SAMUEL ADAMS CONCERNING TYRANNY AND TREASON

Samuel Adams Concerning Those Who Are Against True Americans (Click to enlarge)

Samuel Adams Concerning Those Who Are Against True Americans (Click to enlarge)

“In meditating the matter of that address [the first inaugural] I often asked myself is this exactly in the spirit of the patriarch of liberty, Samuel Adams? Is it as he would express it? Will he approve of it? I have felt a great deal for our country in the times we have seen. But individually for no one as for yourself. When I have been told that you were avoided, insulted, frowned on, I could but ejaculate, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.’ I confess I felt an indignation for you which for myself I have been able under every trial to keep entirely passive. However, the storm is over, and we are in port.” Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Adams, 1801

“I can say he [Samuel Adams] was a truly great man, wise in council, fertile in resources, immovable in his purposes, and had, I think, a greater share than any other member in advising and directing our measures in the northern war especially. As a speaker he could not be compared with his living colleague and namesake whose deep conceptions, nervous style, and undaunted firmness made him truly our bulwark in debate. But Mr. Samuel Adams, although not of fluent elocution, was so rigorously logical, so clear in his views, abundant in good sense, and master always of his subject that he commanded the most profound attention whenever he arose in an assembly by which the froth of declaration was heard with the most sovereign contempt.” Thomas Jefferson to S. A. Wells, 1819.

 

ARTICLE SIGNED CANDIDUS, Written by Samuel Adams

[Boston Gazette, August 19, 1771.]

Messieurs Edes & Gill.

It has become of late so fashionable for some persons to make their addresses to everyone whom they call a great man, that one can hardly look upon them as the genuine marks of respect to any one who is really a good man. Their addresses seem to spring altogether from political views; and without the least regard to the character or merit of the persons whom they profess to compliment in them. From the observations I have been able to make, I have been led to think that one of their designs in addressing, is to give occasion to my Lord of H______ and other great men to think, or at least to say it, whether they think so or not, that the scales have at length fallen from the eyes of the people of this town and province ; and that in consequence thereof, they have altered their sentiments, & are become perfectly reconciled to the whole system of ministerial measures; for otherwise, they might argue, could they possibly be so liberal in their addresses and compliments to those persons who are employed, and no question, are very active in carrying those measures into execution. But I should think that if a question of this consequence, namely, Whether the people have altered their sentiments in so interesting a point, is to be decided by their apparent disposition to compliment this or that particular gentleman, because he is employed in the service of administration in America, it would be the fairest method to call a meeting of the inhabitants of the Town, duly notifying them of the occasion of the meeting, and let the matter be fully debated if need be, and determined by a vote. Everyone would then see, if the vote was carried in favour of addressing, or which upon my supposition is the same thing, in favour of the measures of administration, whether it obtain’d by a large or small majority of the whole; and we might come to the knowledge of the very persons, which is much to be desired, as well as the weight of understanding and property on each side.

For my own part, I cannot but at present be of opinion, and “I have reason to believe” that my opinion is well founded, that the measures of the British administration of the colonies, are still as disgustful and odious to the inhabitants of this respectable metropolis in general, as they ever have been: And I will venture further to add, that nothing, in my opinion, can convey a more unjust idea of the spirit of a true American, than to suppose he would even compliment, much less make an adulating address to any person sent here to trample on the Rights of his Country; or that he would ever condescend to kiss the hand which is ready prepared to rivet his own fetters—There are among us, it must be confess’d, needy expectants and dependents; and a few others of sordid and base minds, form’d by nature to bend and crouch even to little great men:— But whoever thinks, that by the most refined art and assiduous application of the most ingenious political oculist, the “public eye” can yet look upon the chains which are forg’d for them, or upon those detestable men who are employ’d to put them on, without abhorrence and indignation, are very much mistaken— I only wish that my Countrymen may be upon their guard against being led by the artifices of the tools of Administration, into any indiscreet measures, from whence they may take occasion to give such a coloring. “There have been, says the celebrated American Farmer, in every age and in every country bad men: Men who either hold or expect to hold certain advantages by fitting examples of Servility to their countrymen: Who train’d to the employment, or self-taught by a natural versatility of genius, serve as decoys for drawing the innocent and unwary into snares. It is not to be doubted but that such men will diligently bestir themselves on this and every like occasion, to spread the infection of their meanness as far as they can. On the plans they have adopted this is their course. This is the method to recommend themselves to their patrons. They act consistently in a bad cause. They run well in a mean race. From them we shall learn, how pleasant and profitable a thing it is, to be, for our submissive behavior, well spoken of at St. James’s or St. Stephen’s, at Guildhall or the Royal Exchange.”

We cannot surely have forgot the accursed designs of a most detestable set of men, to destroy the Liberties of America as with one blow, by the Stamp-Act; nor the noble and successful efforts we then made to divert the impending stroke of ruin aimed at ourselves and our posterity. The Sons of Liberty on the 14th of August 1765, a Day which ought to be forever remembered in America, animated with a zeal for their country then upon the brink of destruction, and resolved, at once to save her, or like Samson, to perish in the ruins, exerted themselves with such distinguished vigor, as made the house of Dogon to shake from its very foundation; and the hopes of the lords of the Philistines even while their hearts were merry, and when they were anticipating the joy of plundering this continent, were at that very time buried in the pit they had digged. The People shouted; and their shout was heard to the distant end of this Continent. In each Colony they deliberated and resolved, and every Stampman trembled; and swore by his Maker, that he would never execute a commission which he had so infamously received.

We cannot have forgot, that at the very Time when the stamp-act was repealed, another was made in which the Parliament of Great-Britain declared, that they had right and authority to make any laws whatever binding on his Majesty’s subjects in America— How far this declaration can be consistent with the freedom of his Majesty’s subjects in America, let any one judge who pleases—In consequence of such right and authority claim’d, the commons of Great Britain very soon fram’d a bill and sent it up to the Lords, wherein they pray’d his Majesty to accept of their grant of such a part as they were then pleas’d, by virtue of the right and authority inherent in them to make, of the property of his Majesty’s subjects in America by a duty upon paper, glass, painter’s colours and tea. And altho’ these duties are in part repeal’d, there remains enough to answer the purpose of administration, which was to fix the precedent. We remember the policy of Mr. Grenville, who would have been content for the present with a pepper corn establish’d as a revenue in America: If therefore we are voluntarily silent while the single duty on tea is continued, or do any act, however innocent, simply considered, which may be construed by the tools of administration, (some of whom appear to be fruitful in invention) as an acquiescence in the measure, we are in extreme hazard; if ever we are so distracted as to consent to it, we are undone.

Nor can we ever forget the indignity and abuse with which America in general, and this province and town in particular, have been treated, by the servants & officers of the crown, for making a manly resistance to the arbitrary measures of administration, in the representations that have been made to the men in power at home, who have always been dispos’d to believe every word as infallible truth. For opposing a threatned Tyranny, we have been not only called, but in effect adjudged Rebels & Traitors to the best of Kings, who has sworn to maintain and defend the Rights and Liberties of his Subjects—We have been represented as inimical to our fellow subjects in Britain, because we have boldly asserted those Rights and Liberties, wherewith they, as Subjects, are made free.

When we complain’d of this injurious treatment; when we petition’d, and remonstrated our grievances: What was the Consequence? Still further indignity; and finally a formal invasion of this town by a fleet and army in the memorable year 1768.

Our masters, military and civil, have since that period been frequently chang’d; and possibly some of them, from principles merely political, may of late have look’d down upon us with less sternness in their countenances than a Bernard or a . . .: But while there has been no essential alteration of measures, no real redress of grievances, we have no reason to think, nay we deceive ourselves if we indulge a thought that their hearts are changed. We cannot entertain such an imagination, while the revenue, or as it is more justly styled, the Tribute is extorted from us: while our principal fortress, within the environs of the town, remains garrison’d by regular troops, and the harbour is invested by ships of war. The most zealous advocates for the measures of administration, will not pretend to say, that these troops and these ships are sent here to protect America, or to carry into execution any one plan, form’d for the honor or advantage of Great-Britain. It would be some alleviation, if we could be convinced that they were sent here with any other design than to insult us.

How absurd then must the addresses which have been presented to some particular gentlemen, who have made us such friendly visits, appear in the eyes of men of sense abroad! Or, if any of them have been so far impos’d upon, as to be induc’d to believe that such addresses speak the language of the generality of the people, how ridiculous must the generality of the people appear! On the last supposition, would not a sensible reader of those addresses, upon comparing them with the noble resolutions which this town, this province and this continent have made against Slavery, and the just and warm resentment they have constantly shown against Every man whatever, who had a mind sordid and base enough, for the sake of lucre, or the preservation of a commission, or from any other consideration, to submit to be made even a remote instrument in bringing and entailing it upon a free and a brave people; upon such a comparison, would he not be ready to conclude, “that we had forgot the reasons which urged us, with unexampled unanimity a few years ago—that our zeal for the public good had worn out, before the homespun clothes which it had caused us to have made—and, that by our present conduct we condemned our own late successful example !”—Although this is altogether supposition, without any foundation in truth, yet, so our enemies wish it may be in reality, and so they intend it shall be—To prevent it, let us Adhere TO FIRST PRINCIPLES.

“CANDIDUS”

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