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[2] promised equal justice without partiality or delay.
Chap. X.}
Every man, whether inhabitant or foreigner, free or not free, had the liberty to come to any court, council, or town meeting, and there to move any question or present any petition, either by speech or writing. Every officer, exercising judicial authority, was annually elected, the assistants by the freemen of the whole plantation; the associates to assist the assistants in any inferior court, by the towns belonging to that court; and all jurors by the freemen of the town where they dwelt. Judicial proceedings were simplified; by mutual consent of plaintiff and defendant, actions might be tried, at their option, by the bench or by a jury; and in criminal trials the like choice was granted to the accused.

All servitudes of the soil, which had so much multiplied and had wrought so much evil under the feudal system, were utterly forbidden; and all lands and heritages were declared free and alienable; so that the land of a child under age or an idiot, might, with the consent of a general court, be conveyed away. All persons of the age of twenty-one years, even the excommunicate or condemned, had full power to alienate their lands and estates, and to make their wills and testaments. Children inherited equally as copartners the property of intestate parents, whether real or personal, except that to the first-born son, where there was a son, a double portion was assigned, unless the general court should judge otherwise. No man could be compelled to go out of the limits of the plantation upon any offensive war. To every man within the jurisdiction, free liberty was assured to remove himself and his family at their pleasure. The grant

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