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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 happiness of a people, and the good order and preservation of civil government, essentially depend upon piety, religion and morality; and as these cannot be generally diffused through a Community, but by the institution of the public Worship 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 authorize and require, and the legislature shall, from time to time, authorize and require, the several Towns, Parishes, precincts, and other bodies politic, or religious societies, to make suitable provision, at their own Expence, for the institution of the Public worship of GoD, and for the support and maintenance of public protestant teachers 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 to, and do, invest their legislature with authority to enjoin 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, Parishes, precincts, and other bodies Politic, or religious societies, shall, at all times, have the exclusive right of electing their public Teachers, and of contracting with them for their support and maintenance.AND all monies paid by the Subject to the Support of public worship, and of the public teachers aforesaid, shall, if he require it, be uniformly applied to the support of the public teacher or teachers of his own religious sect or denomiFation, 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 monies are raised-AND every denomination of christians, demeaning themselves peaceably, and as good subjects of the Comonwealth, shall be equally under the protection of the Law: and no subordination of any one sect or denomination to another shall ever be established by law.]1

IV. The people of this Commonwealth have the sole and exclusive right of governing themselves as a free, 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 being derived from them, the several magistrates and 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, have any other title to obtain advantages, or particular and exclusive 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 transmissable to children, or descendants, or relations by blood, the idea of a man born a magistrate, lawgiver, or judge, is absurd and unnatural.


Government is instituted for the Common good; for the protection. safety, prosperity and happiness of the people; and not for the profit, honor, or

votes were cast on the constitution, but this was a larger vote than was cast for governor during the ensuing six years. The convention re-assembled on June 5 for its fourth and last session, and proceeded to tabulate the votes which had been cast on the several proposed provisions. The methods employed in the calculation of the returns were questionable, but on June 15 the convention voted that the people had ratified the constitution as it was submitted to them in the printed form. The constitution became effective on the last Wednesday of October, 1780, except for the purpose of holding the necessary elections. The third convention was held in 1820, and the fourth in 1853. This latter convention assembled on May 4 and adJourned on August 1, 1853, and the constitution as drafted was submitted to the prople on November 11, 1853, and all of the proposed amendments were rejected. Article XI of the Amendments was substituted for Article III in 1833.

private interest of any one man, family, or Class of men: Therefore the people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government; and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity and happiness require it.

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 inhabitants of this Commonwealth, having such qualifications as they shall establish by their frame of government, have an equal right to elect officers, and to be elected, for public employments. --2

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 expence 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 public uses, without his own consent, or that of the representative body of the people. In fine, the people of this Commonwealth are not controulable by any other Laws than those to which their Constitutional representative body have given their consent. And whenever the public exigencies require, that the property of any individual should be appropriated to public uses, he shall receive a reasonable compensation therefor. —-3

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 receiv in his person, property, or character. He ought to obtain right and justier freely, and without being obliged to purchase it; compleatly, and without any denial; promptly, and without delay; conformably to the laws.

XII. No subject shall be held to answer for any Crimes or offence, unti the same is fully and plainly, substantially and formally, described to him; or be Compelled to accuse, or furnish evidence against himself. And every subject shall have a right to produce all proofs that may 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 his election. And no subject shall b arrested, imprisoned, despoiled, or deprived of his property, immunities, o. 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 shall not make any law that shall subject any person to a capital or infamous punishment, excepting for the government of the army an navy, without trial by jury.

XIII. In criminal prosecutions, 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 all 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 the warrant to 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 the laws.

XV. In all controversies concerning property, and in all suits between two or more persons, except in cases in which it has heretofore been otherways used and practiced, the parties have a right to a trial by jury; and this method of procedure shall be held sacred, unless, in causes arising on the

2 For definition of "inhabitant" see Chapter I. Section II, Article II. For an amendment to this article see Amendments, Article XXXIX, adopted

in 1911.

high seas, and such as relate to mariners wages, the legislature shall hereafter ind it necessary to alter it.

XVI The Liberty of the press is essential to the security of freedom na state: it ought not, therefore, to be restrained in this Commonwealth.

XVII. The people have a right to keep and to bear arms for the comon defence. And as, in time of peace, armies are dangerous to liberty, they ught not to be maintained without the consent of the Legislature; and the ilitary power shall always be held in an exact subordination to the Civil uthority, and be governed by it.


XVIII. A frequent recurrence to the fundamental principles of the contitution, and a constant adherrence to those of piety, justice, moderation. imperance, industry, and frugality, are absolutely necessary to preserve the dvantages of liberty, and to maintain a free government. The people ought, sequently, to have a particular attention to all those principles, in the hoice of their Officers and representatives: and they have a right to require their law givers and magistrates, an exact and constant observance of hem. in the formation and execution of the laws necessary for the good dministration of the Commonwealth.

XIX. The people have a right, in an orderly and peaceable manner, to semble to consult upon the common good; give instructions to their reprentatives, and to request of the legislative body, by the way of addresses, petions, or remonstrances, redress of the wrongs done them, and of the grievbees they suffer. ———

XX. The power of suspending the Laws, or the execution of the laws. nght never to be exercised but by the legislature, or by authority derived mit, to be exercised in such particular cases only as the legislature shall ressly provide for.

XXI. The freedom of deliberation, speech and debate, in either house of he legislature, is so essential to the rights of the people, that it cannot the foundation of any accusation or prosecution, action or complaint, in other court or place whatsoever.

XXII. The legislature ought frequently to assemble for the redress of rievances, for correcting, strengthening, and confirming the laws, and for aking new laws, as the common good may require.

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

XXIV. Laws made to punish for actions done before the existence of such ws, and which have not been declared crimes by preceding laws, are unjust, ppressive, and inconsistent with the fundamental principles of a free governent.

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

XXVI. No magistrate or court of law, shall demand excessive bail or reties, impose excessive fines, or inflict cruel or unusual Punishments.

XXVII. In time of peace, no soldier ought to be quartered in any house without the consent of the owner; and in time of War, such quarters ought ut to be made but by the civil magistrate, in a manner ordained by the gislature.

XXVIII. No person can in any case be subjected to law martial, or to y pênalties or pains, by virtue of that law, except those employed in the army r navy, and except the militia in actual service, but by authority of the legis ature.

XXIX. It is essential to the preservation of the rights of every individual, is life, liberty, property and character, that there be an impartial interpreation of the laws, and administration of justice. It is the right of every itizen to be tried by judges as free, impartial and independent as the lot of umanity will admit. It is, therefore, not only the best policy, but for the urity of the rights of the people, and of every citizen, that the judges of the upreme judicial Court should hold their offices as long as they behave them

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

XXX. In the government of this Commonwealth, the legislative depart ment shall never exercise the executive and judicial powers, or either of them: The executive shall never exercise 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.



The people, inhabiting the territory formerly called the Province of Massachusetts Bay, do hereby solemnly and 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.


Section I.


ART. I. The department of legislation shall be formed by 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 last Wednesday in May, and at such other times as they shall judge necessary. ⚫ and shall dissolve and be dissolved on the day next preceding the said last Wednesday in May;] and shall be stiled, THE GENERAL COURT OF MASSACHUSETTS.4 II. No bill or resolve of the Senate or House of Representatives shal become a law, and have force as such, until it shall have been laid befor 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 objection to the passing of such bill or resolve, he shall return the same, te gether with his objections thereto, in writing, to the Senate or House of Representatives, in which soever the same shall have originated; who shall enter the objections sent down by the Governor, at large, on their records. and proceed to reconsider the said bill or resolve. But if after such reconsideration, two-thirds of the said Senate or House of Representatives, sha!! 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 i 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 shal not be returned by the Governor within five days after it shall have beet presented, the same shall have the force of a law. —5

III. The General Court shall forever have full power and 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 determin ing of all manner of Crimes, offences, pleas, processes, plaints,actions, matters causes and things, whatsoever, arising or happening within the Commot wealth, or between or concerning persons inhabiting, or residing, or brought within the same, whether the same be criminal or Civil, or whether the sti crimes be capital or not capital, and whether the said pleas be real, persona

For change of date of assembling of the general court see Amendments. Articl X, adopted in 1831. Article I of the Amendments, adopted in 1821, provides that bills not receivin the governor's approbation by reason of an adjournment shall not have effect as kiv

or mixt; 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.

IV. 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, directions and instructions, either with penalties or without; so as 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 defense of the government thereof; and to name and settle annually, or provide by fixed laws, for the naming and settling all civil officers within the said Commonwealth, the election and Constitution of whom are not hereafter in this Form of Government otherwise provided for; and to set 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 proportional 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 reasonable duties and excises, upon any produce, goods, wares. merchandize, and commodities, whatsoever, brought into, produced, manufactured, or being within the same; to be issued and disposed of by warrant, under the hand of the 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 said 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 thereof, shall be assessed on polls and estates, in the manner that has hitherto been practiced, 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.-6


Section II.


I. [There shall be annually elected, by the freeholders and other inhabitants of this Commonwealth, qualified as in this Constitution is provided, forty persons to be Counsellors and Senators for the year ensuing their election: to be chosen by the Inhabitants of the districts into which the Commonwealth may from time to time be divided by the General Court for that purpose: And the General Court in assigning the 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 district, and the number of Counsellors 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 Court shall determine it necessary to alter the said districts, be districts

Article XLI of the Amendments adopted in 1912 authorizes the general court to devise special methods for the taxation of wild and forest lands; Article XLIV of the Amendments adopted in 1915, empowers the general court to impose taxes on incomes. By Article II and XLII of the Amendments, respectively, the general ourt is empowered to charter cities and refer bills and resolves to a vote of the people.

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