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MASSACHUSETTS. A Constitutivn, er frame of Government, ogreed upon by the

Delegates of the People of the State of MASSACHUSETTS Bay, in Convention, begin and held at Cambridge, on the ist day of September 1779, and continued by adjournments to the 2d of March 1780. i

PREAMBLE. : programa HE end of the inftitution, maintenance, and ad

ministration of Government, is to secure the existence of the body politic, to protect it, and to furnish the individuals who compose it, with the power of enjoying, in lafety and tranquility, their natural rights, and the blellings of life ; and whenever there great objects are not obtained, the people have a right to alter the goveroment, and to take measures necessary for their la féty, prosperity, and happiness.

The body politic is formed by a voluntary association of individuals. It is a social compact, by which the whole people covenants with each citizen, and each citizen wirh the whole people, that all thall be governo ed by certain laws for the common good. It is the duty of the people, therefore, in framing a conftitution of governmeni, 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 bis security in them.

We, therefore, the People of Massachusetts, acknowledging wish grateful hearts, the govdness of the Great Legislator of the Universe, in affording us, in the course of his providence, an opportunity, deliberatelyand peaceably, without fraud, violence, or furprise, of entering into an originai, , explicit, and folemn compact with each other--and of forming a new constitution of civil government, for ourselves and polierity ;---and de-. vourly imploring his direction in so interesting a design, do agree upon, ordain, and establish, the following Declaration of Rights, and frame of government, as the Conftitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,

PART 1. A Declaration of Rights of the Inhabitants of the Com

monwealth of Massachusetts. Art. 1. All men are born free and equal, and have certain natural, essential, and unalienable rights; among which may be reckoned the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties ; that of acquiring, pof. feffing, and protecting property ; in fine, that of feeking and obtaining their safety and happiness.

Il. It is the right, as well as the duty of all men in society, publicly, and at fated feasons, to worship the Supreme Being, the Great Creator and Preserver of the Universe. And no subject shall be hurt, molested, or reltrained, in his perfon, liberty or eltare, for worshipping God in the manner and season most agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience ; or for his religious profession or sentiments-provided he doth not disturb the public peace, or obstruct others in their religious worship.

III, As the happioefs of the people, and the good order and prefervation of civil government, essentially depend upon piety, religion and morality ; and as there cannot be generally diffused through a community, but by the institution of the public worhip of God, and of public instructions in piety, religion, and morality:-Therefore, to promote their happiness, and to secure the good order and preservation of their government, the people of this Commonwealth have a right to invest their Legislature with power to authorile and require, and the Legislature fall, from time to time, authorise and require the several towns, parishes, precinas, and other bodies politic, or religious focieties, to make suitable provision, at their own expence, for the institue tion of the public worship of God, and for the support and maintenance of public Proteftant teachers of piety, religion, and morality, in all cases where such provisi. on ihall not be made voluntarily.

And the People of this Commonwealth have also a right to, and do, inveft their Legislature with autho. rity, to enjoin, upor all the subjects, an attendance upon the instructions of their public teachers, as aforesaid,



at stated times and seasons, if there be any, on whose instructions they can conscientiously and conveniently attendia

Provided potwithstanding, that the several towris, parishes, precincts, and other bodies politic or religious focieties, hall, at all times, have the exclusive right of electing their public teachers, and of contracting with them for their lupport and maintenance.

And all monies, paid by the subject, to the support of public worship, and of the public teachers aforelaid, Thall, if he require it, be uniformly applied to the fupport of the public teacher, or teachers, of his own religious feet or denomination, provided there be any, on whole instructions he attends, otherwise it may be paid towards the fupport of the teacher, or teachers, of the parih, or precinct, in which the said monies is raised.

And every denomination of Christians, demeaning themselves peaceably, and as good subjects of the Commonwealth, shall be equally under the protection of the Law ; aud ne subordination of any one fect or denomination to another, shall ever be established by law.

IV. The People of this Cominonwealih have the fole and exclusive right of governing themselves, as a free, lovereign, and independenne State ; and do, and forever hereafter shall, exercise and enjoy every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not, or may not here. after, be by them exprefsly delegated to the United States of America in Congress assembled,

V. All power residing originally in the People, and being derived from them the several magistrates, and officers of government, velted with authority, whether legisative, executive, or judicial, are their substitutes and agents, and are, at all times, accountable to them.

VI. No man, or corporation, or association of men, have any other title, to obtain advantages, or particular and exclufive privileges, dillinct from those of the community, than what arises from the consideration of services rendered to the public, And this title being, in nature, neither hereditary, nor transinissible to chil. dren, or descendants, or relations by blood,-the idea of a man born a magistrate, la w-giver, or judge, is absurd and unnatural.


VII. Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, fafety, prosperity, and happiness of the People ; and not for the profit, honour, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men. Therefore the people alone have an inconteltible, unalienable, and indefeasible right, to institute government, and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, wlien their protection, safety, prosperity and happiness, require it,

VIII. In order to prevent those, who are vested with authority, from becoming oppreflors, the people have a right at such periods, and in such manner, as they Mall 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 such qualifications, as they shall establish by their frame of Government, have an equal right, to ele&t officers, and to be clected for public employments..

X. Each individual of the society has a right, to be protected by it, in the enjoyinent of his life, liberty, and property, according to itanding laws. He is obliged, consequently, to contribute his share to the expence of this protection ; to give his personal service, or an equivalent, when neceffary. But no part of the property of any individual can, with justice, be taken from him, or applied to public uses, without his own content, or that of the representative body of the people. In fine, the People of this Commonwealth are not controllable by any other laws, than those to which their constitutional representarive body have given their consent. And whenever tbeir public cxigencies require that the property of any individual should be appropri. ated to public uses, le Thall receive a reasonable com. pensation 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 bis perlon, property, or character, He ought to ob


tain right and justice freely, and without being obliged to purchase it - completely, and without any denial promptly, and wishout delay- conformable to the laws.

XII, No fubject thall be held to answer for any crime or-offence, until the game is fully and plainly, fubftantially and formally, deicribed to him ; or be compelled to accuse, or furnish evidence against himself, Avd every fubject fhall have a right to produce all proofs that inay be favourable to him ; to meet the witnesses against him, face to face, and to be fully heard in his defence, by himself or his council, at bis election. And no fubject fall be arrested, imprisoned or despoiled, or de prived of his property, immunities, or privileges, put out of the protection of the law, exiled, or deprived of his life, liberty or estate, but by the judgment of his peers, or the law of the land.

And the Legislature hall not make any law, that {hall subject any person to a capital or infamous pupilha ment, (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 securities of the life, liberty and property of the Citizen.

XIV. Every subject has a right to be secure from all unreasonable searches, and seizures, of his person, his houses, his papers, and his poileffions, . All warrants, therefore, are contrary to this right, if the cause or foundation of them be not previously supported by oaih or affirmation ; and if the order, in a warrant to a civil officer, to make search in all fufpeéted places, or to arrest one or more suspected persons, or to seize their property, be not accompanied with a special designation of the perfons or objects of search, arreft, or seizure. And no warrant ought to be issued, but in cases, and with the formalities, prescribed by the laws.

XV. In all controverties concerning property, and in all suits between two or more persons, (except in cases, in which it has heretofore been otherwise used and practised) he parties have a right to a trial by jury, and this method of procedure shall be held sacred un



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