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Constitution of Massachusetts,

Constitutional convention. (1920-21)

Begun and holden at Boston, November 15, 1820, and continued by Adjourn-
ment to January 9, 1821.

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US12578. 3,820,20

9 1.820.2

1860. July 13.
Bickman Bernest.


Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1853, by


In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Massachusetts.

Dutton & Wentworth, Printers, 37 Congress Street.


THE present Report of the Proceedings and Debates of the Convention which assembled at the State House in Boston, November 15, 1820, to revise the Constitution of Massachusetts, was first published, from day to day, in the Boston Daily Advertiser, during the session of the Convention, and was then issued in the form of a volume, immediately after its adjournment in 1821, the printing having been carried on during the session. A part of the edition was ordered by the Convention to be distributed among the members and other persons, and the remaining copies were immediately taken up by the public. It has been in considerable request at various times, but not to such extent as was deemed sufficient to indemnify the expense of a new edition. The recent call of a new Convention, for another revision of the Constitution, has awakened so much interest in the proceedings of that of 1820, as to induce the reprint now presented to the public.

It has been considered important by the Editors that no material alterations should be made in the text. Although there are, perhaps, some portions of the volume which possess less general interest at the present time than others, and might have been omitted without detracting from its value, and although, from the haste with which the original report was prepared, there were doubtless some expressions in it which might have been improved upon a careful revision, the Editors, nevertheless, thought that the confidence of the public would be justly shaken in the accuracy of the volume, as a true record of the proceedings of the Convention, if it were not the same as that printed contemporaneously with its sittings, the errors of which, if any existed, would have then been immediately exposed.

The official journal was ordered by the Convention to be deposited in the office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth; but there is on a file of papers relating to the Convention, a contem

porary memorandum of the then Secretary, stating that it was never placed there, and it is not known where it is. The present volume, therefore, the first edition of which went through the press before the journal could have been completed, probably affords the only record in existence, of the proceedings of the Convention.

The Editors have accordingly confined themselves to the correction of the few obvious accidental errors which have been discovered on a careful revision. They intended to supply such documents or other material omissions, had there been any, which might have arisen from the haste in which the original edition was published, but no opportunity for this occurred, the original volume being, they believe, complete up to the date of its publication, embracing all the reports and other papers of any importance, which came under consideration. They have added in an Appendix, such documents of a subsequent date, as appeared necessary to complete the history of the Convention.


Where it has been thought expedient to interpolate any remarks in the text, such additions have been uniformly enclosed in square brackets, [] so as to distinguish them from the original The present volume, from the first of the pages numbered with Arabic numerals as far as the Appendix, with the exception of the brief additions thus marked, and the correction of the few obvious errors above alluded to, contains all, and only, the matter of the first edition.

The Appendix embraces a number of documents of a date subsequent to the adjournment of the Convention, which are necessary to the completeness of its history, viz. :

A Statement of the Votes of the People, by Counties, on the several amendments proposed to them by the Convention. This statement is given as printed in the Boston Daily Advertiser, at the time, but as the footings agree with those officially reported by the Committee of the Convention to the Legislature, it may probably be relied on, as an accurate copy from the official returns. No official canvass of the vote by towns or counties, has been found at the State House. Also, the Proceedings of the Committee of the Convention appointed to meet after the people had voted upon the amendments, and ascertain the result. These proceedings are copied from their original report, submitted to the Legislature, preserved in the office of the Secretary of the Com

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