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2. All men have certain natural, essential, and inherent rightsamong which are, the enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing, and protecting property; and, in a word, of seeking and obtaining happiness.
3. When men enter into a state of society, they surrender up some of their natural rights to that society, in order to ensure the protection of others; and without such an equivalent the surrender is void.
4. Among the natural rights, some are in their very nature unalienable, because no equivalent can be given or received for them. Of this kind are the rights of conscience.
5. Every individual has a natural and unalienable right to worship God, according to the dictates of his own conscience and reason: and no person shall be hurt, molested, or restrained in his person, liberty, or estate, for worshiping God in the manner most agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience, or for his religious profession, sentiments, or persuasion; provided he doth not disturb the public peace, or disturb others in their religious worship.
6. As morality and piety, rightly grounded on evangelical principles, will give the best and greatest security to government, and will lay, in the hearts of men, the strongest obligations to due subjection; and as the knowledge of these is most likely to be propagated through a society by the institution of the public worship of the Deity, and of public instruction, in morality and religion ; therefore, to promote these important purposes, the people of this State have a right to empower, and do hereby fully empower, the Legislature, to authorize, from time to time, the several towns, parishes, bodies corporate, or religious societies, within this State, to make adequate provision, at their own expense, for the support and maintenance of public Protestant teachers of piety, religion, and morality :
Provided, notuithstanling, That the several towns, parishes, bodies corporate, or religious societies, shall at all times have the exclusive right of electing their own public teachers, and of contracting with them for their support and maintenance: And no person, of any one particular religious sect or denomination, shall ever be compelled to pay towards the support of the teacher or teachers of another persuasion, sect, or denomination.
And every denomination of Christians, demeaning themselves quietly, and as good citizens of the State, shall be equally under the protection of the law: and no subordination of any one sect or de. nomination to another, shall ever be established by law.
And nothing herein shall be understood to affect any former contracts made for the support of the ministry ; but all such contracts shall remain, and be in the same state, as if this Constitution had not been made.
7. The people of this State have the sole and exclusive right of governing themselves as a free, sovereign, and independent State;
and do, and forever hereafter shall, cxcrcise and enjoy every power, jurisdiction, and right, pertaining thereto, which is not, and may not hereafter be, by them expressly delegated to the United States of America in Congress assembled.
8. All power residing originally in, and being derived from the people, all the magistrates and officers of government are their substitutes and agents, and at all times accountable to them.
9. No office or place whatsover, in government, shall be hereditary-the ability and integrity requisite in all not being transmissible to posterity or relations.
10. Government being instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security of the whole community, and not for the private interest or emolument of any one man, family, or class of men : therefore, whenever the ends of the government are perverted, or public liberty manifestly endangered, and all other means of redress are ineffectual, the people may, and of right ought to, reform the old, or establish a new government. The doctrine of non-resistance against arbitrary power and oppression, is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind.
11. All elections ought to be free, and every inhabitant of the State, having the proper qualifications, has an equal right to elect, and be elected, into office.
12. Every member of the community has a right to be protected by it, in the enjoyment of his life, liberty, and property; he is therefore bound to contribute his share to the expense of such protection. and to yield his personal service when necessary, or an equivalent. But no part of a man's property shall be taken from him, or applied to public uses, without his own consent, or that of the representative body of the people. Nor are the inhabitants of this State controlable by any other laws than those to which they, or their representative body, have given their consent.
13. No person who is conscientiously scrupulous about the lawfulness of bearing arms, shall be compelled thereto, provided he will pay an equivalent.
14. Every citizen of this State is entitled to a certain remedy, by having recourse to the laws, for all injuries he may receive in his person, property, or character; to obtain right and justice freely, without being obliged to purchase it; completely, and without denial, promptly, and without delay, conformable to the laws.
15. No person shall be held to answer for any crime or offence, until the same is fully and plainly, substantially and formally, described to him: nor be compelled to accuse or furnish evidence against himself. And every person shall have a right to produce all proofs that may be favorable to himself; to meet the witnesses against him face to face; and to be fully heard in his defense, by himself and counsel. And no person shall be arrested, imprisoned, despoiled, or deprived 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.
16. No person shall be liable to be tried, after an acquittal, for the same crime or offence. Nor shall the Legislature make any law that shall subject any person to a capital punishment (excepting for the government of the army and navy, and the militia in actual service), without trial by jury.
17. In criminal prosecutions, the trial of facts, in the vicinity where they happen, is so essential to the security of the life, liberty, and estate, of the citizens, that no crime or offence ought to be tried in any
other county than that in which it is committed, except in cases of general insurrection in any particular county, when it shall appear to the judges of the superior courts that an impartial trial cannot be had in the county where the offence may be committed, and upon their report the Legislature shall think proper to direct the trial in the nearest county in which an impartial trial can be obtained.
18. All penalties ought to be proportioned to the nature of the offence. No wise legislature will affix the same punishment to the crimes of theft, forgery, and the like, which they do to those of murder and treason. Where the same undistinguished severity is exerted against all offences, the people are led to forget the real is. tinction in the crimes themselves, and to commit the most flagrant with as little compunction as they do the lightest offences. For the same reason, a multitude of sanguinary laws is both impolitic and unjust : the true design of all punishments being to reform, not to exterminate mankind.
19. Every person hath a right to be secure from all unreasonable searches and seizures of his person, his houses, his papers, and all his possessions. Therefore, all warrants to search suspected places, or arrest a person for examination or trial, in prosecution for criminal matters, 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 of a civil officer, to make search in 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, arrest, or seizure; and no warrant ought to be issued, but in cases, and with the formalities, prescribed by law.
20. In all controversies concerning property, and in all suits between two or more persons, excepting in cases wherein it hath been heretofore otherwise used and practised, the parties have a right to a trial by jury; and this right shall be deemed sacred and inviolable; but the Legislature may, by the Constitution, be empowered to make such regulations as will prevent parties from having as many trials by jury, in the same suit or action, as hath been heretofore allowed and practised, and to extend the civil jurisdiction of justices of the peace to the trials of suits where the sum demanded in damages doth not exceed four pounds, saving the right of appeal to either party. But no such regulations shall take away the right of trial by jury, in any case not in this article before excepted, unless in cases respecting mariners' wages.
21. In order to reap the fullest advantage of the inestimable privilege of the trial by jury, great care ought to be taken that none but qualified persons should he appointed to serve; and such ought to be fully compensated for their travel, time, and attendance.
22. The liberty of the press is essential to the security of freedom in a State ; it ought, therefore, to be inviolably preserved.
23. Retrospective laws are highly injurious, oppressive, and unjust. No such laws, therefore, should be made, either for the decision of civil causes, or the punishment of offences.
24. A well regulated militia is the proper, natural, and sure defense of a State.
25. Standing armies are dangerous to liberty, and ought not to be raised, or kept up, without the consent of the Legislature.
26. In all cases, and at all times, the military ought to be under strict subordination to, and governed by the civil power.
27. No soldier, in time of peace, shall 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.
28. No subsidy, charge, tax, impost, or duty shall be established, fixed, laid, or levied, under any pretext whatsoever, without the consent of the people, or their representatives in the Legislature, or authority derived from that body.
29. The power of suspending the laws, or the execution of them, ought never to be exercised but by the Legislature, or by authority derived therefrom, to be exercised in such particular cases only as the Legislature shall expressly provide for.
30. The freedom of deliberation, speech, and debate, in either house of the Legislature, is so essential to the rights of the people, that it cannot be the foundation of any action, complaint, or prosecution, in any other court or place whatsoever.
31. The Legislature shall assemble for the redress of public grievances, and for making such laws as the public good may require.
32. The people have a right, in an orderly and peaccable manner, to assemble and consult upon the public good, give instructions to their representatives, and to request of the legislative body, by way of petition or remonstrance, redress of the wrongs done them, and of the grievances they suffer.
33. No magistrate or court of law shall demand excessive bail or sureties, impose excessive fines, or inflict cruel or unusual punishments.
34. No person can, in any case, be subjected to law martial, or to any pains or penalties 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.