No People Will Tamely Surrender Their Liberties, Where Knowledge is Shared and Virtue Preserved

Samuel Adams quote Regarding Private & Public Virtue

Samuel Adams Regarding Private & Public Virtue [Click to enlarge]

No People will tamely surrender their Liberties, nor can they easily be subdued, where Knowledge is diffused and Virtue preserved.

Samuel Adams To James Warren [shared as written with no attempt to modernize spelling, language, etc.]

Philada., Nov’r. 4th, 1775

My Dear Sir, — I thank you heartily for your very acceptable Letter of the 23 of October by Fessenden. It is very afflicting to hear the universal Complaint of the Want of that most necessary Article, Gunpowder, and especially in the Camp before Boston. I hope however that this Want will soon be supplied, and God grant that a good Use may be made of it. The Congress yesterday was presented with the Colors of the seventh Regiment taken in Fort Chamblee, [Fort Chambly is a historic fort in La Vallée-du-Richelieu Regional County Municipality, Quebec.] which is surrendered to Major Brown. The Acquisition of 124 Barrils of Powder gives a happy Turn to our Affairs in that Quarter the Success of which I almost began to despair of.

The Gentlemen who have lately returned from the Camp may, perhaps all of them entertain a favorable Opinion of our Colony— I may possibly be partial in saying, not more favorable than it deserves. Be that as it may, the Congress have judged it necessary to continue the Establishment of the Men’s pay, and to enlarge that of the Captains and Lieutenants. In Addition to the Continental Army four new Batallions are to be raised, viz, three for the Defence of South Carolina and one for Georgia. These with 1000 Men before orderd for North Carolina, with the Assistance of provincial Forces, it is hoped will be sufficient to defend the three Southernmost Colonies.

It is recommended to N. Hampshire to form a Government to their own liking, during this Contest; and S. Carolina is allowd to do the same if they judge it necessary. I believe the Time is near when the most timid will see the absolute Necessity of every one of the Colonies setting up a Government within itself.

No Provisions or Produce is to be exported from any of the united Colonies to any part of the World till the first of March except for the Importation of the Unum Necessarium, and for Supplys from one Colony to another, under the Direction of Committees, and a further Exception of live Stock. Under the last Head, and Horses are allowd to be sent to the foreign West Indies. We shall by the Spring know the full Effect of our Non-exportation Agreement in the West Indies. Perhaps Alliances may then be formed with foreign Powers, and Trade opened to all the World Great Britain excepted.

You will possibly think I have set myself down to furnish a few Paragraphs for Edes and Gills paper, and what is more that I am betraying the Secrets of Congress. I confess I am giving my Friend as much Information as I dare, of things which are of such a Nature as that they cannot long be kept secret, and therefore I suppose it never was intended they should be. I mention them however in Confidence that you will not publish them. I wish I was at Liberty to tell you many of the Transactions of our body, but I am restraind by the Ties of Honor; and though it is painful to me, you know, to keep Secrets, I will not violate my Honor to relieve myself or gratify my Friend. [Nine lines are here erased, apparently after the receipt of the letter.] But why have I told you so trifling a Story, for which I cannot forgive my self till I have askd forgiveness of you. We live in a most important Age, which demands that every Moment should be improvd to some serious Purpose. It is the Age of George the Third; and to do Justice to our most gracious King, I will affirm it as my Opinion, that his Councils and Administration will necessarily produce the grandest Revolutions the World has ever yet seen. The Wheels of Providence seem to be in their swiftest Motion. Events succeed each other so rapidly that the most industrious and able Politicians can scarcely improve them to the full purposes for which they seem to be designd.

You must send your best Men here; therefore recall me from this Service. Men of moderate Abilities, especially when weakend by Age are not fit to be employed in founding Empires.

Let me talk with you a little about the Affairs of our own Colony. I persuade my self, my dear friend, that the greatest Care and Circumspection will be used to conduct its internal Police with Wisdom and Integrity. The Eyes of Mankind will be upon you, to see whether the Government, which is now more popular than it has been for many years past, will be productive of more Virtue moral and political. We may look up to Armies for our Defence, but Virtue is our best Security. It is not possible that any State should long continue free, where Virtue is not supremely honord. This is as seasonably as it is justly said by one of the most celebrated Writers of the present time. Perhaps the Form of Government now adopted may be permanent; Should it be only temporary, the golden Opportunity of recovering the Virtue and reforming the Manners of our Country should be industriously improvd.

Our Ancestors laid an excellent Foundation for the Security of Liberty, by setting up in a few years after their Arrival, a publick Seminary of Learning; and by their Laws, they obligd every Town consisting of a certain Number of Families to keep and maintain a Grammar School. I should be much grievd if it should be true as I am informd, that some of our Towns have dismissd their School masters, alledging that the extraordinary Expence of defending the Country renders them unable to support them. I hope this Inattention to the Principles of our wise forefathers does not prevail. If there should be any Danger of it, would not the leading Gentlemen do eminent Service to the Publick, by impressing upon the Minds of the People, the Necessity and Importance of encouraging that System of Education, which in my opinion, is so well calculated to diffuse among the Individuals of the Community, the Principles of Morality, so essentially necessary for the Preservation of publick Liberty. There are Virtues and Vices which are properly called political. “Corruption, Dishonesty to one’s Country, Luxury and Extravagance tend to the Ruin of States.” The opposite Virtues tend to their Establishment. But “there is a Connection between Vices as well as Virtues, and one opens the Door for the Entrance of another.” Therefore “Every able Politician will guard against other Vices” and be attentive to promote every Virtue. He who is void of Virtuous Attachment in private Life, is, or very soon will be void of all Regard to his Country. There is seldom an Instance of a Man guilty of betraying his Country, who had not before lost the feeling of moral Obligation in his private Connections. Before C[hurc]h was detected of holding a criminal Correspondence with the Enemies of his Country, his Infidelity to his Wife had been notorious. Since private and publick Vices, though not always apparently, are in Reality so nearly connected, of how much Importance, how necessary is it, that the utmost pains be taken by the Publick, to have the Principles of Virtue early inculcated on the Minds even of Children, and the moral Sense universally kept alive, and that the wise Institutions of our Ancestors for those great Purposes be encouragd by the Government. For no People will tamely surrender their Liberties, nor can they easily be subdued, where Knowledge is diffusd and Virtue preservd. On the Contrary, when People are universally ignorant and debauched in their Manners, they will sink under their own Weight, without the Aid of foreign Invaders. There are other things which, I humbly conceive, require the most serious Consideration of the Legislative. We have heretofore complaind, and I think justly, that bad Men have too often found their Way into places of publick Trust. “Nothing is more essential to the Establishment of Manners in a State, than that all Persons employd in Places of Power and Trust be Men of exemplary Characters. The Publick cannot be too curious concerning the Characters of Publick Men.” We have also complaind, that a Plurality of Places incompatible with each other have sometimes been vested in one Person. If under the former Administration there was no Danger to be apprehended from vesting the different Powers of Government in the same Persons, why did the Patriots so loudly protest against it? If Danger is always to be apprehended from it, should we not by continuing the Practice, too much imitate the degenerate Romans, who upon the Fall of Julius set up Augustus? They changd indeed their Masters, and when they had destroyd the Tyrant sufferd the Tyranny to continue. Tell me how a Judge of Probate can consistently sit at the Council Board and joyn in a Decision there upon an appeal from his own Judgment? Perhaps, being personally interested in another Appointment, I may view it with a partial Eye. But you may well remember that the Secretary of the Colony declind taking a Seat at the Council Board, to which he had been elected prior to his Appointment, until, in the House of Representatives he had publickly requested their opinion of the Propriety of it, and there heard it explicitly declared by an eminent and truly patriotick Member as his Opinion, that as the Place was not then as it formerly had been, the Gift of the Crown but of the People, there was no Impropriety in his holding it. The rest of the Members were silent. Major H[awle]y has as much of the stern Virtue and Spirit of a Roman Censor as any Gentleman I ever conversd with. The Appointment of the Secretary and his Election to a Seat at the Board were both made in the Time of his Absence from the Colony and without the Solicitation of any of his Friends that he knew of—most assuredly without his own. As he is resolvd never wittingly to disgrace himself or his Country, he still employs his Mind on the Subject, and wishes for your candid and impartial Sentiments.

 I fear I have trespassd on your Leisure, and conclude, with assuring you that I am with sincere Regards to Mrs. Warren, your very affectionate Friend

S. A.

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The People Have Not Virtue Enough to Resist the Efforts Made to Enslave Them!

Founder Samuel Adams quotes concerning Virtue and Liberty

Samuel Adams concerning Virtue and Liberty [Click to enlarge]

SAMUEL ADAMS LETTER TO THE COMMITTEE OF CORRESPONDENCE OF BOSTON TO THE COMMITTEE OF CORRESPONDENCE OF CAMBRIDGE.

Dated; Boston Dec’r 29 1772

Gentlemen

Your cordial Approbation of our sincere Endeavors for the Common Safety, affords us great Encouragement to persevere with Alacrity in the Execution of our Trust. Our hands have been abundantly strengthend by the generous and manly Resolves of our worthy Brethren in the several Towns who have hitherto acted. Should such Sentiments, which we are convincd generally prevail through the province, be as generally expressd, it must refute the insidious misrepresentation so industriously propagated on both sides of the Atlantick, that the people have not Virtue enough to resist the Efforts made to enslave them! It affords us the greatest Satisfaction to find the Opportunity offerd to our Fellow Countrymen to wipe off so ignominious a Reproach so readily embraced. We trust in God, & in the Smiles of Heaven on the Justice of our Cause, that a Day is hastening, when the Efforts of the Colonists will be crownd with Success; and the present Generation furnish an Example of publick Virtue, worthy the Imitation of all Posterity. In this we are greatly encouraged, from the thorough Understanding of our civil & Religious Rights Liberties & Privileges, throughout this province: The Importance of which is so obvious, that we are satisfied, nothing we can offer, would strengthen your Sense of it.

It gives us Pleasure to be assured from you, that the meetings of the Town of Cambridge on the Occasion have been so respectable; as, in our Opinion, it is an Evidence of their virtuous Attachment to the Cause of Liberty.

It shall be our constant Endeavor to collect and communicate to our esteemed fellow Countrymen every Interesting Information we can procure; in pursuance thereof we take the Liberty to inclose, a material Extract of a Letter from the Right Honorable the Earl of Dartmouth to his Honor the Governor of Rhode Island, Dated White Hall, Sept. 7 1772; which we have good reason to assure you is genuine.

Editorial Note: Spelling is that of those times in which Adams lived. No attempt is made to modernize the spelling or the language.

Source: The Writings of Samuel Adams: 1770-1773; By Samuel Adams

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Samuel Adams Liberty and Freedom Require Virtue

 

Samuel Adams Regarding Our Liberties (Click to enlarge)

Samuel Adams Regarding Our Liberties (Click to enlarge)

ARTICLE SIGNED “CANDIDUS” (Pseudonym of Samuel Adams)
[Boston Gazette, October 14, 1771.]

Messieurs Edes & Gill,

“Ambition saw that stooping Rome could bear
A Master, nor had Virtue to be free.”
[From the poem “Liberty” (1734) by James Thomson, 1700-1748]

I Believe that no people ever yet groaned under the heavy yoke of slavery, but when they deserved it. This may be called a severe censure upon by far the greatest part of the nations in the world who are involved in the misery of servitude: But however they may be thought by some to deserve commiseration, the censure is just. [Ulriucus] Zuinglius [A zealous reformer, born at Wildehausen, in Switzerland, 1487 who laid the foundation of a division from Rome in Switzerland at the time that Luther did the same in Saxony], one of the first reformers, in his friendly admonition to the republic of the Switzers, discourses much of his countrymen throwing off the yoke: He says, that they who lie under oppression deserve what they suffer, and a great deal more ; and he bids them perish with their oppressors. The truth is, All might be free if they valued freedom, and defended it as they ought. Is it possible that millions could be enslaved by a few, which is a notorious fact, if all possessed the independent spirit of Brutus, who to his immortal honor, expelled the proud Tyrant of Rome, and his royal and rebellious race?” If therefore a people will not be free; if they have not virtue enough to maintain their liberty against a presumptuous invader, they deserve no pity, and are to be treated with contempt and ignominy. Had not Caesar seen that Rome was ready to stoop, he would not have dared to make himself the master of that once brave people. He was indeed, as a great writer observes, a smooth and subtle tyrant, who led them gently into slavery; “and on his brow, ‘ore daring vice deluding virtue smiled “. By pretending to be the peoples greatest friend, he gained the ascendency over them: By beguiling arts, hypocrisy and flattery, which are even more fatal than the sword, he obtained that supreme power which his ambitious soul had long thirsted for: The people were finally prevailed upon to consent to their own ruin: By the force of persuasion, or rather by cajoling arts and tricks always made use of by men who have ambitious views, they enacted their Lex Regia [Royal Law, A law by which it was claimed that the legislative power was transferred by the Roman people to the emperor]; whereby Quodplacuit principi legis habuit vigorem [Justice is the constant and perpetual will to render to every man his due]; that is, the will and pleasure of the Prince had the force of law. His minions had taken infinite pains to paint to their imaginations the god-like virtues of Caesar: They first persuaded them to believe that he was a deity [Editors Note: reminds me how some thought Obama was a god and said as much], and then to sacrifice to him those Rights and Liberties which their ancestors had so long maintained, with unexampled bravery, and with blood & treasure. By this act they fixed a precedent fatal to all posterity: The Roman people afterwards, influenced no doubt by this pernicious example, renewed it to his successors, not at the end of every ten years, but for life. They transferred all their right and power to Charles the Great: In eum transtulit omne suum jus et potestatem [He transferred all his right and power to him.]. Thus, they voluntarily and ignominiously surrendered their own liberty, and exchanged a free constitution for a Tyranny!

Samuel Adams Regarding Our Duty in Elections (Click to enlarge)

Samuel Adams Regarding Our Duty in Elections (Click to enlarge)

It is not my design at present to form the comparison between the state of this country now, and that of the Roman Empire in those dregs of time; or between the disposition of Caesar, and that of:

The comparison, I confess, would not in all parts hold good: The Tyrant of Rome, to do him justice, had learning, courage, and great abilities. It behooves us however to awake and advert to the danger we are in. The Tragedy of American Freedom, it is to be feared is nearly completed: A Tyranny seems to be at the very door. It is to little purpose then to go about coolly to rehearse the gradual steps that have been taken, the means that have been used, and the instruments employed, to encompass the ruin of the public liberty: We know them and we detest them. But what will this avail, if we have not courage and resolution to prevent the completion of their system?

Our enemies would fain have us lie down on the bed of sloth and security, and persuade ourselves that there is no danger: They are daily administering the opiate with multiplied arts and delusions; and I am sorry to observe, that the gilded pill is so alluring to some who call themselves the friends of Liberty. But is there no danger when the very foundations of our civil constitution tremble?—When an attempt was first made to disturb the corner-stone of the fabric, we were universally and justly alarmed: And can we be cool spectators, when we see it already removed from its place? With what resentment and indignation did we first receive the intelligence of a design to make us tributary, not to natural enemies, but infinitely more humiliating, to fellow subjects?And yet with unparalleled insolence we are told to be quiet, when we see that very money which is torn from us by lawless force, made use of still further to oppress us—to feed and pamper a set of infamous wretches, who swarm like the locusts of Egypt; and some of them expect to revel in wealth and riot on the spoils of our country.—Is it a time for us to sleep when our free government is essentially changed, and a new one is forming upon a quite different system? A government without the least dependence upon the people: A government under the absolute control of a minister of state; upon whose sovereign dictates is to depend not only the time when, and the place where, the legislative assembly shall sit, but whether it shall sit at all: And if it is allowed to meet, it shall be liable immediately to be thrown out of existence, if in any one point it fails in obedience to his arbitrary mandates. Have we not already seen specimens of what we are to expect under such a government, in the instructions which Mr. Hutchinson has received, and which he has publicly avowed, and declared he is bound to obey?—By one, he is to refuse his assent to a tax-bill, unless the Commissioners of the Customs and other favorites are exempted: And if these may be freed from taxes by the order of a minister, may not all his tools and drudges, or any others who are subservient to his designs, expect the same indulgence? By another he is to forbid to pass a grant of the assembly to any agent, but one to whose election he has given his consent; which is in effect to put it out of our power to take the necessary and legal steps for the redress of those grievances which we suffer by the arts and machinations of ministers, and their minions here. What difference is there between the present state of this province, which in course will be the deplorable state of all America, and that of Rome, under the law before mentioned? The difference is only this, that they gave their formal consent to the change, which we have not yet done. But let us be upon our guard against even a negative submission ; for agreeable to the sentiments of a celebrated writer, who thoroughly understood his subject, if we are voluntarily silent, as the conspirators would have us to be, it will be considered as an approbation of the change. “By the fundamental laws of England, the two houses of parliament in concert with the King, exercise the legislative power: But if the two houses should be so infatuated, as to resolve to suppress their powers, and invest the King with the full and absolute government, certainly the nation would not suffer it.” And if a minister shall usurp the supreme and absolute government of America, and set up his instructions as laws in the colonies, and their Governors shall be so weak or so wicked, as for the sake of keeping their places, to be made the instruments in putting them in execution, who will presume to say that the people have not a right, or that it is not their indispensable duty to God and their Country, by all rational means in their power to Resist Them.

“Be firm, my friends, nor let Unmanly Sloth
Twine round your hearts indissoluble chains.
Ne’er yet by force was freedom overcome.
Unless Corruption first dejects the pride,
And guardian vigor of the free-born soul,
All crude attempts of violence are vain.

Determined, hold Your Independence;
for, that once destroyed,
Unfounded Freedom is a morning dream.”

The liberties of our Country, the freedom of our civil constitution are worth defending at all hazards: And it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have received them as a fair Inheritance from our worthy Ancestors: They purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure and blood; and transmitted them to us with care and diligence. It will bring an everlasting mark of infamy on the present generation, enlightened as it is, if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle; or be cheated out of them by the artifices of false and designing men. Of the latter we are in most danger at present: Let us therefore be aware of it. Let us contemplate our forefathers and posterity; and resolve to maintain the rights bequeathed to us from the former, for the sake of the latter.—Instead of sitting down satisfied with the efforts we have already made, which is the wish of our enemies, the necessity of the times, more than ever, calls for our utmost circumspection, deliberation, fortitude and perseverance. Let us remember, that “if we suffer tamely a lawless attack upon our liberty, we encourage it, and involve others in our doom.” It is a very serious consideration, which should deeply impress our minds, that millions yet unborn may be the miserable sharers in the event.

CANDIDUS

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Samuel Adams Concerning Big Government Loving Liberal Democrats

Samuel Adams concerning the Loss of Religious Liberty (Click to enlarge)

Samuel Adams concerning the Loss of Religious Liberty (Click to enlarge)

Words written September 16, 1771 by Samuel Adams; signed “Candidus”  Reworked by the editor to fit what is happening in the United States today. The same as it was in his time by enemies of the American people who with similar motives, worked against groups of Patriots then fighting to save the liberties of the people to pass onto their posterity.

When the Constitution of the United States was framed their were the Anti-Federalists (TeaParty), the Federalists (GOP) and the British Loyalists (Democrats).

“Let us ascribe Glory to God who has graciously vouchsafed to favor the Cause of America and of Mankind” ~ Samuel Adams to James Warren 1777

It has always been their [Big Government Loving Liberal Democrats] constant endeavor by all manner of arts to destroy [American Liberty]. Against this, they have discovered a unanimity, zeal and perseverance, worthy to be imitated by those who are embarked in the cause of American freedom.—It is by united councils, a steady zeal, and a manly fortitude, that the Citizens of the United States must expect to recover its violated rights and liberties. They have been actuated by a conscientious and a clear and determined sense of duty to God, their King, their country, and their latest posterity.

The evils which threaten this injured country, arise from the machinations of a few, very few discontented men false patriots who are sacrificing their country to the gratification of their own profit and ideology. It seems of late to have been the policy of these enemies of America to point their weapons against these groups only [Tea Party Patriots, Social Conservatives and Christians]; and artfully to draw off the attention of other citizens, and if possible to render those groups odious [extremely unpleasant; repulsive] to them, while it is suffering governmental vengeance for the sake of the common cause. But it is hoped that the citizens will be aware of this artifice [trickery, deceit].

At this juncture an attempt to subdue these groups to despotic power, is justly to be considered as an attempt to enslave the whole. The citizens “form one political body, of which each is a member.”—The liberties of the whole are invaded— It is therefore the interest of the whole to support each individual with all their weight and influence. Whoever seriously considers the matter, must perceive, that a dreadful stroke is aimed at the liberty of Americans: For the cause of one is the cause of all. If the IRS, EPA, DHS, HHS and other government agencies may lawfully deprive Christians, social conservatives and Tea Party Patriots of any of their Rights, it may deprive any or all the other citizens of their Rights; and nothing can so much encourage such attempts, as a mutual inattention to the interests of each other. To divide and thus to destroy, is the first political maxim in attacking those who are powerful by their association And when the slightest point touching the freedom of a single Citizen is agitated, I earnestly wish, that all the rest may with equal ardor support their brother or sister.

These are the generous sentiments of that celebrated writer, whom several have made feeble attempts to answer, but no one has yet done it.—May the American Citizens be upon their guard; and take care lest by a mutual inattention to the interest of each other, they at length become supine and careless of the grand cause of American Liberty, and finally fall a prey to the Merciless Hand Of Tyranny.

Copyright © 2010 – 2015 TeaPartyEdu http://teapartyedu.net Foundation Truths http://captainjamesdavis.net The Patriot Brotherhood @CaptainJDavis ™

SAMUEL ADAMS REGARDING THE AMERICAN CHARACTER

Samuel Adams: Character of Americans (Click to enlarge)

Samuel Adams: Character of Americans (Click to enlarge)

ARTICLE SIGNED “CANDIDUS” Written by Samuel Adams

[Boston Gazette, September 9, 1771.]

Messieurs Edes & Gill,

Perhaps there never was a people who discovered themselves more strongly attached to their natural and constitutional rights and liberties, than the British Colonists on this American Continent—Their united and successful struggles against that slavery with which they were threatened by the stamp-act, will undoubtedly be recorded by future historians to their immortal honor—The assembly of Virginia, which indeed is the most ancient colony, claimed their preeminence at that important crisis, by first asserting their rights which were invaded by the act, and by their spirited resolution to ward off the impending stroke: And they were seconded by all the other colonies, with such unanimity and invincible fortitude, that those who, to their eternal disgrace and infamy, had accepted of commissions to oppress them, were made to shudder at the thought of rendering themselves still more odious to all posterity, by executing their commissions, and publickly to abjure their detestable design of raising their fortunes upon the ruin of their country. Under the influence of the wisest administration which has ever appeared since the present reign began: The hateful act was at length repeal’d; to the joy of every friend to the rights of mankind in Britain, and of all America, except the few who either from the prospect of gain by it, or from an inveterate envy which they had before and have ever since discovered, of the general happiness of the people of America, were the promoters if not the original framers of it. This restless faction could not bear to see the Americans restored to the possession of their rights and liberties, and sitting once more in security under their own vines and their own fig trees: Unwearied in their endeavours to introduce an absolute tyranny into this country, to which they were instigated, some from the principles of ambition or a lust of power, and others from an inordinate love of money which is the root of all evil, and which had before possessed the hearts of those who had undertaken to distribute the stamped papers, they met together in cabal and laid a new plan to render the people of this continent tributary to the mother country—Having finished their part of the plan, their indefatigable [John] Randolph was dispatched to Great Britain to communicate it to the fraternity there, in order that it might be ripen’d and bro’t to perfection: But even before his embarkation, he could not help discovering his own weakness, by giving a broad hint of the design—This parricide pretended that his intention in making a voyage to England at that time, was to settle a private affair of his own; that he had nothing else in view; and that having settled that private affair, he should immediately return, and as he express’d it, lay his bones in his native country. Full of the appearance of love for his country, he express’d the greatest solicitude to do the best service he could for it, while in England; but unluckily drop’d a question, strange and inconsistent as it may appear to the reader, “What do you think, sir, of a small Duty upon divers articles of importation from Great Britain?” No sooner had he arriv’d in London, than the news was dispatch’d from the friends of America there, of a design to lay a duty upon paper, glass, painter’s colours, and tea imported into America, with the sole purpose of raising a revenue —The lucrative commission which he obtain’d while in England, in consequence of the passing of the act of parliament, whereby he was appointed one of the principal managers of this very revenue, affords but little room to doubt what his intention was in his voyage to London, notwithstanding his warm professions of concern for his native country—It is not always a security against a man’s sacrificing a country, that he was born and educated in it. The Tyrants of Rome were Natives of Rome. Such men indeed incur a guilt of a much deeper dye, than Strangers, who commit no such violation of duty and of feeling.

There was another of the cabal who embark’d about the same time, but he was call’d out of this life before he reach’d London, and de mortuis nil dico [I speak naught of the dead]—Of the living I shall speak, as occasion shall call for it, with a becoming freedom.

The whole continent was justly alarmed at the parliament’s resuming the measure of raising a revenue in America without their consent, which had so nearly operated the ruin of the whole British empire but a few months before ; & that this odious measure should be taken, so soon after the happy coalition between Britain and the colonies which the repeal of the stamp-act had occasion’d; for if one may judge by the most likely appearances, the affections of her colonists, were upon this great event, more strongly attached to the mother country if possible, than ever they had been. But the great men there had been made to believe otherwise—Nay the governor of this province had gone such a length as to assure them, that the design of the Americans in their opposition to the stamp-act, was to bring the authority of parliament into contempt—Many of his adherents privately wrote to the same purpose—All which had a tendency to break that harmony, which after the only interruption that had ever taken place and that of short continuance, had been renewed, and doubtless would have been confirmed to mutual advantage forages, had it not been for that pestilent few, who first to aggrandize themselves and their families, interrupted the harmony, and then to preserve their own importance, took every step their malice could invent, with the advantage they had gain’d of a confidence with the ministry, to prevent it’s ever being restored.

Upon the fatal news (fatal, I call it, for I very much fear it will prove so in its consequences, how remote I will not take upon me to predict) upon the news of the passing of another revenue act, the colonies immediately took such measures as were dictated to them, not by passion and rude clamour, but by the voice of reason and a just regard to the safety of themselves and their posterity. The assembly of this province, being the first I suppose who had the opportunity of meeting, prepared and forwarded a humble, dutiful & loyal petition to the King; and wrote letters to such of the British nobility and gentry as had before discovered themselves friends to the rights of America & of mankind, beseeching their interposition and influence on their behalf. At the same time they wrote a circular letter to each of the other colonies, letting them know the steps they had taken and desiring their advice & joint assistance—This letter had its different effects; on the one hand, in the deep resentment of my Lord of Hillsborough, who was pleased to call it “a measure of an inflammatory nature—Evidently tending to create unwarrantable combinations, to excite an unjustifiable opposition to the constitutional authority of parliament and to revive unhappy divisions and distractions,” &c. While on the other hand, the colonies, as appears by their respective polite answers, receiv’d it with the highest marks of approbation, as a token of sincere affection to them, & a regard to the common safety; and they severally proceeded to take concurrent measures. No one step I believe, united the colonies more than this letter ; excepting his lordship’s endeavors by his own circular letter to the colonies, to give it a different turn—But however decent and loyal—However warrantable by or rather conformable to the spirit and the written rules of the British constitution, the petitions of right and other applications of the distressed Americans were, they shared the same fate which those of London, Westminster, Middlesex, & other great cities & counties have since met with! No redress of grievances ensued: Not even the least disposition in administration to listen to our petitions; which is not so much to be wondered at, when we consider the temper of the ministry, which was incessantly acted upon by Governor Bernard in such kind of language as this ” The authority of the King, the supremacy of parliament, the superiority of government are the real objects of the attack”; while nothing is more certain, than that the house of representatives of this province in their petition to the king, and in all their letters, that in particular which was address’d to the other colonies, the sentiment of which was recogniz’d by them, expressly declare, “that his Majesty’s high court of parliament is the supreme legislative power over the whole empire, in all cases which can consist with the fundamental rights of the constitution,” and that “it was never questioned in this province, nor as they conceive in any other.” They indeed in all their letters insist upon the right of granting their own money, as a right founded in nature, the exercise of which no man ever relinquished to another & remain’d free—A right therefore which no power on earth, not even the acknowledged supreme legislative power over the whole empire hath any authority to divest them of— “The supreme power says Mr. Locke, is not, nor can possibly be absolutely arbitrary, over the lives and fortunes of the people—The supreme power cannot take from any man any part of his property without his own consent. For the preservation of property being the end of government, and that for which men enter into society; it necessarily supposes and requires that the people should have property, without which they must be supposed to lose that by entering into society, which was the end for which they entered into it. Men therefore in society having property, they have such a right to the goods which by the law of the community are theirs, that nobody hath a right to take their substance or any part of it from them without their consent. Without this, they have no property at all: For I have truly no property in that, which another can by right take from me when he pleases, against my consent”—These are the principles upon which alone, the Americans founded their opposition to the late acts of parliament. How then could governor Bernard with any colour of truth declare to a minister of state in general terms, that “the authority of the King, the supremacy of parliament, the superiority of government, were the objects of the attack?” Upon the principles of reason and nature, their opposition is justifiable: For by those acts the property of the Colonists is taken from them without their consent. It is by no means sufficient to console us, that the duty is reduced to the single article of Tea, which by the way is not a fact; but if it should be admitted, it is because the parliament for the present are pleased to demand no more of us: Should we acquiesce in their taking three pence only because they please, we at least tacitly consent that they should have the sovereign controul of our purses; and when they please they will claim an equal right, and perhaps plead a precedent for it, to take a shilling or a pound—At present we have the remedy in our own hands; we can easily avoid paying the Tribute, by abstaining from the use of those articles by which it is extorted from us :—and further, we can look upon our haughty imperious taskmasters, and all those who are sent here to aid and abet them, together with those sons of servility, who from very false notions of politeness, can seek and court opportunities of cringing and fawning at their feet, of whom, thro’ favor, there are but few among us : we may look down upon all these, with that sovereign contempt and indignation, with which those who feel their own dignity and freedom, will for ever view the men, who would attempt to reduce them to the disgraceful state of Slavery.

I shall continue to send you an account of facts, as my leisure will admit. In the mean time,

I am yours,

“Candidus”

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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”

Copyright © 2010 – 2015 TeaPartyEdu http://teapartyedu.net Foundation Truths http://captainjamesdavis.net @CaptainJDavis

Founder Samuel Adams: The Duty of Citizens in Electing Their Representatives

SamuelAdamsQuotesAmericanDuty

Powerful, stirring, inspirational wisdom from the Founders.

The Duty of Citizens in Electing Their Representatives by Samuel Adams published in in the Boston Gazette, April 16, 1781

Extract of a Letter from the Southward.

“As we have a Constitution which is admired for its genuine Principles, I have been sollicitous to know, whether our Countrymen at large partook of the Spirit of those who formed it. I have conceived strong Hopes, that in organizing their Government and electing Persons to fill the important Places of Trust, no Consideration would avail, to govern their Suffrages [i.e. Votes] in Favour of any Candidate, unless he was possessed of those Qualities which are necessary, to enable him to perform the Duties of the Office to be filled, to the Advantage of the Publick. I have flattered myself, that both the Governors and the Governed would have lain aside the gawdy Trappings of Monarchy,[gawdy Trappings of Monarchy; i.e. Riches, beauty, extravagance, flowery speeches] and put on that Simplicity which is the Ornament and Strength of a free Republick. How far it has been done, I am not able to judge at this Distance. It is a great Satisfaction to me to be informed, that some of the best Men in the Commonwealth have been elected into the Principal Departments of Government. Men, who will dignify the Character of our Country—who will revive and disseminate those Principles, moral and political, to propagate which, our Ancestors transplanted themselves into this new World—Men who by the Wisdom of their Councils and their exemplary Manners, will establish the public Liberty on the Foundation of a Rock.—These Men will secure to themselves more of the Esteem of their virtuous, and even of their vicious Fellow-Citizens, than they could by a thousand courtly Addresses [i.e. speeches] which are commonly the Breath of Vanity and Adulation.—There is a charm in Virtue to force Esteem.—If Men of a different Character have by any Means been advanced to those hallow’d Seats, who have even sollicited public Employments to give a Scope to Views of Ambition and Avarice, [avarice; i.e. greed, desire for wealth, power] Passions which have in all Ages been the Bane [bane; i.e. ruin, downfall] of human Society; or, to gratify the raging Thirst for popular Applause, a Disease with which little minds are usually tormented, it is our Happiness that the Constitution requires annual Elections, and such Mistakes may be corrected at the next.

“I was sorry to hear, that the Number of Votes returned, the last Time, did not amount to a Quarter of the Number of qualified Electors in the Commonwealth. The Choice of Legislators, Magistrates and Governors, is surely a Business of the greatest Moment, and claims the Attention of every Citizen. The Framers of our Constitution, while they gave due Attention to Political were not forgetful of Civil Liberty—that personal Freedom and those Rights of Property, which the meanest Citizen is intitled to, and the Security of which is the great End of political Society. It was not indeed their Province to make particular Laws for these Purposes. To do this, and to provide for the equal and impartial Execution of such Laws, agreeable to the Constitution, is the Duty of the Legislature. Hence every Citizen will see, and I hope will be deeply impressed with a Sense of it, how exceedingly important it is to himself, and how intimately the welfare of his Children is connected with it, that those who are to have a Share in making as well as in judging and executing the Laws should be Men of singular Wisdom and Integrity. Such as are conscious that they are deficient in either of these Qualities, should even tremble at being named as Candidates! I hope the great Business of Elections will never be left by the Many, to be done by the Few; for before we are aware of it, that few may become the Engine of Corruption—the Tool of a Junto [Junto; i.e political group]—Heaven forbid! that our Countrymen should ever be byass’d in their Choice, by unreasonable Predilections [i.e. bias, favoritism] for any man, or that an Attachment to the Constitution, as has been the Case in other Countries, should be lost in Devotion to Persons. [Devotion to persons; i.e. devotion because of who the person is] The Effect of this would soon be, to change the Love of Liberty into the Spirit of Faction. Let each Citizen remember, at the Moment he is offering his Vote, that he is not making a Present or a Compliment to please an Individual, or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn Trusts in human Society, for which he is accountable to God and his Country.

“When the great Body of the People are determined not to be imposed upon by a false Glare of Virtues held before their Eyes,[i.e. soundbites, speeches, false fronts] but, making up their own Minds, shall impartially give in their Suffrages, after their best Enquiries into the Characters of Candidates, for those whom they judge to be the fittest Persons, there will be no Danger that the generous Enthusiasm of Freedom, so characteristic of the People of Massachusetts, will ever sink into the Violence and Rage of Party, which has often proved fatal to free Republicks.’

TO CALEB DAVIS.
[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library.]

Philadephia, April 3 1781

AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE by Samuel Adams Delivered to Congress Aug 1, 1776

Bill of RightsAMERICAN INDEPENDENCE: An oration delivered at the State house, in Philadelphia, to a very numerous audience, on Thursday, the first of August, 1776, by Samuel Adams, member of the General Congress of the united States of America.

Countrymen And Brethren: I would gladly have declined an honor, to which I find myself unequal. I have not the calmness and impartiality which the infinite importance of this occasion demands. I will not deny the charge of my enemies, that resentment for the accumulated injuries of our country, and an ardor for her glory, rising to enthusiasm, may deprive me of that accuracy of judgment and expression which men of cooler passions may possess. Let me beseech you then, to hear me with caution, to examine without prejudice, and to correct the mistakes into which I may be hurried by my zeal.

Truth loves an appeal to the common sense of mankind. Your unperverted understandings can best determine on subjects of a practical nature. The positions and plans which are said to be above the comprehension of the multitude may be always suspected to be visionary and fruitless. He who made all men hath made the truths necessary to human happiness obvious to all.

Our forefathers threw off the yoke of Popery in religion; for you is reserved the honor of leveling the popery of politics. They opened the Bible to all, and maintained the capacity of every man to judge for himself in religion. Are we sufficient for the comprehension of the sublimest spiritual truths, and unequal to material and temporal ones?

A contemporary print,[1760’s] entitled " An Attempt to land a Bishop in America," gives the pressure of the times. The scene is at the wharf. Exclamations from the colonists, "No lords, spiritual or temporal, in New England!" "Shall they be obliged to maintain bishops who cannot maintain themselves !" salute the bishop's ears. On a banner, surmounted by a liberty-cap, is "Liberty and Freedom of Conscience;" and "Locke," "Sydney on Government," "Calvin's Works," and "Barclay's Apology," bless his eyes! The ship is shoved off shore; on the deck is the bishop's carriage, the wheels off; the crosier and mitre hang in the rigging; and the "saint in lawn," with his gown floating in the breeze, has mounted the shrouds halfway to the mast-head, and exclaims “Lord, now Lord, lettest thou thy servant depart in peace!”

A contemporary print,[1760’s] entitled ” An Attempt to land a Bishop in America,” gives the pressure of the times. The scene is at the wharf. Exclamations from the colonists, “No lords, spiritual or temporal, in New England!” “Shall they be obliged to maintain bishops who cannot maintain themselves !” salute the bishop’s ears. On a banner, surmounted by a liberty-cap, is “Liberty and Freedom of Conscience;” and “Locke,” “Sydney on Government,” “Calvin’s Works,” and “Barclay’s Apology,” bless his eyes! The ship is shoved off shore; on the deck is the bishop’s carriage, the wheels off; the crosier and mitre hang in the rigging; and the “saint in lawn,” with his gown floating in the breeze, has mounted the shrouds halfway to the mast-head, and exclaims “Lord, now Lord, lettest thou thy servant depart in peace!”

Heaven hath trusted us with the management of things for eternity, and man denies us ability to judge of the present, or to know from our feelings the experience that will make us happy. “You can discern,” say they, “objects distant and remote, but cannot perceive those within your grasp. Let us have the distribution of present goods, and cut out and manage as you please the interests of futurity.” This day, I trust, the reign of political protestanism will commence. We have explored the temple of royalty, and found that the idol we have bowed down to, has eyes which see not, ears that hear not our prayers, and a heart like the nether millstone.(1) We have this day restored the Sovereign, to whom alone men ought to be obedient. He reigns in Heaven, and with a propitious eye beholds his subjects assuming that freedom of thought, and dignity of self-direction which he bestowed on them. From the rising to the setting sun, may His kingdom come.

Having been a slave to the influence of opinion early acquired, and distinctions generally received, I am ever inclined not to despise but pity those who are yet in darkness. But to the eye of reason what can be more clear than that all men have an equal right to happiness? Nature made no other distinction than that of higher and lower degrees of power of mind and body. But what mysterious distribution of character has the craft of statesmen, more fatal than priestcraft, introduced?

According to their doctrine, the offspring of perhaps the lewd embraces of a successful invader shall, from generation to generation, arrogate the right of lavishing on their pleasures a proportion of the fruits of the earth, more than sufficient to supply the wants of thousands of their fellow-creatures; claim authority to manage them like beasts of burthen, and, without superior industry, capacity, or virtue, nay, though disgraceful to humanity, by their ignorance, intemperance, and brutality, shall be deemed best calculated to frame laws and to consult for the welfare of society.

Were the talents and virtues which heaven has bestowed on men given merely to make them more obedient drudges, to be sacrificed to the follies and ambition of a few? Or, were not the noble gifts so equally dispensed with a divine purpose and law, that they should as nearly as possible be equally exerted, and the blessings of Providence be equally enjoyed by all? Away, then, with those absurd systems which to gratify the pride of a few debase the greater part of our species below the order of men. What an affront to the King of the universe, to maintain that the happiness of a monster, sunk in debauchery and spreading desolation and murder among men, of a Caligula, a Nero, or a Charles, is more precious in his sight than that of millions of his suppliant creatures, who do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with their God! No, in the judgment of heaven there is no other superiority among men than a superiority in wisdom and virtue. And can we have a safer model in forming ours? The Deity, then, has not given any order or family of men authority over others; and if any men have given it, they only could give it for themselves. Our forefathers, ’tis said, consented to be subject to the laws of Great Britain. I will not, at present, dispute it, nor mark out the limits and conditions of their submission; but will it be denied that they contracted to pay obedience and to be under the control of Great Britain because it appeared to them most beneficial in their then present circumstances and situations? We, my countrymen, have the same right to consult and provide for our happiness which they had to promote theirs. If they had a view to posterity in their contracts, it must have been to advance the felicity of their descendants. If they erred in their expectations and prospects, we can never be condemned for a conduct which they would have recommended had they foreseen our present condition.

Ye darkeners of counsel, who would make the property, lives, and religion of millions depend on the evasive interpretations of musty parchments; who would send us to antiquated charters of uncertain and contradictory meaning, to prove that the present generation are not bound to be victims to cruel and unforgiving despotism, tell us whether our pious and generous ancestors bequeathed to us the miserable privilege of having the rewards of our honesty, industry, the fruits of those fields which they purchased and bled for, wrested from us at the will of men over whom we have no check. Did they contract for us that, with folded arms, we should expect that justice and mercy from brutal and inflamed invaders which have been denied to our supplications at the foot of the throne? Were we to hear our character as a people ridiculed with indifference? Did they promise for us that our meekness and patience should be insulted; our coasts harassed, our towns demolished and plundered, and our wives and offspring exposed to nakedness, hunger, and death, without our feeling the resentment of men, and exerting those powers of self-preservation which God has given us? No man had once a greater veneration for Englishmen than I entertained. They were dear to me as branches of the same parental trunk, and partakers of the same religion and laws; I still view with respect the remains of the constitution as I would a lifeless body, which had once been animated by a great and heroic soul. But when I am aroused by the din of arms; when I behold legions of foreign assassins, paid by Englishmen to imbrue their hands in our blood; when I tread over the uncoffined bodies of my countrymen, neighbors, and friends; when I see the locks of a venerable father torn by savage hands, and a feeble mother, clasping her infants to her bosom, and on her knees imploring their lives from her own slaves, whom Englishmen have allured to treachery and murder; when I behold my country, once the seat of industry, peace, and plenty, changed by Englishmen to a theatre of blood and misery, Heaven forgive me, if I cannot root out those passions which it has implanted in my bosom, and detest submission to a people who have either ceased to be human, or have not virtue enough to feel their own wretchedness and servitude!

Men who content themselves with the semblance of truth, and a display of words, talk much of our obligations to Great Britain for protection. Had she a single eye to our advantage?

A nation of shopkeepers are very seldom so disinterested. Let us not be so amused with words; the extension of her commerce was her object. When she defended our coasts, she fought for her customers, and convoyed our ships loaded with wealth, which we had acquired for her by our industry. She has treated us as beasts of burthen, whom the lordly masters cherish that they may carry a greater load. Let us inquire also against whom she has protected us? Against her own enemies with whom we had no quarrel, or only on her account, and against whom we always readily exerted our wealth and strength when they were required. Were these colonies backward in giving assistance to Great Britain, when they were called upon in 1739 to aid the expedition against Carthagena? They at that time sent three thousand men to join the British army, although the war commenced without their consent. But the last war, ’tis said, was purely American. This is a vulgar error, which, like many others, has gained credit by being confidently repeated. The dispute between the courts of Great Britain and France related to the limits of Canada and Nova Scotia. The controverted territory was not claimed by any in the colonies, but by the crown of Great Britain. It was therefore their own quarrel. The infringement of a right which England had, by the treaty of Utrecht, of trading in the Indian country of Ohio, was another cause of the war. The French seized large quantities of British manufacture and took possession of a fort which a company of British merchants and factors had erected for the ‘security of their commerce. The war was therefore waged in defense of lands claimed by the crown, and for the protection of British property. The French at that time had no quarrel with America, and, as appears by letters sent from their commander-in-chief, to some of the colonies, wished to remain in peace with us. The part, therefore, which we then took, and the miseries to which we exposed ourselves, ought to be charged to our affection to Britain. These colonies granted more than their proportion to the support of the war. They raised, clothed, and maintained nearly twenty-five thousand men, and so sensible were the people of England of our great exertions, that a message was annually sent to the House of Commons purporting, “that his Majesty, being highly satisfied with the zeal and vigor with which his faithful subjects in North America had exerted themselves in defense of his Majesty’s just rights and possessions, recommend it to the House to take the same into consideration, and enable him to give them a proper compensation.”

But what purpose can arguments of this kind answer? Did the protection we received annul our rights as men, and lay us under an obligation of being miserable?

Who among you, my countrymen, that is a father, would claim authority to make your child a slave because you had nourished him in infancy?

‘Tis a strange species of generosity which requires a return infinitely more valuable than anything it could have bestowed; that demands as a reward for a defense of our property a surrender of those inestimable privileges, to the arbitrary will of vindictive tyrants, which alone give value to that very property.

Political right and public happiness are different words for the same idea. They who wander into metaphysical labyrinths, or have recourse to original contracts, to determine the rights of men, either impose on themselves or mean to delude others. Public utility is the only certain criterion. It is a test which brings disputes to a speedy decision, and makes its appeal to the feelings of mankind. The force of truth has obliged men to use arguments drawn from this principle who were combating it, in practice and speculation. The advocates for a despotic government and nonresistance to the magistrate employ reasons in favor of their systems drawn from a consideration of their tendency to promote public happiness.

The Author of Nature directs all his operations to the production of the greatest good, and has made human virtue to consist in a disposition and conduct which tends to the common felicity of his creatures. An abridgement of the natural freedom of men, by the institutions of political societies, is vindicable only on this foot. How absurd, then, is it to draw arguments from the nature of civil society for the annihilation of those very ends which society was intended to procure! Men associate for their mutual advantage. Hence, the good and happiness of the members, that is, the majority of the members, of any State, is the great standard by which everything relating to that State must finally be determined; and though it may be supposed that a body of people may be bound by a voluntary resignation (which they have been so infatuated as to make) of all their interests to a single person, or to a few, it can never be conceived that the resignation is obligatory to their posterity; because it is manifestly contrary to the good of the whole that it should be so.

These are the sentiments of the wisest and most virtuous champions of freedom. Attend to a portion on this subject from a book in our own defense, written, I had almost said, by the pen of inspiration. “I lay no stress,” says he, “on charters; they derive their rights from a higher source. It is inconsistent with common sense to imagine that any people would ever think of settling in a distant country on any such condition, or that the people from whom they withdrew should forever be masters of their property, and have power to subject them to any modes of government they pleased. And had there been expressed stipulations to this purpose in all the charters of the colonies, they would, in my opinion, be no more bound by them, than if it had been stipulated with them that they should go naked, or expose themselves to the incursions of wolves and tigers.”

Such are the opinions of every virtuous and enlightened patriot in Great Britain. Their petition to heaven is, “That there may be one free country left upon earth, to which they may fly, when venality, luxury, and vice shall have completed the ruin of liberty there.”

Courage, then, my countrymen, our contest is not only whether we ourselves shall be free, but whether there shall be left to mankind an asylum on earth for civil and religious liberty. Dismissing, therefore, the justice of our cause, as incontestable, the only question is, what is best for us to pursue in our present circumstances?

The doctrine of dependence on Great Britain is, I believe, generally exploded; but as I would attend to the honest weakness of the simplest of men, you will pardon me if I offer a few words on that subject.

We are now on this continent, to the astonishment of the world, three millions of souls united in one cause. We have large armies, well disciplined and appointed, with commanders inferior to none in military skill, and superior in activity and zeal. We are furnished with arsenals and stores beyond our most sanguine expectations, and foreign nations are waiting to crown our success by their alliances. There are instances of, I would say, an almost astonishing Providence in our favor; out success has staggered our enemies, and almost given faith to infidels; so we may truly say it is not our own arm which has saved us.

The hand of heaven appears to have led us on to be, perhaps, humble instruments and means in the great Providential dispensation which is completing. We have fled from the political Sodom; let us not look back, lest we perish and become a monument of infamy and derision to the world. For can we ever expect more unanimity and a better preparation for defense; more infatuation of counsel among our enemies, and more valor and zeal among ourselves? The same force and resistance which are sufficient to procure us our liberties will secure us a glorious independence and support us in the dignity of free, imperial States. We cannot suppose that our opposition has made a corrupt and dissipated nation more friendly to America, or created in them a greater respect for the rights of mankind. We can therefore expect a restoration and establishment of our privileges, and a compensation for the injuries we have received from their want of power, from their fears, and not from their virtues. The unanimity and valor which will effect an honorable peace can render a future contest for our liberties unnecessary. He who has strength to chain down the wolf is a madman if he let him loose without drawing his teeth and paring his nails.

From the day on which an accommodation takes place between England and America, on any other terms than as independent States, I shall date the ruin of this country. A politic minister will study to lull us into security, by granting us the full extent of our petitions. The warm sunshine of influence would melt down the virtue, which the violence of the storm rendered more firm and unyielding. In a state of tranquillity, wealth, and luxury, our descendants would forget the arts of war and the noble activity and zeal which made their ancestors invincible. Every art of corruption would be employed to loosen the bond of union which renders our resistance formidable. When the spirit of liberty which now animates our hearts and gives success to our arms is extinct, our numbers will accelerate our ruin and render us easier victims to tyranny.(2) Ye abandoned minions of an infatuated ministry, if peradventure any should yet remain among us, remember that a Warren and Montgomery are numbered among the dead. Contemplate the mangled bodies of your countrymen, and then say, What should be the reward of such sacrifices? Bid us and our posterity bow the knee, supplicate the friendship, and plough, and sow, and reap, to glut the avarice of the men who have let loose on us the dogs of war to riot in our blood and hunt us from the face of the earth? If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquillity of servitude than the animating contest of freedom,— go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen!

To unite the supremacy of Great Britain and the liberty of America is utterly impossible. So vast a continent, and of such a distance from the seat of empire, will every day grow more unmanageable. The motion of so unwieldy a body cannot be directed with any dispatch and uniformity without committing to the Parliament of Great Britain powers inconsistent with our freedom. The authority and force which would be absolutely necessary for the preservation of the peace and good order of this continent would put all our valuable rights within the reach of that nation.

As the administration of government requires firmer and more numerous supports in proportion to its extent, the burdens imposed on us would be excessive, and we should have the melancholy prospect of their increasing on our posterity. The scale of officers, from the rapacious and needy commissioner to the haughty governor, and from the governor, with his hungry train, to perhaps a licentious and prodigal viceroy, must be upheld by you and your children. The fleets and armies which will be employed to silence your murmurs and complaints must be supported by the fruits of your industry.

And yet with all this enlargement of the expense and powers of government, the administration of it at such a distance, and over so extensive a territory, must necessarily fail of putting the laws into vigorous execution, removing private oppressions, and forming plans for the advancement of agriculture and commerce, and preserving the vast empire in any tolerable peace and security. If our posterity retain any spark of patriotism, they can never tamely submit to such burthens. This country will be made the field of bloody contention till it gain that independence for which nature formed it. It is, therefore, injustice and cruelty to our offspring, and would stamp us with the character of baseness and cowardice, to leave the salvation of this country to be worked out by them with accumulated difliculty and danger.

Prejudice, I confess, may warp our judgments. Let us hear the decision of Englishmen on this subject, who cannot be suspected of partiality. “The Americans,” they say, “are but little short of half our number. To this number they have grown from a small body of original settlers by a very rapid increase. The probability is that they will go on to increase, and that in fifty or sixty years they will be double our number, and form a mighty empire, consisting of a variety of States, all equal or superior to ourselves in all the arts and accomplishments which give dignity and happiness to human life. In that period will they be still bound to acknowledge that supremacy over them which we now claim? Can there be any person who will assert this, or whose mind does not revolt at the idea of a vast continent holding all that is valuable to it at the discretion of a handful of people on the other side of the Atlantic? But if at that period this would be unreasonable, what makes it otherwise now? Draw the line if you can. But there is still a greater difficulty. ”

Britain is now, I will suppose, the seat of liberty and virtue, and its legislature consists of a body of able and independent men, who govern with wisdom and justice. The time may come when all will be reversed; when its excellent constitution of government will be subverted; when, pressed by debts and taxes, it will be greedy to draw to itself an increase of revenue from every distant province, in order to ease its own burdens; when the influence of the crown, strengthened by luxury and a universal profligacy of manners, will have tainted every heart, broken down every fence of liberty, and rendered us a nation of tame and contented vassals; when a general election will be nothing but a general auction of boroughs, and when the Parliament, the grand council of the nation, and once the faithful guardian of the State, and a terror to evil ministers, will be degenerated into a body of sycophants, dependent and venal, always ready to confirm any measures, and little more than a public court for registering royal edicts. Such, it is possible, may, some time or other, ‘be the state of Great Britain. What will, at that period, be the duty of the colonies? Will they be still bound to unconditional submission? Must they always continue an appendage to our government and follow it implicitly through every change that can happen to it? Wretched condition, indeed, of millions of freemen as good as ourselves! Will you say that we now govern equitably, and that there is no danger of such revolution? Would to God that this were true! But you will not always say the same. Who shall judge whether we govern equitably or not? Can you give the colonies any security that such a period will never come? No. THE PERIOD, COUNTRYMEN, IS ALREADY COME! The calamities were at our door. The rod of oppression was raised over us. We were roused from our slumbers, and may we never sink into repose until we can convey a clear and undisputed inheritance to our posterity! This day we are called upon to give a glorious example of what the wisest and best of men were rejoiced to view, only in speculation. This day presents the world with the most august spectacle that its annals ever unfolded,—millions of freemen, deliberately and voluntarily forming themselves into a society for their common defense and common happiness. Immortal spirits of Hampden, Locke, and Sidney, will it not add to your benevolent joys to behold your posterity rising to the dignity of men, and evincing to the world the reality and expediency of your systems, and in the actual enjoyment of that equal liberty, which you were happy, when on earth, in delineating and recommending to mankind?

Other nations have received their laws from conquerors; some are indebted for a constitution to the suffering of their ancestors through revolving centuries. The people of this country, alone, have formally and deliberately chosen a government for themselves, and with open and uninfluenced consent bound themselves into a social compact. Here no man proclaims his birth or wealth as a title to honorable distinction, or to sanctify ignorance and vice with the name of hereditary authority. He who has most zeal and ability to promote public felicity, let him be the servant of the public.(3) This is the only line of distinction drawn by nature. Leave the bird of night to the obscurity for which nature intended him, and expect only from the eagle to brush the clouds with his wings and look boldly in the face of the sun.

Some who would persuade us that they have tender feelings for future generations, while they are insensible to the happiness of the present, are perpetually foreboding a train of dissensions under our popular system. Such men’s reasoning amounts to this: Give up all that is valuable to Great Britain and then you will have no inducements to quarrel among yourselves; or, suffer yourselves to be chained down by your enemies that you may not be able to fight with your friends.(4)

This is an insult on your virtue as well as your common sense. Your unanimity this day and through the course of the war is a decisive refutation of such invidious predictions. Our enemies have already had evidence that our present constitution contains in it the justice and ardor of freedom and the wisdom and vigor of the most absolute system. When the law is the will of the people, it will be uniform and coherent; but fluctuation, contradiction, and inconsistency of councils must be expected under those governments where every revolution in the ministry of a court produces one in the State—such being the folly and pride of all ministers, that they ever pursue measures directly opposite to those of their predecessors.

We shall neither be exposed to the necessary convulsions of elective monarchies, nor to the want of wisdom, fortitude, and virtue, to which hereditary succession is liable. In your hands it will be to perpetuate a prudent, active, and just legislature, and which will never expire until you yourselves loose the virtues which give it existence.

And, brethren and fellow-countrymen, if it was ever granted to mortals to trace the designs of Providence, and interpret its manifestations in favor of their cause, we may, with humility of soul, cry out, “Not unto us, not unto us, but to thy Name be the praise!” The confusion of the devices among our enemies, and the rage of the elements against them, have done almost as much towards our success as either our councils or our arms.

The time at which this attempt on our liberty was made, when we were ripened into maturity, had acquired a knowledge of war, and were free from the incursions of enemies in this country; the gradual advances of our oppressors enabling us to prepare for our defense; the unusual fertility of our lands and clemency of the seasons; the success which at first attended our feeble arms, producing unanimity among our friends and reducing our internal foes to acquiescence—these are all strong and palpable marks and assurances that Providence is yet gracious unto Zion, that it will turn away the captivity of Jacob.

Our glorious reformers when they broke through the fetters of superstition effected more than could be expected from an age so darkened. But they left much to be done by their posterity. They lopped off, indeed, some of the branches of Popery, but they left the root and stock when they left us under the domination of human systems and decisions, usurping the infallibility which can be attributed to Revelation alone. They dethroned one usurper only to raise up another; they refused allegiance to the Pope only to place the civil magistrate in the throne of Christ, vested with authority to enact laws and inflict penalties in his kingdom. And if we now cast our eyes over the nations of the earth, we shall find that, instead of possessing the pure religion of the Gospel, they may be divided either into infidels, who deny the truth; or politicians who make religion a stalking horse for their ambition; or professors, who walk in the trammels of orthodoxy, and are more attentive to traditions and ordinances of men than to the oracles of truth.

The civil magistrate has everywhere contaminated religion by making it an engine of policy; and freedom of thought and the right of private judgment, in matters of conscience, driven from every other corner of the earth, direct their course to this happy country as their last asylum. Let us cherish the noble guests, and shelter them under the wings of a universal toleration! Be this the seat of unbounded religious freedom. She will bring with her in her train, industry, wisdom, and commerce. She thrives most when left to shoot forth in her natural luxuriance, and asks from human policy only not to be checked in her growth by artificial encouragements.

Thus, by the beneficence of Providence, we shall behold our empire arising, founded on justice and the voluntary consent of the people, and giving full scope to the exercise of those faculties and rights which most ennoble our species. Besides the advantages of liberty and the most equal constitution, Heaven has given us a country with every variety of climate and soil, pouring forth in abundance whatever is necessary for the support, comfort, and strength of a nation. Within our own borders we possess all the means of sustenance, defense, and commerce; at the same time, these advantages are so distributed among the different States of this continent, as if nature had in view to proclaim to us: Be united among yourselves and you will want nothing from the rest of the world.

The more northern States most amply supply us with every necessary, and many of the luxuries of life; with iron, timber, and masts for ships of commerce or of war; with flax for the manufacture of linen, and seed either for oil or exportation.

So abundant are our harvests, that almost every part raises more than double the quantity of grain requisite for the support of the inhabitants. From Georgia and the Carolinas we have, as well for our own wants as for the purpose of supplying the wants of other powers, indigo, rice, hemp, naval stores, and lumber.

Virginia and Maryland teem with wheat, Indian corn, and tobacco. Every nation whose harvest is precarious, or whose lands yield not those commodities which we cultivate, will gladly exchange their superfluities and manufactures for ours.

We have already received many and large cargoes of clothing, military stores, etc., from our commerce with foreign powers, and, in spite of the efforts of the boasted navy of England, we shall continue to profit by this connection.

The want of our naval stores has already increased the price of these articles to a great height, especially in Britain. Without our lumber, it will be impossible for those haughty islanders to convey the products of the West Indies to their own ports; for a while they may with difficulty effect it, but, without our assistance, their resources soon must fail. Indeed, the West India Islands appear as the necessary appendages to this our empire. They must owe their support to it, and ere long, I doubt not, some of them will, from necessity, wish to enjoy the benefit of our protection.

These natural advantages will enable us to remain independent of the world, or make it the interest of European powers to court our alliance, and aid in protecting us against the invasion of others. What argument, therefore, do we want to show the equity of our conduct; or motive of interest to recommend it to our prudence? Nature points out the path, and our enemies have obliged us to pursue it.

If there is any man so base or so weak as to prefer a dependence on Great Britain to the dignity and happiness of living a member of a free and independent nation, let me tell him that necessity now demands what the generous principle of patriotism should have dictated.

We have no other alternative than independence, or the most ignominious and galling servitude. The legions of our enemies thicken on our plains; desolation and death mark their bloody career; whilst the mangled corpses of our countrymen seem to cry out to us as a voice from heaven:—

“Will you permit our posterity to groan under the galling chains of our murderers? Has our blood been expended in vain? Is the only benefit which our constancy till death has obtained for our country, that it should be sunk into a deeper and more ignominious vassalage? Recollect who are the men that demand your submission, to whose decrees you are invited to pay obedience. Men who, unmindful of their relation to you as brethren; of your long implicit submission to their laws; of the sacrifice which you and your forefathers made of your natural advantages for commerce to their avarice; formed a deliberate plan to wrest from you the small pittance of property which they had permitted you to acquire. Remember that the men who wish to rule over you are they who, in pursuit of this plan of despotism, annulled the sacred contracts which they had made with your ancestors; conveyed into your cities a mercenary soldiery to compel you to submission by insult and murder; who called your patience cowardice, your piety hypocrisy.”

Countrymen, the men who now invite you to surrender your rights into their hands are the men who have let loose the merciless savages to riot in the blood of their brethren; who have dared to establish Popery triumphant in our land; who have taught treachery to your slaves, and courted them to assassinate your wives and children.

These are the men to whom we are exhorted to sacrifice the blessings which Providence holds out to us; the happiness, the dignity, of uncontrolled freedom and independence.

Let not your generous indignation be directed against any among us who may advise so absurd and maddening a measure. Their number is but few, and daily decreases; and the spirit which can render them patient of slavery will render them contemptible enemies.

Our Union is now complete; our constitution composed, established, and approved. You are now the guardians of your own liberties. We may justly address you, as the decemviri did the Romans, and say, “Nothing that we propose can pass into a law without your consent. Be yourselves, O Americans, the authors of those laws on which your happiness depends.”

You have now in the field armies sufficient to repel the whole force of your enemies and their base and mercenary auxiliaries. The hearts of your soldiers beat high with the spirit of freedom; they are animated with the justice of their cause, and while they grasp their swords can look up to Heaven for assistance. Your adversaries are composed of wretches who laugh at the rights of humanity, who turn religion into derision, and would, for higher wages, direct their swords against their leaders or their country. Go on, then, in your generous enterprise with gratitude to Heaven for past success, and confidence of it in the future. For my own part, I ask no greater blessing than to share with you the common danger and common glory. If I have a wish dearer to my soul than that my ashes may be mingled with those of a Warren and Montgomery, it is that these American States may never cease to be free and independent.

FOOTNOTES

1. The homage that is paid in some countries to monarchs and their favorites, is disgraceful to humanity. Should one of my honest countrymen be suddenly conveyed to an European court, he would fancy himself admitted into sums heathen temple. The policy of courtiers seems to have been to render their sovereigns as dependent on themselves is possible, by accustoming them to bear with their ears- see with their eyes, and perform the most common offices with their assistance, and under their direction; like the conning of priests who labor to place themselves between the Deity and mankind, and to make themselves the only channels of communication between earth and Heaven. Such monarchs resemble Rabelais’s Queen, who never chew’d any thing; not that her teeth were not good and strong, and that her food did not require mastication, but such was the indispensable ceremonial of her court, her officers took her meat and chew’d it nobly, having their mouths line’d with crimson satin, and their teeth cased over with fine white ivory, after this they passed it into her stomach by a golden pipe. * * * * *Rabelais, lib. 5.
2. Temporary tumults and civil wars may give much disturbance to rulers, but they do not constitute the real misfortunes of a people, who may even enjoy some respite while they are disputing who shall play the tyrant over them. It is from their permanent sitnatlon that their real prosperity or calamity must arise; when all submit tamely to the yoke, then it is that all are perishing, then it is that their chiefs, destroying them at their case, ubi solitudinum faciunt pacem[when they make peace] appellant. When the intrigues of the ministry agitated the kingdom of France, and the coadjutor of Paris carried a poniard in his pocket to Parliament, all this did not hinder the bulk of the French nation from growing numerous and enjoying themselves in happiness and at their ease. Ancient Greece flourished in the midst of the most cruel wars; human blood was spilt in torrents, and yet the country swarmed with inhabitants. It appears, says Machiavel, that in the midst of murders, proscriptions, and civil wars, our republic became only the more powerful: the virtue of the citizens, their manners, their independence, had a greater effect to strengthen it, than all its dissensions had to weaken it. A little agitation gives vigor to the mind, and liberty, not peace, is the real source of the prosperity of our species,— J. J. Rousseau.
3. A celebrated foreigner gives us a very just description of the methods by which eminence is generally acquired in monarchies. “One makes a fortune because he can cringe, another because he can lie; this man because he seasonably dishonors himself; that, because he betrays his friend; bat the surest means to mount as high as Alberoni, is to offer, like him, ragouts of mushrooms to the Duke of Vendome, and there are Vendomes everywhere. They who are called great, have generally no other ascendency over us but what our weakness permits them, or what our meanness gives them.”
4. From the absurd reasonings of some men we may conclude that they are of opinion, that all free governments are equally liable to convulsions, but the differences that are in the constitution and genius of popular governments are astonishingly great, some being for defence, some for increase, some more equal, others more unequal; some turbulent and seditious, others like streams in a perpetual tranquillity. That which causeth much sedition in a commonwealth is inequality, as in Rome where the Senate oppressed the peon’s. But if a commonwealth be perfectly equal, it is void of sedition, and has attained to perfection, being void of all internal causes of dissolution. Many ancient moral writers, Cicero in particular, have said, that a well constituted commonwealth is immortal—AEterna est.  An equal commonwealth is a government founded upon a balance which is perfectly popular, and which from the balance, through the free suffrage of the people given by ballot, amounts, in the superstructures, to a Senate debating and proposing, a representative of the people resolving, and a magistracy executing; each of these three orders being upon rotation, that is, elected for certain terms, enjoining like intervals.— Vide Harrington

Natural Rights Of The Colonists As Men by Founder Samuel Adams Nov 20, 1772

Samuel Adams1Natural Rights Of The Colonists As Men; by Samuel Adams.

Boston Gazette, November 20, 1772.

Rights Of The Colonists As Men.

Among the natural rights of the colonists are these: First, a right to life. Second, to liberty. Thirdly, to property: together with the right to support and defend them in the best manner they can. These are evident branches of, rather than deductions from, the duty of self-preservation, commonly called the first law of nature. All men have a right to remain in a state of nature as long as they please, and in case of intolerable oppression, civil or religious, to leave the society they belong to, and enter into another. When men enter into society, it is by voluntary consent, and they have a right to demand and insist upon the performance of such conditions and previous limitations as form an equitable original compact.

Every natural right not expressly given up, or, from the nature of a social compact necessarily ceded, remains. All positive and civil laws should conform, as far as possible, to the law of natural reason and equity. As neither reason requires nor religion permits the contrary, every man living in or out of a state of civil society has a right peaceably and quietly to worship God according to the dictates of his conscience.

“Just and true liberty, equal and impartial liberty,” in matters spiritual and temporal is a thing that all men are clearly entitled to by the eternal and immutable laws of God and nature, as well as by the law of nations and all well-grounded municipal laws, which must have their foundation in the former.

In regard to religion, mutual toleration in the different professions thereof, is what all good and candid minds in all ages have ever practised, and both by precept and example inculcated on mankind. It is now generally agreed among Christians that this spirit of toleration, in the fullest extent consistent with the being of civil society, is the chief characteristical mark of the true Church. Insomuch that Mr. Locke has asserted and proved, beyond the possibility of contradiction on any solid ground, that such toleration ought to be extended to all whose doctrines are not subversive of society. The only sects, which he thinks ought to be, and which by all wise laws are, excluded from such toleration, are those who teach doctrines subversive of the civil government under which they live. The Roman Catholics, or Papists, are excluded by reason of such doctrines as these :—That princes excommunicated may be deposed, and those that they call heretics may be destroyed without mercy; besides their recognizing the Pope in so absolute a manner, in subversion of government, by introducing, as far as possible into the states under whose protection they enjoy life, liberty and property, that solecism in politics, imperium in imperio (translation: control of the government), leading directly to the worst anarchy and confusion, civil discord, war, and bloodshed.

The natural liberty of man by entering into society is abridged or restrained, so far only as is necessary for the great end of society—the best good of the whole.

In the state of nature every man is, under God, judge and sole judge of his own rights and of the injuries done him. By entering into society he agrees to an arbiter or indifferent judge between him and his neighbors; but he no more renounces his original right, thereby taking a cause out of the ordinary course of law, and leaving the decision to referees or indifferent arbitrators. In the last case, he must pay the referee for time and trouble. He should also be willing to pay his just quota for the support of the government, the law and the constitution; the end of which is to furnish indifferent and impartial judges in all cases that may happen, whether civil, ecclesiastical, marine, or military.

The natural liberty of man is to be free from any superior power on earth, and not to be under the will or legislative authority of man, but only to have the law of nature for his rule.

In the state of nature men may, as the patriarchs did, employ hired servants for the defence of their lives, liberties and property, and they should pay them reasonable wages. Government was instituted for the purpose of common defence, and those who hold the reins of government have an equitable, natural right to an honorable support from the same principle that “the laborer is worthy of his hire.” But then the same community which they serve ought to be the assessors of their pay. Governors have a right to seek and take what they please; by this, instead of being content with the station assigned them, that of honorable servants of the society, they would soon become absolute masters, despots and tyrants. Hence, as a private man has a right to say what wages he will give in his private affairs, so has a community to determine what they will give and grant of their substance for the administration of public affairs. And in both cases more are ready to offer their service at the proposed and stipulated price than are able and willing to perform their duty.

In short it is the greatest absurdity to suppose it in the power of one, or any number of men, at the entering into society to renounce their essential natural rights, or the means of preserving those rights, when the grand end of civil government, from the very nature of its institution, is for the support, protection, and defence of those very rights; the principal of which, as is before observed, are life, liberty, and property. If men through fear, fraud or mistake, should in terms renounce or give up any essential natural right, the eternal law of reason and the grand end of society would absolutely vacate such renunciation. The right of freedom being the gift of God Almighty, it is not in the power of man to alienate this gift and voluntarily become a slave.

It does not take a majority to prevail, but an irate, 
tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom 
in the minds of men ~ S. Adams

THE RIGHTS OF THE COLONISTS AS CHRISTIANS.

These may be best understood by reading and carefully studying the institutes of the great Lawgiver and head of the Christian Church, which are to be found clearly written and promulgated in the New Testament

By the act of the British Parliament, commonly called the Toleration Act, every subject in England, except Papists, etc., was restored to, and re-established in, his natural right to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience. And by the charter of this province it is granted, ordained and established (that is declared as an original right), that there shall be liberty of conscience allowed in the worship of God to all Christians except Papists, inhabiting, or which shall inhabit or be resident within such province or territory. Magna Charta itself is in substance but a constrained declaration or proclamation and promulgation in the name of King, Lords, and Commons of the sense the latter had their original, inherent, indefeasible, natural rights, as also those of free citizens equally perdurable with the other. That great author, that great jurist, and even that court writer, Mr. Justice Blackstone, holds that this recognition was justly obtained of King John, sword in hand. And peradventure it must be one day, sword in hand, again rescued and preserved from total destruction and oblivion.

THE RIGHTS OF THE COLON1STS AS SUBJECTS.

A commonwealth or state is a body politic, or civil society of men united together to promote their mutual safety and prosperity by means of their union.

The absolute right of Englishmen and all freemen, in or out of civil society, are principally personal security, personal liberty, and private property.

All persons born in the British American Colonies, are by the laws of God and nature, and by the common law of England, exclusive of all charters from the Crown, well entitled, and by acts of the British Parliament are declared to be entitled, to all the natural, essential, inherent, and inseparable rights, liberties and privileges of subjects born in Great Britain or within the realm. Among these rights are the following, which no man, or body of men, consistently with their own rights as men and citizens, or members of society, can for themselves give up or take away from others.

“First. The first fundamental positive law of all commonwealths or states, is the establishing the legislative power. As the first fundamental natural law, also, which is to govern even the legislative power itself is the preservation of the society.

“Secondly. The legislative has no right to absolute arbitrary power over the lives and fortunes of the people; nor can mortals assume a prerogative not only too high for men, but for angels, and therefore reserved for the exercise of the Deity alone.

“The Legislative cannot justly assume to itself a power to rule by extempore arbitrary decrees ; but it is bound to see that justice is dispensed, and that the rights of the subjects be decided by promulgated, standing, and known laws, and authorized independent judges;” that is, independent, as far as possible, of prince and people. “There should be one rule of justice for rich and poor, for the favorite at court, and the countryman at the plough.

“Thirdly. The supreme power cannot justly take from any man any part of his property without his consent in person or by his representative.”

These are some of the first principles of natural law and justice, and the great barriers of all free states, and of the British Constitution in particular. It is utterly irreconcilable to these principles, and to many other fundamental maxims of the common law, common sense, and reason, that a British House of Commons should have a right at pleasure to give and grant the property of the colonists. (That the colonists are well entitled to all the essential rights, liberties, and privileges of men and freemen born in Britain, is manifest not only from the colony charters in general, but acts of the British Parliament.) The statute of the I3th of Geo. II, c. 7, naturalizes every foreigner after seven years’ residence. The words of the Massachusetts charter are these: “And further, our will and pleasure is, and we do hereby, for us, our heirs and successors, grant, establish, and ordain, that all and every of the subjects of us, our heirs and successors, which shall go to and inhabit within our said Province or Territory, and every of their children which shall happen to be born there or on the seas in going thither or returning from thence, shall have and enjoy all liberties and immunities of free and natural subjects within any of the dominions of us, our heirs and successors, to all intents, constructions, and purposes whatsoever, as if they and every one of them were born within this, our realm of England.”

Now what liberty can there be where property is taken away without consent? Can it be said with any color of truth and justice that this continent of three thousand miles in length, and of a breadth as yet unexplored, in which, however, it is supposed there are five millions of people, has the least voice, vote, or influence in the British Parliament? Have they all together any more weight or power to return a single member to that House of Commons who have not inadvertently, but deliberately, assumed a power to dispose of their lives, liberties, and properties, than to choose an Emperor of China? Had the colonists a right to return members to the British Parliament, it would only be hurtful, as, from their local situation and circumstances it is impossible they should ever be truly and properly represented there. The inhabitants of this country, in all probability, in a few years, will be more numerous than those of Great Britain and Ireland together; yet it is absurdly expected by the promoters of the present measure that these, with their posterity to all generations, should be easy while their property shall be disposed of by a House of Commons at three thousand miles distance from them, and who cannot be supposed to have the least care or concern for their real interest; who have not only no natural care for their interest, but must be in effect bribed against it, as every burden they lay on the colonists is so much saved or gained to themselves. Hitherto, many of the colonists have been free from quit rents; but if the breath of a British House of Commons can originate an act for taking away all our money, our lands will go next, or be subject to rack rent from haughty and relentless landlords, who will ride at ease while we are trodden in the dirt. The colonists have been branded with the odious names of traitors and rebels only for complaining of their grievances. How long such treatment will or ought to be borne, is submitted.

When Vain & Aspiring Men Possess the Highest Seats in Government by Samuel Adams

Samuel-AdamsSamuel Adams Letter to James Warren Philadelphia Oct 24 1780

MY DEAR SIR

I have not yet laid aside your Letter of the 17th of Septr which is the last I have been favord with from you. It ill becomes you, my Friend, to think of retiring into private Life, who can lay your hand on your heart, and say that in your publick Conduct your have in no Instance deviated from virtuous Principles. If ever the Time should come, when vain & aspiring Men shall possess the highest Seats in Government, our Country will stand in Need of its experiencd Patriots to prevent its Ruin. There may be more Danger of this, than some, even of our well disposd Citizens may imagine. If the People should grant their Suffrages to Men, only because they conceive them to have been Friends to the Country, without Regard to the necessary Qualifications for the Places they are to fill, the Administration of Government will become a mere Farce, and our pub-lick Affairs will never be put on the Footing of solid Security. We should inquire into the Tempers of Men, in order to form a Judgment in what Manner the publick Trusts to be reposed in them will be executed. You remember the Character of Pisistratus. He was a Citizen of Athens, supposd to have many excellent Qualities, but he had an insatiable Lust of Pre-eminence. Solon could discover his Vanity, but the People were blinded by a false Glare of Virtues and he was their Idol. Under Pretence of his having escaped imminent Danger from a violent Faction, and the further Insecurity of his Person he artfully obtaind a Guard of Soldiers, by which Means he possessd himself of the Citadel & usurpd the Government. But though he made himself Sovereign, & thus far overthrew the popular Election, the Historian tells us, “that he made no Change in the Magistracy or the Laws.—He was content that others should hold their Places according to the establishd Rules of the Constitution, so that he might continue Archon, independent of the Suffrages of the People. This he effected; for though several Attempts were made, to deprive him of the Sovereignty which he had so violently obtaind, he held it till his Death & left it to his Children.” Such was the Ambition of this Man, who indeed assumd the Government, and such were the Effects of it. Power is intoxicating; and Men legally vested with it, too often discover a Disposition to make an ill Use of it & an Unwillingness to part with it. HOW different was Pisistratus from that Roman Hero and Patriot Lucius Quinctius Cincinatus who, tho vested with the Authority of Dictator, was so moderate in his Desires of a Continuance of Power, that, having in six Weeks fulfilld the Purposes of his Appointment, he resignd the dangerous office, which he might have held till the Expiration of six Months.—When we formerly had weak and wicked Governors & Magistrates, it was our Misfortune; but for the future, while we enjoy and exercise the inestimable Right of chusing them ourselves, it will be our Disgrace. I hope our Countrymen will always keep a watchful Eye over the publick Conduct of those whom they exalt to Power, making at the same time every just Allowance for the Imperfections of human Nature; and I pray God we may never see Men filling the sacred Seats of Government, who are either wanting in adequate Abilities, or influencd by any Views Motives or Feelings seperate from the publick Welfare. [public Welfare = Public Good, i.e. Life, Liberty, Pursuit of Happiness]

Adieu.

Warren’s September 17 letter to Adams is in Warren-Adams Letters, 2:138-39

Bi-Partisanship It’s becoming more and more obvious that it is the government (both parties) against We The People.

Excerpt from letter by Samuel Adams to Eldridge Gerry Nov 27, 1780
“More in my Opinion, is necessary to be done, than conquering our British Enemies in order to establish the Liberties of our Country on a solid Basis. Human Nature, I am affraid, is too much debas’d to relish those Republican Principles, in which the new Government of the Common Wealth of Massachusetts appears to be founded. And may it not be added, that the former Government, I mean the last Charter, being calculated rather to make servile Men than free Citizens, the Minds of many of our Countrymen have been inurd to a cringing Obsequiousness [Full of or exhibiting servile compliance; fawning], too deeply wrought into Habit to be easily eradicated? Mankind is prone enough to political Idolatry. Such a temper is widely different from that reverence which every virtuous Citizen will show to the upright Magistrate. If my Fears on this Head are ill grounded, I hope I shall be excusd. They proceed from a cordial Affection for that Country to the Service of which I have devoted the greatest Part of my Life—May Heaven inspire the present Rulers with Wisdom & sound Understanding. In all Probability they will stamp the Character of the People. It is natural for sensible Observers to form an Estimate of the People from the Opinion they have of those whom they set up for their Legislators & Magistrates. And besides, if we look into the History of Governors, we shall find that their Principles & Manners have always had a mighty Influence on the People. Should Levity & Foppery(fn1) ever be the ruling Taste of the Great, the Body of the People would be in Danger of catching the Distemper, and the ridiculous Maxims of the one would become fashionable among the other. I pray God we may never be addicted to Vanity & the Folly of Parade! Pomp & Show serve very well to promote the Purposes of European & Asiatick grandeur, in Countries where the Mystery of Iniquity is carried to the highest Pitch, & Millions are tame enough to believe that they are born for no other Purpose than to be subservient to the capricious Will of a single Great Man or a few! It requires Council & sound Judgment to render our Country secure in a flourishing Condition.—If Men of Wisdom & Knowledge, of Moderation & Temperance, of Patience Fortitude & Perseverance, of Sobriety & true Republican Simplicity of Manners, of Zeal for the Honor of the Supreme Being & the Welfare of the Common Wealth—If Men possessd of these & other excellent Qualities are chosen to fill the Seats of Government we may expect that our Affairs will rest on a solid & permanent Foundation.”

(fn1)
Levity: means humor or frivolity, esp. the treatment of a serious matter with humor or in a manner lacking due respect.
Foppery: is a pejorative term describing a foolish man overly concerned with his appearance and clothes in 17th century England. Some of the very many similar alternative terms are: “coxcomb”, fribble, “popinjay” (meaning “parrot”), fashion-monger, and “ninny”. “Macaroni” was another term, of the 18th century, more specifically concerned with fashion. A modern-day fop may also be a reference to a foolish person who is overly concerned about his clothing and incapable of engaging in intellectual conversations, activities or thoughts.

See also:
Patrick Henry may well be proved a Prophet as well as a Statesman
The Importance of Free Speech and The Free Press in America
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: Powers delegated to the State GovernmentsThe Doctrine of Fascism, Fascism Defined by Benito Mussolini

The Life of Founder Samuel Adams

Samuel-Adams-LevelingAmong those who signed the declaration of independence, and were conspicuous in the revolution, there existed, of course, a great diversity of intellectual endowments; nor did all render to their country, in those perilous days, the same important services. Like the luminaries of heaven, each contributed his portion of influence; but, like them, they differed, as star differeth from star in glory. But in the constellation of great men, which adorned that era, few shone with more brilliancy, or exercised a more powerful influence, than Samuel Adams.

This gentleman was born at Quincy, in Massachusetts, September 22nd, 1722, in the neighborhood afterwards rendered memorable as the birth place of Hancock, and as the residence of the distinguished family which has given two presidents to the United States. His descent was from a respectable family, which emigrated to America with the first settlers of the land.

In the year 1736, he became a member of Harvard University, where he was distinguished for an uncommon attention to all his collegiate exercises, and for his classical and scientific attainments. On taking the degree of master, in 1743, he proposed the following question, “Whether it be lawful to resist the supreme magistrate, if the commonwealth cannot be otherwise preserved V He maintained the affirmative; and in this collegiate exercise furnished no dubious evidence of his attachment to the liberties of the people.

On leaving the university, he began the study of law, for which profession his father designed him; but at the solicitation of his mother, this pursuit was relinquished, and he became a clerk in the counting house of Thomas Cushing, at that time a distinguished merchant. But his genius was not adapted to mercantile pursuits; and in a short time after commencing business for himself, partly owing to the failure in business of a friend, and partly to injudicious management, he lost the entire capital which had been given him by his father.

The genius of Adams was naturally bent on politics. It was with him an all engrossing subject. From his earliest youth, he had felt its inspiration. It occupied his thoughts, enlivened his conversation, and employed his pen. In respect to his private business, this was an unfortunate trait of character; but most fortunate for his country, since he thus acquired an extensive knowledge of those principles of rational liberty, which he afterwards asserted with so much energy, in opposition to the arbitrary conduct of the British government.

In 1763 it was announced, that the British ministry had it in view to ” tax the colonies, for the purpose of raising a revenue, which was to be placed at the disposal of the crown.” This news filled the colonies with alarm. In Massachusetts, a committee was appointed by the people of Boston to express the public sentiment in relation to this contemplated measure, for the guidance of the representatives to the general court. The instructions of this committee were drawn by Mr. Adams. They formed, in truth, a powerful remonstrance against the injustice of the contemplated system of taxation ; and they merit the more particular notice, as they were the first recorded public document, which denied the right of taxation to the British parliament. They also contained the first suggestion of the propriety of that mutual understanding and correspondence among the colonies, which laid the foundation of their future confederacy. In these instructions, after alluding to the evils which had resulted from the acts of the British parliament, relating to trade, Mr. Adams observes:—” If our trade may be taxed, why not our lands? Why not the produce of our lands, and every thing we possess, or use? This we conceive annihilates our charter rights to govern and tax ourselves. It strikes at our British privileges, which, as we have never forfeited, we hold in common with our fellow subjects, who are natives of Britain. If taxes are laid upon us in any shape, without our having a legal representation, where they arc laid, we are reduced from the character of free subjects, to the state of tributary slaves. We, therefore, earnestly recommend it to you, to use your utmost endeavors to obtain from the general court, all necessary advice and instruction to our agent, at this most critical juncture.” “We also desire you to use your endeavors, that the other colonies, having the same interests and rights with us, may add their weight to that of this province; that by united application of all who are agreed, all may obtain redress I”

The deep interest which Mr. Adams felt and manifested for the rights of the colonies, soon brought him into favor with the patriotic party. He became a leader in their popular assemblies, and was bold in denouncing the unjust acts of the British ministry.

In 1765 he was elected a representative to the general court of Massachusetts, from the town of Boston. From this period, during the whole revolutionary struggle, he was the bold, persevering, and efficient supporter of the rights of his oppressed country. As a member of the court, he soon became conspicuous, and was honored with the office of clerk to that body. In the legislature, he was characterized for the same activity and boldness which he had manifested in the town. He was appointed upon almost every committee, assisted in drawing nearly every report, and exercised a large share of influence, in almost every meeting, which had for its object the counteraction of the unjust plans of the administration.

But it was not in his legislative capacity alone, that Mr. Adams exhibited his hostility to the British government, and his regard for rational freedom. Several able essays on these subjects were published by him; and he was the author of several plans for opposing, more successfully, the unjust designs of the mother country. He has the honor of having suggested the first congress at New-York, which prepared the way for a Continental Congress, ten years after ; and at length for the union and confederacy of the colonies.

The injudicious management of his private affairs, already alluded to, rendered Mr. Adams poor. When this was known in England, the partisans of the ministry proposed to bribe him, by the gift of some lucrative office. A suggestion of this kind was accordingly made to Governor Hutchinson, to which he replied in a manner highly complimentary to the integrity of Mr. Adams. “Such is the obstinacy and inflexible disposition of the man, that he never can be conciliated by any office or gift whatever.” The offer, however, it is reported, was actually made to Mr. Adams, but neither the allurements of fortune or power could for a moment tempt him to abandon the cause of truth, or to hazard the liberties of the people.

He was indeed poor; but he could be tempted neither by British gold, nor by the honors or profits of any office within the gift of the royal governor. Such patriotism has not been common in the world; but in America it was to be found in many a bosom, during the revolutionary struggle. The knowledge of facts like this, greatly diminishes the wonder, which has sometimes been expressed, that America should have successfully contended with Great Britain. Her physical strength was comparatively weak; but the moral courage of her statesmen, and her soldiers, was to her instead of numbers, of wealth, and fortifications.

Allusion has been made, both in our introduction, and in our notice of Hancock, to the Boston massacre, in 1770, an event which Will long remain memorable in the annals of the revolution, not only as it was the first instance of bloodshed between the British and the Americans, but as it conduced to increase the irritation, and to widen the breach between the two countries.

Our limits forbid a more particular account of this tragical affair ; and it is again alluded to only for the purpose of bringing more distinctly into view, the intrepid and decisive conduct of Samuel Adams on that occasion.

On the morning following this night of bloodshed, a meeting of the citizens of Boston was called. Mingled emotions of horror and indignation pervaded the assembly. Samuel Adams first arose to address the listening multitude. Few men could harangue a popular assembly with greater energy, or exercise a more absolute control over their passions and affections. On that occasion, a Demosthenes, or a Chatham, could scarcely have addressed the assembled multitude with a more impressive eloquence, or have represented in a more just and emphatic manner, the fearful crisis to which the affairs of the colonies were fast tending. A committee was unanimously chosen to wait upon Governor Hutchinson, with a request that the troops might be immediately removed from the town. To the request of this committee, the governor, with his usual prevarication, replied, that the troops were not subject to his order. Mr. Adams, who was one of this committee, strongly represented to the governor the danger of retaining the troops longer in the capital. His indignation was aroused, and in a tone of lofty independence, he declared, that the removal of the troops would alone satisfy his insulted and indignant townsmen; it was, therefore, at the governor’s peril, that they were continued in the town, and that he alone must be answerable for the fatal consequences, which it required no gift of prophecy to predict must ensue.

It was now dark. The meeting of the citizens was still undissolved. The greatest anxiety pervaded the assembly and scarcely were they restrained from going in a body to the governor, to learn his determination. Aware of the critical posture of affairs, aware of the personal hazard which he encountered by refusing a compliance, the governor at length gave his consent to the removal of the troops, and stipulated that the necessary preparations should commence on the following morning. Thus, through the decisive and spirited conduct of Samuel Adams, and a few other kindred spirits, the obstinacy of a royal governor was subdued, and further hostilities were for a still longer time suspended.

The popularity and influence of Mr. Adams were rapidly increasing, and the importance of his being detached from the popular party became every day more manifest. We have already noticed the suggestion to Governor Hutchinson to effect this, by the gift of some lucrative office. Other offers of a similar kind, it is reported, were made to him, at different times, by the royal authorities, but with the same ill success. About the year 1773, Governor Gage renewed the experiment. At that time Colonel Fenton was requested to wait upon Mr. Adams, with the assurance of Governor Gage, that any benefits would be conferred upon him which he should demand, on the condition of his ceasing to oppose the measures of the royal government. At the same time, it was not obscurely hinted, that such a measure was necessary, on personal considerations. He had incurred the royal displeasure, and already, such had been his conduct, that it was in the power of the governor to send him to England for trial, on a charge of treason. It was suggested that a change in his political conduct, might save him from this disgrace, and even from a severer fate; and might elevate him, moreover, from his circumstances of indigence, to the enjoyment of affluence.

To this proposal, Mr. Adams listened with attention; but as Col. Fenton concluded his communication, with all the spirit of a man of honor, with all the integrity of the most incorrupted and incorruptible patriotism, he replied; “Go tell Governor Gage, that my peace has long since been made with the King of kings, and that it is the advice of Samuel Adams to him, no longer to insult the feelings of an already exasperated people.”

The independence and sterling integrity of Mr. Adams, might well have secured to him the respect, and even confidence of Governor Gage; but with far different feelings did he regard the noble conduct of this high minded patriot. Under the irritation excited by the failure of a favorite plan. Governor Gage issued a proclamation, which comprehended the following language: “I do hereby,” he said, ” in his majesty’s name, offer and promise his most gracious pardon to all persons, who shall forthwith lay down their arms, and return to the duties of peaceable subjects: excepting only from the benefits of such pardon, Samuel Adams, and John Hancock, whose offenses are of too flagitious [criminal, felonious]  a nature to admit of any other consideration but that of condign [just, deserved] punishment.”

Thus these independent men were singled out as the objects of peculiar vengeance, and even their lives endangered, for honorably resisting a temptation, to which, had they yielded, they would have merited the reproach of their countrymen, and the scorn of the world.

Samuel-Adams-Virtuous-People-Cannot-Be-SubduedMr. Adams was a member of the first continental congress, which assembled in Philadelphia on the 5th of September, 1774; and continued a member of that body until the year 1781. During this period, no delegate acted a more conspicuous or manly part. No one exhibited a more indefatigable zeal, or a firmer tone of character. He early saw that the contest would probably not be decided without bloodshed. He was himself prepared for every extremity, and was willing that such measures should be adopted, as should lead to an early issue of the controversy. He was accordingly among the warmest advocates for the declaration of American independence. In his view, the die was cast, and a further friendly connection with the parent country was impossible. “I am perfectly satisfied,” said he, in a letter written from Philadelphia, to a friend in Massachusetts, in April, 1776, “of the necessity of a public and explicit declaration of independence. I cannot conceive what good reason can be assigned against it. Will it widen the breach? This would be a strange question, after we have raised armies, and fought battles with the British troops; set up an American navy; permitted the inhabitants of these colonies to fit out armed vessels, to capture the ships, &c. belonging to any of the inhabitants of Great Britain; declaring them the enemies of the United Colonies; and torn into shivers their acts of trade, by allowing commerce, subject to regulations to be made by ourselves, with the people of all countries, except such as are subject to the British king. It cannot surely, after all this, be imagined that we consider ourselves, or mean to be considered by others, in any other state, than that of independence.”

The independence of America was at length declared, and gave a new political character, and an immediate dignity to the cause of the colonies. But notwithstanding this measure might itself bear the aspect of victory, a formidable contest yet awaited the Americans. The year following the declaration of independence, the situation of the colonies was extremely gloomy. The stoutest hearts trembled within them, and even doubts were expressed, whether the measures which had been adopted, particularly the declaration of independence, were not precipitate. The neighborhood of Philadelphia became the seat of war; congress, now reduced to only twenty-eight members, had resolved to remove their session to Lancaster. At this critical period, Mr. Adam? accidentally fell in company with several other members, by whom the subject of the state of the country was freely and confidentially discussed. Gloomy forebodings seemed to pervade their minds, and the greatest anxiety was expressed as to the issue of the contest.

To this conversation, Mr. Adams listened with silent attention. At length he expressed his surprise, that such desponding feelings should have settled upon their hearts, and such desponding language should be even confidentially uttered by their lips. To this it was answered, “The chance is desperate.” “Indeed, indeed, it is desperate,” said Mr. Adams, “if this be our language. If we wear long faces, others will do so too; if we despair, let us not expect that others will hope; or that they will persevere in a contest, from which their leaders shrink. But let not such feelings, let not such language, be ours.” Thus, while the hearts of others were ready to faint, Samuel Adams maintained his usual firmness. His unshaken courage, and his calm reliance upon the aid and protection of heaven, contributed in an eminent degree to inspire his countrymen with a confidence of their final success. A higher encomium could not have been bestowed on any member of the continental congress, than is expressed in relation to Mr. Adams by Mr. Galloway, in his historical and political reflections on the rise and progress of the American rebellion, published in Great Britain, 1780. “He eats little,” says the author, ” drinks little, sleeps little, thinks much, and is most indefatigable in the pursuit of his object. It was this man, who by his superior application, managed at once the factions in congress at Philadelphia, and the factions of New-England.”

SAdams1In 1781, Mr. Adams retired from congress; but it was to receive from his native state, additional proofs of her high estimation of his services, and of the confidence which she reposed in his talents and integrity He had already been an active member of the convention that formed her constitution; and after it went into effect, he was placed in the senate of the state, and for several years presided over that body. In 1789, he was elected lieutenant governor, and held that office till 1794; when, upon the death of Hancock, he was chosen governor, and was annually re-elected till 1797, when he retired from public life. This retirement, however, he did not long enjoy, as his death occurred on October 1803, at the advanced age of 82.

From the foregoing sketches of Mr. Adams, it will not be difficult for the reader to form a tolerably correct opinion of his character and disposition. In his person, he is said to have been only of the middle size, but his countenance indicated a noble genius within, and a more than ordinary inflexibility of character and purpose. Great sincerity and simplicity marked his manners and deportment. In his conversation, he was at once interesting and instructive; and those who shared his friendship had seldom any reason to doubt his affection and constancy. His writings were voluminous, but unfortunately, as they generally related to the temporary politics of the day, most of them are lost. Those which remain furnish SAdams2abundant proof of his superiority as a writer, of the soundness of his political creed, and of the piety and sincerity of his character. As an orator, he was eminently fitted for the stormy times in which he lived. His elocution was concise and impressive, partaking more of the logical than the figurative, and rather calculated to enlighten the understanding, than to excite the feelings. Yet no man could address himself more powerfully to the passions, than he did, on certain occasions. Asa statesman, his views were broad and enlightened; what his judgment had once matured, he pursued with inflexible firmness, and patriotic ardor. While others desponded, he was full of hope; where others hesitated, he was resolute ; where others were supine, he was eager for action. His circumstances of indigence led him to habits of simplicity and frugality; but beyond this, he was naturally averse to parade and ostentation.

“Mr. Adams was a christian. His mind was early imbued with piety, as well as cultivated by science. He early approached the table of the Lord Jesus, and the purity of his life witnessed the sincerity of his profession. On the christian sabbath, he constantly went to the temple, and the morning and evening devotions in his family proved, that his religion attended him in his seasons of retirement from the world. The last production of his pen was in favor of Christian truth. He died in the faith of the SAdams3gospel.”

In his opposition to British tyranny, no man was more conscientious; he detested royalty, and despised the ostentation and contemptible servility of the royal agents ; his patriotism was of a pure and lofty character. For his country he labored both by night and by day, with a zeal which was scarcely interrupted, and with an energy that knew no fatigue. Although enthusiastic, he was still prudent. He would persuade, petition, and remonstrate, where these would accomplish his object; but when these failed, he was ready to resist even unto blood, and would sooner have sacrificed his life than yielded with dishonor. “Had he lived in any country or epoch,” says his biographer, “when abuses of power were to be resisted, he would have been one of the reformers. He would have suffered excommunication, rather than have bowed to papal infallibility, or paid tribute to St. Peter; he would have gone to the stake, rather than submit to the prelatic ordinances of Laud; he would have mounted the scaffold, sooner than pay a shilling of illegal ship money; he would have (led to a desert, rather than endure the profligate tyranny of a Stuart; he was proscribed, and would sooner have been condemned as a traitor, than assent to an illegal tax, if it had been only a sixpenny stamp or an insignificant duty on tea; and there appeared to be no species of corruption by which this inflexibility could have been destroyed.”

Samuel-Adams-Quotes-4In the delegation of political power, he may be said to have been too cautious, since our constitutions, as he would have modeled them, would not have had sufficient inherent force for their own preservation. One of his colleagues thus honorably described him: “Samuel Adams would have the state of Massachusetts govern the union; the town of Boston govern Massachusetts; and that he should govern the town of Boston, and then the whole would not be intentionally ill governed.”

With some apparent austerity, there was nothing of the spirit of gloom or arrogance about him. In his demeanor, he combined mildness with firmness, and dignity with condescension. If sometimes an advocate for measures which might be thought too strong, it was, perhaps, because his comprehension extended beyond ordinary minds, and he had more energy to effect his purposes, than attaches to common men. In addition to these qualities, he manifested an uncommon indifference to pecuniary considerations; he was poor while he lived, and had not the death of an only son relieved his latter day poverty, Samuel Adams, notwithstanding his virtues, his patriotism, his unwearied zeal, and his acknowledged usefulness, while he lived, would have had to claim a burial at the hand of charity, or at the public expense.

Samuel Adams Boston Gazette October 7, 1771

SamuelAdamsQuotesAmericanDuty

The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil constitution, are worth defending at all hazards; and it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors. They purchased them for us with toil and danger, and expense of treasure and blood, and transmitted them to us with care and diligence. It will bring an everlasting mark of infamy on the present generation, enlightened as it is, if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle, or be cheated out of them by the artifices of false and designing men. Of the latter, we are in most danger at present. Let us therefore be aware of it. Let us contemplate our forefathers and posterity, and resolve to maintain the rights bequeathed to us from the former for the sake of the latter. Instead of sitting down satisfied with the efforts we have already made, which is the wish of our enemies, the necessity of the times more than ever calls for our utmost circumspection, deliberation, fortitude, and perseverance. Let us remember that “if we suffer tamely a lawless attack upon our liberty, we encourage it, and involve others in our doom!” It is a very serious consideration, which should deeply impress our minds, that millions yet unborn may be the miserable sharers in the event! ~ Samuel Adams Boston Gazette October 7, 1771