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We, the delegates of the people of Virginia, duly elected in pursuance of a recommendation from the general assembly, and now met in convention, having fully and freely investigated and discussed the proceedings of the federal convention, and being prepared as well as the most mature deliberation hath enabled us to decide thereon-Do, in the name and in behalf of the people of Virginia, declare and make known, that the powers granted under the constitution, being derived from the people of the United States, may be resumed by them, whensoever the same shall be perverted to their injury or oppression, and that every power not granted there. by, remains with them, and at their will: that therefore no right of any denomination, can be cancelled, abridged, restrained, or modified, by the Congress, by ihe senate, or house of representatives, acting in any capacity, by the president, or any department, or officer of the United States, except in those instances io which power is given by the constitution for those purposes : and that among other essential rights, the liberty of conscience, and of the press, cannot be cancelled, abridged, restrained, or modified, by any authority of the United States. With these impressions, with a solemn appeal to the Searcher of hearts, for the purity of our intentions, and under the conviction that whatsoever imperfections may exist in the constitution, ought rather to be examined in the mode prescribed therein, than to bring the union into danger, by a deJay, with a hope of obtaining amendments previous to the ratification-We the said delegates, in the name and in behalf of the people of Virginia, do, by these presents, assent to and ratify the constitution recommended on the seventeenth day of September, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-seven, by the federal convention, for the government of the United States, hereby announcing to all those whom it may concern, that the said constitution is binding upon the said people, according to an authentick copy hereto annexed, in the words following. [See constitution.]


Done in convention, this twenty-sixth day of June, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-eight.

By Order of the Convention.

EDM. PENDLETON, President. [L. s.]


SUBSEQUENT AMENDMENTs agreed to in convention, as necessary to the proposed constitution of government for the United States, recommended to the considera. tion of the Congress which shall first assemble under the said constitution, to be acted upon according to · the mode prescribed in the fifth article thereof-videlicet:

That there be a declaration or bill of rights, asserting and securing from encroachment, the essential and unalienable rights of the people, in some such manner as the following:

1. That there are certain natural rights, of which men, when they form a social compact, cannot deprive or divest their posterity, among which are the enjoy

ment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.

11. That all power is naturally vested in, and conse. quently derived from the people ; that magistrates, therefore, are their trustees and agents, and at all times amenable to them.

in. That government ought to he instituted for the common benefit, protection and security of the people; and that the doctrine of non-resistance against arbitrary power and oppression, is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind. .

iv. That no 'man or set of men are entitled to ex clusive or separate publick emoluments or privileges from the community, but in consideration of publick services, which not being descendible, neither ought the offices of magistrate, legislator, or judge, or any other publick office to be hereditary.

v. That the legislative, executive and judiciary powers of government should be separate and distinct; and that the members of the two first may be restrained from oppression by feeling and participating the publick burdens, they should, at fixed periods, be reduced to a private station, return into the mass of the people, and the vacancies be supplied by certain and regular elections ; in which all or any part of the former members to be eligible or ineligible, as the rules of the constitution of government and the laws shall direct.

vi. That elections of representatives in the legislature ought to be free and frequent, and all men having sufficient evidence of permanent common interest, with an attachment to the community, ought to have the right of suffrage: and no aid, charge, tax or fee can be set, rated or levied upon the people without their own consent, or that of their representatives so elected, nor can they be bound by any law to which they have not in like manner assented for the publick good.


vii. That all power of suspending laws, or the exe. cution of laws, by any authority, without the consent of the representatives of the people in the legislature, is injurious to their rights, and ought not to be exercis.


VIII. That in all capital and criminal prosecutions, a man bath a right to demand the cause and nature of his accusation, to be confronted with the accusers and witnesses, to call for evidence, and be allowed counsel in bis favour, and to a fair and speedy trial by an impartial jury of his vicinage, without whose unanimous consent he cannot be found guilty, (except in the go. vernment of the land and naval forces :)-nor can be be compelled to give evidence against himself.

18. That no freeman ought to be taken, imprisoned, or disseized of his freehold, liberties, privileges, or franchises, or outlawed, or exiled, or in any manner de stroyed or deprived of his life, liberty, or property, but by the law of the land.

X. That every freeman restrained of his liberty, is entitled to a remedy, to inquire into the lawfulness thereof, and to remove the same, if unlawful, and that such remedy ought not to be denied nor delayed.

X1. That in controversies respecting property, and in suits between man and man, the ancient trial by jury is one of the greatest securities to the rights of the people, and ought to remain sacred and inviolable.

XU. That every freeman ought to find a certain rem medy by recourse to the laws for all injuries and wrongs he may receive in his person, property, or character. He ought to obtain right and justice freely without sale, completely and without denial, promptly and without delay, and that all establishments or regulations contravening these rights, are oppressive and unjust. .

XII. That excessive bail ought not to be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

xiv. That every freeman has a right to be secure from all unreasonable searches and seizures of his person, his papers, and his property ; "all warrants, there. “ fore, to search -suspected places, or seize any free. “man, his papers, or property," without information upon oath (or affirmation of a person religiously scrupu, lous of taking an oath) of legal and sufficient cause, are griev ous and oppressive; and all general warrants to search suspected places, or to apprehend any suspect ed person, without specially naming or describing the place or person, are dangerous, and ought not to be granted.

xv. That the people have a right peaceably to assemble together to consult for the common good, or to instruct their representatives ; and that every freeman has a right to petition or apply to the legislature for redress of grievances.

xvi. That the people have a right to freedom of speech, and of writing and publishing their sentiments; that the freedom of the press is one of the greatest bulwarks of liberty, and ought not to be violated.

Ivn. That the people have a right to keep and bear

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