Page images

on me as

denial, renunciation, and abjuration heartily and truly, according to the common meaning and acceptation of the foregoing words, without any equivocation, mental evasion, or secret reservation whatsoever. So help me God. “I, A. B., do solemnly swear and affirm, that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent

according to the best of my abilities and understanding, agreeably to the rules and regulations of the Constitution, and the laws of this commonwealth. So

help me God." Provided always, that when any person chosen or appointed as aforesaid shall be of the denomination of the people called Quakers, and shall decline taking the said oaths, he shall make his affirmation, in the foregoing form, and subscribe the same, omitting the words, " I do swear," "and abjure," "oath," "and abjuration," in the first oath ; and in the second oath, the words “ swear and," and in each of them the words “so help me God;” subjoining instead thereof, “ This I do under the pains and penalties of perjury."

And the said oaths or affirmations shall be taken and subscribed by the Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, and counselors, before the President of the Senate, in the presence of the two houses of assembly: and by the senators and representatives first elected under this Constitution, before the President and five of the Council of the former Constitution; and, forever afterwards, before the Governor and Council for the time being; and by the residue of the officers aforesaid, before such persons as, from time to time, shall be prescribed by the Legislature.

2. No Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, or judge of the Supreme Judicial Court, shall hold any office or place under the authority of this commonwealth, except such as by this Constitution they are admitted to hold, saving that the judges of the said Court may hold the offices of justices of the peace throughout the State; nor shall they hold any other place or office, or receive any pension or salary, from any other State, or government, or power whatever.

No person shall be capable of holding or exercising, at the same time, more than one of the following offices within this State, viz. judge of probate, sheriff, register of probate, or register of deeds : and never more than any two offices, which are to be held by appointment of the Governor, or the Governor and Council, or the Senate, or the House of Representatives, or by election of the people of the State at large, or of the people of any county (military officer and the office of justice of the peace excepted,) shall be held by one person.

No person holding the office of judge of the Supreme Judicial Court, Secretary, Attorney-General, Solicitor-General, Treasurer, or Receiver-General, judge of probate, Commissary-General, President, professor, or instructor of Harvard College, Sheriff, Clerk of the House of Representatives, register of probate, register of deeds, clerk of the Supreme Judicial Court, clerk of the inferior court of common pleas, or officer of the customs, (including in this description naval officers,) shall at the same time have a seat in the Senate or House of Representatives; but, their being chosen or appointed to, and accepting the same, shall

opperate as a resignation of their seat in the Senate or House of Representatives; and the place so vacated shall be filled up.

And the same rule shall take place in case any judge of the said Supreme Judicial Court, or judge of probate, shall accept a seat in Council, or any counselor shall accept of either of those offices or places.

And no person shall ever be admitted to hold a seat in the Legislature, or any office of trust or importance under the government of this commonwealth, who shall in the due course of law have been convicted of bribery or corruption in obtaining an election or appointment.

3. In all cases where sums of money are mentioned in this constitution, the value thereof shall be computed in silver, at six shillings and eight pence per ounce: and it shall be in the power of the Legislature from time to time, to increase such qualifications, as to property of the persons to be elected into offices, as the circumstances of the commonwealth shall require.

4. All commissions shall be in the name of the commonwealth of Massachusetts; signed by the Governor, and attested by the Secretary or his deputy, and have the great seal of the commonwealth affixed thereto.

5. All writs issuing out of the clerk's office, in any of the Courts of law, shall be in the name of the commonwealth of Massachusetts; they shall be under the seal of the Court from whence they issue; they shall bear test of the first justice of the Court to which they shall be returnable, (who is not a party,) and be signed by the clerk of such Court.

6. All the laws which have heretofore been adopted, used, and approved of in the province, colony, or State of Massachusetts Bay, and usually practised on in the Courts of law, shall still remain and be in full force, until altered or repealed by the Legislature: such parts only excepted as are repugnant to the rights and liberties contained in this Constitution.

7. The privilege and benefit of the writ of habeas corpus shall be enjoyed in this commonwealth in the most free, easy, cheap, expeditious, and ample manner: and shall not be suspended by the Legislature, except upon the most urgent and pressing occasions, and for a limited time, not exceeding twelve months.

8. The enacting style, in making and passing all acts, statutes, and laws, shall be, “ Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives, in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same."

9. To the end there may be no failure of justice, or danger arise to the commonwealth, from a change of the form of government, all officers, civil and military, holding commissions under the government and people of Massachusetts Bay in New England, and all other officers of said government and people, at the time this Constitution shall take effect, shall have, hold, use, exercise, and enjoy, all the powers and authority to them granted or committed, until other persons shall be appointed in their stead; and all courts of law shall proceed in the execution of the business of their respective departments: and all the executive and legislative officers, bodies, and powers, shall continue in full force in the enjoyment and exercise of all their trusts, employments, and authority, until the General Court, and the Supreme and executive officers, under this Constitution, are designated and invested with their respective trusts, powers, and authority.

10. In order the more effectually to adhere to the principles of the Constitution, and correct those violations which by any means may be made therein, as well as to form such alterations as from experience shall be found necessary, the General Court which shall be in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety-five, shall issue precepts to the selectmen of the several towns, and to the assessors of the unincorporated plantations, directing them to convene the qualified voters of their respective towns and plantations, for the purpose of collecting their sentiments on the necessity or expediency of revising the Constitution, in order to amendments.

And if it shall appear, by the returns made, that two-thirds of the qualified voters throughout the State, who shall assemble and vote in consequence of the said precepts, are in favor of such revi. sion or amendment, the General Court shall issue precepts, or direct them to be issued from the Secretary's office, to the several towns, to elect delegates to meet in convention, for the purpose aforesaid.

The said delegates to be chosen in the same manner and proportion, as their representatives in the second branch of the Legislature are by this Constitution to be chosen.

11. This form of government shall be enrolled on parchment, and deposited in the Secretary's office, and be a part of the laws of the land: and printed copies thereof shall be prefixed to the book containing the laws of this commonwealth, in all future editions of the said laws.


Art. 1. If any bill or resolve shall be objected to, and not approved of by the Governor; and if the General Court shall adjourn within five days after the same shall have been laid before the Governor for his approbation, and thereby prevent his returning it, with his objections, as provided by the Constitution ; such bill or resolve shall not become a law, nor have force as such.

2. The General Court shall have full power and authority to erect or constitute municipal or city governments in any corporate town or towns, in this commonwealth, and to grant to the inhabitants thereof such powers, privileges, and immunities, not repugnant to the Constitution, as the General Court shall deem necessary or expedient for the regulation and government thereof, and to prescribe the manner of calling and holding public meetings of the inhabitants in wards, or otherwise, for the election of officers, under the Constitution, and the manner of returning the votes given at such meetings : provided, that no such government shall be erected or constituted in any town not containing twelve thousand inhabitants, nor unless it be with the consent, and on the application of a majority of the inhabitants of such town, present, and voting thereon, pursuant to a vote at a meeting duly warned and holden for that purpose : and provided, also, that all by-laws, made by such municipal or city government, shall be subject, at all times, to be annulled by the General Court.

3. Every male citizen of twenty-one years of age, and upwards, (excepting paupers and persons under guardianship.) who shall have resided within the commonwealth one year, and within the town or district, in which he may claim a right to vote, six calendar months next preceding any election of Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, senators, representatives, and who shall have paid, by himself or his parent, master or guardian, any State or county tax, which shall, within two years next preceding such election, have been assessed upon him, in any town or district of this commonwealth : and also every citizen, who shall be by law exempt from taxation, and who shall be in all other respects qualified as above mentioned, shall have a right to vote in such election of Governor, and LieutenantGovernor, senators, and representatives; and no other person shall be entitled to a vote in such election.

4. Notaries public shall be appointed by the Governor, in the same manner as judicial officers are appointed, and shall hold their offices during seven years, unless sooner removed by the Governor, with the consent of the Council, and upon the address of both houses of the Legislature.

In case the office of Secretary or Treasurer of the commonwealth shall become vacant from any cause, during the recess of the General Court, the Governor, with the consent of the Council, shall nominate and appoint, under such regulations as may be prescribed by law, a competent and suitable person to such vacant offices, who sliall hold the same until a successor shall be appointed by the General Court.

Whenever the exigencies of the commonwealth shall require the appointment of a Commissary-General, he shall be nominated, appointed, and commissioned, in such manner as the Legislature may by law prescribe.

All officers commissioned to command in the militia, may be removed from office in such manner as the Legislature may by law prescribe.

5. In the election of captains and subalterns of the militia, all the members of their respective companies, as well those under as those above the age of twenty-one years, shall have a right to vote.

6. Instead of the oath of allegiance, prescribed by the Constitution, the following oath shall be taken and subscribed by every person chosen or appointed to any office, civil or military, under the government of this commonwealth, before he shall enter upon the duties of his office, to wit:

“I, A. B., do solemnly swear, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the commonwealth of Massachusetts, and will support the Constitution thereof. So help me God."

Provided, that when any person shall be of the denomination called Quakers, and shall decline taking said oath, he shall make his affirmation in the foregoing form, omitting the word “swear," and inserting, instead thereof, the word "affirm," and omitting the words“ so help me God," and subjoining, instead thereof, the words this I do under the pains and penalties of perjury."

7. No oath, declaration, or subscription, excepting the oath prescribed in the preceding article and the oath of office, shall be required of the Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, counselors, senators, or representatives, to qualify them to perform the duties of their respective offices.

8. No judge of any court of this commonwealth, (except the Court of Sessions,) and no person holding any office under the authority of the United States, (postmasters excepted,) shall, at the same time, hold the office of Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, or counselor, or have a seat in the Senate or House of Representatives of this commonwealth; and no judge of any court of this commonwealth, (except the Court of Sessions,) nor the Attorney-General, Solicitor-General, county attorney, clerk of any court, sheriff

, treasurer, and receiver-general, register of probate, nor register of deeds, shall continue to hold his said office after being elected a member of the Congress of the United States, and accepting that trust; but the acceptance of such trust, by any of the officers aforesaid, shall be deemed and taken to be a resignation of his said office; and judges of the courts of common pleas shall hold no other office under the government of this commonwealth, the office of the justice of the peace and militia officers excepted.

9. If, at any time hereafter, any specific and particular amendment or amendments to the Constitution be proposed in the General Court, and agreed to by a majority of the senators, and twothirds of the members of the House of Representatives present and voting thereon, such proposed amendment or amendments shall be entered on the journals of the two houses, with the yeas and nays taken thereon, and referred to the General Court then next to be chosen, and shall be published; and if, in the General Court then

« PreviousContinue »