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The CONSTITUTION of Vermont, adapted by the Convention holden at IVmdfor, 41b July i793.
A Declaration of Rights of the Inhabitant of the State of Vermont.
Chap. I.—Art, I.
THAT all men are born equally free and independent, and have certain natural, inherent, and unalienable rights, amongft which are the enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, pofleffiRg, and protecting property, and purfuing, and obtaining bappinefs and fafety: therefore, no male perfon born in this country, or brought from over fea, ought to be holden by law, toferve any perfon as a fervant, flave, or apprentice, after he arrives to the age of twentyone years, nor female in like manner, after flie arrives to the age of eighteen years, unlel's they are bound by their own content, after they arrive to fuch age, or bound by law for the payment of debts, damages, tines, colls, or the like
ARTICLE II. That private propery ought to be fubfervient to public ules when neceffity requires it, neverthelel's, whenever any perfon's property is taken for the ul'e of the public, the owner ought to receive an equivalent in money.
ARTICLE III. That all men have a natural and unalienable right to worfhlp Almighty God, according to the dictates of Iheir own confciences and undetftandings, as in their opinion fhall be regulated by the word of God : and that no man ought to, or of right can be compelled to attend any religious worfhip, or erect or fupport any place o£ \vorfhi|i, or maintain any minifter contrary to the dictates of his own confcience, nor can any man bejuilly • deprived or abridged of any civil right as a citizen, on
account of his religious fentiments, or peculiar mode of religious worfhip; and that no authority can, or ought to be veiled in, or aflbmed by, any power whatever, that fhall in any cafe interfere with, or in any manner cuntroul the rights of conference, in the free exercife of religious worfhip. Neverthelefs, every fee! or denomination of Chriftians ought to obferve the Sabbath or Lord's day, and keep up lbme fort of religious worfhip, which to them fhall feem mott agreeable to the revealed will of God.
Every perfon within this State ought to find a certain remedy, by having recourfe to the law«, for all injuries or wrongs, which he may receive in his perfon, property or character: he ought to obtain right and juftice freely, and without being obliged to purchalie its completely and without any denial; promptly and without delay, conformably to the laws.
That the people of this State, by their legal reprefentatives, have the fole, inherent, and eKclufive right of governing and regulating the internal police of the lame.
That all power being originally inherent in, and confequently derived from the People, therefore all officer* of government, whether Legiflative or Executive, are their trullees and fervants, and at all times, in a legal way, accountable to them.
That government is, or ought to be, inflituted for the common benefit, protection, and fecurity of the people, nation, or community, and not for the particular emolument or advantage of any fingle man, family, or fet of men, who arc a part only of that community; and that the community hath an indubitable, unalienable, and indefeafible right to reform or alter goverment, in fuch manner as fhall be, by that community, judged moll conducive to the public weal.
That all elections ought to be free and without corruptipu, and that all freemen, having a fufficient, evident
d*nt, common intereft with, and attachment to, the community, have a right to elect officers, and be defied into office, agreeably to the regulations made in this Confiitution.
That every member of fociety hath a right to be protected in the enjoyment of life, liberty, and property, and therefore is bound to contribute his proportion towards the expenfe of that protection, and yield his perlbnal fervice, when neceffary, or an equivalent thereto, but no part of any perfon's property can he juftly taken from him, or applied to public ufes, without his own confent, or that of the reprefentative body of freemen; nor can any man who is confeientioufly fcrupulous of bearing arms, be juftly compelled thereto, if he will pay fuch equivalent; nor are the people bound by any law but fuch as they have in like manner affent£d to, for their common good: and previous to any law being made to raife a tax,^he purpofe for which it is to be railed ought to appear evident to the Legiflature, to be of more fervice to the community than the money would be if not collected.
That in all profecutions for offences, a perfon hath 3, right to be heard by himfelf and his counfel; to demand the caufe and nature of his accufation; to be confront* ed with the witneffes; to call for evidence in his favour, and'a fpeedy public trial by an impartial jury of the country, without, the unanimous confent of which jury, lie cannot be found guilty; nor can he be compelled to give evidence againfl himfelf; nor can any perfon be juftly deprived of his liberty, except by the laws of the land or the judgment of his peers.
That the people have a right to hold themfelves, their houfes, papers, and poffeffions, free from fearch or ftiztire; and therefore warrants, without oath or affirmation fi ll made, affording fuffkient foundation for ;hem, and whereby any officer or meffenger may be commanded or required to fearch fufpected places, or to feize any perfon or perfons, his, lief, or their property, not particularly defcribed, are contrary to that right, aud ought not to be granted. L z
ARTICLE XII. That when any ilfue in fact, proper for the cognizance of a jury is joined in a court of law, the parties have a right to trial by jury, which ought to be held facred.
That the people have a right ro freedom of fpeech, and of writing, and publifhiog their fentiments concerning the tranfactions of government, and therefore the freedom of the prefs ought not to be reftrained. ARTICLE XIV.
The freedom of deliberation, fpeech, and debate, in the Legiflature, is fo efl'ential to the rights of the people, that it cannot be the foundation of any acculation or profecution, action or complaint, in any other court or place whatfoever.
The power of fufpending laws, or the execution of laws, ought never to beexercifed but bythe Legiflature, or by authority derived from it, to be exercifed in fuch particular cafes, as this Conflitution, or the Legiflature fhall provide for.
ARTICLE XVI. That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themfelves and the State—and as (landing armies in time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; and that the military fhould be kept under flrict fubordination to and governed by the civil power.
ARTICLE XVII. That no perfon in this State, can in any cafe befubjected to law martial, or to any penalties or pains by virtue of that law', except thofe employed in the army, and the militia in aclual fervice.
ARTICLE XVIII. That frequent recurrence to fundamental principles, and firm adherence tojullice, moderation, temperance, induftry, and frugality, are abfolutely neceffary to prefeiye the bleffings of Liberty, and keep Government free; the people ought therefore, to pay particular attention to thefe points, in the choice of officers and reprefentativce, and have a right in a legal way, to exadl
» due and conftant regardto them, from their legiflators ■and magiftrates, iH making and executing fuch laws as are neceffary for the good government of the State. ARTICLE XIX. That all people have a natural and inherent right to emigrate from one State to anotiier that will receive them.
ARTICLE XX. That the people have a right to affemble together to confult for their common good—to inltruct their representatives—and apply to the Legiflature for redrcis of grievances, by addrefs, petition, or remonftrance. ARTICLE XXI. That no perfoo /ball be liable to be tranfported out of this State for trial for any offence committed within the fame.
PLAN OR FRAME OF GOVERNMENT.
Section I. THE Commonwealth, or ftate of Ver» mont, fhall be governed hereafter, by a Governor, (or Lieutenant-Governor) Council, and an Affembly of the Reprefentatives of the Freemen of the fame, in manner and form following:
Sect, Z The lupreme legiflative power fhall be vefted in a Houfc of Reprefentatives of tlie freemen of the Commonwealth, or State of Vermont.
Sect. 3. The fapreme executive power fha11 be vefted in a Governor, or, in his ablencc, a Lieut.Governor and Council.
Sect. 4, Courts of Juflice fhall be maintained in every county in this State, and alio in new counties, when formed; which Courts fhall be open for the trial of all caufes proper for their cognizance; and juflice fhall be therein impartially adminiftered, without corruption, or uuneccfiary delay. The Judges of .the Supreme Court fhall be Jufhces of Peace throughout the State; and the feveral Judges of the County Conns, in their rcfpeMive counties, by virtue of their office, .except in the trial of i'ucli caules as mdj be appealed to the County Court.