CHAPTER 14|Document 16
Return of Plymouth, Massachusetts1 June 1778Handlin 290--91
The Committee Appointed to take into Consideration the Constitution lately drawn up by the Convention of this State and to consider the Advantages and Disadvantages arriseing therefrom--Beg leave to report--That they have repeatedly perused said Constitution with great candor and deliberation and are of opinion, that many parts of it are bottomed on Principalls of Equal liberty, and calculated to secure the Governed, from the Encroachments of Ambition and the artifices of Designing rulers, such more Especially, is the Establishment, of Annual Elections in the Severall branches of the Legislature, Fundementual in Every free Government, and the best barrier against Corruption, and the restless passions of Mankind.
Your Committee would be happy, if they could Speak with the Same applause, of Every Articall in the Constitution, but Justice to themselves and Posterity, Oblige them to point out Severall Things, which they apprehend are Meterial Defects.... Your Committee are further of opinion, that a bill, Clearly Ascerting the rights of the people, as Men, Christians, and Subjects, aught to have Preceeded the Constitution, and these rights should be Expressed in the fullest and most unequivocall terms--Upon the whole as this Constitution, is in so many parts Defective, and as when once Established, it will probably remain unalterable, Except by Coercion and Violence, Your Committe think that it aught to be rejected--
Handlin, Oscar, and Handlin, Mary, eds. The Popular Sources of Political Authority: Documents on the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780. Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1966.
© 1987 by The University of Chicago