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directions to the contrary, the council be chosen by the people of each refpective county, in fuch manner as the council and house of reprefentatives fhall order.

That general and field officers of the militia, on any vacancy, be appointed by the two houses, and all inferior officers be chofen by the respective companies.

That all officers of the army be appointed by the two houses, except they should direct otherwife in cafe of any emergency.

That all civil officers for the colony and for each county be appointed, and the time of their continuance in office be determined, by the two houfes, except clerks, and county treasurers, and recorders of deeds.

That a treasurer, and a recorder of deeds, for each county be annually chofen, by the people of each county respectively; the votes for fuch officers to be returned to the respective courts of general feffions of the peace, in the county, there to be ascertained, as the council and affembly fhall hereafter direct.

That precepts, in the name of the council and affembly, figned by the prefident of the council, and fpeaker of the houfe of reprefentatives, fhall iffue annually, at or before the first day of November, for the choice of a council, and houfe of reprefentatives, to be returned by the third Wednesday in December then next enfuing, in fuch manner as the council and affembly fhall hereafter prescribe.

In the HOUSE of REPRESENTATIVES,. September 19, 1776.

Voted and Refolved,

THAT as any new towns or fettlements in this state, · fhall increase in their number of inhabitants from year to year, or from time to time, precepts fhall iffue for their fending delegates to council and affembly, fo as to be fully reprefented, according to their numbers, proportionable with other parts of the state. Sent up for Concurrence,

P. WHITE, Speaker.

In COUNCIL, Eodem Die.

Read and Concurred.

E. THOMPSON, Secretary.

Copy examined, per E. THOMPSON, Secretary.





CONSTITUTION, or FRAME of GOVERNMENT, agreed upon by the Delegates of the People of the State of Maffachusetts-Bay, in CONVENTION, begun and held at Cambridge, on the First of September, 1779, and continued by Adjournments to the Second of March, 1780.



HE end of the inflitution, maintenance and administration of government, is to fecure the exiftence of the bodypolitic, to protect it, and to furnish the individuals who compofe it, with the power of enjoying, in fafety and tranquillity, their natural right, and the bleffings of life: And whenever these great objects are not obtained, the people have a right to alter the government, and to take measures neceffary for their fafety, profperity and happiness.

The body-politic is formed by a voluntary affociation of individuals; it is a focial compact, by which the whole people covenants with each citizen, and each citizen with the whole people, that all fhall be governed by certain laws for the common good. It is the duty of the people, therefore, in framing a conftitution of government, to provide for an equitable mode of. making laws, as well as for an impartial interpretation, and a faithful execution of them; that every man may, at all times, find his fecurity in them,

We, therefore, the people of Maflachusetts, acknowledging, with grateful hearts, the goodnefs of the Great Legiflator of the Universe, in affording us, in the course of his providence, an op-portunity, deliberately and peaceably, without fraud, violence, or furprize, of entering into an original, explicit, and folemn compact with each other; and of forming a new conftitution of civil government, for ourselves and pofterity; and devoutly imploring his direction in fo interefting a defign, DO agree upon, ordain, and establish, the following Declaration of Rights, and Frame of Government, as the CONSTITUTION of the COMMONWEALTH of MASSACHUSETTS.


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of the Inhabitants of the Commonwealth of Maffachusetts.

Art. I. LL men are born free and equal, and have certa`n

A natural, effential, and unalienable rights; among

which may be reckoned the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties; that of acquiring, poffeffing, and protecting property; in fine, that of feeking and obtaining their fafety and happiness.

II. It is the right as well as the duty of all men in fociety, publicly, and at ftated seasons, to worship the Supreme Being, the great Creator and Preferver of the Univerfe. And no fubject fhall be hurt, molested, or restrained in his perfon, liberty, or eftate, for worshipping God in the manner and feafon moft agreeable to the dictates of his own confcience; or for his religious profeffion or fentiments; provided he doth not difturb the public peace, or obftruct others in their religious worship.

III. As the happiness of a people, and the good order and prefervation of civil government, effentially depend upon piety, religion, and morality; and as thefe cannot be generally diffufed through a community, but by the inftitution of the public worship of God, and of public inftructions in piety, religion and morality: Therefore, to promote their happiness, and to fecure the good order and preservation of their government, the people of this commonwealth have a right to inveft their legiflature with power to authorise and require, and the legislature fhall, from time to time, authorise and require the feveral towns, parifhes, precincts, and other bodies politic, or religious focieties, to make fuitable provifion, at their own expence, for the inftitution of the public worship of God, and for the support and maintenance of public protestant teachers of piety, religion, and morality, in all cafes where fuch provifion fhall not be made voluntarily.

And the people of this commonwealth have also a right to, and do, inveft their legiflature with authority to enjoin upon all the fubjects, an attendance upon the inftructions of the public teachers as aforefaid, at ftated times and feasons, if there be any on whofe inftructions they can confcientiously and conveniently


Provided notwithstanding, that the feveral towns, parishes, precincts, and other bodies-politic, or religious focieties, fhall, at all times, have the exclufive right of electing their public teachers, and of contracting with them for their fupport and maintenance.

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And all monies paid by the fubject to the fupport of public worship, and of the public teachers aforefaid, fhall, if he require it, be uniformly applied to the fupport of the public teacher or teachers of his own religious fect or denomination, provided there be any on whofe inftructions he attends; otherwise it may be paid towards the fupport of the teacher or teachers of the parish or precinct in which the faid monies are raised.

And every denomination of Chriftians demeaning themselves peaceably, and as good fubjects of the commonwealth, fhall be equally under the protection of the law: And no fubordination of any one fect or denomination to another shall ever be established by law.

IV. The people of this commonwealth have the fole and exclufive right of governing themselves as a free, fovereign, and independent state; and do, and for ever hereafter shall, exercise and enjoy every power, jurifdiction, and right, which is not, or may not hereafter, be by them exprefly delegated to the United States of America, in Congress affembled.

V. All power refiding originally in the people, and being derived from them, the feveral magiftrates and officers of government, vefted with authority, whether legislative, executive, or judicial, are their fubftitutes and agents, and are at all times accountable to them.

VI. No man, or corporation, or affociation of men, have any other title to obtain advantages, or particular and exclufive privileges, diftinct from those of the community, than what arises from the confideration of services rendered to the public; and this title being in nature neither hereditary nor tranfmiffible to children, or defcendants, or relations by blood, the idea of a man born a magiftrate, lawgiver, or judge, is abfurd and unnatural.

VII. Government is inftituted for the common good; for the protection, fafety, profperity, and happiness of the people; and not for the profit, honour, or private intereft of any one man, family, or clafs of men: Therefore, the people alone have an inconteftible, unalienable, and indefeafible right to inftitute government; and to reform, alter, or totally change the fame, when their protection, safety, profperity, and happiness require it. VIII. In order to prevent thofe, who are vested with authority from becoming oppreffors, the people have a right, at fuch periods, and in fuch manner as they fhall establish by their frame of government, to caufe their public officers to return to private life; and to fill up vacant places, by certain and regular elections and appointments.

IX. All elections ought to be free, and all the inhabitants of th's commonwealth, having fuch qualifications as they fhall eftablish by their frame of government, have an equal right to elect officers, and to be elected for public employments. X. Each

X. Each individual of the fociety has a right to be protected by it, in the enjoyment of his life, liberty, and property, according to standing laws. He is obliged, confequently, to contribute his fhare to the expence of this protection; to give his perfonal fervice, or an equivalent, when neceffary: But no part of the property of any individual can, with juftice, be taken from him, or applied to public uses, without his own confent, or that of the reprefentative body of the people: In fine, the people of this commonwealth are not controulable by any other laws, than those to which their conftitutional reprefentative body have given their confent. And whenever the public exigencies require that the property of any individual fhould be appropriated to public uses, he hall receive a reasonable compenfation therefor.

XI. Every subject of the commonwealth ought to find a certain remedy, by having recourse to the laws for all injuries or wrongs which he may receive in his perfon, property or character. He ought to obtain right and juftice freely, and without being obliged to purchase it; compleatly, and without any denial; promptly, and without delay; conformably to the laws.

XII. No fubject fhall be held to anfwer for any crime or of fence, until the fame is fully and plainly, fubftantially and formally, defcribed to him; or be compelled to accufe, or furnish evidence against himself. And every fubject fhall have a right to produce all proofs that may be favourable to him; to meet the witneffes against him face to face, and to be fully heard in his defence by himself, or his council, at his election. And no fubject fhall be arrested, imprifoned, defpoiled, or deprived of his property, immunities, or privileges, put out of the protection of the law, exiled, or deprived of his life, liberty, or eftate, but by the judg ment of his peers, or the law of the land.

And the legislature fhall not make any law, that shall subject any person to a capital or infamous punishment, excepting for the government of the army and navy, without trial by jury.

XIII. In criminal profecutions, the verification of facts in the vicinity where they happen, is one of the greateft fecurities of the life, liberty, and property of the citizen.

XIV. Every fubject has a right to be fecure from all unreasonable fearches, and feizures, of his perfon, his houses, his papers, and all his poffeffions. All warrants, therefore, are contrary to this right, if the cause or foundation of them be not previously fupported by oath or affirmation; and if the order in a warrant to a civil officer, to make search in all suspected places, or to arrest one or more fufpected perfons, or to feize their property, be not accompanied with a fpecial defignation of the perfons or objects of search, arreft, or feizure; and no warrant ought to be iffued, but in cafes and with the formalities prefcribed by the laws.

XV. In all controverfies concerning property, and in all fuits between

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