THE LIBERTIES OF THE MASSACHUSETS COLLONIE IN NEW
The free fruition of such liberties Immunities and
priveledges as humanitie, Civilitie, and Christianitie call for as due to every
man in his place and proportion without impeachment and Infringement hath ever
bene and ever will be the tranquillitie and Stabilitie of Churches and
Commonwealths. And the deniall or deprivall thereof, the disturbance if not the
ruine of both.
We hould it therefore our dutie and safetie whilst we
are about the further establishing of this Government to collect and expresse
all such freedomes as for present we foresee may concerne us, and our posteritie
after us, And to ratify them with our sollemne consent.
Wee doe therefore this day religiously and unanimously
decree and confirme these following Rites, liberties and priveledges concerneing
our Churches, and Civill State to be respectively impartiallie and inviolably
enjoyed and observed throughout our Jurisdiction for ever.
1. No mans life shall be taken away, no mans honour or
good name shall be stayned, no mans person shall be arested, restrayned,
banished, dismembred, nor any wayes punished, no man shall be deprived of his
wife or children, no mans goods or estaite shall be taken away from him, nor any
way indammaged under colour of law or Countenance of Authoritie, unlesse it be
by vertue or equitie of some expresse law of the Country waranting the same,
established by a generall Court and sufficiently published, or in case of the
defect of a law in any parteculer case by the word of God. And in Capitall
cases, or in cases concerning dismembring or banishment according to
that word to be judged by the Generall Court.
2. Every person within this Jurisdiction, whether
Inhabitant or forreiner shall enjoy the same justice and law, that is generall
for the plantation, which we constitute and execute one towards another without
partialitie or delay.
3. No man shall be urged to take any oath or subscribe
any articles, covenants or remonstrance, of a publique and Civill nature, but
such as the Generall Court hath considered, allowed and required.
4. No man shall be punished for not appearing at or
before any Civill Assembly, Court, Councell, Magistrate, or Officer, nor for the
omission of any office or service, if he shall be necessarily hindred by any
apparent Act or providence of God, which he could neither foresee nor avoid.
Provided that this law shall not prejudice any person of his just cost or
damage, in any civill action.
5. No man shall be compelled to any publique worke or
service unlesse the presse be grounded upon some act of the generall Court, and
have reasonable allowance therefore.
6. No man shall be pressed in person to any office,
worke, warres or other publique service, that is necessarily and suffitiently
exempted by any naturall or personall impediment, as by want of yeares, greatnes
of age, defect of minde, fayling of sences, or impotencie of Lymbes.
7. No man shall be compelled to goe out of the limits of
this plantation upon any offensive warres which this Comonwealth or any of our
freinds or confederats shall volentarily undertake. But onely upon such
vindictive and defensive warres in our owne behalfe or the behalfe of our
freinds and confederats as shall be enterprized by the Counsell and consent of a
Court generall, or by authority derived from the same.
8. No mans Cattel or goods of what kinde soever shall be
pressed or taken for any publique use or service, unlesse it be by warrant
grounded upon some act of the generall Court, nor without such reasonable prices
and hire as the ordinarie rates of the Countrie do afford. And if his Cattle or
goods shall perish or suffer damage in such service, the owner shall be
9. No monopolies shall be granted or allowed amongst us,
but of such new Inventions that are profitable to the Countrie, and that for a
10. All our lands and heritages shall be free from all
fines and licenses upon Alienations, and from all hariotts, wardships, Liveries,
Primer-seisins, yeare day and wast, Escheates, and forfeitures, upon the deaths
of parents or Ancestors, be they naturall, casuall or Juditiall.
11. All persons which are of the age of 21 yeares, and
of right understanding and meamories, whether excommunicate or condemned shall
have full power and libertie to make there wills and testaments, and other
lawfull alienations of theire lands and estates.
12. Every man whether Inhabitant or fforreiner, free or
not free shall have libertie to come to any publique Court, Councel, or Towne
meeting, and either by speech or writeing to move any lawfull, seasonable, and
materiall question, or to present any necessary motion, complaint, petition,
Bill or information, whereof that meeting hath proper cognizance, so it be done
in convenient time, due order, and respective manner.
13. No man shall be rated here for any estaite or
revenue he hath in England, or in any forreine partes till it be transported
14. Any Conveyance or Alienation of land or other
estaite what so ever, made by any woman that is married, any childe under age,
Ideott or distracted person, shall be good if it be passed and ratified by the
consent of a generall Court.
15. All Covenous or fraudulent Alienations or
Conveyances of lands, tenements, or any heriditaments, shall be of no validitie
to defeate any man from due debts or legacies, or from any just title, clame or
possession, of that which is so fraudulently conveyed.
16. Every Inhabitant that is an howse holder shall have
free fishing and fowling in any great ponds and Bayes, Coves and Rivers, so
farre as the sea ebbes and flowes within the presincts of the towne where they
dwell, unlesse the free men of the same Towne or the Generall Court have
otherwise appropriated them, provided that this shall not be extended to give
leave to any man to come upon others proprietie without there leave.
17. Every man of or within this Jurisdiction shall have
free libertie, notwithstanding any Civill power to remove both himselfe, and his
familie at their pleasure out of the same, provided there be no legall
impediment to the contrarie.
Rites Rules and Liberties
concerning Juditiall proceedings.
18. No mans person shall be restrained or imprisoned by
any authority whatsoever, before the law hath sentenced him thereto, if he can
put in sufficient securitie, bayle or mainprise, for his appearance, and good
behaviour in the meane time, unlesse it be in Crimes Capitall, and Contempts in
open Court, and in such cases where some expresse act of Court doth allow it.
19. If in a general Court any miscariage shall be
amongst the Assistants when they are by themselves that may deserve an
Admonition or fine under 20 sh. it shall be examined and sentenced amongst
themselves, If amongst the Deputies when they are by themselves, it shall be
examined and sentenced amongst themselves, If it be when the whole Court is
togeather, it shall be judged by the whole Court, and not severallie as before.
20. If any which are to sit as Judges in any other Court
shall demeane themselves offensively in the Court, The rest of the Judges
present shall have power to censure him for it, if the cause be of a high nature
it shall be presented to and censured at the next superior Court.
21. In all cases where the first summons are not served
six dayes before the Court, and the cause breifly specified in the warrant,
where appearance is to be made by the partie summoned, it shall be at his
libertie whether he will appeare or no, except all cases that are to be handled
in Courts suddainly called, upon extraordinary occasions, In all cases where
there appeares present and urgent cause any assistant or officer apointed shal
have power to make out attaichments for the first summons.
22. No man in any suit or action against an other shall
falsely pretend great debts or damages to vex his adversary, if it shall appeare
any doth so, The Court shall have power to set a reasonable fine on his head.
23. No man shall be adjudged to pay for detaining any
debt from any Creditor above eight pounds in the hundred for one yeare, And not
above that rate proportionable for all somes what so ever, neither shall this be
a coulour or countenance to allow any usurie amongst us contrarie to the law of
24. In all Trespasses or damages done to any man or men,
If it can be proved to be done by the meere default of him or them to whome the
trespasse is done, It shall be judged no trespasse, nor any damage given for it.
25. No Summons pleading Judgement, or any kinde of
proceeding in Court or course of Justice shall be abated, arested or
reversed upon any kinde of cercumstantiall errors or mistakes, If the person and
cause be rightly understood and intended by the Court.
26. Every man that findeth himselfe unfit to plead his
owne cause in any Court shall have Libertie to imploy any man against whom the
Court doth not except, to helpe him, Provided he give him noe fee or reward for
his paines. This shall not exempt the partie him selfe from Answering such
Questions in person as the Court shall thinke meete to demand of him.
27. If any plantife shall give into any Court a
declaration of his cause in writeing, The defendant shall also have libertie and
time to give in his answer in writeing, And so in all further proceedings
betwene partie and partie, So it doth not further hinder the dispach of Justice
then the Court shall be willing unto.
28. The plantife in all Actions brought in any Court
shall have libertie to withdraw his Action, or to be nonsuited before the Jurie
hath given in their verdict, in which case he shall alwaies pay full cost and
chardges to the defendant, and may afterwards renew his suite at an other Court
if he please.
29. In all actions at law it shall be the libertie of
the plantife and defendant by mutual consent to choose whether they will be
tryed by the Bensh or by a Jurie, unlesse it be where the law upon just reason
hath otherwise determined. The like libertie shall be granted to all persons in
30. It shall be in the libertie both of plantife and
defendant, and likewise every delinquent (to be judged by a Jurie) to challenge
any of the Jurors. And if his challenge be found just and reasonable by the
Bench, or the rest of the Jurie, as the challenger shall choose it shall be
allowed him, and tales de cercumstantibus impaneled in their room.
31. In all cases where evidences is so obscure or
defective that the Jurie cannot clearely and safely give a positive verdict,
whether it be a grand or petit Jurie, It shall have libertie to give a non
Liquit, or a spetiall verdict, in which last, that is in a spetiall verdict, the
Judgement of the cause shall be left to the Court, And all Jurors shall have
libertie in matters of fact if they cannot finde the maine issue, yet to finde
and present in their verdict so much as they can, If the Bench and Jurors shall
so suffer at any time about their verdict that either of them cannot proceede
with peace of conscience the case shall be referred to the Generall Court, who
shall take the question from both and determine it.
32. Every man shall have libertie to replevy his Cattell
or goods impounded, distreined, seised, or extended, unlesse it be upon
execution after Judgement, and in paiment of fines. Provided he puts in good
securitie to prosecute his replevin, And to satisfie such demands as his
Adversary shall recover against him in Law.
33. No mans person shall be arrested, or imprisoned upon
execution or judgment for any debt or fine, If the law can finde competent
meanes of satisfaction otherwise from his estaite, and if not his person may be
arrested and imprisoned where he shall be kept at his owne charge, not the
plantife's till satisfaction be made, unlesse the Court that had cognizance of
the cause or some superior Court shall otherwise provide.
34. If any man shall be proved and Judged a commen
Barrator vexing others with unjust frequent and endlesse suites, It shall be in
the power of Courts both to denie him the benefit of the law, and to punish him
for his Barratry.
35. No mans corne nor hay that is in the feild or upon
the Cart, nor his garden stuffe, nor any thing subject to present decay, shall
be taken in any distresse, unles he that takes it doth presently bestow it where
it may not be imbesled nor suffer spoile or decay, or give securitie to satisfie
the worth thereof if it comes to any harme.
36. It shall be in the libertie of every man cast
condemned or sentenced in any cause in any Inferior Court, to make their appeale
to the Court of Assistants, provided they tender their appeale and put in
securitie to prosecute it, before the Court be ended wherein they were
condemned, And within six dayes next ensuing put in good securitie before some
Assistant to satisfie what his Adversarie shall recover against him; And if the
cause be of a Criminall nature for his good behaviour, and appearance, And
everie man shall have libertie to complaine to the Generall Court of any
Injustice done him in any Court of Assistants or other.
37. In all cases where it appeares to the Court that the
plantife hath wilingly and witingly done wronge to the defendant in commenceing
and prosecuting an action or complaint against him, They shall have power to
impose upon him a proportionable fine to the use of the defendant or accused
person, for his false complaint or clamor.
38. Everie man shall have libertie to Record in the
publique Rolles of any Court any Testimony given upon oath in the same Court, or
before two Assistants, or any deede or evidence legally confirmed there
to remaine in perpetuam rei memoriam, that is for perpetuall memoriall or
evidence upon occasion.
39. In all actions both reall and personall betweene
partie and partie, the Court shall have power to respite execution for a
convenient time, when in their prudence they see just cause so to doe.
40. No Conveyance, Deede, or promise whatsoever shall be
of validitie, If it be gotten by Illegal violence, imprisonment, threatening, or
any kinde of forcible compulsion called Dures.
41. Everie man that is to Answere for any criminall
cause, whether he be in prison or under bayle, his cause shall be heard and
determined at the next Court that hath proper Cognizance thereof, And may be
done without prejudice of Justice.
42. No man shall be twise sentenced by Civill Justice
for one and the same Crime, offence, or Trespasse.
43. No man shall be beaten with above 40 stripes, nor
shall any true gentleman, nor any man equall to a gentleman be punished with
whipping, unles his crime be very shamefull, and his course of life vitious and
44. No man condemned to dye shall be put to death within
fower dayes next after his condemnation, unles the Court see spetiall cause to
the contrary, or in case of martiall law, nor shall the body of any man so put
to death be unburied 12 howers unlesse it be in case of Anatomie.
45. No man shall be forced by Torture to confesse any
Crime against himselfe nor any other unlesse it be in some Capitall case, where
he is first fullie convicted by cleare and suffitient evidence to be guilty,
After which if the cause be of that nature, That it is very apparent there be
other conspiratours, or confederates with him, Then he may be tortured, yet not
with such Tortures as be Barbarous and inhumane.
46. For bodilie punishments we allow amongst us none
that are inhumane Barbarous or cruel.
47. No man shall be put to death without the testimony
of two or three witnesses or that which is equivalent thereunto.
48. Every Inhabitant of the Countrie shall have free
libertie to search and veewe any Rooles, Records, or Regesters of any Court or
office except the Councell, And to have a transcript or exemplification thereof
written examined, and signed by the hand of the officer of the office paying the
appointed fees therefore.
49. No free man shall be compelled to serve upon Juries
above two Courts in a yeare, except grand Jurie men, who shall hould two Courts
together at the least.
50. All Jurors shall be chosen continuallie by the
freemen of the Towne where they dwell.
51. All Associates selected at any time to Assist the
Assistants in Inferior Courts, shall be nominated by the Townes belonging to
that Court, by orderly agreement amonge themselves.
52. Children, Idiots, Distracted persons, and all that
are strangers, or new comers to our plantation, shall have such allowances and
dispensations in any cause whether Criminal or other as religion and reason
53. The age of discretion for passing away of lands or
such kinde of herediments, or for giveing, of votes, verdicts or Sentence in any
Civill Courts or causes, shall be one and twentie yeares.
54. Whensoever any thing is to be put to vote, any
sentence to be pronounced, or any other matter to be proposed, or read in any
Court or Assembly, If the president or moderator thereof shall refuse to
performe it, the Major parte of the members of that Court or Assembly shall have
power to appoint any other meete man of them to do it, And if there be just
cause to punish him that should and would not.
55. In all suites or Actions in any Court, the plaintife
shall have libertie to make all the titles and claims to that he sues for he
can. And the Defendant shall have libertie to plead all the pleas he can in
answere to them, and the Court shall judge according to the intire evidence of
56. If any man shall behave himselfe offensively at any
Towne meeting, the rest of the freemen then present, shall have power to
sentence him for his offence. So be it the mulct or penaltie exceede not twentie
57. Whensoever any person shall come to any very
suddaine untimely and unnaturall death, Some assistant, or the Constables of
that Towne shall forthwith sumon a Jury of twelve free men to inquire of the
cause and manner of their death, and shall present a true verdict thereof to
some neere Assistant, or the next Court to be helde for that Towne upon their
Liberties more peculiarlie
concerning the free men.
58. Civill Authoritie hath power and libertie to see the
peace, ordinances and Rules of Christ observed in every church according to his
word. so it be done in a Civill and not in an Ecclesiastical way.
59. Civill Authoritie hath power and libertie to deale
with any Church member in a way of Civill Justice, notwithstanding any
Church relation, office or interest.
60. No church censure shall degrade or depose any man
from any Civill dignitie, office, or Authoritie he shall have in the
61. No Magestrate, Juror, Officer, or other man shall be
bound to informe present or reveale any private crim or offence, wherein there
is no perill or danger to this plantation or any member thereof, when any
necessarie tye of conscience binds him to secresie grounded upon the word of
god, unlesse it be in case of testimony lawfully required.
62. Any Shire or Towne shall have libertie to choose
their Deputies whom and where they please for the Generall Court. So be it they
be free men, and have taken there oath of fealtie, and Inhabiting in this
63. No Governor, Deputy Governor, Assistant, Associate,
or grand Jury man at any Court, nor any Deputie for the Generall Court, shall at
any time beare his owne chardges at any Court, but their necessary expences
shall be defrayed either by the Towne or Shire on whose service they are, or by
the Country in generall.
64. Everie Action betweene partie and partie, and
proceedings against delinquents in Criminall causes shall be briefly and
destinctly entered on the Rolles of every Court by the Recorder thereof. That
such actions be not afterwards brought againe to the vexation of any man.
65. No custome or prescription shall ever prevaile
amongst us in any morall cause, our meaneing is maintaine anythinge that can be
proved to be morrallie sinfull by the word of god.
66. The Freemen of every Towneship shall have power to
make such by laws and constitutions as may concerne the wellfare of their Towne,
provided they be not of a Criminall, but onely of a prudential nature, And that
their penalties exceede not 20 sh. for one offence. And that they be not
repugnant to the publique laws and orders of the Countrie. And if any Inhabitant
shall neglect or refuse to observe them, they shall have power to levy the
appointed penalties by distresse.
67. It is the constant libertie of the free men of this
plantation to choose yearly at the Court of Election out of the freemen all the
General officers of this Jurisdiction. If they please to dischardge them at the
day of Election by way of vote. They may do it without shewing cause. But if at
any other generall Court, we hould it due justice, that the reasons thereof be
alleadged and proved. By Generall officers we meane, our Governor,
Deputy Governor, Assistants, Treasurer, Generall of our warres. And our Admirall
at Sea, and such as are or hereafter may be of the like generall nature.
68. It is the libertie of the freemen to choose such
deputies for the Generall Court out of themselves, either in their owne Townes
or elsewhere as they judge fitest. And because we cannot foresee what varietie
and weight of occasions may fall into future consideration, And what counsells
we may stand in neede of, we decree. That the Deputies (to attend the Generall
Court in the behalfe of the Countrie) shall not any time be stated or inacted,
but from Court to Court, or at the most but for one yeare, that the Countrie may
have an Annuall libertie to do in that case what is most behoofefull for the
best welfaire thereof.
69. No Generall Court shall be desolved or adjourned
without the consent of the Major parte thereof.
70. All Freemen called to give any advise, vote,
verdict, or sentence in any Court, Counsell, or Civill Assembly, shall have full
freedome to doe it according to their true Judgements and Consciences, So it be
done orderly and inofensively for the manner.
71. The Governor shall have a casting voice whensoever
an Equi vote shall fall out in the Court of Assistants, or generall assembly, So
shall the presedent or moderator have in all Civill Courts or Assemblies.
72. The Governor and Deputy Governor Joyntly consenting
or any three Assistants concurring in consent shall have power out of Court to
reprive a condemned malefactour, till the next quarter or generall Court. The
generall Court onely shall have power to pardon a condemned malefactor.
73. The Generall Court hath libertie and Authoritie to
send out any member of this Comanwealth of what qualitie, condition or office
whatsoever into forreine parts about any publique message or Negotiation.
Provided the partie sent be acquainted with the affaire he goeth about, and be
willing to undertake the service.
74. The freemen of every Towne or Towneship, shall have
full power to choose yearly or for lesse time out of themselves a convenient
number of fitt men to order the planting or prudentiall occasions of that Towne,
according to Instructions given them in writeing, Provided nothing be done by
them contrary to the publique laws and orders of the Countrie, provided also the
number of such select persons be not above nine.
75. It is and shall be the libertie of any member or
members of any Court Councell or Civill Assembly in cases of makeing or
executing any order or law, that properlie concerne religion, or any cause
capitall, or warres, or Subscription to any publique Articles or Remonstrance,
in case they cannot in Judgement and conscience consent to that way the Major
vote or suffrage goes, to make their contra Remonstrance or protestation in
speech or writeing, and upon request to have their dissent recorded in the
Rolles of that Court. So it be done Christianlie and respectively for the
manner. And their dissent onely be entered without the reasons thereof, for the
avoiding of tediousnes.
76. Whensoever any Jurie of trialls or Jurours are not
cleare in their Judgments or consciences conserneing any cause wherein they are
to give their verdict, They shall have libertie in open Court to advise with any
man they thinke fitt to resolve or direct them, before they give in their
77. In all cases wherein any freeman is to give his
vote, be it in point of Election, makeing constitutions and orders or passing
sentence in any case of Judicature or the like, if he cannot see reason to give
it positively one way or an other, he shall have libertie to be silent, and not
pressed to a determined vote.
78. The Generall or publique Treasure or any parte
thereof shall never be exspended but by the appointment of a Generall Court, nor
any Shire Treasure, but by the appointment of the freemen thereof, nor any Towne
Treasurie but by the freemen of that Township.
Liberties of Women.
79. If any man at his death shall not leave his wife a
competent portion of his estaite, upon just complaint made to the Generall Court
she shall be relieved.
80. Everie marryed woeman shall be free from bodilie
correction or stripes by her husband, unlesse it be in his owne defence upon her
assalt. If there be any just cause of correction complaint shall be made to
Authoritie assembled in some Court, from which onely she shall receive it.
81. When parents dye intestate, the Elder sonne shall
have a doble portion of his whole estate reall and personall, unlesse the
Generall Court upon just cause alleadged shall judge otherwise.
82. When parents dye intestate haveing noe heires males
of their bodies their Daughters shall inherit as Copartners, unles the Generall
Court upon just reason shall judge otherwise.
83. If any parents shall wilfullie and unreasonably deny
any childe timely or convenient mariage, or shall exercise any unnaturall
severitie towards them, such childeren shall have free libertie to complaine to
Authoritie for redresse.
84. No Orphan dureing their minoritie which was not
committed to tuition or service by the parents in their life time, shall
afterwards be absolutely disposed of by any kindred, freind, Executor,
Towneship, or Church, nor by themselves without the consent of some Court,
wherein two Assistants at least shall be present.
85. If any servants shall flee from the Tiranny and
crueltie of their masters to the howse of any freeman of the same Towne, they
shall be there protected and susteyned till due order be taken for their relife.
Provided due notice thereof be speedily given to their maisters from whom they
fled. And the next Assistant or Constable where the partie flying is harboured.
86. No servant shall be put of for above a yeare to any
other neither in the life time of their maister nor after their death by their
Executors or Administrators unlesse it be by consent of Authoritie assembled in
some Court or two Assistants.
87. If any man smite out the eye or tooth of his
man-servant, or maid servant, or otherwise mayme or much disfigure him, unlesse
it be by meere casualtie, he shall let them goe free from his service. And shall
have such further recompense as the Court shall allow him.
88. Servants that have served deligentlie and faithfully
to the benefitt of their maisters seaven yeares, shall not be sent away emptie.
And if any have bene unfaithfull, negligent or unprofitable in their service,
notwithstanding the good usage of their maisters, they shall not be dismissed
till they have made satisfaction according to the Judgement of Authoritie.
Liberties of Forreiners and Strangers.
89. If any people of other Nations professing the true
Christian Religion shall flee to us from the Tiranny or oppression of their
persecutors, or from famyne, warres, or the like necessary and
compulsarie cause, They shall be entertayned and succoured amongst us, according
to that power and prudence, god shall give us.
90. If any ships or other vessels, be it freind or
enemy, shall suffer shipwrack upon our Coast, there shall be no violence or
wrong offerred to their persons or goods. But their persons shall be harboured,
and relieved, and their goods preserved in safety till Authoritie may be
certified thereof, and shall take further order therein.
91. There shall never be any bond slaverie, villinage or
Captivitie amongst us unles it be lawfull Captives taken in just warres, and
such strangers as willingly selle themselves or are sold to us. And these shall
have all the liberties and Christian usages which the law of god established in
Israell concerning such persons doeth morally require. This exempts none from
servitude who shall be Judged thereto by Authoritie.
Off the Bruite Creature.
92. No man shall exercise any Tirranny or Crueltie
towards any bruite Creature which are usuallie kept for man's use.
93. If any man shall have occasion to leade or drive
Cattel from place to place that is far of, so that they be weary, or hungry, or
fall sick, or lambe, It shall be lawful to rest or refresh them, for competant
time, in any open place that is not Corne, meadow, or inclosed for some peculiar
94. Capitall Laws.
(Deut. 13. 6, 10. Deut. 17. 2, 6. Ex. 22.20)
If any man after legall conviction shall have or worship
any other god, but the lord god, he shall be put to death.
(Ex. 22. 18. Lev. 20. 27. Deut. 18. 10.)
If any man or woeman be a witch, (that is hath or consulteth with a
familiar spirit,) They shall be put to death.
(Lev. 24. 15,16.)
If any person
shall Blaspheme the name of god, the father, Sonne or Holie Ghost, with direct,
expresse, presumptuous or high handed blasphemie, or shall curse god in the like
manner, he shall be put to death.
(Ex. 21. 12. Numb. 35. 13, 14, 30, 31.)
If any person committ any wilfull murther, which is manslaughter,
committed upon premeditated malice, hatred, or Crueltie, not in a mans
necessarie and just defence, nor by meere casualtie against his will, he shall
be put to death.
(Numb. 25, 20, 21. Lev. 24. 17)
If any person slayeth an other suddaienly in his anger or Crueltie of
passion, he shall be put to death.
(Ex. 21. 14.)
If any person
shall slay an other through guile, either by poysoning or other such divelish
practice, he shall be put to death.
(Lev. 20. 15,16.)
If any man or
woeman shall lye with any beaste or bruite creature by Carnall Copulation, They
shall surely be put to death. And the beast shall be slaine, and buried and not
(Lev. 20. 13.)
If any man lyeth
with mankinde as he lyeth with a woeman, both of them have committed
abhomination, they both shall surely be put to death.
Lev. 20. 19. and 18, 20. Deut. 22. 23, 24.)
If any person committeth Adultery with a maried or espoused
wife, the Adulterer and Adulteresse shall surely be put to death.
(Ex. 21. 16.)
If any man
stealeth a man or mankinde, he shall surely be put to death.
(Deut. 19. 16, 18, 19.)
man rise up by false witnes, wittingly and of purpose to take away any mans
life, he shall be put to death.
If any man shall conspire and attempt any invasion,
insurrection, or publique rebellion against our commonwealth, or shall
indeavour to surprize any Towne or Townes, fort or forts therein, or shall
treacherously and perfediouslie attempt the alteration and subversion of our
frame of politie or Government fundamentallie, he shall be put to death.
95. A Declaration of the Liberties the Lord Jesus hath given to
All the people of god within this Jurisdiction who are
not in a church way, and be orthodox in Judgement, and not scandalous in life,
shall have full libertie to gather themselves into a Church Estaite. Provided
they doe it in a Christian way, with due observation of the rules of Christ
revealed in his word.
Every Church hath full libertie to exercise all the
ordinances of god, according to the rules of scripture.
Every Church hath free libertie of Election and
ordination of all their officers from time to time, provided they be able, pious
Every Church hath free libertie of Admission,
Recommendation, Dismission, and Expulsion, or deposall of their officers, and
members, upon due cause, with free exercise of the Discipline and Censures of
Christ according to the rules of his word.
No Injunctions are to be put upon any Church, Church
officers or member in point of Doctrine, worship or Discipline, whether for
substance or cercumstance besides the Institutions of the lord.
Every Church of Christ hath freedome to celebrate dayes
of fasting and prayer, and of thanksgiveing according to the word of god.
The Elders of Churches have free libertie to meete
monthly, Quarterly, or otherwise, in convenient numbers and places, for
conferences, and consultations about Christian and Church questions and
All Churches have libertie to deale with any of their
members in a church way that are in the hand of Justice. So it be not to retard
or hinder the course thereof.
Every Church hath libertie to deale with any magestrate,
Deputie of Court or other officer what soe ever that is a member in a church way
in case of apparent and just offence given in their places, so it be done with
due observance and respect.
Wee allowe private meetings for edification in religion
amongst Christians of all sortes of people. So it be without just offence for
number, time, place, and other cercumstances.
For the preventing and removeing of errour and offence
that may grow and spread in any of the Churches in this Jurisdiction, And for
the preserveing of trueith and peace in the severall churches within themselves,
and for the maintenance and exercise of brotherly communion, amongst all the
churches in the Countrie, It is allowed and ratified, by the Authoritie of this
Generall Court as a lawfull libertie of the Churches of Christ. That once in
every month of the yeare (when the season will beare it) It shall be lawfull for
the minesters and Elders, of the Churches neere adjoyneing together, with any
other of the breetheren with the consent of the churches to assemble by course
in each severall Church one after an other. To the intent after the preaching of
the word by such a minister as shall be requested thereto by the Elders of the
church where the Assembly is held, The rest of the day may be spent in publique
Christian Conference about the discussing and resolveing of any such doubts and
cases of conscience concerning matter of doctrine or worship or government of
the church as shall be propounded by any of the Breetheren (p.277) of that
church, will leave also to any other Brother to propound his objections or
answeres for further satisfaction according to the word of god. Provided that
the whole action be guided and moderated by the Elders of the Church where the
Assemblie is helde, or by such others as they shall appoint. And that no thing
be concluded and imposed by way of Authoritie from one or more churches upon an
other, but onely by way of Brotherly conference and consultations. That the
trueth may be searched out to the satisfying of every mans conscience in the
sight of god according his worde. And because such an Assembly and the worke
thereof can not be duely attended to if other lectures be held in the same
weeke. It is therefore agreed with the consent of the Churches. That in that
weeke when such an Assembly is held, All the lectures in all the neighbouring
Churches for that weeke shall be forborne. That so the publique service of
Christ in this more solemne Assembly may be transacted with greater deligence
96. Howsoever these above specified rites, freedomes
Immunities, Authorites and priveledges, both Civill and Ecclesiastical are
expressed onely under the name and title of Liberties, and not in the exact
forme of Laws or Statutes, yet we do with one consent fullie Authorise, and
earnestly intreate all that are and shall be in Authoritie to consider them as
laws, and not to faile to inflict condigne and proportionable punishments upon
every man impartiallie, that shall infringe or violate any of them.
97. Wee likewise give full power and libertie to any
person that shall at any time be denyed or deprived of any of them, to commence
and prosecute their suite, Complaint or action against any man that shall so doe
in any Court that hath proper Cognizance or judicature thereof.
98. Lastly because our dutie and desire is to do nothing
suddainlie which fundamentally concerne us, we decree that these rites and
liberties, shall be Audably read and deliberately weighed at every Generall
Court that shall be held, within three yeares next insueing, And such of them as
shall not be altered or repealed they shall stand so ratified, That no man shall
infringe them without due punishment.
And if any Generall Court within these next thre yeares
shall faile or forget to reade and consider them as abovesaid. The Governor and
Deputy Governor for the time being, and every Assistant present at such Courts,
shall forfeite 20sh. a man, and everie Deputie 10sh. a man for each neglect,
which shall be paid out of their proper estate, and not by the Country
or the Townes which choose them, and whensoever there shall arise any question
in any Court amonge the Assistants and Associates thereof about the explanation
of these Rites and liberties, The Generall Court onely shall have power to