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DECLARATION os RIGHTS,
FORM of GOVERNMENT
AGREED TO BY THE DELEGATES OF MARYLAND, IN FREE AND FULL CONVENTION AS, SEMBLED.
A DECLARATION of RIGHTS, 6cc.
nPHE Parliament of Great-Britain, by a • Declaratory Act, having assumed a right to make laws to bind the Colonies in all cafes whatsoever, and in pursuance of such claim endeavoured by force of arms to subjugate the United Colonies to an unconditional submission to their will and power, and having at length constrained them to declare themselves Independent States, and to assume government under the authority of the people: therefore, We, the Delegates of Maryland, in free and full - Conven
Convention assembled, taking into our most serious consideration the best means of establishing a good constitution in this State, for the sure foundation and more permanent security thereof, declare,
, I. That all government of right originates from the people, is founded in compact only, and instituted solely for the good of the whole.
II. That the people of this State ought to have the sole and exclusive right of regulating the internal government and police thereof.
III, That the inhabitants 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 os such of the English statutes as existed at the time of their first emigration, and which by experience have been found applicable to their local and other circumstances, and of such others as have been since made in England, or Great-Britain, and have been introduced, used, and practised, by the courts of law or equity; and also to all Acts of Assembly in force on the first of June seventeen hundred and seventy-four, except such as may have since expired, or have been, or may be altered by Acts of Convention, or this De-r claration of Rights, 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 I. to Cæcilius Calvert, Baron of Baltimore.
IV. 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.
V. That the right in the people to participate in the legislature is the best security os liberty, and the foundation of all free government. For this purpose, elections ought to be free and frequent, and every man having property in, a common interest with, and attachment to, the community, ought to have a right of suffrage.
VI. That the legislative, executive, and judicial powers of government ought to be forever separate and distinct from each other.
VII. That no power of suspending laws, or the execution of laws, unless by, or derived from, the legislature, ought to be exercised or allowed.
VIII. That freedom of speech and debates, or proceedings in the legislature, ought not to be impeached in any other court of judicature.
IX. That a place for the meeting of the legislature ought to be fixed, the most convenient to the Members thereof, and to the depository of public records; and the legislature ought not to be convened or held at any other place, but from evident necessity.
X. That for redress of grievances, and for amending, strengthening and preserving the
■ laws, the legislature ought to be frequently convened.
XL That every man hath a right to petition the legislature for the redress of grievances, in a peaceable and orderly manner.
XII. i That no aid, charge, tax, fee or fees, ought to be set, rated, or levied, under any pretence, without consent of the legislature.
XIII. That the levying 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 ought to contribute his proportion of public taxes for the support of government, according to his actual worth in real or personal property within the State; yet fines, duties, or taxes, may properly and justly be imposed or laid with a political view for the good government and benefit of the community.
XIV. 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 cafe, or at any time hereafter.
XV. That retrospective laws, punishing facts committed before the existence of such laws, and by them only declared criminal, are oppressive, unjust, and incompatible with liberty, wherefore no ex post faElo law ought to be made.
XVI. That no law to attaint particular persons of treason or felony ought to be made in any case, or at any time hereafter.