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John DeWitt IV (excerpt)


Like the performance of a fine painter, the Senate is the subject of the piece painted.—The people with their priviledges, to an attentive observer, may be seen in the back ground, composing an insignificant part of the drapery, but their existence depends upon the freshness of the colours.—Frequent handling, a little exposure, and the smallest inroads of time upon these shades, will soon destroy them, and they will no longer be considered a part of the composition. If this is true—if in any future period, however distant, we are to be governed by One Branch, it surely behoves us to provide for an equal voice in that Branch, that our respective influence shall bear some small proportion to our respective contributions and numbers: Whereas in this System, equality is totally disregarded. Five pounds in the Senate has an equal voice with fifty, and about five hundred thousand of the inhabitants the same number of votes with the remaining three millions. Where then is the probability the rights of the people will find equal security? Is it not demonstrable that your burthens will be great in proportion as your influence in that body that imposes them is small? As it respects this Commonwealth [of Massachusetts], infinitely better would be our situation in a representation in the British Parliament. The terms offered us by our enemies to place us as we stood in 1763, bear no comparison in their consequences, to those which would flow from the exercise of the powers of this Government by the Senate, as now constructed. If the same proportion in numbers and property had been observed in this Branch as in the House of Representatives (and no reason why it was not hath yet appeared, excepting what the celebrated Southern gentleman is pleased to term a "necessary compromise between contending interests") however successful they might be hereafter in arrogating all the powers of government to themselves, or however severe in executing them, still one gleam of hope with the spirit of consolation would be found in the breast of the subject, that his grievances were proportionate to those of his neighbours; but in the present case, even this satisfaction is denied him—the uncertainty is not left him—his reason instanter convinces him it is not so.

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