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that they may be amended-Considering, therefore, in your candour, and humbly imploring on your behalf, that assistance which the fountain of wisdom sees you need, we leave it in your hands, and wait with cheerful acquiescence, your decision.
In the name, and pursuant to a Resolution of the
GEORGE ATKINSON, President.
THE CONSTITUTION OF 1783.
A BILL OF RIGHTS, AND FORM
Agreed upon by the delegates of the people of the State of New Hampshire, in convention held at Concord, on the first Tuesday of June, 1783 ; submitted to and approved of by the people of said State, and established by their delegates in convention, October 31, 1783. (This constitution “ took place on the first Wednesday of June, 1784.)
THE BILL OF RIGHTS.
I. All men are born equally free and independent; therefore, all government of right originates from the people, is founded in consent, and instituted for the general good.
II. All men have certain natural, essential, and inherent rights, among which are the enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and, in a word, of seeking and obtaining happiness.
III. When men enter into a state of society, they surrender up some of their natural rights to that society, in order to insure the protection of others; and without such an equivalent the surrender is void.
IV. Among the natural rights, some are in their very nature unalienable, because no equivalent can be given or received for them. Of this kind are the rights of conscience.
V. Every individual has a natural and unalienable right to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience and reason; and no subject shall be hurt, molested, or restrained in his person, liberty, or estate, for worshiping God in the manner and season most agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience, or for his religious profession, sentiments, or persuasion, provided he doth not disturb the public peace, or disturb Others in their religious worship.
VI. As morality and piety, rightly grounded on evangelical principles, will give the best and greatest security to government, and will lay in the hearts of men the strongest obligations to due subjection, and as the knowledge of these is most likely to be propagated through a society by the institution of the public worship of the Deity, and of public instruction in morality and religion, therefore, to promote those important purposes, the people of this State have a right to impower, and do hereby fully impower, the Legislature to authorize from time to time the several towns, parishes, bodies corporate, or religious societies within this State, to make adequate provision at their own expense for the support and maintenance of public Protestant teachers of piety, religion, and morality;
Provided, notwithstanding, that the several towns, parishes, bodies corporate, or religious societies, shall at all times have the exclusive right of electing their own public teachers, and of contracting with them for their support and maintenance. And no person of any one particular religious sect or denomination shall ever be compelled to pay towards the support of the teacher or teachers of another persuasion, sect, or denomination.
And every denomination of Christians demeaning themselves quietly, and as good subjects of the State, shall be equally under the protection of the law; and no subordination of any one sect or denomination to another shall ever be established by law.
And nothing herein shall be understood to affect any former contracts made for the support of the ministry; but all such contracts shall remain, and be in the same state as if this Constitution had not been made.
VII. The people of this State have the sole and exclusive right of governing themselves as a free, sovereign, and independent State, and do, and forever hereafter shall, exercise and enjoy every power, jurisdiction, and right pertaining thereto, which is not, or may not hereafter be, by them expressly delegated to the United States of America in Congress assembled.
VIII. All power residing originally in and being derived from the people, all the magistrates and officers of government are their substitutes and agents, and at all times accountable to them.
IX. No office or place whatsoever in government shall be hereditary, the abilities and integrity requisite in all not being transmissible to posterity or relations.
X. Government being instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security of the whole community, and not for the private interest or emolument of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, 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.
XI. All elections ought to be free, and every inhabitant of the State, having the proper qualifications, has equal right to elect and be elected into office.
XII. Every member of the community has a right to be protected by it in the enjoyment of his life, liberty, and property; he is therefore bound to contribute his share in the expense of such protection, and to yield his personal service when necessary, or an equivalent. But no part of a man's property shall be taken from him, or applied to public uses without his own consent, or that of the representative body of the people. Nor are the inhabitants of this State controllable by any other laws than those to which they or their representative body have given their consent.
XIII. No person who is conscientiously scrupulous about the lawfulness of bearing arms shall be compelled thereto, provided he will pay an equivalent.
XIV. Every subject of this State is entitled to a certain remedy, by having recourse to the laws, for all injuries he may receive in his person, property, or character, to obtain right and justice freely, without being obliged to purchase it; completely, and without any denial ; promptly, and without delay, conformably to the laws.
XV. No subject shall be held to answer for any crime or offense until the same is fully and plainly, substantially and formally, described to him ; or be compelled to accuse or furnish evidence against himself. And every subject shall have a right to produce all proofs that may be favorable to himself; to meet the witnesses against him face to face, and to be fully heard in his defence by himself and counsel. And no subject shall be arrested, imprisoned, despoiled, or deprived of his property, immunities, or privileges, put out of the protection of the law, exiled, or deprived of his life, liberty, or estate, but by the judgment of his peers, or the law of the land.
XVI. No subject shall be liable to be tried, after an acquittal, for the same crime or offence. Nor shall the Legislature make any law that shall subject any person to a capital punishment, excepting for the government of the army and navy, and the militia in actual service, without trial by jury.
XVII. In criminal prosecutions, the trial of facts in the vicinity where they happen is so essential to the security of the life, liberty, and estate of the citizen, that no crime or offence ought to be tried in any other county than that in which it is committed, except in cases of general insurrection in any particular county, when it shall appear to the judges of the superior court that an impartial trial cannot be had in the county where the offence may be committed, and upon their report the Assembly shall think proper to direct the trial in the nearest county in which an impartial trial can be obtained.
XVIII. All penalties ought to be proportioned to the nature of the offence. No wise Legislature will affix the same punishment to the crimes of theft, forgery, and the like, which they do to those of murder and treason; where the same undistinguishing severity is exerted against all offences, the people are led to forget the real distinction in the crimes themselves, and to commit the most flagrant with as little compunction as they do those of the lightest dye; for the same reason a multitude of sanguinary laws is both impolitic and unjust, the true design of all punishments being to reform, not to exterminate, mankind.
XIX. Every subject hath a right to be secure from all unreasonable searches and seizures of his person, his houses, his papers and all his possessions. All warrants, therefore, are contrary to this right, if the