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first draft - Thomas Jefferson, The Works, vol. 2 (1771-1779) 
The Works of Thomas Jefferson, Federal Edition (New York and London, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904-5). Vol. 2.
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A Bill for new modelling the form of government and for establishing the Fundamental principles of our future Constitution
Whereas George king of Great Britain & Ireland and Elector of Hanover.2
Be it therefore enacted by the authority of the people that the said George the third king of Great Britain and elector of Hanover formerly holding & exercising the kingly power office within this colony be & he is, be & he is hereby absolutely divested of deposed from the kingly office & powers within this colony, within yt government & absolutely divested of all it’s rights and powers & that he & his descendants & all persons claimg by or through him & all other persons whatsoever are hereby declared, shall be & forever remain incapable of being again appointed to holding the same & further that the sd office shall henceforth cease and be never more erected within this government colony.
And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid that the in lieu of those which have heretofore taken place the following fundamental laws & principles of government shall henceforth be established.
The Legislative, Executive, & Judicial offices shall be kept for ever separate, & no person exercising the one shall be capable of appointment to the others or to either of them.
Legislation shall be exercised by two separate houses who shall be called the General Assembly of Virginia to wit a house of Representatives and a house of Senators which shall be called the General assembly of Virginia.
The sd house of representatives shall be composed of persons chosen by the people annually on the [ day of December] and shall have power to meet in General Assembly on the [ day of January] following & so from time to time on their own adjournments, or at any other time when summoned by the Administrator, & to continue sitting so long as they shall think the publick service requires.
Vacancies in the sd house by death or disqualification shall be filled up by the electors under a warrant from the Speaker of the house.
All persons holding [half All male persons of full age & sane mind having a freehold estate in [¼ of an acre] of land in any town, or in  acres of land in the country, & all persons resident in the country colony who shall have paid scot & lot to government the last [three two] years shall have right to vote give their vote in the election of their respective representatives. And all every person so qualified to vote elect shall be capable of being elected; provided he shall have given no bribe either directly or indirectly to any elector voting for & and shall take an oath of fidelity to the government before he enters state & of duty in his office on the exercise thereof his office, and shall hold during his continuance therein in the said office he shall hold no public post of profit either himself or by another for his use.
The number of representatives for each county or borough shall be so proportioned to the number of it’s qualified electors that the whole number of representatives shall not exceed  nor be less than  for the present there shall be one representative for every  qualified electors in each county or borough; but when ever this or any future proportion shall be likely to exceed or fall short of the limits beforementioned, the proportion shall be again adjusted by the house of representatives.
The house of representatives when met shall be free to act according to their own judgments.
The Senate shall consist of  not less than  nor more than  members at the least, who shall be appointed by the house of representatives [for life. Their qualifications shall be an oath of fidelity to government the state & of duty in their office the being of  years of age at the least and the having given no bribes directly or indirectly to obtain their appointment: while in the Senatorial office they shall be incapable of holding any public posts of profits either themselves or by others for their use.
With the house of Senators]1 One third of them shall be removed out of office by lot at the end of the first three years & their places be supplied by a new appointment; one other third shall be removed by lot in like manner at the end of the second three years & their places be supplied by a new appointment; after which one third shall be removed annually at the end of every three years according to seniority. When once removed they shall be forever incapable of being re-appointed to that house.
The judges of the General court & of the High court of chancery shall have session & deliberative voice but not suffrage in the house of Senators.
The Senate & the house of representatives shall each of them have power to originate & amend bills, save only that money bills shall be originated & amended by the Representatives only; and the assent of both houses shall be requisite to pass a law.
The General assembly shall have no power to pass any law inflicting death for any crime excepting murder & excepting also those offences in the military service for which they shall think punishment of death absolutely necessary; nor shall they have power to prescribe and all capital punishments in other cases are hereby abolished: nor shall they have power to prescribe torture in any case whatever; nor for inflicting torture for in any cause whatever nor shall any law for levying money be in force longer than [ten] years from the time of it’s commencement.
Two thirds of the members of either house shall be a quorum to proceed to business.
For The exercise of the executive powers shall be exercised by in manner following one person to be called the [Administrator] who shall be annually appointed by the [house of representatives ] on the second day of their first session, & who after having acted [one] year shall be incapable of being again appointed till to that office until he shall have been out of the said same office [three] years.
Under him shall be appointed by the same house & at the same time a Deputy Administrator to assist his principal in the discharge of his office, & to succeed to the whole powers thereof in case of his death before the year shall have expired, to the whole powers thereof during the residue of the year.
The Administrator shall possess the powers formerly held by the king save only that
he shall be bound by acts of legislature tho’ not expressly named.
he shall have no negative on the bills of the Legislature.
he shall be liable to action tho’ not to personal restraint for private duties or wrongs?
he shall not possess no the prerogatives of
of dissolving, proroguing, or adjourning either house of assembly
of Declaring war or making concluding peace
of issuing letters of marque or reprisal
of raising or introducing armed forces, building armed vessels, forts or strongholds.
of coining monies or regulating their value.
of regulating weights & measures.
of erecting courts, offices, boroughs, corporations, fairs, markets, ports, beacons, lighthouses, sea-marks.
of laying embargoes or prohibiting the exportations of any commodity for a longer space than 4 days.
of retaining or recalling a member of the state but by legal process pro delicto vel contractu.
of making denizens.
of pardoning crimes or remitting fines or punishmts.
of creating dignities or granting rights of precedence.
but these powers shall be exercised by the legislature alone.
A privy council shall be annually appointed by the house of Representatives to consist of such number as they shall whose duty it shall be to give advice to the Administrator when called on by him. With them the Deputy Admr shall have session & suffrage
Treasurer Delegates see below
A Treasurer &c.
High Sheriffs and coroners of counties shall be annually elected by those qualified to vote for representatives: but officers of the courts of general jurisdiction and [part missing] by their respective courts and no person who shall have served as high sheriff [one] year shall be incapable of being reelected to the said office in the same county till he shall have been out of office [five] years.
Delegates see belowOther officers
All other officers civil & military shall be appointed by the Administrator but such appointment shall be subject to the negative of the privy council. Saving however to the legislature a right power of transferring from the Administrator the right of ye to any other persons appointment of such officers to any persons they may think fit of such offices or any of them.
The A Treasurer shall be appointed by the house of Representatives, who shall issue no money but by warrant from authority of both houses.
Delegates shall be appointed to represent this colony in the American Congress shall be appointed when necessary by the H. of Represves, who shall not be after serving [two] years in that office they shall not be capable of being reappointed to the same during an interval of [two] years.
The Judicial powers shall be exercised
First by County courts & other inferior jurisdictions.
Secondly by a General Court & a High Court of Chancery.
Thirdly by a Court of Appeals.
The justices judges of the County courts & other inferior jurisdictions shall be appointed by the Administrator, subject to the negative of the privy council. They shall not be fewer than [five] in number their jurisdiction shall be defined from time to time by the Legislature: & they shall be removable for misbehavior by the court of Appeals.
Genl Court & Chancery
The judges of the General court & of the High court of Chancery shall be appointed by the Administrator and Privy council. If kept united they shall be  in number, if separate there shall be [part lacking] &  for the High Court of Chancery. The appointment shall be made from the faculty of the law and of such persons of that faculty as shall have actually exercised the same at some the bar or bars of some court or courts of record within this colony for [seven] years. They shall hold their commissions during good behavior, for breach of which they shall be removable by the court of Appeals. Their jurisdiction shall be defined from time to time by the Legislature.
Court of Appeals
The court of Appeals shall consist of not less than  nor more than  members to be chosen appointed by the house of Representatives; they shall hold their offices during good behavior, for breach of which they shall be removable by an act of the legislature only. Their jurisdiction shall be to determine finally all causes removed before them from the General court or High court of Chancery on suggestion of error, to remove judges of the General court or High court of Chancery or of the County courts or other inferior jurisdictions for misbehavior: [to try impeachments against of high offenders to be lodged before them by the House of representatives for such crimes as shall be hereafter defined shall hereafter be precisely defined by the Legislature shall hereafter define with precision and [[Editor: illegible word]] and for the punishment of which the sd Legislature shall have previously presented certain & determinate pains. In this court the judges of the Genl Ct., & High Ct. of Chancy shall have session and deliberative voice but no suffrage.
All facts, in causes, whether of Chancery, Common, Ecclesiastical or Marine law, shall be tried by a jury upon evidence given viva voce in open court; unless but where witnesses are out of the colony in which case their depositions may be used or unable to attend through by through sickness or other invincible necessity, their depositions may be proposed submitted to the credit of the jury.
All Fines & Amercements shall be fixed by juries and determined assessed and terms of imprisonment for Contempts shall or misdemeanors shall be fixed by the verdict of a jury.
Stile of process
All process original & judicial process shall issue run in the name [part lacking] which it issues.
Two thirds of the members of the General Court, High court of Chancery, or Court of Appeals shall be a Quorum to proceed to business.
Unappropriated or Forfeited lands shall be appropriated by the Administrator and with the consent of the privy council.
Fifty acres of la
Every male person of full age neither owning nor having owned  acres of land shall be entitled to an appropriation of  acres or to so much as shall make up what he owns or has owned  acres in full and absolute dominion. And no other person shall be capable of taking an appropriation.
Lands heretofore holden of the crown in fee simple and those hereafter to be appropriated shall be holden of no superior by him in full and absolute dominion of no superior whatever.
No lands shall be appropriated until purchased of the Indian natives proprietors nor shall any purchases be made of them but on behalf of the public by authority of acts of the General assembly to be made passed for every purchase specially
[part lacking] contained within the charters erecting the colonies of Maryland, Pennsylvania, North & South Carolina, are hereby ceded & released and forever confirmed to the people of those pro colonies respectively with all the rights of jurisdiction and property, jurisdiction & and government and all other rights whatsoever claimed which might at any time heretofore have been claimed by this colony. The Western and Northern extent of this country shall in all other respects stand as described fixed by the Charter of until by act of the Legislature any new a territory or one or more territories shall be laid off Westward of the Alleganey mountains for the establishment of any new colony or colonies, which colony or colonies when established shall be free and independent of this & shall shall be established on the same fundamental laws contained in this instrument & shall be free & independent of this colony and of all the world.
Descents shall go according to the laws of Gavelkind, save only that females shall have equal rights with males.
No person hereafter coming into this country shall be held in slavery under any pretext whatever.
All persons who by their own oath or affirmation or by other testimony shall give satisfactory proof to any court of record in this colony that they purpose to reside in the same  years at the least and who shall subscribe the fundamental laws shall be considered as a residents & entitled to all the rights of a persons natural born.
All persons shall have full & free liberty of religious opinion nor shall any be compelled to frequent or maintain any religious institution. But this shall not be held to justify any seditious preaching or conversation against the authority of the civil government.
No freeman shall be debarred the use of arms [within his own lands or tenements].
There shall be no standing army but in time of actual war.
Printing presses shall be free, except so [part lacking] of private injury they may give cause [part lacking] action.
All forfeitures heretofore going to the king shall go to the state, save only such as the legislature may hereafter abolish.
The royal claim to Wrecks, Waifs, Strays, Treasure-trove, royal mines, royal fish, royal birds are declared to have been usurpations on the common right.
No salaries or perquisites shall be given to any officer but by act of the legislature. No salaries shall be given to the Administrator, members of the house of Representatives, Legislative houses, judges of the court of appeals, justices of the peace, members of the privy council, judges of the County courts or other inferior jurisdictions, Privy counsellors, or delegates to the American Congress. But the reasonable expences of the Administrator, members of the house of Representatives, judges of the court of Appeals, members of Privy counsellors & Delegates for subsistence while acting in the duties of their office may shall be borne by the public if the Legislature shall so direct.
Qualificns of officers
The Qualifications of all officers Civil, military Executive Judicial Civil, military & Ecclesiastical shall be an oath of fidelity to the governm state and the having given no bribe to obtain their office.
None of these fundamental laws & principles of government shall be repealed or alt or altered but by the personal consent of the people to be on summons to meet in their respective counties on one & the same day by an act of Legislature to be passed for every special occasion: and if in such county meetings the people of two thirds of the counties shall give their suffrage for any particular alter ation or repeal referred to them by the said act, the same shall be accordingly repealed or altered or repealed, and such repeal or alteration shall take it’s place among these fundamental [part lacking] the same footing with them in lieu of the article re[part lacking].
The laws heretofore in force in this colony shall remain still in force except so far as they are altered by the foregoing fundamental laws, or so far as they may be hereafter altered by acts of the legislature.
It is proposed that the above bill, after correction by the Convention, shall be referred by them to the people to be assembled in their respective counties: and that the suffrages of two third of the counties shall be requisite to establish it.
[2 ]This heading is written on a separate sheet, the remainder of the page being left blank.
[1 ]This portion in brackets is cancelled by the paragraph following, which is pasted as a flap over it.