Nauvoo Charter

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Nauvoo Charter, 1840
by State of Illinois, General Assembly
Enacted Dec. 16, 1840. Source: History of the Church, Vol.4, Ch.13.

AN ACT TO INCORPORATE THE CITY OF NAUVOO.[edit]

Section 1. Be it enacted by the people of the State of Illinois, represented in the General Assembly, that all that district of country embraced within the following boundaries, to wit' beginning at the north east corner of section thirty-one in Township seven, north of range eight, west of the fourth principal meridian, in the county of Hancock, and running thence west to the northwest corner of said section, thence north to the Mississippi river, thence west to the middle of the main channel of the said river; thence down the middle of said channel to a Point due west of the southeast corner of fractional section number twelve in township six, north of range nine, west of the fourth principal meridian, thence east to the southeast corner of said section twelve, theme north on the range line between township six north, and range eight and nine west, to the southwest corner of section six in township six north of range eight west, thence east to the southeast corner of said section, thence north to the place of beginning, including the town plats of Commerce and Nauvoo, shall hereafter be called and known by the name of the "City of Nauvoo," and the inhabitants thereof are hereby constituted a body corporate and politic by the name aforesaid, and shall have perpetual succession, and may have and use a common seal which they may change and alter at pleasure.

Sec. 2. Whenever any tract of land adjoining the "City of Nauvoo" shall have been laid out into town lots, and duly recorded according to law, the same shall form a part of the "City of Nauvoo."

Sec. 3. The inhabitants of said city, by the name and style aforesaid, shall have power to sue and be sued, to plead and be impleaded, defend and be defended, in all courts of law and equity, and all actions whatsoever; to purchase, receive and hold property, real and personal, in said city, to purchase, receive, and hold real property beyond the city, for burying grounds, or for other public purposes, for the use of the inhabitants of said city, to sell, lease, convey or dispose of property, real or personal, for the benefit of the city, to improve and protect such property, and to do all other things in relation thereto as natural persons.

Sec. 4. There shall be a City Council, to consist of a Mayor, four Aldermen, and nine Councilors, who shall have the qualifications of electors of said city, and shall be chosen by the qualified voters thereof, and shall hold their offices for two years, and until their successors shall be elected and qualified. The City Council shall judge of the qualifications, elections and returns of their own members, and a majority of them shall form a quorum to do business, but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and compel the attendance of absent members, under such penalties as may be prescribed by ordinance.

Sec. 5. The Mayor, Aldermen and Councilors, before entering upon the duties of their office, shall take and subscribe an oath or affirmation that they will support the Constitution of the United States, and of this State and that they will well and truly perform the duties of their offices to the best of their skill and abilities.

Sec. 6. On the first Monday of February next, and every two years thereafter, an election shall be held for the election of one Mayor, four Aldermen, and nine Councilors; and at the first election under the Act, three Judges shall be chosen viva voce by the electors present. The said Judges shall choose two Clerks, and the Judges and Clerks, before entering upon their duties, shall take and subscribe an oath or affirmation such as is now required by law to be taken by Judges or Clerks of other elections and at all subsequent elections, the necessary number of Judges and Clerks shall be appointed by the City Council. At the first election thus held, the polls shall be opened at 9 o'clock a.m. and closed at 6 o'clock p.m,; at the close of the polls the votes shall be counted and a statement thereof proclaimed at the front door of the house at which said election shall be held; and the Clerks shall leave with each person elected, or at his place of residence, within five days after the election, a written notice of his election; and each person so notified shall within ten days after the election take the oath or affirmation hereinbefore mentioned, a certificate of which oath shall be deposited with the Recorder, whose appointment is hereafter provided for, and be by him preserved; and subsequent elections shall be held, conducted and returns thereof made as may be provided for by ordinance of the City Council.

Sec. 7. All free white male inhabitants, who are of the age of twenty one years, who are entitled to vote for State Officers, and who shall have been actual residents of the city sixty days next preceding said election, shall be entitled to vote for City Officers.

Sec. 8. The City Council shall have authority to levy and collect taxes, far city purposes, upon all property, real and personal, within the limits of the city, one-half per cent per annum, upon the assessed value thereof, and may enforce payment of the same in any manner, to be provided by ordinance, not repugnant to the Constitution of the United States or of this State.

Sec. 9. The City Council shall have power to appoint a Recorder, Treasurer, Assessor, Marshal, Supervisor of streets, and all such other officers as may be necessary, and to prescribe their duties and remove them from office at pleasure.

Sec. 10. The City Council shall have power to require, of all officers appointed in pursuance of this Act, bonds, with penalty a for the faithful performance of their respective duties, such as may be deemed expedient; and also to require all officers appointed as aforesaid, to take an oath for the faithful performance of the duties of their respective offices.

Sec. 11. The City Council shall have power and authority to make, ordain, establish and execute all such ordinances, not repugnant to the Constitution of the United States or of this State, as they may deem necessary for the peace, benefit, good order, regulation, convenience, and cleanliness of said city: for the protection of property therein from destruction by fire, or otherwise, and for the health and happiness thereof: they shall have power to fill all vacancies that may happen by death, resignation, or removal, in any of the offices herein made elective; to fix and establish all the fees of the office of said corporation not herein established; to impose such fines, not exceeding one hundred dollars, for each offense, as they may deem just, for refusing to accept any office under the corporation, or for misconduct therein; to divide the city into wards; to add to the number of Aldermen and Councilors, and apportion them among the several wards as may be most just and conducive to the interests of the city.

Sec. 12. To license, tax, and regulate auctions, merchants, retailers, grocers, hawkers, peddlers, butchers, pawnbrokers, and money-changers.

Sec. 13. The City Council shall have exclusive power within the city, by ordinance, to license, regulate, and restrain the keeping of ferries; to regulate the police of the city; to impose fines, forfeitures, and penalties for the breach of any ordinance, and provide for the recovery of such fines and forfeitures, and the enforcement of such penalties; and to pass such ordinances, as may be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the powers specified in this Act; provided such ordinances are not repugnant to the Constitution of the United States or of this State, and in fine to exercise such other legislative powers as are conferred on the City Council of the City of Springfield, by an Act entitled an Act to Incorporate the City of Springfield, approved February 3rd, 1840.

Sec. 14. All ordinances passed by the City Council shall, within one month after they shall have been passed, be published in some newspaper printed in the city, or certified copies thereof be posted up in three of the most public places in the city.

Sec. 15. All ordinances of the city may be proven by the seal of the corporation, and when printed or published in book or pamphlet fog purporting to be printed or published by authority of the corporation the same shall be received in evidence in all courts or places without further proof.

Sec. 16. The Mayor and Aldermen shall be conservators of the peace within the limits of said city, and shall have all the powers of Justices of the Peace therein, both in civil and criminal cases, arising under the laws of the State; they shall, as Justices of the Peace, within the limits of said city, perform the same duties, be governed by the same laws give the same bonds and security, as other Justices of the Peace, and be commissioned as Justices of the Peace in and for said city by the Governor.

Sec. 17. The Mayor shall have exclusive jurisdiction in all cases arising under the ordinances of the corporation, and shall issue such process as may be necessary to carry such ordinances into execution and effect; appeals may be had from any decision or judgment of said Mayor or Aldermen, arising under the city ordinances, to the Municipal Court under such regulations as may be presented by ordinance; which court shall be composed of the Mayor as Chief Justice, and the Aldermen as Associate Justices, and from the final judgment of the Municipal Court to the Circuit Court of Hancock county, in the same manner of appeals are taken from judgments of the Justices of the Peace; provided that the parties litigant shall have a right to a trial by a jury of twelve men in all cases before the Municipal Court. The Municipal Court shall have power to grant writs of habeas corpus in all cases arising under the ordinances of the City Council.

Sec. 18. The Municipal Court shall sit on the first Monday of every month, and the City Council at such times and place as may be prescribed by city ordinance; special meetings of which may at any time be called by the Mayor or any two Aldermen.

Sec. 19. All process issued by the Mayor, Aldermen, or Municipal Court, shall be directed to the Marshal, and, in the execution thereof, he shall be governed by the same laws as are or may be prescribed for the direction and compensation of constables in similar cases. The Marshal shall also perform such other duties as may be required of him under the ordinances of said city, and shall be the principal ministerial officer.

Sec. 20. It shall be the duty of the Recorder to make and keep accurate records of all ordinances made by the City Council, and of all their proceedings in their corporate capacity, which record shall at all times be open to the inspection of the electors of said city, and shall perform such other duties as may be required of him by the ordinances of the City Council, and shall serve as Clerk of the Municipal Court.

Sec. 21. When it shall be necessary to take private property for the opening, widening, or altering any public street, lane, avenue, or alley, the corporation shall make a just compensation therefor to the person whose property is to be taken, and if the amount of such compensation cannot be agreed upon, the Mayor shall cause the same to be ascertained by a jury of six disinterested freeholders of the city.

Sec. 22. All jurors compelled to inquire into the amount of benefits or damages that shall happen to the owners of property so proposed to be taken, shall first be sworn to that effect, and shall return to the Mayor their inquest in writing, signed by each juror.

Sec. 23. In case the Mayor shall at any time be guilty of a palpable omission of duty, or shall wilfully, and corruptly be guilty of oppression, mal conduct, or partiality, in the discharge of the duties of his office, he shall be liable to be indicted in the Circuit Court of Hancock county, and on conviction he shall be fined not more than two hundred dollars, and the Court shall have power on the recommendation of the jury to add to the judgment of the Court that he be removed from office.

Sec. 24. The City Council may establish and organize an institution of learning within the limits of the city, for the teaching of the Arts, Sciences, and Learned Professions, to be called the "University of the City of Nauvoo," which institution shall be under the control and management of a Board of Trustees, consisting of a Chancellor, Registrar, and twenty-three Regents, which Board shall thereafter be a body corporate and politic, with perpetual succession by the name of the "Chancellor and Regents of the University of the City of Nauvoo," and shall have full power to pass, ordain, establish, and execute, all such laws and ordinances as they may consider necessary for the welfare and prosperity of said University, its officers and students; provided that the said laws and ordinances shall not be repugnant to the Constitution of the United States, or of this State; and provided also, that the Trustees shall at all times be appointed by the City Council, and shall have all the powers and privileges for the advancement of the cause of education which appertain to the Trustees of any other College or University of this State.

Sec. 25. The City Council may organize the inhabitants of said city subject to military duty, into a body of independent military men, to be called the "Nauvoo Legion," the Court Martial of which shall be composed of the commissioned officers of said Legion, and constitute the law-making department, with full power and authority to make, ordain, establish, and execute all such laws and ordinances as may be considered necessary for the benefit, government, and regulation of said Legion; provided said Court Martial shall pass no law or act, repugnant to, or inconsistent with, the Constitution of the United States, or of this State; and provided also that the officers of the Legion shall be commissioned by the Governor of the State. The said Legion shall perform the same amount of military duty as is now or may be hereafter required of the regular militia of the State, and shall be at the disposal of the Mayor in executing the laws and ordinances of the city corporation, and the laws of the State, and at the disposal of the Governor for the public defense, and the execution of the laws of the State or of the United States, and shall be entitled to their proportion of the public arms; and provided also, that said Legion shall be exempt from all other military duty.

Sec. 26. The inhabitants of the city of Nauvoo are hereby exempted from working on any road beyond the limits of the city, and for the purpose of keeping the streets, lanes, avenues, and alleys in repair, to require of the male inhabitants of said city, over the age of twenty-one, and under fifty years, to labor on said streets, lanes, avenues, and alleys, not exceeding three days in each year; any person failing to perform such labor, when duly notified by the Supervisor, shall forfeit and pay the sum of one dollar per day for each day so neglected or refused.

Sec. 27. The City Council shall have power to provide for the punishment of offenders by imprisonment in the county or city jail, in all cases when such offenders shall fail or refuse to pay the fines and forfeitures, which may be recovered against them.

Sec. 28. This Act is hereby declared to be a public Act, and shall take effect on the first Monday of February next. WM. L. D. EWING, Speaker of the House of Representatives. S. H. ANDERSON, Speaker of the Senate.

Approved Dec. 16, 1840. THOS. CARLIN. State of Illinois, Office of Secretary of State.

I, Stephen A. Douglas, Secretary of State, do hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and perfect copy of the enrolled law now on file in my office. Witness my hand, and Seal of State, at Springfield, this 18th day of December, 1840. [L. S.] S. A. DOUGLAS. Secretary of State.


The following are the Legislative powers alluded to in the 13th section of the foregoing Act, as pertaining to the City Council of the City of Springfield, and which consequently became a part of the Charter of the City of Nauvoo, to wit:

OF THE LEGISLATIVE POWERS OF THE CITY COUNCIL.[edit]

Sec. 1. The City Council shall have powers and authority to levy and collect taxes upon all property, real and personal, within the city, not exceeding one-half per cent., per annum, upon the assessed valuation thereof, and may enforce the payment of the same in any manner prescribed by ordinance, not repugnant to the Constitution of the United States and of this State.

Sec. 2. The City Council shall have power to require of all officers appointed in pursuance of the Charters, bonds with penalty and security for the faithful performance of their respective duties as may be deemed expedient, and also to require all officers appointed as aforesaid, to take an oath for the faithful performance of the duties of their respective offices upon entering upon the discharge of the same.

Sec. 3. To establish, support, and regulate common schools, to borrow money on the credit of the city; provided, that no sum or sums of Money shall be borrowed at a greater interest than six per cent per annum, nor shall the interest on the aggregate of all the sums borrowed and outstanding ever exceed one half of the city revenue, arising for taxes assessed on real property within the corporation.

Sec. 4. To make regulations to prevent the introduction of contagious diseases into the city, to make Quarantine Laws for that purpose, and enforce the same.

Sec. 5. To appropriate and provide for the payment of the debt and expenses of the city.

Sec. 6. To establish hospitals, and make regulations for the government of the same.

Sec. 7. To make regulations to secure the general health of the inhabitants, to declare what shall be a nuisance, and to prevent and remove the same in the streets for the extinguishment of fires, and convenience of the inhabitants.

Sec. 8. To provide the city with water, to dig wells and erect pumps in the streets for the extinguishment of fires, and convenience of the inhabitants.

Sec. 9. To open, alter, widen, extend, establish, grade, pave, or otherwise improve and keep in repair streets, avenues, lanes, and alleys.

Sec. 10. To establish, erect, and keep in repair bridges.

Sec. 11. To divide the city into wards, and specify the boundaries thereof, and create additional wards, as the occasion may require.

Sec. 12. To provide for lighting the streets and erecting lamp posts.

Sec. 13. To establish, support, and regulate night watches.

Sec. 14. To erect market houses, establish markets, and market places, and provide for the

Sec. 15. To provide for erecting all needful buildings for the use of the city.

Sec. 16. To provide for enclosing, improving, and regulating all public grounds belonging to the city.

Sec. 17. To license, tax, and regulate auctioneers, merchants, and retailers, grocers, taverns ordinaries, hawkers, peddlers, brokers, pawnbrokers, and money changers.

Sec. 18. To license, tax, and regulate hackney carriages, wagons, carts and drays, and fix the rates to be charged for the carriage of persons, and for the wagonage, cartage and drayage of property.

Sec. 19. To license and regulate porters and fix the rates of porterage.

Sec. 20. To license and regulate theatrical and other exhibitions, shows and amusements.

Sec. 21. To tax, restrain, prohibit, and suppress, tippling houses, dram shops, gaming houses, bawdy and other disorderly houses.

Sec. 22. To provide for the prevention and extinguishment of fires, and to organize and establish fire companies.

Sec. 23. To regulate the fixing of chimneys, and the flues thereof, and stove pipes.

Sec. 24. To regulate the storage of gunpowder, tar, pitch, rosin, and other combustible materials.

Sec. 25. To regulate and order parapet walls, and partition fences.

Sec. 26. To establish standard weights and measures, and regulate the weights and measures to be used in the city in all other cases not provided for by law.

Sec. 27. To provide for the inspection and measuring of lumber and other building materials, and for the measurement of all kinds of mechanical work.

Sec. 28. To provide for the inspection and weighing of hay, lime, and stone coal, the measuring of charcoal, firewood, and other fuel, to be sold or used within the city.

Sec. 29. To provide for and regulate the inspection of tobacco, and of beef, pork, flour, meal, and whiskey in barrels.

Sec. 30. To regulate the weight, quality, and price of bread, sold, and used in the city.

Sec. 31. To provide for taking the enumeration of the inhabitants of the city.

Sec. 32. To regulate the election of city officers, and provide for removing from office any person holding an office created by ordinance.

Sec. 33. To fix the compensation of all city officers, and regulate the fees of jurors, witnesses, and others, for services rendered under this Act or any ordinance.

Sec. 34. To regulate the police of the city, to impose fines, and forfeitures, and penalties, for the breach of any ordinance, and provide for the recovery and appropriation of such fines and forfeitures, and the enforcement of such penalties.

Sec. 35. The City Council shall have exclusive power within the city by ordinance, to license, regulate, and suppress, and restrain, billiard tables, and from one to twenty pin alleys, and every other description of gaming or gambling.

Sec. 36. The City Council shall have power to make all ordinances which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the powers specified in this Act, so that such ordinances be not repugnant to nor inconsistent with, the constitution of the United States or of this state.

Sec. 37. The style of the ordinances of the city shall be--"Be it ordained by the city council of the city of Springfield--Nauvoo."

Sec. 38. All ordinances passed by the city council shall, within one month after they shall have been passed, be published in some newspaper published in the city, and :hall not be in force until they shall have been published as aforesaid.

Sec. 39. All ordinances of the city may be proven by the seal of the corporation, and when printed and published by authority of the corporation, the same shall be received in evidence in all courts and places without further proof.

This work was published before January 1, 1923, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.