CONSTITUTION OF 1819


ARTICLE I

DECLARATION OF RIGHTS.

 

That the general, great, and essential principles of liberty and free government may be recognized and established, We Declare:

 

SECTION 1. That all freemen, when they form a social compact, are equal in rights; and that no man, or set of men, are entitled to exclusive, separate public emoluments or privileges, but in consideration of public services.

SEC. 2. All political power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority, and instituted for their benefit; and, therefore, they have, at all times an unalienable and indefeasible right to alter, reform, or abolish their form of government, in such manner as they may think expedient.

SEC. 3. No person within this state shall, upon, any pretence, be deprived of the inestimable privilege of worshipping God in the manner most agreeable to his own conscience; nor be compelled to attend any place of worship, nor shall any one ever be obliged to pay any tythes, taxes, or other rate, for the building or repairing any place of worship, or for the maintenance of any minister or ministry.

SEC. 4. No human authority ought, in any case whatever, to control or interfere with the rights of conscience.

SEC. 5. No person shall be hurt, molested, or restrained in his religious profession, sentiments, or persuasion, provided he does not disturb others in their religious worship.

SEC. 6. The civil rights, privileges, or capacities of any citizen, shall in no way be diminished, or enlarged, on account of his religious principles.

SEC. 7. There shall be no establishment of religion by law; no preference shall ever be given by law to any religious sect, society, denomination, or mode of worship; and no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under this state.

SEC 8. Every citizen may freely speak, write, and publish his sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that liberty.

SEC. 9. The people shall be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and possessions, from unreasonable seizures or searches; and no warrant to search any place, or to seize any person or thing, shall issue, without describing them as nearly as may be, nor without probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation.

SEC. 10. In all criminal prosecutions, the accused has a right to be heard by himself, and counsel; to demand the nature and cause of the accusation, and have a copy thereof; to be confronted by the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and, in all prosecutions, by indictment or information, a speedy public trial, by an impartial jury of the county or district in which the offence shall have been committed: he shall not be compelled to give evidence against himself, nor shall he be deprived of his life, liberty, or property, but by due course of law.

SEC. 11. No person, shall be accused, arrested, or detained, except in cases ascertained by law, and according to the forms which the same has prescribed; and no person shall be punished, but in virtue of a law, established and promulgated prior to the offence, and legally applied.

SEC. 12. No person shall, for any indictable offence, be proceeded against criminally, by information; except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or the militia when in actual service, or by leave of the court for oppression or misdemeanor in office.

SEC. 13. No person shall, for the same offence, be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall any person's property be taken or applied to public use, unless just compensation be made therefor.

SEC. 14. All courts shall be open, and every person, for an injury done him in his lands, goods, person, or reputation, shall have remedy by due course of law, and right and justice administered, without sale, denial, or delay.

SEC. 15. No power of suspending laws shall he exercised, except by the General Assembly, or its authority.

SEC. 16. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel punishments inflicted.

SEC. 17. All persons shall, before conviction, be bailable by sufficient securities, except for capital offences, when the proof is evident, or the presumption great: and the privilege of the writ of "habeas corpus" shall not be suspended, unless when, in cases of rebellion, or invasion, the public safety may require it.

SEC. 18. The person of a debtor, where there is not strong presumption of fraud, shall not be detained in prison, after delivering up his estate for the benefit of his creditors, in such manner as shall be prescribed by law.

SEC. 19. No ex post facto law, nor law impairing the obligation of contracts, shall be made.

SEC. 20. No person shall be attainted of treason or felony by the General Assembly. No attainder shall work corruption of blood, nor forfeiture of estate.

SEC. 21. The estates of suicides shall descend or vest as in cases of natural death; if any person shall be killed by casualty, there shall be no forfeiture by reason thereof.

SEC. 22. The citizens have a right, in a peaceable manner, to assemble together for their common good, and to apply to those invested with the powers of government, for redress of grievances, or other proper purposes, by petition, address, or remonstrance.

SEC. 23. Every citizen has a right to bear arms in defence of himself and the State.

SEC. 24. No standing army shall be kept up without the consent of the General Assembly; and, in that case, no appropriation of money for its support shall be for a longer term than one year; and the military shall, in all cases, and at all times, be in strict subordination to the civil power.

SEC. 25. No soldier shall, in time of peace, be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner; nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

SEC. 26. No title of nobility, or hereditary distinction, privilege honor, or emolument, shall ever be granted or conferred in this State; nor shall any office be created, the appointment of which shall be for a longer term than during good behaviour.

SEC. 27. Emigration from this state shall not be prohibited, nor shall any citizen be exiled.

SEC. 28. The right of trial by jury shall remain inviolate.

SEC. 29. No person shall be debarred from prosecuting or defending any civil cause, for or against him or herself, before any tribunal in this State, by him or herself or counsel.

SEC. 30. This enumeration of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people: and, to guard against any encroachments on the rights herein retained, or any transgression of any of the high powers herein delegated, we declare, that every thing in this article is excepted out of the general powers of government, and shall forever remain inviolate; and that all laws contrary thereto, or to the following provisions, shall be void.


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