Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

redress of grievences, for correcting, strengthening, and confirming the laws, and for making new laws, as the common good may require.

23. No subsidy, charge, tax, impost, or duties, ought to be established, fixed, laid, or levied, under any pretext whatever, without the consent of the people, or their representatives in the legislature.

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

25. No person ought, in any case, or in any time, to be declared guilty of treason or felony by the legislature.

26. No magistrate, or court of law, shall demand excessive bail or sureties, impose excessive fines, or inflict cruel or unusual punishments.

27. 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 not to be made, but by the civil magistrate, in manner ordained by the legislature.

28. No person can, in any case, be subjected to law martial, or to any penalties or pains by virtue of that law, (except those employed in the army or navy, and except the militia in actual service.) but by the authority of the legislature. 1 29. It is essential to the preservation of the rights of every individual, his life, liberty, property, and character, that there be an impartial interpretation of the laws, and administration of justice. It is the right of every citizen to be tried by judges as free, impartial, and independent, as the lot of humanity will admit. It is, therefore, not only the best policy, but for the security of the rights of the people, and of every citizen, that the judges of the supreme judicial court should hold their offices as long as they behave themselves well; and that they should have honourable salaries, ascertained and established by standing laws.

30. In the government of this commonwealth, the legislative department 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 that it may be a govern. ment of laws, and not of men.

PART 2.

Frame of government. 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.

CHAP, 1.-Section 1.
THE LEGISLATIVE POWER.

The General Court. Article 1. 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 of 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 styled, The General Court of Massachusetts.

2. No bill or resolve of the senate or house of representatives shall become a law, and have force as such, until it shall have been laid before 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, together with his objections thereto, in writing, to the senate or house of representatives, in whichsoever the same shall bave originated; who shall enter the objections sent down by the governor, at large, on their records, and proceed to reconsi. der the said bill or resolve; but if, after such reconsideration, two-thirds of the said senate or house of representatives, shall, 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 it shall also be reconsidered, and if approved by two-thirds of the members present, it 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 shall not be returned by the governor within five days after it shall have been presented, the same shall have the force of a law.

3. The general court shall for ever 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 determining of all manner of crimes, offences, pleas, processes, plaints, actions, matters, causes, and things, whatsoever, arising or happening within the commonwealth, or between or concerning persons inhabiting or residing, or brought within the same; whether

the same be criminal or civil; or whether the said crimes be capital or not capital, and whether the said pleas be real, personal, or mixed; 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.

4. 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 inis 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 citizens of the same, and for the necessary support and de. fence 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 shall be respectively administered unto them for the exe. cution 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, merchandizes, 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 citi. zens 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 practised ; 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 the least, and as much oftener as the general court shall order,

CHAP. 1.--SECTION 2.

Senate. Article 1. 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 representative 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 be never 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 for choice of counsellors and senators, (except that the counties of Dukes-county and Nantucket shall form one district for that purpose,) and shall elect the following number for counsellors and senators, viz. Suffolk

Six
York

two Essex six Dukes-county and

one Middlesex

five

Nantucket Hampshire four Worcester

five Plymouth three | Cumberland

one Barnstable one Lincoln

one Bristol three Berkshire

two 2. The senate shall be the first branch of the legislature: and the senators shall be chosen in the following manner, viz. There shall be a meeting on the first Monday in April, annually, for ever, of the inhabitants of each town in the several counties of this commonwealth ; to be called by the selectmen, and warned in due course of law, at least seven days before the first Monday in April, for the purpose of electing persons tu be senators and counsellors. And at such meetings every male inhabitant, of twenty-one years of age and upwards, having a freebold estate within the commonwealth of the annual income of three pounds, or any estate of the value of sixty pounds, sball have a right to give in his vote for the senators for the district of which he is an inhabitant. And to remove all doubts concerning the word “inhabitant” in this constitution, every person shall be considered as an inhabitant (for the purpose of electing and being elected into any office or place within this

the same be criminal or civil; or whether the said crimes be capital or not capital, and whether the said pleas be real, personal, or mixed; 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.

4. 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 citizens of the same, and for the necessary support and de. fence 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 affirma. tions shall be respectively administered unto them for the exe. cution of their several offices and places, so as the same be not repugnant or contrary to this constitution i 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, merchandizes, 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 go. vernor 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 citi. zens 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 practised ; 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 the least, and as much oftener as the general court shall order,

« ZurückWeiter »