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an original, explicit, and solemn compact with each other; and of forming a new constitution of civil government, for ourselves and posterity; and devoutly imploring His direction in so interesting a design, do agree upon, ordain, and establish, the following Declaration of Rights, and Frame of Government, as the CONSTITUTION OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS.


natural rights of all men.

Right and duty of public reli

2 Cush. 104.
12 Allen, 129.

A Declaration of the Rights of the Inhabitants of the

Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Equality and ARTICLE I. All men are born free and equal, and have

certain natural, essential, and unalienable rights; among which may be reckoned the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties; that of acquiring, possessing, and protecting property ; in fine, that of seeking and obtaining their safety and happiness.

II. It is the right as well as the duty of all men in gious worship. society, publicly, and at stated seasons, to worship the

SUPREME Being, the great Creator and Preserver of the universe. And no subject shall be hurt, molested, or restrained, in his person, liberty, or estate, for worshipping God in the manner and season most agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience; or for his religious profession of sentiments; provided he doth not disturb the

public peace, or obstruct others in their religious worship. Amendment, III. [As the happiness of a people, and the good order tuted for this. 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 Legislature em: instructions in piety, religion, and morality: Therefore, pel provision for to promote their happiness, and to secure the good order public worship, 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 expense, for the institution of the public worship of God, and for the support and maintenance of public Protestant teachers

Art. XI. substi.

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 arendado 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 96 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 tiines accountable to them.

VI. No man, nor corporation, or association of men, Serviccs renhave any other title to obtain advantages, or particular public being the and exclusive privileges, distinct from those of the com-poly Hitleri munity, than what arises from the consideration of ser- fekes, 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



erument; right of people to institute and change it.

Right of people to secure rota. tion in ottice.

born a magistrate, lawgiver, or judge, is absurd and

unnatural. Objects of goy VII. Government is instituted for the common good;

for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for the profit, honor, or private interest of

any one man, family, or class of men : Therefore the people alone have an incontestible, 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 appoint

ments. All, having the IX. All elections ought to be free; and all the inhabqualitications

itants of this commonwealth, having such qualifications as

they shall establish by their frame of government, have an tion of inhabit. equal right to elect officers, and to be elected, for public Sect. 2. employments.

Å. Each individual of the society has a right to be tion and duty of

protected by it in the enjoyment of his life, liberty, and

property, according to standing laws. He is obliged, conTaxation found. sequently, 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 indii tiek. 184,467. vidual can, with justice, be taken from him, or applied to

public uses, without his own consent, or that of the repre7 Gray, 363.

sentative 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 Private prop.

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 reasonable compensation therefor.

equally eligible
to otlice.
For the defini.

122 Mass. 593, 596.

Right of protec.

contribution correlative.

16 Mans. 320.
1 l’ick. 418.
7 Pick. 31.
23 Lick. 360.
7 Met. 388.
4 Gray, 471.

14 Gray, 154. 1 All, n, 150. 4 Allen, 471.

erty not to be

6 Cush. 327.
14 Gray, 15).
16 Gray, 417,


1 Allen, 150.
11 Allen, 530.
12 Allen, 223, 230.
100 Mass. 511, 510.

[blocks in formation]

Remedies, by recourse to the

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, property, or character. lle ought to obtain right and justice freely, and without being obliged to purchase it ;


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, s Picb. 211. and formally, described to him ; or be compelled to accuse, 18 Pick. 434. or furnish evidence against himself. And every subject 21 Pick 3:54.2. shall have a right to produce all proofs that may be 12Cush, 246. favorable to him ; to meet the witnesses against him face s 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 Gray 438. arrested, imprisoned, despoiled, or deprived of his prop- 240, 264,439, erty, immunities, or privileges, put out of the protection 73 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,

12 Allen, 170.

103 Mass. 418.

107 Mass. 172, 180. 108 Mass. 5, 6.

118 Mass. 443, 451.
120 Mass. 118, 120.

122 Mass, 332.
124 Mass. 464.

127 Mass. 550, 554.
129 Mass. 559.

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, 329, 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- veinity, 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.

are contrary to this right, if the cause or founda- 2 Met, 329. tion of them be not previously supported by oath or affir- 1.Gray, . 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 130 suspected persons, or to seize their property, be not accom- 235. 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

Const. of U.S.,



126 Mass. 269,

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 cop, 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 Pick 32 of procedure shall be held sacred, unless, in causes arising 6 Gray, 144. on the high seas, and such as relate to mariners' wages, 11 Alien, 5it, the legislature shall hereafter find it necessary to alter it. 102 Mass. 45,


114 Mass. 388, 390. 120 Mass. 320, 321.

122 Mass. 503, 516.
123 Mass. 590, 593.

125 Mass. 182, 188.
1:28 Mass. 600.

Liberty of the press.

Right to keep and bear arms.

ordinate to civil.

tions for office.

tions of law giv.


to instruct rep.

XVI. The liberty of the press is essential to the security of freedom in a state : it ought not, therefore, to be restrained in this commonwealth.

XVII. The people have a right to keep and to bear Standing armies arms for the common defence. And as, in time of peace, itary power sub. armies are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be 5 Gray, 121. maintained without the consent of the legislature; and

the military power shall always be held in an exact subor

dination to the civil authority, and be governed by it. Moral qualifica. XVIII. A frequent recurrence to the fundamental

principles of the constitution, and a constant adherence to those of piety, justice, moderation, temperance, industry, and frugality, are absolutely necessary to preserve the advantages of liberty, and to maintain a free government. The people ought, consequently, to have a particular atten

tion to all those principles, in the choice of their officers Moral obliga. and representatives : and they have a right to require of ers and magis.* their lawgivers and magistrates an exact and constant

observance of them, in the formation and execution of the laws necessary for the good administration of the common

wealth. Right of people XIX. The people have a right, in an orderly and peaceresentatives and able manner, to assemble to consult upon the common petition legisla. good; give instructions to their representatives, and to

request of the legislative body, by the way of addresses, petitions, or remonstrances, redress of the wrongs done

them, and of the grievances they suffer. Power to sus.

XX. The power of suspending the laws, or the executheir execution. tion of the laws, ought never to be exercised but by the

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

XXI. The freedom of deliberation, speech, and debate, reason thereof. in 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. Frequent ses.

XXII. The legislature ought frequently to assemble jects thereof.

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.

pend the laws or

Freedom of de. bate, etc., and

Bions, and ob.

Taxation found.
ed on consent.
8 Allen, 217.

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