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MONG the first acts of the Convention, which met in the State House, in Boston, May 4, 1853, to Revise and Amend the Constitution of the Commonwealth, was the passage of a resolution to employ Mr. Harvey Fowler to make a full and accurate Report of the Debates and Proceedings. Messrs. White & Potter, State Printers, were engaged to print and publish the same, and the undersigned, members of the Convention, were appointed a Committee to have a general supervision of the Reports, and of the publication of the volumes. The results of our united labors are herewith given to the public. Although not wholly free from errors, we believe the Reports are as accurate as any that have been made of the several Conventions that have been held in our sister States. In them are discussed the fundamental maxims of our Government, and the power and excellence of free principles.
In thus presenting to the public an official Report of the Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of 1853, we forbear from making any lengthened comments upon the nature and character of our Institutions or Frame of Government. A full exposition of them will be found in the Debates themselves. When the thirteen North American Colonies threw off their allegiance to the Mother Country, by the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, and while the war of the Revolution was still waging, the Legislature of Massachusetts of 1777-78, made a Constitution, which was submitted to the people of the Commonwealth for ratification, and was by them rejected.
On the 1st of September, 1779, a Convention of Delegates, elected by the people to make a Constitution and Frame of Government, met at Cambridge, and completed their labors on the 2d of March, 1780. The people ratified their work, and adopted the Constitution under which we have since lived.
In 1820, upon the separation of Maine from Massachusetts, a second Convention of Delegates of the people, met at the State House, in Boston, for the purpose of making such a Revision of the Constitution as time and circumstances had rendered necessary, by which fourteen amendments were submitted to the people, nine of which were adopted. A provision was then introduced into the Con
stitution, authorizing the Legislature to propose specific amendments, by a majority of the Senators and two-thirds of the members of the House of Representatives, of two successive Legislatures, to be submitted to the people,-and under this provision several amendments have been adopted.
The Legislature of 1851, passed an Act for a third Convention to Revise the Constitution, which was submitted to the people, and a majority voting against it, the Convention was not held.
In 1852, the Legislature passed the same Act for calling a third Convention for the Revision of the Constitution, which the people adopted, in November, of that year. In pursuance of that Act, delegates were elected on the 7th of March, 1853, and on the 4th of May following, they assembled at the State House, in Boston, and proceeded to the discharge of their duties, which are fully reported in these volumes.
MOSES BATES, JR., of Plymouth.