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provide for the Collection of the Duties on Imports.”
QUALIFICATIONS FOR OFFICE.*
IN consequence of the separation of what is now the State of Maine from Massachusetts, in the year 1820, it became necessary to make some change in the constitution of the Commonwealth. The opportunity was thought a favorable one for a general revision of that instrument, which had undergone no amendment since its adoption in 1780. Delegates were accordingly chosen by the people to meet in convention for this purpose,
the several towns and districts in the Commonwealth (there were then no cities) being allowed as many delegates as they were respectively entitled to send members to the House of Representat.ves of the State. Mr. Webster was among the delegates chosen by the town of Boston, and took an active and distinguished part in the business of the convention, both in committee-room and in debate.
As soon as the body was organized by the choice of its officers, the chief provisions of the existing constitution were referred to select com. mittees, instructed to consider and report whether any, and if any, what amendments were desirable to be made in them. The subject of the official oaths and subscriptions required by the sixth chapter of the second part of the constitution was referred to a committee for this purpose, of which Mr. Webster was chairman. A report was made by this committee, recommending that, in lieu of all oaths and subscriptions then required, a simple oath of allegiance to the Commonwealth, together with the oath of office, should be taken by all persons chosen or appointed to office. The most important feature of these proposed changes was, that a profession of belief in the Christian religion was no longer required as a qualification for office.
The resolutions reported by this committee became the subject of a discussion, in the course of which, on the 4th of December, 1820, Mr. Webster made the following remarks:
Remarks, made on the 4th of December, 1820, in the Convention of Delegates chosen to revise the Constitution of Massachusetts, upon the Resolution relating to Oaths of Office.