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supervision. In case of his death, dismissal, or inability to act, his functions devolve on the oldest member of the Executive Council till a new appointment is made. The Volksraad shall dismiss him on conviction of any serious offence. He is to propose laws to the Volksraad-'whether emanating from himself or sent in to him by the people'-and support them in that body either personally or through a member of the Executive Council. He has, however, no right to vote in the Volksraad. He recommends to the Volksraad persons for appointment to public posts; and may suspend public servants, saving his responsibility to the Volksraad. He submits an estimate of revenue and expenditure, reports on his own action during the past year and on the condition of the republic, visits annually all towns and villages where any public office exists to give due opportunity to the inhabitants of stating their wishes.
The Executive Council consists of four official members besides the President, namely, the State Secretary, the Commandant-General, the Superintendent of Native Affairs, and the Keeper of Minutes (Notulenhouder), and of two other members. All except the CommandantGeneral are elected by the Volksraad; the Secretary for four years, the two other members for three years. The Commandant-General is elected by the burghers of the whole republic for ten years. All, including the President, are entitled to sit, but not to vote, in the Volksraad, The President and Council carry on correspondence with foreign powers, and may commute or remit a penal sentence. A sentence of death requires the unanimous confirmation of the Council. The President may, with
the unanimous consent of the Council, proclaim war and publish a war ordinance summoning all persons to serve (§§ 23, 66, 84).
The provisions relating to the military organization (§§ 93-114) are interesting chiefly as indicating the highly militant character of the republic. Express provision is made not only for foreign war and for the maintenance of order at home, but also for the cases of native insurrection and of disaffection or civil war among the whites. The officers are all elected by the burghers, the Commandant-General by the whole body of burghers for ten years, the commandants in each district for five years, the field cornets and assistant field cornets in the wards for three years.
The judiciary (§§ 115-135) consists of landrosts (magistrates who also discharge administrative duties), heemraden (local councillors or assessors), and jurors. The provisions regarding the exercise of judicial power are minute and curious in their way, but have no great interest for constitutional purposes. Two landrosts are proposed to the people of the judicial district by the Executive Council, and the people vote between these two. Minute provisions regarding the oaths to be taken by these officials and by jurymen, and regarding the penalties they may inflict, fill the remaining articles. A guarantee for the independence of the courts is to be found in the general statement in article 15 that 'the judicial power is vested in landrosts, heemraden, and jurors,' and in the declaration (§ 57) that the judicial officers are 'left altogether free and independent in the exercise of their judicial power.' A High Court and a Circuit Court, not provided for in the old Grondwet,
appear in that of 1889, and are appointed for life. The High Court consists of a chief justice and four puisne judges.
The old Grondwet also contained some curious details relating to civil administration (which was primarily entrusted to the judicial officers, supported by the commandants and field cornets), and the revenue of the State, which was intended to be drawn chiefly from fees and licences, the people having little disposition to be directly taxed. The farm tax was not to exceed forty dollars, and the poll-tax, payable by persons without or with only one farm, was fixed at five dollars annually. Five dollars was the payment allowed to each member of the Volksraad for each day's attendance. Most of these provisions have disappeared from the instrument of 1889. The salary of the President of the Council, which had been fixed at 5,333 dollars, 2 schellings, and 4 stuivers, to be increased as the revenue increased, now amounts to £7,000 sterling ($35,000) per annum, besides allowances.
The most considerable change made since 1889 was the establishment, in 1890, of a chamber called the Second Volksraad, which is elected on a more liberal basis than the First Volksraad, persons who have resided in the country for two years, have taken an oath of allegiance and have complied with divers other requirements, being admissible as voters. This assembly, however, enjoys little real power, for its competency is confined to some specified matters, and to such others as the First Volksraad may refer to it; and its acts may be overruled by the First Raad, whereas the Second Raad has no power of passing upon the resolutions or
laws enacted by the First Raad. The Second Volksraad is, therefore, not a second chamber in the ordinary sense of the term, such as the Senate in American States or the House of Lords in England, but an appendage to the old popular House. It was never intended to exercise much power, and was, in fact, nothing more than a concession, more apparent than real, to the demands of the Uitlanders, or recent immigrants excluded from citizenship.
A few general observations may be made on this Constitution before we proceed to examine its legal character and effect.
It was in its older form a crude, untechnical document, showing little trace on the part of those who drafted it either of legal skill or of a knowledge of other constitutions. The language was often vague, and many of the provisions went into details ill-fitted for a fundamental law.
Although enacted by and for a pure democracy, it was based on inequality-inequality of whites and blacks, inequality of religious creeds. Not only was the Dutch Reformed Church declared to be established and endowed by the State, but Roman Catholic churches were forbidden to exist, and no Roman Catholic nor Jew nor Protestant of any other than the Dutch Reformed Church was eligible to the presidency, or to membership of the legislature or executive council. In its improved shape (1889) some of these faults have been corrected, and in particular the religious restrictions were reduced to a requirement that the President, the Secretary of State, the Landrosts and the members of the Volksraad should belong to a Protestant Church.
The door, however, remained barred against persons of colour.
It contained and still contains little in the nature of a Bill of Rights, partly perhaps from an oversight on the part of its draftsmen, but partly also owing to the assumption-which the early history of the republic amply verified-that the government would be a weak one, unable to encroach upon the rights of private citizens.
The first legal question which arises upon an examination of this Constitution relates to its stability and permanence. Is it a Rigid or a Flexible Constitution? That is to say, can it, like the constitution of the Orange Free State and that of the United States, be altered only in some specially prescribed fashion? Or may it be altered by the ordinary legislature in the ordinary way, like any other part of the law?
In favour of the former alternative, that the constitution is a Rigid one, appeal has been made not only to the name Grondwet (Ground-law), but, which is of more consequence, to some of its language. The general declarations of the power of the people, the form in which they entrust power to the legislature, to the Executive Council, and to the judiciary respectively (as well as to the military authority), look as if meant to constitute a triad of authorities, similar to that created by the constitutions of American States, no one of which authorities may trespass on the province of the others. Some things seem intended to be secured against any alteration by the legislature, e. g., article 9 declares that 'the people will not allow of any equality between coloured and white inhabitants'; article II declares that the people reserve to themselves the exclusive Gg