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A DECLARATION of RIGHTS, and the CONSTITUTION and FORM of GOVERNMENT agreed to by the Delegates of Maryland, in free and full CONVENTION affembled.



HE parliament of Great Britain, by a declaratory act, having affumed a right to make laws to bind the colonies in all cafes whatsoever, and in purfuance of fuch claim endeavoured by force of arms to fubjugate the united colonies to an unconditional fubmiffion to their will and power, and having at length conftrained them to declare themfelves independent ftates, and to affume government under the authority of the people: Therefore, we, the delegates of Maryland, in free and full convention affembled, taking into our most serious confideration the best means of eftablishing a good conftitution in this ftate, for the fure foundation and more permanent fecurity thereof, declare,

1. That all government of right originates from the people, is founded in compact only, and inftituted folely for the good of the whole.

2. That the people of this ftate ought to have the fole and exclufive right of regulating the internal government and police


3. That the inhabitants of Maryland are entitled to the common law of England, and the trial by jury according to the course of that law, and to the benefit of fuch of the English statutes as exifted at the time of their firft emigration, and which by experience have been found applicable to their local and other circumftances, and of such others as have been fince made in England, or Great-Britain, and have been introduced, used, and practifed, by the courts of law or equity; and alfo to all acts of affembly in force on the first of June feventeen hundred and feventy-four, except fuch as may have fince expired, or have been, or may be altered by acts of convention, or this declaration of rights, subject nevertheless to the revifion of, and amendment or repeal by, the legislature of this ftate; and the inhabitants of Maryland are alfo entitled to all property derived to them from or under the charter granted by his Majesty Charles I, to Cæcilius Calvert, baron of Baltimore.


4. That

4. That all perfons invefted with the legislative or executive powers of government are the trustees of the public, and as fuch accountable for their conduct; wherefore, whenever the ends of government are perverted, and public liberty manifeftly endangered, and all other means of redrefs are ineffectual, the people may, and of right ought to reform the old or establish a new government; the doctrine of non-refiftance against arbitrary power and oppreffion, is abfurd, flavifh, and deftructive of the good and happiness of mankind.

5. That the right in the people to participate in the legislature. is the best security of liberty, and the foundation of all free government; for this purpose, elections ought to be free and frequent, and every man having property in, a common interest with, and attachment to the community, ought to have a right of fuffrage.

6. That the legislative, executive, and judicial powers of government, ought to be forever feparate and diftinct from each


7. That no power of fufpending laws, or the execution of laws, unless by, or derived from the legiflature, ought to be exercifed or allowed.

8. That freedom of fpeech and debates, or proceedings in the legiflature, ought not to be impeached in any other court of judicature.

9. That a place for the meeting of the legislature ought to be fixed, the most convenient to the members thereof, and to the depofitory of public records, and the legislature ought not to be convened or held at any other place, but from evident neceffity.

10. That for redrefs of grievances, and for amending, ftrengthening and preferving the laws, the legislature ought to be frequently convened.

11. That every man hath a right to petition the legislature for the redress of grievances, in a peaceable and orderly man


12. That no aid, charge, tax, fee or fees, ought to be fet, rated, or levied, under any pretence, without confent of the legi islature.

13. That the levying taxes by the poll is grievous and oppreffive, and ought to be abolished; that paupers ought not to be af feffed for the fupport of government, but every other perfon in the state ought to contribute his proportion of public taxes for the fupport of government, according to his actual worth in real or perfonal property within the ftate; yet fines, duties, or taxes, may properly and juftly be impofed or laid with a political view for the good government and benefit of the community.

14. That fanguinary laws ought to be avoided, as far as is enfiftent with the fafety of the ftate; and no law to inflict

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cruel and unusual pains and penalties ought to be made in any cafe, or at any time hereafter.

15. That retrofpective laws, punishing facts committed before the existence of fuch laws, and by them only declared criminal, are oppreffive, unjust, and incompatible with liberty, wherefore no ex poft facto law ought to be made.

16. That no law to attaint particular perfons of treason or fe lony ought to be made in any cafe, or any time hereafter.

17. That every freeman, for any injury done him in his perfon or property, ought to have remedy by the courfe of the law of the land, and ought to have juftice and right, freely without fale, fully without any denial, and speedily without delay, according to the law of the land.

18. That the trial of facts where they arife, is one of the greatest fecurities of the lives, liberties, and eftates of the people,


19. That in all criminal profecutions, every man hath a right to be informed of the accufation against him, to have a copy of the indictment or charge in due time (if required) to prepare for his defence, to be allowed counfel, to be confronted with the witneffes against him, to have procefs for his witneffes, to examine the witnefles for and against him on oath, and to a speedy trial by an impartial jury, without whofe unanimous confent he ought not to be found guilty,

20. That no man ought to be compelled to give evidence against himself in a court of common law, or in any other court, but in fuch cafes as have been ufually practifed in this ftate, or may hereafter be directed by the legislature.

21. That no freeman ought to be taken or imprisoned, or diffeifed of his freehold, liberties, or privileges, or outlawed, or exiled, or in any manner deftroyed, or deprived of his life, liberty, or property, but by the judgment of his peers, or by the law of the land.

22. That exceffive bail ought not to be required, nor exceffive fines impofed, nor cruel or unufual punishments inflicted by the courts of law.

23. That all warrants without oath or affirmation, to search fufpected places, or to feize any perfon or property, are grievous and oppreffive; and all general warrants to fearch suspected places, or to apprehend fufpected perfons, without naming or defcribing the place, or the perfon in fpecial, are illegal, and ought not to be granted.

24. That there ought to be no forfeiture of any part of the eftate of any perfon for any crime, except murder, or treafon against the state, and then only on conviction and attainder,

25. That a well regulated militia is the proper and natural defence of a free government,

26. That

26. That standing armies are dangerous to liberty, and ought not to be raised or kept without confent of the legislature.

27. That in all cafes and at all times the military ought to be under ftrict fubordination to, and controul of the civil power.

28. That no foldier ought to be quartered in any house in time of peace, without the consent of the owner; and in time of war, in fuch manner only as the legislature fhall direct.

29. That no perfon, except regular foldiers, mariners, and marines in the service of this ftate, or militia when in actual fervice, ought in any cafe to be fubject to, or punishable by, martial law.

30. That the independency and uprightness of judges are effential to the impartial administration of juftice, and a great fecurity to the rights and liberties of the people; wherefore the chancellor and judges ought to hold commiffions during good behaviour, and the faid chancellor and judges fhall be removed for mifbehaviour, on conviction in a court of law, and may be removed by the governor upon the addrefs of the general affembly, provided that two-thirds of all the members of each house concur in fuch addrefs. That falaries liberal but not profufe ought to be fecured to the chancellor and the judges during the continuance of their commiffions, in fuch manner and at fuch times as the legislature fhall hereafter direct, upon confideration of the circumftances of this ftate: No chancellor or judge ought to hold any other office, civil or military, or receive fees or perquifites of any kind.

31. That a long continuance in the firft executive departments of power or truft is dangerous to liberty, a rotation therefore in thofe departments is one of the best fecurities of permanent freedom.

32. That no perfon ought to hold at the fame time more than one office of profit, nor ought any perfon in public trust to receive any present from any foreign prince or state, or from the united states, or any of them, without the approbation of this ftare.

33. That as it is the duty of every man to worship God in fuch manner as he thinks moft acceptable to him, all perfons profeffing the chriftian religion are equally entitled to protection in their religious liberty; wherefore no perfon ought by any law to be molested in his perfon or estate, on account of his religious perfuafion or profeffion, or for his religious practice, unlefs under colour of religion, any man fhall disturb the good or der, peace, or fafety of the state, or fhall infringe the laws of morality, or injure others in their natural, civil, or religious rights; nor ought any perfon to be compelled to frequent or maintain, or contribute, unless on contract, to maintain any par


ticular place of worfhip, or any particular miniftry; yet the legiflature may in their difcretion lay a general and equal tax for the fupport of the chriftian religion; leaving to each individual the power of appointing the payment over of the money collected from him, to the fupport of any particular place of worship or minifter, or for the benefit of the poor of his own denomination, or the poor in general of any particular county; but the churches, chapels, glebes, and all other property now belonging to the church of England, ought to remain to the church of England for ever. And all acts of affembly lately paffed for collecting monies for building or repairing particular churches or chapels of eafe, fhall continue in force and be executed, unless the legiflature fhall by act fuperfede or repeal the fame; but no county court fhall affefs any quantity of tobacco or fum of money hereafter, on the application of any veftry-men or church-wardens; and every incumbent of the church of England, who hath remained in his parish, and performed his duty, fhall be entitled to receive the provifion and fupport established by the act, entitled, "An act for the fupport of the clergy of the church of England in this province," till the November court of this prefent year, to be held for the county in which his parifh fhall lie, or partly lie, or for fuch time as he hath remained in his parish and performed his duty.

34. That every gift, fale, or devife of lands to any minifter, public teacher or preacher of the gospel, as fuch, or to any religious fect, order, or denomination, or to, or for the support, ufe, or benefit of, or in truft for, any minister, public teacher, or preacher of the gofpel, as fuch, or any religious fect, order, or denomination; and every gift or fale of goods or chattels to go in fucceffion, or to take place after the death of the feller or donor, or to or for fuch fupport, ufe or benefit; and alfo every devife of goods or chattels to, or for the fupport, ufe, or benefit of any minifter, public teacher, or preacher of the gospel, as fuch, or any religious fect, order, or denomination, without the leave of the legislature, fhall be void; except always any fale, gift, lease or devife of any quantity of land not exceeding two acres, for a church, meeting, or other house of worship, and for a burying ground, which fhall be improved, enjoyed, or ufed only for fuch purpofe, or fuch fale, gift, leafe, or devife, fhall be void.

That no other teft or qualification ought to be required 35. on admiffion to any office of truft or profit, than fuch oath of fupport and fidelity to this ftate, and fuch oath of office as fhall be directed by this convention, or the legislature of this state, and a declaration of a belief in the chriftian religion.

36. That the manner of adminiftering an oath to any perfon, ought to be fuch as those of the religious perfuafion, profeffion,


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