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THE

MASSACHUSETTS.
Constitution, or Frame of Government, vgreed upon by the
Delegates of the People of the State of MASSACHUSETTS
Bay, in Convention, begiin and held at Cambridge, on
the ist day of September 1779, and continued by adjourn.
ments to the 2d of March 1780.

PREAMBLE
HE end of the institution, 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 iranquility, their natural rights, and the bleslings of life ; and whenever there great objects are not obtained, the people have a right to alter the government, and to take measures necessary for their safety, 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 with 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 constitution 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 bis security in them.

We, therefore, the People of Massachusetts, acknowledging with grateful hcarts, the goodness of the Great Legislator of the Universe, in affording lis, in the course of his providence, an opportunity, deliberatelyand peaceably, without fraud, violence, or furprise, of entering into an original, explicit, and folemn compact with each other--and of forming a new constitution of civil government, for ourselves and posterity ;---and de.. yourly imploring his direction in fo interesting 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,

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

monwealth of Massachusetts. Art. I. 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 de. fending their lives and liberties ; that of acquiring, porfessing, and protecting property ; in fine, that of feeking and obtaining their lafety and happiness.

Il. It is the right, as well as the duty of all men in fociety, poblicly, and at liated reasons, to worship the Supreme Being, the GreatCreator and Preserver of the Universe. And no fubject shall be hurt, molested, or restrained, in his perfon, liberty or estare, for wor. Mhipping 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, effentially depend upon piety, religion and morality ; and as there cannot be generally diffused through a community, but by the inftitution of the public worlhip 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 authorise and require, and the Legislature fall, from time to time, authorise and require the several towns, parilhes, precinas, and other bodies politic, or religious focieties, to make suitable provision, at their own expence, for the institu. tion of the public worship of God, and for the fupport and maintenance of public Protestant teachers of piety, religion, and morality, in all cases where such provision 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,

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at stated times and seasons, if there be any, on whole inftruétions they can conscientiously and conveniently attend;

Provided notwithstanding, that the several towris, parishes, precinéts, 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 lubject, to the support of public worship, and of the public teachers aforelaid, Thail, 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 whose instructions he atrends, otherwise it may be paid towards the support of the teacher, or teachers, of the parilh, or precinct, in which the laid 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 Commonwealth have the fole and exclusive right of governing themselves, as a free, lovereign, and independennt Siate ; and do, and forever hereafter shall, exercise and enjoy every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not, or may not hereafter, be by them expressly delegated to the United States of America in Congress aflembled,

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 affociation of men, have any other title, to obtain advantages, or particular and exclufive privileges, distinct 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, law-giver, or judge, is absurd and unnatural.

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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 ihe people alone have an inconteltible, unalienable, and indefeasible right, to institute goveroment, and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, proiperity and happioess, 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 shall 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 establislı by their trame of Government, have an equal right, to elect officers, and to be clected for public employments.

X. Each individual of the society has a right, to be protected by it, in the enjoyment of his life, liberty, and property, according to itanding laws. He is obliged, confequently, to contribute his share to the expence of this protection ; to give his perfonal 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 consent, or that of the representative body of the people. In fine, the People of this Commonwealth are trollable by any other laws, than those to which their constitutional representative body have given their consent. And whenever their public cxigencies require that the property of any individual should be appropria ated to public uses, be 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 his perion, property, or character, He ought to ob

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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 fame is fully and plainly, fubftanrially and formally, described to him ; or be compelled to accuse, or furnish evidence againlt himself. And every subject 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 fub. jeet shall be arrelted, 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, Jiberty or eflate, but by the judgment of his peers, or the law of the land.

And the Legislaturé hall not make any law, that fhall 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 subject has a right to be secure from all unreasonable fearches, and seizures, of his person, his houses, his papers, and his possessions. All warrants, therefore, are contrary to this right, if the cause or foundation of them be not previously supported 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 suspected persons, or to seize their property, be not accompanied with a special designation of the persons or objects of search, arreft, or leizure. 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) the parties have a right to a trial by jury, and this method of procedure shall be held sacred ; un

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