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live executive ministers, the governors, and other honorary members appointed by the King, and its powers were defined.
By the third act the district justices' courts appointed by the governors, the circuit courts created by this act, and the supreme court, were organized, and their respective jurisdictions defined.
Thus, from the crude coustitutional sketch of 1840, a complicated system of government was evolved by the genius of this young lawyer.
On the 30th of June, 1850, an act was passed increasing the number of representatives of the people in the legislative council to 24, and entitling ministers to seats and votes in the house of nobles. Another act was then passed to regulate the elections.
Constitution of 1852.
On the 20th of June, 1851, a joint resolution was passed by both houses of the Legislature and approved by the King, providing for the appointment of three commissioners, one to be chosen by the King, one by the nobles, and one by the representatives, who were to revise the existing constitution, to publish the changes which they should recommend, on or before December of that year, and to submit the same to the next Legislature.
Accordingly the King chose Dr. Judd, the nobles John Ii, and the representatives Chief Justice Lee. The draft which had been prepared chiefly by Judge Lee, and embodied the main points of the organic acts of 1846-'47, was submitted to the Legislature of 1852, where it was discussed article by article.
After receiving several amendments, it was finally approved by both Houses of the Legislature, June 14, 1852, signed by the King and Kuhina, and went into effect December, 1852.
This constitution was well suited to the time, erring, if at all, on the side of liberality, and has served as the basis for all succeeding constitutions.
The declaration of rights in it was elaborate, consisting of 21 articles. The executive, legislative, and judicial powers were to be preserved distinct; "the two last powers cannot be united in any one individual or body."
The King was declared to be the supreme executive magistrate of the Kingdom.
His person was declared to be "inviolable and sacred." His ministers are "responsible."
"All laws that have passed both Houses of the Legislature shall be signed by His Majesty and the Kuhina Nui. All his other official acts shall be approved by the privy council, countersigned by the Kuhina, and by the minister to whose department such act may belong."
He was to be commander-in-chief of the army and navy; "but he shall never proclaim war without the consent of his privy council."
It was by and with the advice of his privy council that he should grant pardons, convene the Legislature, make treaties, appoint ambassadors, appoint and remove the several heads of the executive departments.
The office of Kuhina Nui, as a kind of Vice-King, was retained out of deference to the feeling of the chiefs. The Kuhina Nui was to be "the King's special counsellor on the great affairs of the Kingdom." "The King and Kuhina Nui shall have a negative on each other's acts." During any temporary vacancy of the throne, the Kuhina Nui should act as regent.
Section III treats of the privy council. The members of the privy council were appointed by the King, and held their offices during his pleasure. The ministers and the governors were ex officio members of the privy council.
Section IV treats of the King's ministers, who were appointed by him and held office "during His Majesty's pleasure." They held seats ex officio in the house of nobles. Each of them was to make an annual report to the Legislature of the business of his department.
Section V treats of the governors. They were commissioned by the King, by and with the advice of his privy council, for the term of four years. The governors "by and with the advice of the justices of the supreme court," appointed the district justices of their respective islands, for the term of two years.
The Legislature was to meet annually in April. The members of the house of nobles were appointed by the King for life, but their number should not exceed thirty. The house of nobles was empowered to sit as a court to try impeachments made by the House of Representatives against any public officers.
The house of representatives should consist of not less than 24, nor more than 40 members, to be elected annually by universal suffrage. All revenue bills should originate in the lower house.
The supreme court was remodeled, to consist henceforth of a chief justice and two associate justices. They held their offices for life, subject to removal upon impeachment. Their compensation could not be diminished during their continuance in office. Circuit courts, not less than four, were ordained, the circuit judges to be appointed for life, during good behavior, subject to impeachment. The higher judges were to be appointed by the king by and with the advice of his privy council.
Amendments to this constitution had to be approved by a majority of one legislature, published for three months before the next election, and finally passed by two-thirds of both houses, and signed by the King.
The King had practically an absolute veto on legislation, but this and other theoretical powers were exercised only in accordance with English precedents by the sovereigns of the Kamehameha dynasty. For example, they never arbitrarily dismissed a minister or ministry from office, or made changes in the civil service except for good cause.
The Working of the Constitution of 1852.
During the next twelve years the constitution worked as well as ought to have been expected. The office of attorney-general was not filled from 1847 till 1863, but district attorneys were employed, while the department of public instruction was made a bureau in 1855 under the board of education.
In 1856 an amendment to the constitution was adopted, which made the sessions of the Legislature biennial instead of annual.
In the session of 1862, among other amendments approved and laid over for final action at the next session, was one which made the right to sit as representative depend on the possession of $250 worth of real estate or an income of $250 per annum.
There was considerable friction between the two houses, especially on money bills, the lower house at that time being decidedly the more business-like and dignified of the two. In 1862 it compelled the resignation of an incompetent and intemperate minister of finance.
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