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title:“Jeremy Belknap to Paine Wingate”
authors:Jeremy Belknap
date written:1789-5-29

permanent link
to this version:
https://consource.org/document/jeremy-belknap-to-paine-wingate-1789-5-29/20130122075834/
last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 7:58 a.m. UTC
retrieved:Nov. 21, 2019, 3:27 a.m. UTC

transcription
citation:
Belknap, Jeremy. "Letter to Paine Wingate." Creating the Bill of Rights. Ed. Kenneth R. Bowling and Helen E. Veit. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991. 241-42. Print.
manuscript
source:
Boston Public Library

Jeremy Belknap to Paine Wingate (May 29, 1789)

You will see in the speech wh. our new Lieut. Governor {Samuel Adams} made at his investiture that he has not thrown off the old idea of "independence" as an attribute of each individual State in the "confederated Republic"—& you will know in what light to regard his "devout & fervent wish" that "the people may enjoy well grounded confidence that their personal & domestic rights are secure." This is the same Language or nearly the same Language which he used in the Convention when he moved for an addition to the proposed Amendments—by inserting a clause to provide for the Liberty of the press—the right to keep arms—Protection from seizure of person & property & the Rights of Conscience.1 By which motion he gave an alarm to both sides of the house & had nearly overset the whole business which the Friends of the Constitution had been labouring for several Weeks to obtain.2 Should a Man tell me that he devoutly wished I might not break into his house & rob his desk—I think I should have a right to suspect that he viewed me in no better light than a Burglar. So if a Man publickly expresses a devout wish that the new Government may not rob him of his personal & domestic rights—I think it not uncharitable to conclude that he has a jealousy of its intentions. The dear insurgents must be treated with tenderness because they mean well tho' under some mistakes—but the staunch, tired defenders of American Liberty must be guarded against with a "devout wish" that they may not violate personal & domestic rights!

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