Give Me Liberty! Sources of Freedom History Center
Sources of Freedom: The Massachusetts Body of
adopted as law by the General Court of the Commonwealth of
No man's life shall be taken away, no man's honor or good name shall be stained,
no man's person shall be arrested, restrained, banished, dismembered, nor any
ways punished, no man shall be deprived of his wife or children, no man's goods
or estate shall be taken away from him, nor in any way damaged under color of
law, or countenance of authority, unless it be by virtue or equity of some express
law of the Country warranting the same established by a General Court and
sufficiently published, or in case of the defect of a law in any particular case by
the word of God (the laws of the Bible). And in capital cases, or in cases
concerning dismembering or banishment, according to that word to be judged by
the General Court.
Every person within this jurisdiction, whether inhabitant or foreigner, shall enjoy
the same justice and law, that is general for the Plantation, which we constitute
and execute one towards another, without partiality or delay.
No man shall be urged to take any oath or subscribe any articles, covenants or
remonstrance, of a public and civil nature, but such as the General Court hath
considered, allowed and required.
No man shall be punished for not appearing at or before any civil assembly,
Court, council, magistrate, or officer, nor for the omission of any office or service,
if he shall be necessarily hindered by any apparent act or providence of God,
which he could neither foresee or avoid. Provided that this law shall not prejudice
any person of his just cost or damage in any civil action.
No man shall be compelled to any public work or service unless the press be
grounded upon some act of the General Court, and have reasonable allowance
No man shall be pressed into any office, work, wars, or other public service, who
is necessarily and sufficiently exempted by any natural or personal impediment,
as by want of years, greatness of age, defect of mind, failing of senses, or
impotence of limbs.
No man shall be compelled to go out of the limits of this plantation upon any
offensive wars which this Commonwealth or any of our friends or confederates
shall voluntarily undertake. But only upon such vindictive and defensive wars in
our own behalf, or on the behalf of our friends, and confederates as shall be
enterprised by the Council and consent of a General Court , or by authority
derived from the same.
No man's cattle or goods of what kind soever shall be pressed or taken for any
public use or service, unless it be by warrant grounded upon some act of the
General Court, nor without such reasonable prices and hire as the ordinary rates of