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‘ [381] religion, according to the dictates of conscience.’ His
Chap. LXIV.} 1776. May.
motion, which did but state with better dialectics the very purpose which Mason wished to accomplish, obtained the suffrages of his colleagues. This was the first achievement of the wisest civilian of Virginia. The declaration of rights having then been fairly transcribed, was on the twelfth of June read a third time and unanimously adopted by the representatives of the good people of Virginia, assembled in full and free convention.

These are the rights which they said do pertain to them and their posterity, as the basis and foundation of government:

All men are by nature equally free, and have inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.

All power is vested in, and consequently derived from, the people; magistrates are their trustees and servants, and at all times amenable to them.

Government is, or ought to be, instituted for the common benefit and security of the people, nation, or community; and whenever any government shall be found inadequate or contrary to these purposes, a majority of the community hath an indubitable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to reform, alter, or abolish it, in such a manner as shall be judged most conducive to the public weal.

Public services not being descendible, neither ought the offices of magistrate, legislator, or judge to be hereditary.

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