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Power to SuSpend the laws


bate, &c., and

Frequent sessions, and objects thereof.

Taxation founded on consent.

Ex post facto laws prohibited.

remonstrances, redress of the wrongs done them, and of the grievances they suffer.

XX. The power of suspending the laws, or the execution or their execu- of the laws, ought never to be exercised but by the legisla

ture, or by authority derived from it, to be exercised in such particular cases only as the legislature shall expressly pro

vide for. Freedom of de- XXI. The freedom of deliberation, speech and debate, in reason thereof. either house of the legislature, is so essential to the rights of

the people, that it cannot be the foundation of any accusation or prosecution, action or complaint, in any other court or place whatsoever.

ÅXII. The legislature ought frequently to assemble for the redress of grievances, for correcting, strengthening and confirming the laws, and for making new laws, as the common good may require.

XXIII. No subsidy, charge, tax, impost or duties, ought to be established, fixed, laid or levied, under any pretext whatsoever, without the consent of the people, or their representatives in the legislature.

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 unjust, oppressive and inconsistent with the fundamental principles of a free government.

XXV. No subject ought, in any case, or in any time, to be declared guilty of treason or felony by the legislature.

XXVI. No magistrate or court of law shall demand cruel punish excessive bail or sureties, impose excessive fines, or infligt

cruel or unusual punishments.

XXVII. In time of peace, 10 soldier ought to be quartered in any house without the consent of the owner; and in time of war, such quarters ought not to be made but by the civil magistrate, in a manner ordained by the legislature.

XXVIII. No person can in any case be subjected to lawlaw-martial, martial, 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 service, but by authority of the legislature.

XXIX. It is essential 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 justice. It is the right of every citizen to

be tried by judges as free, impartial and independent as the Tenure of their lot of humanity will admit. It is, therefore, not only the

best policy, but for the security of the rights of the people, and of every citizen, that the judges of the supreme judicial court should hold their offices as long as they behave them

Legislature not to convict of treason, &c. Excessive bail or fines, and

No soldier to be
quartered in
any house, un-
less, &c.

Citizens ex empt from

unless, &c.

Judges of supreme judicial court.


selves well, and that they should have honorable salaries Salaries. ascertained and established by standing laws.

XXX. In the government of this Commonwealth, the Separation of legislative department shall never exercise the executive and dicial,

and legs judicial powers, or either of them : the executive shall never islative departexercise the legislative and judicial powers or either of them: the judicial shall never exercise the legislative and executive powers, or either of them: to the end it may be a government of laws, and not of men.


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The people, inhabiting the territory formerly called the title of body Province of Massachusetts Bay, do hereby solemnly and politic. mutually agree with each other, to form themselves into a free, sovereign and independent body politic or state, by the name of THE COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS.




The General Court.


ART. I. The department of legislation shall be formed Legislative deby two branches, a Senate and House of Representatives ; each of which shall have a negative on the other.

The legislative body [shall assemble every year on the See amendlast Wednesday in May, and at such other times as they ments, Art. X. shall judge necessary; and shall dissolve and be dissolved on the day next preceding the said last Wednesday in May; and] shall be styled, THE GENERAL COURT OF MASSACHUSETTS.

II. No bill or resolve of the senate or house of represent. Governor's. atives shall become a law, and have force as such, until it shall have been laid before the governor for his revisal; and if he, upon such revision, approve thereof, he shall signify his approbation by signing the same.

But if he have any


See amend. ments, Art. I.

General court may constitute

objection to the passing of such bill or resolve, he shall return the same, together with his objections thereto, in writing, to the senate or house of representatives, in whichsoever the same shall have originated, who shall enter the objections

sent down by the governor, at large, on their records, and Bill may be proceed to reconsider the said bill or resolve ; but if, after passed by two such reconsideration, two-thirds of the said senate or house house, notwith- of representatives shall, notwithstanding the said objections,

agree to pass the same, it shall, together with the objections, be sent to the other branch of the legislature, where it shall also be reconsidered, and if approved by two-thirds of the members present, shall have the force of a law: but in all such cases, the votes of both houses shall be determined by yeas and nays; and the names of the persons voting for or against the said bill or resolve, shall be entered upon the public records of the Commonwealth.

And in order to prevent unnecessary delays, if any bill or resolve shall not be returned by the governor within five days after it shall have been presented, the same shall have the force of a law.

III. The general court shall forever have full power and judicatories, authority to erect and constitute 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, offences, pleas, processes, plaints, actions, matters, causes and things, whatsoever arising or happening within the Commonwealth, or between or concerning persons inhabiting or residing, or brought within the same; whether the same be criminal or civil, or whether the said crimes be

capital or not capital, and whether the said pleas be real, Courts, &c., personal 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 administer oaths or affirmations, for the better discovery of truth in any matter in controversy, or depending before them.

And further, full power and authority are hereby given and granted to the said general court, from time to time, to make, ordain and establish all manner of wholesome and reasonable orders, laws, statutes and ordinances, direc

tions and instructions, either with penalties or without, so as not repugnant the same be not repugnant or contrary to this constitution,

as they shall judge to be for the good and welfare of this Commonwealth, and for the government and ordering thereof, and of the subjects of the same, and for the necessary support and defence of the government thereof; and to name

courts of re. cord, &c.

may administer oaths,


General court may enact laws,


to the constitution;



cises ;

and settle annually, or provide by fixed laws, for the naming may provide for and settling, all civil officers within the said Commonwealth, appointment of the election and constitution of whom are not hereafter in this form of government otherwise provided for; and to set prescribe their forth the several duties, powers, and limits, of the several civil and military officers of this Commonwealth, and the forms of such oaths, or affirmations as shall be respectively administered unto them for the execution of their several offices and places so as the same be not repugnant or contrary to this constitution; and to impose and levy propor- impose taxes ; tional and reasonable assessments, rates and taxes, upon all the inhabitants of, and persons resident, and estates lying, within the said Commonwealth ; and also to impose and levy duties and exreasonable duties and excises upon any produce, goods, wares, merchandise and commodities whatsoever, brought into, produced, manufactured, or being within the same; to to be disposed be issued and disposed of by warrant, under the hand of the protection, &c. governor of this Commonwealth, for the time being, with the advice and consent of the council, for the public service, in the necessary defence and support of the government of the kaid Commonwealth, and the protection and preservation of the subjects thereof, according to such acts as are or shall be in force within the same.

And while the public charges of government, or any part Valuation of esthereof, shall be assessed on polls and estates, in the manner ten years, at

least, while, &c. that has hitherto been practised, in order that such assessments may be made with equality, there shall be a valuation of estates within the Commonwealth, taken anew once in every ten years at least, and as much oftener as the general court shall order..




[Art. I. There shall be annually elected, by the freeholders and Senate, number other inhabitants of this Commonwealth, qualified as in this constitution of and by whom is provided, forty persons to be councillors and senators, for the year ensuing their election; to be chosen by the inhabitants of the districts, See amendinto which the Commonwealth may, from time to time, be divided by the ments, Arts. general court for that purpose : and the general court, in assigning the XXII numbers to be elected by the respective districts, shall govern themselves by the proportion of the public taxes paid by the said districts; and timely make known, to the inhabitants of the Commonwealth, the limits of each

XIII, XVI. and Counties to be

district, and the number of councillors and senators to be chosen therein : provided, that the number of such districts shall never be less than thirteen; and that no district be so large as to entitle the same to choose more than six senators.

And the several counties in this Commonwealth shall, until the general districts, until, court shall determine it necessary to alter the said districts, be districts for

the choice of councillors and senators, (except that the counties of Dụkes county and Nantucket shall form one district for that purpose,) and shall elect the following number for councillors and senators, viz:

Suffolk, six ; Essex, six ; Middlesex, five; Hampshire, four ; Plymouth, three; Barnstable, one; Bristol, three ; York, two; Dukes county and Nantucket, one; Worcester, five; Cumberland, one; Lincoln, one; Berkshire, two.]

See amend-
ments, Arts.
XIII. and

Manner and time of choos.


See amendments, Arts. II., X., XIV. and XV.

See amend-
ments, Arts.
XXIII. and

tant" defined.

II. The Senate shall be the first branch of the legislaing senators and ture; [and the senators shall be chosen in the following

manner, viz. : there shall be a meeting on the first Monday in April, annually, forever, of the inhabitants of each town in the several counties of this Commonwealth, to be called by the selectmen, and warned in due course of law, at least seven days before the first Monday in April, for the purpose of electing persons to be senators and councillors ; and at such meetings every male inhabitant of twenty-one years of age and upwards, having a freehold estate, within the Commonwealth, of the annual income of three pounds, or any estate of the value of sixty pounds, shall have a right to give

in his vote for the senators for the district of which he is an Word "inhabi- inhabitant.] And to remove all doubts concerning the mean

ing of the word “inhabitant," in this constitution, every person shall be considered as an inhabitant, for the purpose of electing and being elected into any office or place within this State, in that town, district or plantation where he dwelleth or hath his home.

The selectmen of the several towns shall preside at such meetings impartially, and shall receive the votes of all the inhabitants of such towns, present and qualified to vote for senators, and shall sort and count them in open town meet

ing, and in presence of the town clerk, who shall make a Return of votes. fair record, in presence of the selectmen, and in open town

meeting, of the name of every person voted for, and of the number of votes against his name; and a fair copy of this record shall be attested by the selectmen and the town clerk, and shall be sealed up, directed to the secretary of the Commonwealth, for the time being, with a superscription expressing the purport of the contents thereof, and delivered by the town clerk of such towns, to the sheriff of the county in which such town lies, thirty days at least before the last Wednesday in May, annually; or it shall be delivered into

Selectmen to preside at town meetings.

See amend. ments, Art. II.

Art. X.

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