive, Speaker, to the General Free Assembly per order and in the name of the whole Assembly.
The fundamentals aforesaid being signed and sealed by the Deputy Governor, were ordered and appointed by the said Deputy Governor, and General Free Assembly, to be recorded the day and year first aforesaid, by me Thomas Revell, clerk to the General Assembly.