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ADOPTED IN CONVENTION, WHICH ASSEMBLED AT THE CITY OF ANNAP
OLIS ON THE FOURTH DAY OF NOVEMBER, EIGHTEEN HUNDRED AND FIFTY, AND ADJOURNED ON THE THIRTEENTH DAY OF MAY, EIGHTEEN HUNDRED AND FIFTY-ONE.
THE DECLARATION OF RIGHTS. We, the People of the State of Maryland, grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious liberty, and taking into our serious consideration the best means of establishing a good Constitution in this State, for the sure foundation and more permanent security thereof, declare :
Art. 1. That all government of right originates from the people, is founded in compact only, and instituted solely for the good of the whole; and they have at all times, according to the mode prescribed in this Constitution, the unalienable right to alter, reform, or abolish their form of government, in such manner as they may deem expedient.
2. That the people of this State ought to have the sole and exclusive right of regulating the internal government and police thereof.
3. That the inliabitants of Maryland are entitled to the common law of England, and the trial by jury according to the course of that law, and to the benefit of such of the English statutes as existed on the fourth day of July, seventeen hundred and seventysix, and which, by experience, have been found applicable to their local and other circumstances, and have been introduced, used and practised by the courts of law or equity, and also of all acts of Assembly in force on the first Monday of November, eighteen hundred and fifty, except such as may have since expired, or may be altered by this Constitution, subject, nevertheless, to the revision of, and amendment or repeal by the Legislature of this State; and the inhabitants of Maryland are also entitled to all property derived to them from or under the charter granted by his Majesty Charles the First, to Cæcilius Calvert, Baron of Baltimore.
4. That all persons invested with the legislative or executive powers of government are the trustees of the public, and as such accountable for their conduct; wherefore, whenever the ends of government are perverted, and 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.
5. That the right of the people to participate in the Legislature is the best security of liberty, and the foundation of all free govern. ment; for this purpose elections ought to be free and frequent, and every free white male citizen having the qualifications prescribed by the Constitution, ought to have the right of suffrage.
6. That the legislative, executive and judicial powers of government ought to be forever separate and distinct from each other; and no person exercising the functions of one of said departments, shall assume or discharge the duties of any other.
7. That no power of suspending laws, or the execution of laws, unless by or derived from the Legislature, ought to be exercised or allowed.
8. That freedom of speech and debate or proceedings in the Legislature, ought not to be impeached in any court of judicature.
9. That Annapolis be the place for the meeting of the Legislature; and the Legislature ought not to be convened or held at any other place but from evident necessity.
10. That for the redress of grievances, and for amending, strengthening and preserving the laws, the Legislature ought to be frequently convened.
11. That every man hath a right to petition the Legislature for the redress of grievances in a peaceable and orderly manner.
12. That no aid, charge, tax, burthen, or fees, ought to be rated or levied, under any pretence, without the consent of the Legislature.
13. That the levying of taxes by the poll is grievous and oppressive, and ought to be abolished ; that paupers ought not to be assessed for the support of government, but every other person in the State, or person holding property therein, ought to contribute his proportion of public taxes, for the support of government, according to his actual worth in real or personal property; yet fines, duties, or taxes may properly and justly be imposed or laid, on persons or property, with a political view, for the good government and benefit of the community.
14. That sanguinary laws ought to be avoided as far as is consistent with the safety of the State ; and no law to inflict cruel and unusual pains and penalties ought to be made in any case, or at any time hereafter.
15. That retrospective laws, punishing acts committed before the existence of such laws, and by them only declared criminal, are oppressive, unjust and incompatible with liberty; wherefore, no ex post facto law ought to be made.
16. That no law to attaint particular persons of treason or felony, ought to be made in any case, or at any time hereafter.
17. That every free man, for any injury done to him in his person or property, ought to have remedy by the course of the law of the land, and ought to have justice and right, freely without sale, fully without any denial, and speedily without delay, according to the law of the land.
18. That the trial of facts where they arise, is one of the greatest securities of the lives, liberties, and estate of the people.
19. That in all criminal prosecutions, every man hath a right to be informed of the accusation against him; to have a copy of the indictment or charge, in due time (if required) to prepare for his defence; to be allowed counsel; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have process for his witnesses; to examine the witnesses for and against him on oath; and to a speedy trial by an impartial jury, without whose unanimous consent he ought not to be found guilty.
20. That no man ought to be compelled to give evidence against himself in a court of common law, or in any other court, but in such cases as have been usually practised in this State, or may hereafter be directed by the Legislature.
21. That no free man ought to be taken or imprisoned, or disseized of his freehold, liberties or privileges, or outlawed, or exiled, or in any manner destroyed, or deprived of his life, liberty or property, but by the judgment of his peers, or by the law of the land; provided, that nothing in this article shall be so construed as to prevent the Legislature from passing all such laws for the government, regulation and disposition of the free colored population of this State as they may deem necessary.
22. That excessive bail ought not to be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel or unusual punishment inflicted by the courts of law.
23. That all warrants, without oath, or affirmation, to search suspected places, or to seize any person or property, are grievous and oppressive; and all general warrants to search suspected places, or to apprehend suspected persons, without naming or describing the place, or the person in special, are illegal, and ought not to be granted.
24. That no conviction shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture of estate.
25. That a well regulated militia is the proper and natural defence of a free government.
26. That standing armies are dangerous to liberty, and ought not to be raised or kept up without consent of the Legislature.
27. That in all cases and at all times the military ought to be under strict subordination to, and control of the civil power.
28. That no soldier ought to be quartered in any house in time of peace without the consent of the owner, and in time of war in such manner only as the Legislature shall direct.
29. That no person, except regular soldiers, mariners, and marines, in the service of this State, or militia when in actual service, ought in any case to be subject to, or punishable by, martial law.
30. That the independency and uprightness of judges are essential to the impartial administration of justice, and a great security to the rights and liberties of the people; wherefore the judges shall not be removed, except for misbehaviour, on conviction in a court of law, or by the governor, upon the address of the General Assembly; provided, that two-thirds of all the members of each house concur in such address. No judge shall hold any other office, civil or military, or political trust or employment of any kind whatsoever, under the constitution or laws of this State, or of the United States, or any of them, or receive fees or perquisites of any kind for the discharge of his official duties.
31. That a long continuance in the executive departments of power or trust is dangerous to liberty; a rotation, therefore, in those departments is one of the best securities of permanent freedom.
32. That no person ought to hold at the same time more than one office of profit, created by the constitution or laws of this State; nor ought any person in public trust to receive any present from any foreign prince, or State, or from the United States, or any of them, without the approbation of this State.
33. That as it is the duty of every man to worship God in such manner as he thinks most acceptable to Him, all persons are equally entitled to protection in their religious liberty; wherefore, no person ought, by any law, to be molested in his person or estate, on account of his religious persuasion or profession, or for his religious practice, unless under color of religion any man shall disturb the good order, peace, or safety of the State, or shall infringe the laws of morality, or injure others in their natural, civil, or religious rights; nor ought any person to be compelled to frequent or maintain or contribute, unless on contract, to maintain any place of worship or any ministry; nor shall any person be deemed incompetent as a witness or juror who believes in the existence of a God, and that under his dispensation such person will be held morally accountable for his acts, and be rewarded or punished therefor, either in this world or the world to come.
34. That no other test or qualification ought to be required, on admission to any office of trust or profit, than such oath of office as may be prescribed by this Constitution, or by the laws of the State, and a declaration of belief in the Christian religion; and if the party shall profess to be a Jew, the declaration shall be of his belief in a future state of rewards and punishments.
35. That every gift, sale or devise of land, to any minister, public teacher or preacher of the gospel, as such, or to any religious sect, order or denomination, or to or for the support, use or benefit of, or in trust for any minister, public teacher, or preacher of the gospel, as such, or any religious sect, order or denomination, and every gift or sale of goods or chattels to go in succession, or to take place after the death of the seller or donor, to or for such support, use or benefit; and, also, every devise of goods or chattels, to or for the
support, use or benefit of any minister, public teacher or preacher of the gospel, as such; or any religious sect, order or denomination, without the leave of the Legislature, shall be void ; except always, any sale, gift, lease or devise of any quantity of land, not exceeding five acres, for a church, meeting house or other house of worship, or parsonage, or for a burying ground, which shall be improved, enjoyed or used only for such purpose; or such sale, gift, lease or devise shall be void.
36. That the manner of administering an oath or affirmation to any person, ought to be such as those of the religious persuasion, profession or denomination of which he is a member, generally esteem the most effectual confirmation by the attestation of the Divine Being
37. That the city of Annapolis ought to have all its rights, privileges and benefits, agreeably to its charter, and the acts of Assembly confirming and regulating the same; subject to such alterations as have been or as may be made by the Legislature.
38. That the liberty of the press ought to be inviolably preserved.
39. That monopolies are odious, contrary to the spirit of a free government and the principles of commerce, and ought not to be suffered.
40. That no title of nobility or hereditary honors ought to be granted in this State.
41. That the Legislature ought to encourage the diffusion of knowledge and virtue, the promotion of literature, the arts, sciences, agriculture, commerce and manufactures, and the general melioration of the condition of the people.
42. This enumeration of rights shall not be construed to impair or deny others retained by the people.
43. That this Constitution shall not be altered, changed or abolished, except in the manner therein prescribed and directed.
ARTICLE. I.--Elective Franchise. Sec. 1. Every free white male person, of twenty-one years of age or upwards, who shall have been one year next preceding the election a resident of the State, and for six months a resident of the city of Baltimore, or of any county in which he may offer to vote, and being at the time of the election a citizen of the United States, shall be entitled to vote in the ward or election district in which he resides, in all elections hereafter to be held; and at all such elections the vote shall be taken by ballot. And in case any county or city shall be so divided as to form portions of different electoral districts for the election of Congressmen, Senator, delegate,