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contained in said digest, shall be and hereby are declared to be repealed, from the expiration of said thirty all others days from the date of said proclamation, to be issued as aforesaid: Provided always, That such of the statutes Proviso. contained in said digest which remain in substance the same as before the said revisal, shall be considered as having continued in force from the time of their being first enacted, or as if this revision had not been made : Provided also, That nothing in this act or in any of the acts contained in said digest, shall defeat, discharge or in any way affect any right, title, interest, duty, obligation, penalty, forfeiture, claim or demand, which shall have vested, ensured, accrued, or become forfeited, by virtue of the laws now in force, or which shall be in force, until the expiration of said thirty days from the date of the said proclamation, to be issued as aforesaid ; nor shall any thing in this act or in any of the laws in said digest contained, be construed to bar, discharge, or abate, any civil or criminal process whatsoever, now pending, or which shall hereafter be commenced or pending, before the expiration of said thirty days; nor to mitigate, remit or discharge any criminal offence, or the punishment thereof, that shall have been committed be. fore that time.
And whereas, in the aforesaid digest, statute provision may not have been made in all cases unprovided for at common law :
Sec. 5. Be it therefore enacted, That in all cases in Particular which provision is not made either at common law or which by the statutes aforesaid, such statutes as were introdu- were inced before the declaration of independence, and as have to be in since been continued in practice in this State, shall force in be considered as part of the common law and remain in force until the General Assembly shall especially provide therefor.
Sec. 6. And be it further enacted, That all laws which Laws relarelate to the emission of bills of public credit, or the
ting to calling in and redeeming the same, and not contained in public cresaid digest, shall be considered as remaining in full force ditto be in and effect, in the same manner as if the said acts and laws had been contained in the said digest.
Sec. 7. And be it further enacted, That all charters Also all and grants of incorporation to any body politic or corpo- and prirate, and all other private acts or statutes heretofore vate acts. granted, passed or enacted, not contained in said digest,
shall remain in full force and effect, any thing in this act to the contrary notwithstanding:
Sec. 8. And be it further enacted, That the Charter Charles II. granted to the late Colony of Rhode-Island and Propublished vidence Plantations, by Charles II. King of Great Britain, with the &c. the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of
Confederation, the Constitution of the United States, the Letter of George Washington, late President of the United States, addressed to the citizens thereof, bearing date the 17th day of September, A. D. 1796, together with the acts establishing the counties and incorporating the several towns within this State; the acts respecting light-houses and cessions of jurisdiction to the United States, be published with the laws contained in the digest aforesaid.
An Act declaratory of certain rights of the people of this
WHEREAS the General Assembly of this State have from time to time passed sundry acts, declaratory of the rights of the people thereof; and whereas a declaration of certain rights is deemed by this Assembly to be highly proper and necessary, both for the administration of justice and the security of said rights:
Be it therefore enacted by this General Assembly, and by the authority thereof it is enacted, That the people of this State are entitled, among other important and essential rights, to the rights hereafter enumerated, and that the same are and hereby are declared to be the inherent and unquestionable rights of the people inhabiting within the limits and jurisdiction of this State: that the political axioms, or truths, hereinafter mentioned and declared, are, and ought to be, of paramount obligation in all legislative, judicial and executive proceedings, which shall be had or done therein, under the authority thereof.
Sec. 1. Every person within this State ought to find a certain remedy, by having recourse to the laws, for all injuries or wrongs which he may receive in his person, property or character. He ought to obtain right and justice freely, and without being obliged to purchase it; completely, and without any denial; promptly, and without delay; conformably to the laws.
Şec. 2. The right of the people to be secure in their
persons, houses, papers and possessions, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated; and no warrant shall issue, but on complaint in writing, upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and describing, as nearly as may be, the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Sec. 3. No person shall be holden to answer a capital or other infamous crime, unless on presentment or indictment by a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia when in actual service, in time of war or public danger. No person shall, for the same offence, be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb.
Sec. 4. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel punishments inflicted, and all punishments ought to be proportioned to the offence.
Sec. 5. All prisoners shall be bailable by sufficient sureties, unless for capital offences, when the proof is evident, or 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. 6. In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury;
to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation, to be confronted with the witnesses against him, to have compulsory process for obtaining them in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defence; nor can he be deprived of his life, liberty or property, unless by the judgment of his peers, or the law of the land.
Sec. 7. The person of a debtor, when there is not strong presumption of fraud, ought not to be continued in prison, after delivering up his estate for the benefit of his creditors, in such manner as shall be prescribed by law.
Sec. 8. Retrospective laws punishing offences committed before the existence of such laws, are oppressive and unjust, and ought not to be made.
Sec. 9. No man in the courts of common law ought to be compelled to give evidence against himself.
Sec. 10. Every man being presumed to be innocent, until he has been pronounced guilty by the law, all acts of severity that are not necessary to secure an accused person ought to be repressed.
An Act relative to religious freedom, and the maintenance of
ministers. WHEREAS Almighty God hath created the mind free; that all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burthens, or by civil incapacitations, tend only to beget habits of hypocricy and meanness, and are a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, who being Lord both of body and mind, yet chose not to propagate it by coercions on either, as was in his almighty power to do; that the presumption of legislators and rulers, civil as well as ecclesiastical, who being themselves but fallible and uninspired men, have assumed dominion over the faith of others, setting up their own opinions and modes of thinking as the only true and infallible, and as such endeavoring to impose them on others, hath established and maintained false religions over the greatest part of the world, and through all time; that to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves, is sinful and tyrannical; that even the forcing him to support this or that teacher, of his own religious persuasion, is depriving him of the comfortable liberty of giving his contributions to the particular pastor whose morals he would make his pattern, and whose powers he feels most persuasive to righteousness, and is withdrawing from the ministry those temporary rewards, which, proceeding from an approbation of their personal conduct, are an additional incitement to earnest and unremitting labours for the instruction of mankind; that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions; that therefore the proscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence, by laying upon him an incapacity of being called to offices of trust and emolument, unless he profess or renounce this or that religious opinion, is depriving him injuriously of those privileges and advantages to which in common with his fellow-citizens he has a natural right; that it tends only to corrupt the principles of that religion it is meant to encourage, by bribing, with a monopoly of worldly honors and emoluments, those who will externally profess and conform to it; that though indeed those are criminal who do not withstand such temptation, yet neither are those innocent who lay the bait in their way; that to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion, and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles on supposition of their ill
tendency, is a dangerous fallacy, which at once destroys all religious liberty, because he, being of course judge of that tendency, will make his opinions the rule of judgment, and approve or condemn the sentiments of others only as they shall square with or differ from his own; that it is time enough, for the rightful purposes of civil government, for its officers to interfere when principles break out into overt acts against peace and good order; and, finally, that truth is great, and will prevail if left to herself; that she is the proper and sufficient antagonist to error, and has nothing to fear from the conflict, unless by human interposition disarmed of her natural weapons, free argument and debate; errors ceasing to be dangerous when it is permitted freely to contradict them :
And whereas a principal object of our venerable ancestors, in their migration to this country, and settlement of this State, was, as they expressed it, to hold forth a lively experiment, that a most flourishing civil state may stand, and best be maintained, with a full liberty in religious concernments: Be it therefore enacted by the General Assembly, and by No man
compelled the authority thereof it is enacted, That no man shall be to frequent compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, or support
any relig place or ministry whatsoever; nor shall be enforced, re- ious wor. strained, molested or burthened in his body or goods, nor ship. shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge or affect their civil capacities.
An Act for dividing the State into five counties. 1729, 46,
'50, 65, Be it enacted by the General Assembly, and by the au- '98, 1822. thority thereof it is enacted, That this State be divided into five distinct and separate counties, in the following five coun
County of The towns of Newport, Portsmouth, Jamestown, New- New Shoreham, Middletown, Tiverton and Little-Compton, and the islands adjacent, heretofore within the jurisdiction of either of said towns, shall be constituted and are hereby made one county, and shall be known by the name of the county of Newport; and Newport shall be the county town.