** November 25, 1681 **
[Text from a manuscript copy apparently dating from the late seventeenth century in the New Jersey Bureau of Archives and History, bound with a copy of the West New Jersey Concessions and Agreements of 1677; text collated with that in Aaron Leaming and Jacob Spicer, "The Grants, Concessions, and Original Constitutions of the Province of New-Jersey" (Philadelphia, ), 423-425. There is no copy of the Fundamental Agreements of 1681 among the records of the Proprietors of West New Jersey at Burlington.]
Att A Generall Free Assembly held in the Towne of Burlington the 25th day of the ninth Month called November in the Yeare 1681.
Forasmuch as itt 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 to his name who hath so dealt with us, and for the good and welfare of our posterity to come Wee the Governor Propriators Freeholders and Inhabbittants of West Jersey by mutuall consent and agreement for the prevention of innovacion and opression 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 goe on Chearfully in their Severall places, Wee doe make and constitute these our agreements to be as fundamentals to us and our posterity, to be held and kept inviolable. And that no person or persons whatsoever shall or may make voyd or disanull the same upon any pretence whatsoever.
1st That there shall be a generall Free Assemblye for the Province aforesaid yearly and every year at a day certaine chosen by the free people of the said Province wherein all the representatives of the said Province shall be summoned to apeare to consider of the affaires of the said Province, and to make and ordaine such acts and lawes 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 Councell, may and shall Issue out Writts to convene the Assembly sooner, to consider and answer the necessities of the people of the said Province.
2dly That the Governor of the Province aforesaid his heirs or Successors for the time being shall not susspend or deferr the signeing sealeing and confirmeing all such acts and laws as the Generall assembly (from time to time to be Elected by the Free people of the Province aforesaid) shall make or Act for the secureing the libberties, and properties of the said free people of the Province aforesaid.
3dly That itt shall not be lawfull for the Governor of the said Province his heires or sucsessors for the time being and Councell or any of them at any time or times hereafter to make or raise Ware uppon any accompt or pretence whatsoever, or raise any Millitary Forces within the Province aforesaid without the Consent and act of the General Free Assembly for the time being.
4thly That itt shall not be lawfull for the Governor of the said Province his heires or Sucsessors for the time being and Counsell or any of them at any time or times hereafter to make or enact any law or lawes for the said Province without the Consent act and Concurrance of the Generall Assembly. And if the Governor for the time being his heires or sucsessors and Councell or any of them, shall attempt to enact or make any such law or lawes of him or them selfes without the consent act and Concurrance of the Generall Assembly, That from thenceforth he, they or so many of them as shall be guilty thereof, shall upon legall conviction be demed and taken for enimies to the Free people of the said Province, and it shall and may be lawfull for the Generall Free Assembly for the time being, to punish such ofender or ofenders, according to the nature of the Offence, and such act soe attempted to be made to be of no force.
5thly That the Generall Free Assembly from time to time, to be Chosen as aforesaid, as the Representatives of the people, shall not be prorouged or dissolved (before the expiracion of one whole yeare, to commence from the day of there Electcion) without their owne Free Concent.
6thly That it shall not be lawfull, for the Governor of the said Province, his heires or sucsessors for the time being, and Councell or any of them, to levey or raise any Summ or Summs of money, or any other tax, without the act consent and concurrance of the Generall Free Assembly.
7thly That all Officers of State or trust relateing to the said Province, shall be nominated and elected by the Generall Free Assembly for the time being, or by their appoyntment, which Officer and Officers shall be accomptable to the Generall Free Assembly, or such as the said Assembly shall appoynt.
8thly That the Governor of the Province aforesaid his heires or Sucsessors, for time being, or any of them shall not send Embassadors or make Treaties or enter into alience upon the publique accompt of the said Province, without the consent of the Generall Free Assembly.
9thly That no Generall 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 heires or Sucsessors, any Tax or Custome for a longer time then one whole yeare.
10thly That libberty of Conscience in matters of faith and Worshipp 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 incapable of Office in respect of their faith and Worshipp. In Testimony whereof I have hereunto put my hand and Seale the day and yeare above written.
Subscribed and Sealed by
SAMUELL JENINGS Deputie Governor.
Upon the Governors acceptance and performance of the proposealls before expressed, We the Generall Free Assembly, Propriators and Freeholders of the Province of West New Jersey aforesaid doe accept and recive Samuell Jenings as Deputie Governor.
THOMAS OLIVE Speaker to the General Free Assembly.
By Order of the Whole Assembly.