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MASSACHUSETTS.

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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.

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PREAMBL E.

HE end of the inftitution, maintenance and administration of government, is to fecure the existence of the bodypolitic, to protect it, and to furnish the individuals who compose 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 safety, 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 contitution 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 Maffachusetts, acknowledging, with grateful hearts, the goodness of the Great Legiflator of the Universe, in affording us, in the courfe 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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A DECLARATION of RIGHTS, of the Inhabitants of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

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 flated feafons, to worship the Supreme Being, the great Creator and Preferver of the Universe. And no fubject fhall be hurt, molefted, or restrained in his perfon, liberty, or eftate, for worshipping God in the manner and season most ble 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.

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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 these 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 prefervation 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, parithes, 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 proteftant 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 stated times and feafons, if there be any on whose instructions they can confcientiously and conveniently attend.

Provided notwithstanding, that the feveral towns, parifhes, 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

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; otherwife 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 subjects of the commonwealth, shall be equally under the protection of the law: And no fubordination of any one fect or denomination to another shail ever be established by law.

IV. The people of this commonwealth have the fole and exclufive right of governing themfelves as a free, fovereign, and independent ftate; and do, and for ever hereafter fhall, exercise and enjoy every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not, or may not hereafter, be by them exprefly delegated to the United States of America, in Congrefs 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 legiflative, 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 thofe of the community, than what arises from the confideration of fervices 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, fafety, profperity, and happiness require it. VIII. In order to prevent thofe, who are vefted 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 cause 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 this 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 ftanding 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 ufes, 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 thofe 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 ufes, he fhall receive a reasonable compenfation therefor.

XI. Every fubject of the commonwealth ought to find a certain remedy, by having recourfe 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 answer for any crime or offence, 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 shall have a right to produce all proofs that may be favourable to him; to meet the witneffes againft 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 fubject any perfon 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 greatest 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 houfes, his papers, and all his poffeffions. All warrants, therefore, are contrary to this right, if the caufe 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 fearch in all fufpected places, or to arrest one or more suspected perfons, or to feize their property, be not accompanied with a fpecial defignation of the perfons or objects of fearch, arreft, or feizure; and no warrant ought to be iffued, but in cafes and with the formalities prefcribed by the laws.

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

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 fhall be held facred, unlefs, in caufes arifing on the high f as, and such as relate to mariners wages, the legislature fhall hereafter find it neceffary to alter it.

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

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, justice, moderation, temperance, induftry, and frugality, are abfo lutely 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 neceffary for the good adminiftration 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 legisla tive body, by the way of addreffes, petitions, or remonstrances, 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 exercised but by the legislature, or by authority derived from it, to be exercifed in fuch particular cafes only as the legiflature fhall exprefly provide for.

XXI. The freedom of deliberation, fpeech, and debate, in either houfe of the legiflature, 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 what foever.

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, impoft, 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

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