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between two or more perfons, except in cafes in which it has heretofore been otherways ufed and practifed, the parties have a right to a trial by a jury; and this method of procedure shall be held facred, unlefs, in caufes arifing on the high f as, and fuch as relate to mariners wages, the legiflature fhall hereafter find it nece flary to alter it.

XVI. The liberty of the prefs is effential to the security of freedom in a state; it ought not, therefore, to be reftrained in this commonwealth.

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XVII. The people have a right to keep and to bear arms for the common defence. And as in time of peace armies are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be maintained without the confent of the legiflature, and the military power fhall always be held in exact fubordination to the civil authority, and be governed by it.

XVIII. A frequent recurrence to the fundamental principles of the conftitution, and a conftant adherence to thofe of piety, juftice, moderation, temperance, industry, and frugality, are abfolutely neceffary to preferve the advantages of liberty, and to maintain a free government. The people ought, confequently, to have a particular attention to all thofe principles, in the choice of their officers and reprefentatives: And they have a right to require of their lawgivers and magiftrates, an exact and conftant obfervance of them, in the formation and execution of all laws neceflary for the good administration of the commonwealth.

XIX. The people have a right, in an orderly and peaceable manner, to affemble to confult upon the common good; give inftructions to their reprefentatives; and to requeft of the legiflative body, by the way of addreffes, petitions, or remonftrances, redrefs of the wrongs done them, and of the grievances they fuffer.

XX. The power of fufpending the laws, or the execution of the laws, ought never to be exercifed but by the legislature, or by authority derived from it, to be exercifed in fuch particular cafes only as the legislature shall exprefly provide for.

XXI. The freedom of deliberation, fpeech, and debate, in either house of the legislature, is fo effential to the rights of the people, that it cannot be the foundation of any accufation or profecution, action, or complaint, in any other court or place whatfoever.

XXII. The legislature ought frequently to affemble for the redrefs of grievances, for correcting, ftrengthening, and confirming the laws, and for making new laws, as the common good may require.

XXIII. No fubfidy, charge, tax, impost, or duties, ought to be eft blifhed, fixed, laid, or levied, under any pretext what foever, without the confent of the people, or their reprefentatives in the legiflature.

XXIV. Laws

XXIV. Laws made to punish for actions done before the existence of such laws, and which have not been declared crimes by preceding laws, are unjuft, oppreffive, and inconfiftent with the fundamental principles of a free government.

XXV. No fubject ought, in any cafe, or in any time, to be declared guilty of treafon or felony by the legiflature.

XXVI. No magiftrate or court of law fhall demand exceffive bail or fureties, impofe exceffive fines, or inflict cruel or unusual punishments.

XXVII. In time of peace, no foldier ought to be quartered in any house without the confent of the owner; and in time of war, fuch quarters ought not to be made but by the civil magiftrate, in a manner ordained by the legislature.

XXVIII. No perfon can in any cafe be fubjected to lawmartial, or to any penalties or pains, by virtue of that law, except those employed in the army or navy, and except the militia in actual fervice, but by authority of the leg flature.

XXIX. It is effential to the preservation of the rights of every ́individual, his life, liberty, property, and character, that there be an impartial interpretation of the laws, and administration of juftice. It is the right of every citizen to be tried by judges as free, impartial, and independent, as the lot of humanity will admit. It is, therefore, not only the beft policy, but for the fecurity of the rights of the people, and of every citizen, that the judges of the fupreme judicial court fhould hold their offices as long as they behave themfelves well; and that they fhould have honourable falaries, afcertained and established by ftanding laws.

XXX. In the government of this commonwealth, the legiflative department fhall never exercife the executive and judicial powers, or either of them: The executive fhall never exercise the legiflative and judicial powers, or either of them: The judicial fhall never exercife the legislative and executive powers, or either of them to the end, it may be a government of laws, and not of




HE people inhabiting the territory formerly called the Province of Maffachufetts-Bay, do hereby folemnly and mutually agree with each other, to form themfelves into a free, fovereign, and independent body-politic or ftate, by the name of, The COMMONWEALTH of MASSACHUSETTS.


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Art. I. THE department of legiflation fhall be formed by two branches, a Senate, and House of Reprefentatives; each of which fhall have a negative on the other.

The legislative body shall affemble every year on the last Wednefday in May, and at fuch other times as they fhall judge neceffary; and fhall diffolve and be diffolved on the day next preceding the faid laft Wednesday in May; and shall be stiled, The General Court of Maffachusetts.

II. No bill or refolve of the fenate or house of representatives fhall become a law, and have force as fuch, until it fhall have been laid before the governor for his revifal; and if he, upon fuch revifion, approve thereof, he shall fignify his approbation by figning the fame. But if he have any objection to the paffing of fuch bill or refolve, he fhall return the fame, together with his objections thereto, in writing, to the fenate or house of reprefentatives, in which fcever the fame fhall have originated; who fhall enter the objections fent down by the governor at large on their records, and proceed to reconfider the faid bill or refolve: But if after fuch reconfideration, two-thirds of the faid fenate or house of reprefentatives fhall, notwithstanding the faid objections, agree to pass the same, it fhall, together with the objections, be sent to the other branch of the legiflature, where it fhall also be reconfidered, and if approved by two-thirds of the members present, it fhall have the force of a law: But in all fuch cafes, the votes of both houses shall be determined by yeas and nays; and the names of the perfons voting for or against the said bill or refolve, fhall be entered upon the public records of the commonwealth.

And in order to prevent unneceffary delays, if any bill or refolve fhall not be returned by the governor within five days after it fhall have been prefented, the fame shall have the force of a law.

III. The general court fhall for ever have full power and authority to erect and conftitute judicatories and courts of record, or other courts, to be held in the name of the commonwealth, for the hearing, trying, and determining of all manner of crimes, of fences, pleas, proceffes, plaints, actions, matters, caufes, and things whatsoever, arifing or happening within the common


wealth, or between or concerning perfons inhabiting, or refiding, or brought within the fame; whether the fame be criminal or civil, or whether the faid crimes be capital or not capital, and whether the faid pleas be real, perfonal, or mixed; and for the awarding and making out of execution thereupon: To which courts and judicatories are hereby given and granted full power and authority, from time to time, to adminifter oaths or affirmations, for the better difcovery of truth in any matter in controverfy or depending before them.

IV. And further, full power and authority are hereby given and granted to the faid general court, from time to time, to make, ordain, and establish, all manner of wholesome and reafonable orders, laws, ftatutes and ordinances, directions and in ftructions, either with penalties or without; fo as the fame be not repugnant or contrary to this conftitution, as they fhall judge to be for the good and welfare of this commonwealth, and for the government and ordering thereof and of the subjects of the fame, and for the neceffary fupport and defence of the government thereof; and to name and fettle annually, or provide by fixed laws, for the naming and fettling all civil officers within the faid commonwealth, the election and conftitution of whom are not hereafter in this form of government otherwife provided for; and to fet forth the feveral duties, powers, and limits, of the feveral civil and military officers of this commonwealth, and the forms of fuch oaths or affirmations as fhall be refpectively adminiftered unto them for the execution of their feveral offices and places, fo as the fame be not repugnant or contrary to this conftitution; and to impofe and levy proportional and reasonable affeffments, rates, and taxes, upon all the inhabitants of, and perfons refident, and eftates lying, within the faid commonwealth; and alfo to impofe and levy reasonable duties and excifes upon any produce, goods, wares, merchandizes, and commodities whatfoever, brought into, produced, manufactured, or being within the fame, to be iffued and difpofed of by warrant under the hand of the governor of this commonwealth for the time being, with the advice and confent of the council, for the public fervice, in the neceffary defence and fupport of the government of the faid commonwealth, and the protection and prefervation of the fubjects thereof, according to fuch acts as are or fhall be in force within the fame.

And while the public charges of government, or any part thereof, fhall be affeffed on polls and eftates, in the manner that has hitherto been practifed; in order that fuch affeffiments may be made with equality, there fhall be a valuation of eftates within the commonwealth taken anew once in every ten years at the least, and as much oftener as the general court fhall order.

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CHAP. I. SE c T. II.


Art. I. THERE fhall be annually elected by the freeholders and other inhabitants of this commonwealth, qualified as in this conftitution is provided, forty perfons to be councillors and fenators for the year enfuing their election; to be chofen by the inhabitants of the diftricts into which the commonwealth may from time to time be divided by the general court for that purpose. And the general court, in affigning the numbers to be elected by the refpective districts, fhall govern themfelves by the proportion of the public taxes paid by the faid diftricts; and timely make known to the inhabitants of the commonwealth, the limits of each district, and the number of councillors and fenators to be chofen therein; provided that the number of fuch diftricts fhall be never less than thirteen; and that no diftrict be so large as to entitle the fame to chufe more than fix fenators.

And the feveral counties in this commonwealth fhall, until the general court fhall determine it neceffary to alter the faid districts, be diftricts for choice of councillors and fenators (except that the counties of Dukes-county and Nantucket fhall form one diftrict for that purpose), and fhall elect the following number for councillors and fenators, viz.

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II. The fenate fhall be the firft branch of the legiflature; and the fenators fhall be chofen in the following manner, viz. There fhall be a meeting on the firft Monday in April annually, forever, of the inhabitants of each town in the feveral counties of this commonwealth; to be called by the felect men, and warned. in due courfe of law, at leaft feven days before the firft Monday in April, for the purpose of electing perfons to be fenators and councillors And at fuch meetings every male inhabitant of twenty-one years of age and upwards, having a freehold eftate within the commonwealth of the annual income of three pounds, or any eftate of the value of fixty pounds, shall have a


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