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The end of the institution, maintenance, and administra- Objects of tion of government, is to secure the existence of the body
government politic, to protect it, and to furnish the individuals who compose it with the power of enjoying in safety and tranquillity their natural rights, and the blessings of life: and whenever these 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 Body politic of individuals : it is a social compact, by which the whole howfoured people covenants with each citizen, and each citizen with the whole people, that all shall be governed 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 his security in them.
We, therefore, the people of Massachusetts, acknowledging, with grateful hearts, the goodness of the great Legislator of the universe, in affording us, in the course of His providence, an opportunity, deliberately and peaceably, without fraud, violence, or surprise, of entering into
an original, explicit, and solemn compact with each other;
PART THE FIRST.
Right and duty
A Declaration of the Rights of the Inhabitants of the
Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
certain natural, essential, and unalienable rights; among
II. It is the right as well as the duty of all men in
SUPREME Being, the great Creator and Preserver of the
III. [As the happiness of a people, and the good order
institution of the public worship of God, and of public
and preservation of their government, the people of this
paid, unless, etc.
of piety, religion, and morality, in all cases where such provision shall not be made voluntarily.
And the people of this commonwealth have also a right attend to enjoin to, and do, invest their legislature with authority to enjoin thereon. upon all the subjects an attendance upon the instructions of the public teachers aforesaid, at stated times and seasons, if there be any on whose instructions they can conscientiously and conveniently attend.
Provided, notwithstanding, that the several towns, par- Exclusive right ishes, precincts, and other bodies politic, or religious socie- gious teachers ties, shall, at all times, have the exclusive right of electing secured. their public teachers, and of contracting with them for their support and maintenance.
And all moneys paid by the subject to the support of option as to public worship, and of the public teachers aforesaid, shall, taxes may be if he require it, be uniformly applied to the support of the public teacher or teachers of his own religious sect or denomination, provided there be any on whose instructions he attends; otherwise it may be paid towards the support of the teacher or teachers of the parish or precinct in which the said moneys are raised.
And every denomination of Christians, demeaning them- All denominaselves peaceably, and as good subjects of the commonwealth, protected. shall be equally under the protection of the law : and no Subordination subordination of any one sect or denomination to another of one sect to shall ever be established by law.]
IV. The people of this commonwealth have the sole Right of selfand exclusive right of governing themselves, as a free, secured. sovereign, and independent state ; 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 assembled.
V. All power residing originally in the people, and Accountability being derived from them, the several magistrates and etc. officers of government, vested with authority, whether legislative, executive, or judicial, are their substitutes and agents, and are at all times accountable to them.
VI. No man, nor corporation, or association of men, services ren. have any other title to obtain advantages, or particular public being the and exclusive privileges, distinct from those of the com- poly little to munity, than what arises from the consideration of ser- leges, heredivices rendered to the public; and this title being in absurd and nature neither hereditary, nor transmissible to children, or descendants, or relations by blood, the idea of a man
Objects of gov ernment; right of people to institute and change it.
to secure rota. tion in office.
All, having the
born a magistrate, lawgiver, or judge, is absurd and
VII. Government is instituted for the common good;
safety, prosperity, and happiness require it. Right of people
VIII. In order to prevent those who are vested with authority from becoming oppressors, 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 inhabqualifications
itants of this commonwealth, having such qualifications as equally eligible
they shall establish by their frame of government, have an tion of inhabit. equal right to elect officers, and to be elected, for public ant," see Ch. 1; 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 standing laws. He is obliged, consequently, to contribute his share to the expense of this protection; to give his personal service, or an equivalent, when necessary: 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 not controllable by any other laws than those to which their constitutional representative
body have given their consent. And whenever the pubtaken for public lic exigencies require that the property of any individual
should be appropriated to public uses, he shall receive a
1 Allen, 150.
122 Mass. 595, 596.
Sect. 2, Art. II. Right of protection and duty of contribution correlative.
Taxation found. ed on consent. 16 Mass. 326. 1 Pick. 418. 7 Pick. 344. 12 Pick, 181, 467. 16 Pick. 87. 23 Pick. 360. 7 Met. 388. 4 Gray, 474. 7 Gray, 363. 14 Gray, 154. 1 Allen, 150. 4 Allen, 474. Private property not to be
6 Cush. 327. 14 Gray, 155. 10 Gray, 417, 431.
11 Allen, 530.
103 Mass. 120, 624.
113 Mass, 45. 127 Mass. 50, 52,
358, 363, 410, 413.
Remedies, by recourse to the
complete and prompt.
XI. Every subject of the commonwealth ought to find law, to be free, a certain remedy, by having recourse to the laws, for all
injuries or wrongs which he may receive in his person,
completely, and without any denial; promptly, and without delay; conformably to the laws.
XII. No subject shall be held to answer for any crimes Prosecutions or offence, until the same is fully and plainly, substantially, sPick. 211. and formally, described to him ; or be compelled to accuse, is Pick: 434. or furnish evidence against himself. And every subject 1 Pick;542. shall have a right to produce all proofs that may be 12 Cush. 246. favorable to him ; to meet the witnesses against him face 5 Gray, 160. to face, and to be fully heard in his defence by himself, 10 Gray, 11. or his counsel, at his election. And no subject shall be 11 Gray 438. arrested, imprisoned, despoiled, or deprived of his prop- 240, 260, 439, erty, immunities, or privileges, put out of the protection 473. of the law, exiled, or deprived of his life, liberty, or 97 Mass. 570, estate, but by the judgment of his peers, or the law of 100 Mass. 287, the land.
2 , 361.
107 Mass. 172, 180. 108 Mass. 5, 6.
118 Mass. 443, 451.
122 Mass. 332.
127 Masg. 550, 554.
103 Mass. 418.
And the legislature shall not make any law that shall Right to trial by subject any person to a capital or infamous punishment, cases, except, excepting for the government of the army and navy, with- & Gray, 320, 373. out trial by jury.
XIII. In criminal prosecutions, the verification of facts, Crimes to be in the vicinity where they happen, is one of the great- vicinity, est securities of the life, liberty, and property of the 121 Mass. 61, 62. citizen.
XIV. Every subject has a right to be secure from all Right of search unreasonable searches, and seizures, of his person, his regulated, houses, his papers, and all his possessions. All warrants, Amend't iv. therefore, are contrary to this right, if the cause or founda- 3 de 33% tion of them be not previously supported by oath or affir- 1. Gray, 1; mation, and if the order in the warrant to a civil officer, to 10 Allen, 403. make search in suspected places, or to arrest one or more 139. suspected persons, or to seize their property, be not accom- 273. panied with a special designation of the persons or objects of search, arrest, or seizure: and no warrant ought to be issued but in cases, and with the formalities prescribed by the laws.
XV. In all controversies concerning property, and in Right to trial by all suits between two or more persons, except in cases in cept, etc. which it has heretofore been otherways used and practised, Amend't vii. the parties have a right to a trial by jury; and this method z Pick 382 of procedure shall be held sacred, unless, in causes arising 5 Gray, 1#*. on the high seas, and such as relate to mariners' wages, 11 Allen, 574, the legislature shall hereafter find it necessary to alter it. 102 Mass. 45,
114 Mass. 388, 390.
100 Mass. 136,
126 Mass, 269,
jury sacred, ex
120 Mass. 320, 321.
122 Mass. 505, 516.
125 Mass. 182, 183.