The Warwick Town Charter - 1648
The Town Charter of Warwick, Rhode Island, 1648
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"Whereas by virtue of a free and absolute Charter of civill incorporation, granted to the free inhabitants of this Colony or Province by the right honourable Robert Earle of Warwicke, Governour in Chiefe with the rest of the honorable Commissioners, bearing date the fourteenth day of March in the year one thousand six hundred and forty three, givinge and granting full power and authority unto the sayd inhabitants to govern themselves and such others as shall come among them ; as also to make, constitute, and ordayne such lawes, orders and constitutions, and to inflict such punishments and penalties, as is conformable to the Laws of England, so neare as the nature and constitution of the place will admit; and which may best suit the estate and condition there; and whereas the sayd towns of Providence, Portsmouth, Newport, and Warwick are far remote each from other whereby so often and free intercourse of helpe in desidinge of differences and trying of causes and the like, cannot easily and at all times be had and procured as in this kind is requisitt; Therefore, and upon the petition and humble request of the freemen of the Towne of Warwicke exhibited unto this present session of General Assembly, wherein they desire freedom and liberty, to incorporate themselves unto a body politicke etc. Wee the sayd Assembly havinge duly weighed and seriously considered the premises and being willinge and ready to provide for the ease and liberty of the people have thought fit and by the authorite aforesaid and by these presents doe give, grant, consigne and confirm this present charter to the sayd inhabitants of the Towne of Warwicke, allowing, orderinge and hereby authorizing them or the maior part of them from time to time to transact all such Town afayers as shall fall within the verge, liberties and precincts of the sayd town; and also to make and constitute such particular orders, penalties and officers as may best suite with the Constitution of sayd Towne and Townshippe for the well ordering and goveringe thereofe; provided the sayd lawes constitutions and punishments for the civil government thereofe be conformable to the Lawes of England, so far as the nature and constitution of that town will admit; and to that end we doe authorize them to erect a Court of Justice and do give them power to execute such particular orders and penalties, and so many of the common lawes agreed in the General], and their penalties as are not annexed already to the General Court of Tryalls; and further we do hereby order the sayd town to elect and engage all such officers as shall be necessary for the propagation of Justice and judgement therein, upon the first Monday in the Month of June annually forever hereafter: shall engadge them in fidelity to maintaine the honor, crown and dignity of the State of England as loyal subjects thereofe to the utmost of their power, the liberties and freedom of this Collony and the privileges of the town wherein they bear office, and further wee do hereby invest and authorize the sayd officers so elected and engaged with full power to transact in the premises and in so doinge shall be hereby secured and indemnified.
"Given at Portsmouth at the General Assembly, there held this 14th day of March anno. 1648. "JOHN WARNER,
Clerk of the Assembly.
'* Copia Vera sicut attestat Johannes Greene, Secritaris ex civitate Warwick."